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  1. #1

    Confused Got 3 Bids, but I'm at a loss...

    Building a new home, approx 3400sf, 2 stories. Western Washington weather I've read enough of the posts in this forum to know it's more about the installation than the brand of unit that will create a good system, but I'm going to have to go on a bit of faith here that they'll do a reasonable job. I knew no HVAC contractors personally in my area, so i requested 3 bids purely on word of mouth from my other subs. All 3 used different brands, and they're roughly 4k in difference between the least to most expensive.

    For the more knowledgable folks on this forum, which would you choose out of these 3 (or none?)

    1. Carrier 4 ton, Performance Series Heat Pump System w/ Puron & Indoor Electric Variable Speed Air Handler w/ 20 KW Strip Heat Coil : $XX (2nd most expensive)
    a. Carrier Infinity 16 Series Heat System Pump : $XX+Y (most expensive)

    2. 15 Seer HSPF 9.25 Rheem System w/ 410A heat pump w/ matched Rheem 3 ton RHKL variable speed air handler: $(middle price)
    a. Rheem 3 ton RPNL 16 seer two speed heat pump w/ 3 ton RHPL 16 seer air handler: $XX (middle price)

    3. Trane 3.5 ton variable speed air handler w/ 19 kilowatt strip heat & 3.5 ton XB13 Seer R-410A heat pump (seer rating of 13.0 & an HSPF rating of 8.0): $XX (cheapest)
    a. Trane XR14 Seer R410A heat pump(seer rating of 14.0 & an HSPF rating of 9.0): $XX+Y (second to cheapest)
    Last edited by ShockValue; 03-03-2009 at 04:20 PM. Reason: Woops! No pricing alowed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Keokuk, IA
    NO PRICES... get rid of them before a Moderator see's it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Keokuk, IA
    Are they all using the same load calculations and ductwork layout? I see 3 different sizes of units. So I'm guessing no. Make them provide Manual J and Manual D calculations. The layout of the ductwork, sizing and installation is more improtant than which brand or model you install.

    The best equipment money can buy can perform worse than the cheapest builder grade equipment if installed incorrectly. The lowest bidder is often not the best one to select.

    Would you go into a car dealership and ask for a car that seats 4, is comfortable and has good economy and let the salesperson pick a car for you??? I hope not... you would want to have more specifications and requirements such as color, dimensions, option packages, engine size, fuel economy, etc

    You have to know what each quote includes, and make them show you load calculations to prove theri desing and equipment selection.

    Also the equipment IS NOT COMPARABLE. You have a Carrier Performance series and Infinity against a builder grade XB13 and 1 step up XR14. Comparable units would be an XL15i and a XL16i. Make sure you get the Carrier dealer ot provide SEER and HSPF ratings for that match. Carrier's ratings can be all over the place if you pick poor matches.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Ask each contractor how they determined what size your house needs.
    Contractor locator map


    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    There is price and there is company competence. I'm not qualified to judge company competence.

    If the middle price is closer to either end price it might be the beginnings of a cluster (in the center below).
    Depending on the inconvenience of getting more bids vs. the money riding on this, you might get one or two more additional bids.

    $^relative price^ $

    To resolve the apples vs. oranges issue on this:

    if brand A is generally taken to be "worse" in some important way than brand B,
    how much money would I have to give you
    in addition to installing a brand A in your house,
    for you to be completely indifferent as to whether you end up with brand A or brand B? That is, when the coin is flipped you absolutely don't care if it lands heads or tails.

    Taken two at a time, this tactic puts all furnaces on an equal footing.
    If you run this same thought experiment with other family members you will have a jury of sorts, and get a more accurate answer as to the rankings of these options.
    E.g., reliability and efficiency is important to me but comfort and proper humidity level is important to my wife.
    One likely outcome of this "bid adjustment" is that all furnaces end up more closely clustered in the middle of this Dot Plot.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    A lot of good advise given here, I cannot add much more but a simple go for the gold... i mean carrier.
    i love carrier

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Northwoods, Wisconsin
    I agree with motoguy and beenthere, a load calculation is a MUST. Do you know the difference between a two speed and a true variable speed? If not, I would suggest that you are not ready to make the appropriate decision. A little time spent researching will pay off every night for as long as you sleep over that system, Ten Fold!
    Can anyone out there help by recommending a good site?
    Thanks and Good Luck.

  8. #8
    Great info everyone, I'll do a little more research and ask the bidders for a bit more info and comparable products.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    A load calculation is a must today.
    For more info sww these FAQ.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Olympia, Wash.
    So Shockvalue, where in beautiful western Washington do you hang your hat?
    "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.." (Romans 5:1)

  11. #11
    A suburb of the Port Orchard Megalopolis

    I've asked all 3 of my bidders to provide their calculations as well as getting bids on apples-to-apples units.

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