I probably forget more than I should as far as everything they have done and will be doing. One thing I have failed to mention is they will be installing "tents" over my attic access opening as well as behind my 2 knee wall doors to help with the leakage there. When the blower fan was set up to provide positive pressure it was very obvious I had a lot of leakage in these areas. Aside from my ducts, including returns, they found a lot of leakage around my fireplace, and unfortunately the door going to my garage ( nasty air there! ). A few of my windows had leaks but not as bad as I suspected and I'll be addressing those before the installation.
Originally Posted by mbarson
It's been an interesting 3 weeks of research and I've learned enough to at least know what I don't know! I know there were many ways to skin this problem and many of them probably would have worked. I went with the company that gave the impresison of knowing the most about the duct system and had the ability to actually measure flow, pressures, velocities, leakage, both home leakage as well as duct leakage. I did give some thought to using a 3rd party to provide this service if I had gone with the zoned system which was proposed to verify thier work, though their quote did not address the home leakage at all ( i.e., the tents ). Course I don't want my house to be too tight as that can create other problems ( NC is notorious for Radon and while that in a nutshell is my work and I'm not as concerned as many are with it, I am aware that a really tight home can create issues with it ).
In the end, I felt I made a decision that will lead me to a well designed, well installed and well tested duct system along with some nice equipment, probably nicer than I truly needed truth be known. I did get a bit anal about the duct work but some of that also went back to choosing someone I trusted. The guys I worked with on this system are also the guys doing the installation. No salesperson to deal with.
I do think the other installer could have done a good job and no doubt from our discussions did things in many ways as described here. Biggest problem I had with their quote was (a) the salesperson.. I was ok with the owner but the salesperson irritated me as he was more interested in discussing their awards than he was in discussing the system, (b) although I was promised by the owner that they would perform detailed heat load calcs after the contract was awarded, their initial bid resulted in 2 returns that were undersized and at least 3 supplies that were undersized. These cals were done by the salesperson and the owner did apologize and assured me it would be done right at no cost to me should the calcs result in needing larger of anything. In the end I did feel they could do a good job but I simply had more faith in the more detailed duct installers.
I have a couple weeks before we get close to the job date so I'll try to get some photos taken of my existing duct system. It's really a bad layout and horrible setup. I had 3 installers who said it "looked fine to them" and they wanted to keep it intact, while another wanted to chang eonly the ductboard trunk but keep the felx duct supplies and boots.
INterestingly, if everyone had quoted a new duct system + new components, all of the bids would have been within 10-20% of one another. The one I chose was NOT the most expensive but was getting there. I did, though, have a lot of toruble finding installers that made me feel comfortable and when spending this kind of money I simply wanted to feel like I was getting a quality installation without taking unecessary shortcuts. Guess time will tell
Originally Posted by dash
I kept saying the same thing as I argued with myself between the 2 installers as well as between the levels of complexity. The Zoning guy on a similar equipment install ( no zoning ) would have been about 10-15% cheaper. Course, the tents would have been omitted, flow testing, static pressure testing, velocity testing and so on. I finally gave in to wanting the extra verifications to be performed, especially givenhow miserable we've been the past 2 summers due to a bad installation. I"m sure I could have just as easily gone the other way but will just blame it on you guys for teaching me to do it right lol In reality, it was a tough decision until I listened ot my gut and went with what felt better.
This is where I ended up with my logic. Again, it worked for me but am sure there are other opinions that may be equally valid for other people and their needs. I paid a slight premium for this testing to be performed but then it is time and labor. I am hoping I can minimize future service cals as a result of what we are doing upfront. In a year or so we'll be revisiting with the downstairs unit. Good news is it isn't in quite as bad of shape.
Originally Posted by mbarson
For what it is worth, the copany that lost the bid ( not counting the 5 others who also lost ) did commit to performing a thorough heat load/loss calculation. They didn't, though , do any testing after the fact to verify flows, etc and when asked if they measured the static pressure, etc I got an anser that they weighed the freon charigng very carefully. Again, the company I gave the job to just seemed much knowledgable and direct as well as doing exactly what you have outlined here!
I'll get started on the before pix before it gets hot.. not far from hot now
Originally Posted by beenthere
Oh please rip away.. just hope it is the old ducts and system and not the new lol I'll ask about the financing as the other company had no interest no payments for 12 months. I hate doing that as it always turns into an OH CRAP at the end of the 12 months but it might help a bit. Price wasn't ungodly but it did smell of sulphur a bit compared to what I had expected early one.. then got past sticker shock, read here and decided to do it right would cost. I did NOT though go for anything too exotic.
Originally Posted by mbarson
I ended up with a Bryant Evolution system, their 315 80% variable speed fan gas furnace and 187A 16-17 Seer AC. The web site says the EER is as high as 11.5. They also included the Perfect Air Purifier with the system and did discuss the ozone aspects of the device. If it doesn't work out, they can provide custom made 3rd party filers to fit at a very reasonable cost including rubber gaskets to seal. I think compared to my now very aging Trane system that was orig a SEER 10 along with it's cheap 3rd party coils, this sytem should work very well.
Pricey, yes, but I don't think I paid more thna 10% more than the equivalent system from other reliable installers. The cheap bids I received were very cheap in compariso but had things such as " I can run you some bigger duct.. I can do lots with ducts ".
Originally Posted by Dog
I questioned myself ( per other posts here ) about how focused I was on the ventilation apects and the ducts. But, this installer wasn't short changing me on the quipment, either. I just couldn't afford zoning with him. I had another quote that offered a Carrier Infinity zoned system at a very reasonable price, but the installer did not perform load calcs nor did they do any flow testing, etc. This price was about 20% cheaper than the other zoned system bid, and I simply felt it was too cheap to be trustworthy.
As far as the 80% variable speed furnace, I decided to upgrade from the 80% 2 speed furnace, but wanted to stay away from the 95% stuff due to (a) NC simply isn't cold enough to really go there but (2) more importantly, this furnace is going into the attic and I didn't need the freezing issues. Plus, being upstairs, my downstairs system will carry more of the heating load anyway. I did get a bit anal about the equipment as well, but much less so than I did about the duct design. I hope I ended up with the proper balance between my budget, the components and the installation plus duct design. I did give the most weight to how comfortable I was with the installer and how much I felt they would do a great job. I also had a maximum budget to contend with and I think I exceeded it by less than 2%. I tried to pick the equipment which offered good bang for the buck without going too extreme for my budget or my payback and probably got a bit overboard by going with the Evolution series though with current rebates it wasn't that much more expensive. The only thing I didn't get was the zoning to have the bonus room on it's own t stat but I did fele as if the installers were simply very good and trustworthy. The only smoke they seemed to blow was during the leakage testing
To anyone reading this post who is like I was.. meaning a bit undecided na d alittle confused... all I cna say is go through the process and after a while you will star tot hear the salepeople's lies and fibs. That led me to going with the installer who seemed ot never fib at all and had the knowledge to make me feel comfortable. That and the help here wa sinvaluable. Only time will tell if I invested wisely but for now I feel good about my odds!