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  1. #1

    Comparing Quotes for FL

    Our a/c is not actually "dead" yet, but over the weekend with temps in the 90s, our 17 year old (or so) a/c was running over 40 minutes straight at a time just to keep the house at 79 or 80. Our furnace is original from when the house was built (early 70s), so it seems like it might be time for an overhaul.

    I had two contractors come out today. We live in north, central Florida. Hot summers, fairly mild and short winters. 1780 sq. feet (even though I know that's not enough info for the whole picture) rancher.

    I have read a lot on this forum and know installation is very important. But I also want to weigh in things like warranties, etc.

    Contractor #1:
    3.5 ton Goodman 13 SEER (didn't give a model #)
    80,000 BTU furnace
    programmable thermostat ("Pro 6000"?)
    10 year parts warranty
    1 year labor warranty
    99 year professional warranty (is that for real??? are there lots of loop holes or something?)
    2 year service contract coming out 2x/year
    He said there are a couple things in the furnace closet that aren't up to code, including that the return needs to be sealed to prevent carbon monoxide from getting into the home.

    Contractor #2:
    3 options
    -mentioned the return needing to be sealed, didn't make many other comments about furnace closet, but seemed more thorough in general
    -didn't perform manual J at this point, but would have to as part of our utility's rebate program which he knows I was getting quotes for
    -1: 15 SEER Bryant furnace 315AAV048090
    condenser 124ANA036
    Thermidistat thermostat
    1 year labor warranty
    5 year factory parts warranty
    10 year compressor warranty
    come back in 6 months to inspect/adjust
    -2: 15.5 SEER Bryant furnace 315AAV048090
    condenser 187ANA036
    user interface thermostat
    1 year labor warranty
    10 year factory parts warranty
    10 year condenser warranty

    -3: a 17.5 SEER that we're not really considering

    He also mentioned a 4" filter media for add'l $$--is that worth it? We do have a dog, but neither of us has problems with indoor allergies.

    Lastly, he mentioned checking/correcting seals on the duct work for add'l $$. I'm not asking HOW to do it, but he talked about caulking the grates and using a tape in the attic... is that something we could do ourselves? Our utility does offer a rebate on that as well, but it only covers about 1/2 the cost.

    Contractor #1 specifically mentions pulling permits and having building inspector come when job is complete.

    Contractor #2 is a member of several associations and accreditations.

    Any advice? Suggested questions? Both companies are part of our utility's "participating contractors" for their rebate program. My husband is asking around at work for any info them or other contractors as well. We plan to be in the house probably about 10 more years, if that affects anything.

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Grundy Co. IL
    Posts
    773
    You're starting in the right way, get as many recomendations from friends, co-workers,family,(if they like you), and go from there. Both sound like competent companies from what you have said. I don't know about either of those brands warranties, as we don't sell either of them. But more important is how you think they will take care of you after the sale, or if any problems arise. A couple of weeks ago someone posted a link to a sight that had questions you could use to help decide which contractor to go with,that is much more important than the name on the unit.imo. Good Luck with your purchase. And remember, if you're happy with the job they do, tell everyone you know, if you're not happy, tell them!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    2,194
    refrig

    You need a load calc for both heating and cooling.

    I question the size of the furnaces you are being quoted.

    and for your area/climate along with electric rate, I suggest a high eff HP system with var spd air handler.

    here are my specs for a new HP system

    15 SEER, 12 EER, 9 HSPF
    full BTUs in both heating and cooling for rated size
    R-410a refrigerant
    var speed air handler
    scroll compressor preferred
    electronic defrost preferred
    staged backup heat strips
    thermostat that controls blower speed

    IMO
    Good Luck!

  4. #4
    I noticed you mentioned the electric rate here, which at least in my area is MUCH more expensive than our gas. I thought since heat pumps use electricity, that they were an advantage if you have mild winters *and* a reasonable electricity rate. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    2,194
    refrig

    What is your electric rate?
    Does your electric utility provide any special rate incentive for HP heating?

    what is nat gas rate/therm?

    generally speaking, southeastern states have inexpensive electric rates vis-a vis nat gas. you may have a unique situation.

    I am providing a link for a fuel comparison calculator.
    Crunch the numbers and see how nat gas and HP heating compare.

    IMO


    http://www.warmair.com/html/fuel_cost_comparisons.htm

  6. #6
    Thanks for the cool calculator widget.

    I looked up our prices/kilowatt hour and /therm and plugged them in. Natural gas comes out cheaper for us than HP.

    So, I do think we'll stick with that plan (btw, our current furnace is as old as the house.... 35 years! So, almost anything installed appropriately should give us a huge jump in efficiency--not that we don't want to consider even more efficient alternatives). What are your concerns about the size of the furnace quoted? Too big? I'm in northern Florida, so we do get freezing temps, even teens, in late Jan. and through February.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    2,194
    refrig

    do you mind sharing your rates and name of your electric utility?

    and yes, I think the furnace quotes are oversized.
    but I would insist on a load calc for both heating/coolingand request it in writing...


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    435
    I live in SE Fla, and would not think of a low SEER unit now. Especially since the FL power companies are going to hit you here shortly with higher bills based on fuel surcharges. FPL is in the stage as we write getting approval on higher charges. I suggest you look at least at 16 SEER or higher.

    The power rates are low, but the fuel surcharges are steep!

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