Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 21
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    16

    Am I Being Scammed?

    Hi, first time poster, although I've tried to read as much as I can on here in the last 3 days. I'm interested in upgrading my HVAC this summer with an eye towards possibly qualifying for the government's 30% up to $1500 tax credit.

    Right now I have a 5 ton Payne outside unit that was manufacturered in 1987. The coil looks ancient so I'm sure it was installed then as well. The inside unit is a Trane furnace/air handler and looks like it can't be much more than 5 years old (I need to check to be sure). The unit works fine. The duct work in the house appears to be original metal duct work. We have visible black deposits at the registers. They were inspected when we bought the home 2 years ago the inspector didn't think they were mold, but I didn't pay the several hundred dollars to send off a sample to be tested. I haven't noticed any health issues that would be attributable to a mold issue, but the deposits make me slighly uncomfortable all the same, and I wouldn't mind a good excuse to replace the existing ductwork if it made sense.

    I had a contractor come out to give me a quote. He did a heat load on the house (was there about 4.5 hours and spent about 3 of those taking measurements, inspecting the units and duct work, etc.) He recommended a complete system replacement, indoor/outdoor matched units, complete ductwork replacement, and the installation of an air purification system (not a HEPA) for around xxxx installed. He believes the right sized unit for the home is 3.5 tons. He is also recommending attic insulation to bring the attic up to R49, cleaning of existing soffit vents, addition of new soffit vents to achieve one every 6 linear ft (i'm at 1 every 12 ft right now), and the addition of 2 powered attic fans (solar). The system would be a heat pump/hybrid that would kick over to gas when it was too cold for the heat pump to keep up. I'm in North Texas, I'm not sure how cold it has to get for a heat pump to not be able to keep up but it rarely/if ever gets any colder than the teens here. For all of that he wants xxxx and guarantees in writing a 45% reduction in energy usage for HVAC. If I do the insulation, soffit work, and the attic fans myself he only wants xxxx and he would guarantee a 25% reduction in energy usage. He also assured me that the units and installation would qualify for the government's 30% up to $1500 tax credit.

    I had him call me today with the model numbers of the units he'd be installing.

    Outside unit: GSH13048
    Inside unit: GMH8090 5
    Coil: CHPF4860

    A quick google search indicates that the inside and outside units are Goodman branded SEER 13 and appear to be bottom of the line as far as what they are offering today. Is this builder quality? The coil is a 16 SEER unit. This chart: http://www.goodmanmfg.com/Portals/0/pdf/SS/SS-GSH13.pdf would seem to indicate that those 3 products installed together would only give a SEER of 13.5.

    I called the guy back to confront him with this information and ask him how he would reconcile this with the government's 16 SEER requirement for split systems and he tried to tell me that it's more about how the unit is installed than the unit itself.

    I welcome any advice on what I should do in general for my home, what I should do about this contractor, correction of wrong information I've presented here, etc.

    Thank you.

    PRICING REMOVED PLEASE READ THE RULES BEFORE ADDITIONAL POSTING
    Last edited by HeyBob; 06-01-2009 at 06:01 PM. Reason: REMOVED PRICING

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Posts
    16,184
    Looks like two of us landed there at the same time to do the edit

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,335
    "We have visible black deposits at the registers"...
    this would concern me. however I know that in most cases it is not mold, but condensation that collects dust as it dries.
    this condensation occurs when there is a gap between the ceiling supply box and the supply grill and should be mastic sealed.
    what happens is that hot attic temps meet cooler indoor air temps,
    and condenses.
    if you remove one of the grills you will see the gap between the supply box and the sheetrock.
    sealing this area will eliminate the condensation.
    if the gap is large, water stains around grills will appear.

    just a fyi about mold..
    mold needs three things..moisture, light and a food source.
    while the insulation inside the supply box would provide a food source, the supply grill is metal..not a food source.

    I'm leary of anyone who sells a 40% to 50% utility reduction.
    it takes more than changing a unit, adding insulation to achieve this.

    Also while you may need more soffit vents.. what ventilation besides that do you have?
    ridge vents and pav's are a no no.
    soffit vents work with ridge vents and passive turbines..one or
    the other. you shouldn't mix ventilation strategies.
    PAV's depressurize attics. this makes leakage from house into attic and leaky ductwork leak even more, causing more problems.
    having a complete air barrier between the attic and conditioned space is necessary before adding insulation.
    see the factsheet about air sealing in 'over time' thread.

    "he tried to tell me that it's more about how the unit is installed than the unit itself."
    I doubt this. equipment has to meet certain mfg requirements.

    It sounds like he spent a lot of time measuring the house to do the load calc. That in itself is a good thing and not something every hvac company will do.
    It sort of bothes me that he is reducing the size by a ton and a half. I can understand it if you are reducing air infiltration, duct leakage and improving air and thermal barriers..but am hesitant to believe that without these upgrades/improvements that
    you will have the comfort and savings quoted.

    ask more questions, get more bids.

    best of luck.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    16
    Thanks for the reply. I really appreciate the information and advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by energy_rater_La View Post
    .. what ventilation besides that do you have?
    We have 4 whirly birds currently. This is a 2500 sq ft 1 story home.

    Would installing 2 solar PAVs and leaving 2 whirly birds be a big no-no then?

    I'll see what I can find out about properly sealing the conditioned space.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,617
    Sounds like some of Sherman T. Potter's horsehockey!

    13 SEER is 13 SEER and his low end stuff isn't going to qualify for anything, let alone the tax credits!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,803
    Hard to get 4 ton 18 SEER model line to meet the tax credit requirements.

    A 13SEER mode line isn't going to meet them.

    Get more estimates.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    3,824
    More than likely the black marks are just dust in the air that when come in contact with the moving air leaving the the supply register get thrown against the ceiling and leave a mark. Some dust could be coming out of the duct. What type of filter do you use?
    Always here

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by energy star View Post
    More than likely the black marks are just dust in the air that when come in contact with the moving air leaving the the supply register get thrown against the ceiling and leave a mark. Some dust could be coming out of the duct. What type of filter do you use?
    Home Depot special True Blue (if I'm remembering right) 20x25x1

    They aren't the expensive 3Ms, but they do have the wire backing and I change them religiously.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ypsi. Mi.
    Posts
    198
    Sounds like BS to me find a new contractor ASAP. 13 IS 13, 16 IS 16 TELL HIM THANK`S BUT NO THANK`S

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,035
    If they deceive U upfront concerning unit ratings, forget them; that was real far-out. That doesn't make any sense.

    If U want the tax credit, etc., go with a 16-SEER R410A with a TXV metering device & a Copeland Scroll compressor & best matching evaporator coil.

    The initial guy was right in advising U to do everything possible to reduce the heatload as much as possible, & upgrade duct system, if need be.

    Also, take care of the air infiltration; those things are where the greatest savings reside.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,335
    PAV's and whirly birds do the same thing one just costs you to operate. (and its not the whirly birds).
    more important than cutting another hole in the roof for the PAV's
    is the correct amount of soffit vents.
    add soffit vents & don't do the PAV's.

    making sure that ducts, supply boxes and return air's are sealed with mastics will allow more of the conditioned air entering your house. none of these areas should suck dust in to the ductwork, system or house. with your bids ask to do a check of duct sealing. duct tape fails, foil tapes fail..mastic mastic mastic.


    shop carefully and make sure that you get that tax credit!
    best of luck.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,327
    He is probably relying on the attic insulation to qualify for the tax credit not the equipment.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,376
    I agree with La and others....the promised energy savings sound dubious. Unless he's very familiar with your living patterns and energy use habits, he's just throwing a number at you for razzle dazzle purposes.

    While he may have a point that a lower SEER system can outperform a higher SEER system via a good installation on the lower SEER stuff, you're interested in the tax credit and you won't get it unless the equipment meets the required specs. Him trying that maneuver is a red flag to me, even if he means well. If you want the tax break he should accommodate you to that end.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event