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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    17

    New AC + Furnace?

    Current carrier equipment is 11 years old and were baseline equipment(ie no high efficiency). Gas furnace usually warms the house OK but gas bills are very expensive. In addition, it also has been flashing a 33 error code every once in a while but not every time it fires. AC had been serviced a number of times over the last few years and has struggled to cool the house. I was thinking it was going to need to be replaced either this year or next.

    I have had three quotes. Each has said it makes more sense to replace both AC and furnace. They are suggesting top of the line Infinity ICS Furnance and Inifinity 21 AC unit. We have substantial rebates from state, IRS, gas company and Carrier.

    Does this approach make sense? I can see replacing the AC but I feel like the furnace might have more life in it.

    With the down economy, how much should I push back in negotiating the original quotes?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    32
    Timmy - Yes replace your whole system. You will get no rebates at all if you only replace the A/C and coil. And the Furnace add on should not be that much all things considered. THere really is not much extra labor to do. But since you are having problems heating and cooling your house make sure the contractor performs a heat load calculation first to be sure you are not going to have these same issues with the system.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
    Posts
    3,369
    Quote Originally Posted by TampaAC View Post
    Timmy - Yes replace your whole system. You will get no rebates at all if you only replace the A/C and coil. And the Furnace add on should not be that much all things considered. THere really is not much extra labor to do. But since you are having problems heating and cooling your house make sure the contractor performs a heat load calculation first to be sure you are not going to have these same issues with the system.
    Definitely, and have the ductwork checked. The Infinity 21 + ICS furnace is a nice setup IF installed and sized properly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Alberta Canada
    Posts
    2,246

    Change both

    Sometimes people don't get the right equipment to match what they have an you end up losing efficiency and comfort. Contractors usually give discounts when you do both. Don't need as much set up time and travel.
    Do it right the first time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    17
    Thanks for the info. One suggested to add an extra return from the second floor to help with the cooling issues. This was quoted at a fairly substantial amount. The other two thought the existing ductwork was OK and the better system/continuous fan would solve comfort issues and stagnant air pockets.

    As an untrained homeowner, how do I determine which expert is correct? I'd hate to pay all of this money and then get something that isn't right. All of the people out to quote measured the rooms and checked attic+basement but I have no idea what they did with that information.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    32
    Ask each contractor to show you on a "ductulator" how and why there design will work. If they don't have one kick them out of your house.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    You're only going to see discounts in areas that were expensive before the economic slowdown... although many companies that were the low bidders have already gone out of business. Some in us in smaller towns already enjoy lower pricing. You will only get a discount if a shop needs the work. The manufacturer's production costs haven't really dropped and they aren't going to drop their pricing any. Raw materials haven't gottne much cheaper.

    Have you considered dual fuel? Depending on you gas and electric rates, you may have the lowest operating cost pairing a heat pump with a furnace. The heat pump runs in more mild weather, the furnace runs in colder weather.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    17
    Thanks Motoguy; none of the 3 suggested a heat pump. I don't know if it is the temps or electric rate but that one was consistent over all quoters.

    As for the discounts, it looks like most of it is coming in the form of rebates. I get the impression the quote is high but then they tell me to take comfort in all of the rebates available. No more new housing here lately. A few years back you had to beg for someone to find time for a "small job" of checking an AC unit.

    I guess I am not sure what is the norm? Is the first price quoted the best and final? Is it insulting to ask for a bit of a discount. One of the three said the quote was only good thru the end of the week.....He will not be getting my business.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Alberta Canada
    Posts
    2,246
    Quote Originally Posted by Timmy10 View Post
    Thanks for the info. One suggested to add an extra return from the second floor to help with the cooling issues. This was quoted at a fairly substantial amount. The other two thought the existing ductwork was OK and the better system/continuous fan would solve comfort issues and stagnant air pockets.

    As an untrained homeowner, how do I determine which expert is correct? I'd hate to pay all of this money and then get something that isn't right. All of the people out to quote measured the rooms and checked attic+basement but I have no idea what they did with that information.

    I like the added return air. Providing price. Duct work is so important to proper air delivery.
    Do it right the first time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    6,959
    Quote Originally Posted by Timmy10 View Post
    Thanks Motoguy; none of the 3 suggested a heat pump. I don't know if it is the temps or electric rate but that one was consistent over all quoters.

    As for the discounts, it looks like most of it is coming in the form of rebates. I get the impression the quote is high but then they tell me to take comfort in all of the rebates available. No more new housing here lately. A few years back you had to beg for someone to find time for a "small job" of checking an AC unit.

    I guess I am not sure what is the norm? Is the first price quoted the best and final? Is it insulting to ask for a bit of a discount. One of the three said the quote was only good thru the end of the week.....He will not be getting my business.
    A good company (manager) knows what they need to make money. Would I discount it it? Yes, as long as your willing to give up something as well. A system is built based on your budget.
    For example, I offer a ten year warranty and have it priced in the system, you want a discount so I may suggest a five year warranty instead at a smaller price that fits your budget...the easiest way to explain is you can't have champagne on a beer budget

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,765
    Continuous fan helps even the temp in many houses.
    But, not always enough in all houses.

    Have you asked the contractor that is suggesting the new return line to the second floor, why he feels it needs it, instead of just running the fan 24/7.

    Have any of the contractors measured the CFM from the supplies and returns.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    17
    I bit more info....The contractor without the extra duct work says the returns are sufficient for the new system and the continuous fan will even out the house. The contractor wanting to add a return on the second floor says the total returns in the house are OK but not enough of them on the second floor. He said something like there is not enough hot air being pulled off of the second floor and that is contributing to the cooling issues.

    .

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