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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    15

    Confused

    I'm getting estimates to retrofit my 1919 house, converting from 3 floor furnaces to central gas heat. I have one lowball estimate, one high estimate, and one mid-range estimate (with two more that are supposed to send me their quotes by the end of the week). The high-end quote is twice the low end!

    All of the companies have good reputations in the area and have been in business upwards of 40 years. The biggest difference seems to be that the expensive company actually took measurements and did a load calculation (although he came up with a size that is in line with the others by rule-of-thumb), and he emphasizes that his company ONLY uses alumaflex, not the plastic flex coil for ducting.

    Question: How big of a deal is plastic vs aluminum supply ducts? He told me the ductwork accounts for 1/3 of the price he quoted me, and roughly equal to the difference between his quote and the next one lower. Is the plastic ductwork satisfactory, or will I be sorry if I go with it?

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Many here willbash the flex period.We have 20 plus year old flex systems that are fine.

    I don't think I pay that much extra for aluminum flex,since the regular flex holds up well,will he price it with regular flex,as he did the calcs so sounds like the better guy?

    His duct sizing might be far superior to the others as well.

    Are you sure each ones equipment selected ,is about equal,in features ,warranty,etc.?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    3,157
    Rebecca , arent you the gal that is in the bay area? if so did you go to the link that I left on the other thread? There is so much that he has on that site that you can use to answer these questions.

    Didnt you say that you had sheet metal ductwork in the house already? I may be thinking of someone else.

    The guy that came in and did the load calculation did so , so that there would be no question about the size of the units you will need . The company I work for uses flex in all of their installations. Alumaflex is probably a better product but I agree that is a big portion of the price


    http://hphaa.com/services/installation/installation.htm


    here is the link again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    15
    Thanks, guys.

    Dash, he won't price out with anything other than alumaflex. His boss just doesn't want to use anything less. I agree with you about trusting his duct sizing more.

    The equipment is the same -- all of the companies who came out carry Carrier or Bryant, and after the first two guys I had already decided an 80% efficiency, 2-stage, 2-speed furnace was going to be what I need. I have an improperly vented water heater (long run, mostly horizontal with a retrograde portion, single-wall pipe, incorrect sizing after it tees into the floor furnace vent, and a broken Patten flue) and a mild climate, so I plan on common venting the furnace with the water heater.

    $xxxx is a big step-up in price from the next guy down, though.

    ct2, yes, I'm the one in the Bay area. I did go to the link, and found a lot of great information there -- thanks. I don't remember seeing anything specifically about the plastic vs metal question on the ducts, though.

    I have no ductwork in the house now -- three gas floor furnaces, all turned off. One was off when I bought the house last year, and stinks from food that the previous owners kids had been spilling into it. One we turned off to sand the floors before moving in, and the third one flared up when we turned off the second, so I turned off that one, too. Last winter, even in Oakland's mild climate, was too cold for me to do without central heat.

    [Edited by BC1 on 08-26-2005 at 01:06 PM]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
    Posts
    15,847
    Originally posted by rebeccah
    Thanks, guys.

    Dash, he won't price out with anything other than alumaflex. His boss just doesn't want to use anything less.
    When you got the big bucks you don't have to.

    Move to Texas and we will run your duct inside hay bales if that is what the customer wants, of course you will have to keep the horses out of your attic for warranty purposes.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

    "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart". - Unknown

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Waco, Texas, USA
    Posts
    6,153
    What the heck is alumaflex?
    "And remember my sentimental friend......that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others" - Wizard of Oz.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    5,469
    I'll tell you thed same I said on another thread.Flex is no way to build a performance system. It's a cheap way out w/o concern for longivity or performance. A few years ago all of the flex had to be removed from an attic as it had deteriorated internally to the point of rubble. Sometimes I hate the way the industry is headed. Do any of you remember when duct tape was used to hold round pipe together? The makers of the tape said you don't need screws just the tape. Then the adheasive failed and ducts fell apart. Most of you know plastic anything is shortlived.
    Tracers work both ways.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Twenty year old flex systems in hot Florida attics,30 to 40 year old hard pipe with ductwrap,wrap is failing,we'll see which lasts longer,in the end.


    Size wise ,yes flex will be larger,but delivered air can be exactly the same.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    san jose,ca.
    Posts
    5,285
    Thats all we use out here in the concrete jungle, San Joae.
    I `ve been using it ever since it first came out & never had a probleme with it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,868
    Originally posted by dash
    Twenty year old flex systems in hot Florida attics,30 to 40 year old hard pipe with ductwrap,wrap is failing,we'll see which lasts longer,in the end.


    Size wise ,yes flex will be larger,but delivered air can be exactly the same.
    I agree, have used it over 20 years with no problems.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,579


    What do the union sheet metal people think of flexduct?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    CHICAGO SUBURBS
    Posts
    464
    I grew up in Bay area.Started in hvac trade out there.Every union shop I worked in and all others used alum flex at that time.Only jobs got hard piped were San Fran. basement jobs.This was 20 yrs. ago.Been livin' in chicago land for 10 yrs. now and I remember the first time I walked into the supply house and asked for alum.flex and they said,what the hell is that?I have a hundred stories about asking for parts that are called something else in midwest than we called it on west coast. I was chastised once by a guy for taping duct joints in a guys basement once when in San Fran. it was code.Thankfully it's becomming code here to.I never had issues with alum flex. But you can't get it here and they wouldn't pass the job because the inspectors never saw it.
    Some people swear by me and some at me

  13. #13
    HELLO TIM,
    I DO ALOT OF WORK IN BROOKLYN NY BROWNSTONES AND WE USE HARD PIPE ON ALL FLOORS EXCEPT FOR THE ATTIC.....MOST OF THE DUCT IS IN A CONDITION SPACE AND IT WONT CONDENSATE WHEN IT GETS COLD... BUT IN ATTIC'S WE RUN SQUARE DUCT AND 8 FEET OF INSULATED FLEX TO DIFFUSER'S....WE USE .08 STATIC PRESSURE WHEN WE SIZE UP DUCT. WHAT DO YOU USE?

    PAU

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