Me again....I posted earlier in the month about my decision to get quotes on replacing my furnace before winter. Thread is here:
I appreciate the comments and help offered then....helped me ask some questions now that I wouldn't have otherwise.
I see by the Rules of the forum, I'm not allowed to share bid prices, but price is important to me, so I hope I can post it instead in a different way as I did below...if the site moderators don't feel it's OK, I accept the judgement of them.
Overall, I had a 'fair' experience as a consumer. Aside from my run-in with Mr. "5 minute visit" Tappan dealer (outlined in that other thread), I had three no-call-backs, and one quote given over the phone without looking at a thing in my house, with nothing in writing to back it up. I've disregarded all of those.
Basic situation in the house is:
We bought our 1600 sq ft house in 1996. The house was built in 1969 with forced hot air system. I _believe_ that the furnace is the original (Bryant SL-D series). At some point in the mid-1970s (judging by the inspection tags), the homeowner added a Sears humidifier to the ductwork above the furnace, but it's never worked as long as we've owned the house. As best I can tell, right around the same time, central air was put in.
After several years of bad luck with the AC after we bought the house, we had the central air condenser replaced with a Rheem RAPA030 in 1999. 10 SEER model, and a new coil was NOT put in at the time.
I've narrowed it down to four contractors. I told them all I was getting 4-5 bids. I think I've settled on a 80% efficiency, one-stage fan furnace....not one contractor told me they thought the higher efficiency or the two-stage fan was worth it for my setup. Several included it as an option in their bid. All told me that all the houses in the neighborhood had adequate-sized ducts for heating, but not for AC, which many have since added since 1969.
CONTRACTOR A was picked out the Yellow Pages. He had to reschedule his first appointment, and showed up 45 minutes late to the second, with no phone call. Got his bid to me promptly. Spent about 30 minutes with me. He's recommending a 100,000 BTU Heil or American Standard, 80% efficiency, compatible box coil for the AC, and an Auto-Flo Humidifier. His bid we're going to call X.
CONTRACTOR B is a town company voted 'Best Heating / AC' in our local paper. He was recommended by a neighbor. Showed up a little late, and took about a week to get a bid to me. Spent about 30 minutes with me. He's given me a bid on a 75,000 BTU Heil, new coil, digital thermostat (I already have one, and no one else had a problem with mine), condesate pump, Aprilaire #600 humidifier. His bid is X + 28%.
CONTRACTOR C is a big, heavily advertised company in town, which did a good, professional job fixing the water leak problem in the coil drain pan when it overflowed. They showed up on time, wrote up a bid at my kitchen table, and followed up the next day with more information. Spent an hour with me. They're recommending a 90,000 BTU Lennox with Lennox #WB2.17 humidifier, Lennox 2.5 ton coil, and one year of 24 hour emergency service. He was the only contractor to suggest that even if he ducted the furnace to my existing chimney (interior walls, used only by my furnace and hot water heater), I would need a new liner put in, at a possible additional $1,000. He said he wouldn't know the condition of my chimney liner until he looked at it that day. _Without_ the additional liner cost, their bid was X + 73%.
CONTRACTOR D is a big, commercial company that came recommended by people I know in the construction business as very good. I had to call him two times to get a call back, but he met me at an odd time that worked well for me without any problems. He spent about 30 minutes with me. He took a week to get the bid to me. He told me while he was here that he mostly does restaurants, nursing homes, etc., but has about 1,000 residential customers also. His bid was for a Trane TUD080C936, with a Trane TXA030 2 1/2 ton coil, new return air drop, and AutoFlo #250 humidifier. His bid was also X + 73%.
Thoughts on brands, considerations, etc.? I have a 'lean' right now towards two of them, but wanted to hear what others in the business and in the know thought.
Thanks for all your help in advance.