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  1. #1
    Hi! I'm new to all of this, but I purchased a 14 year old house 1600 square feet with 12-14 foot ceilings throughout. I've lived here for many of those years before purchasing.

    I'm in Las Vegas. The house has the original 3 ton package unit - brand unknown to me - but at 8 SEER. Electric for AC and gas for heating. Electric bills run $250 in summer per month.

    One whole side of the house remains quite hot - so much we bought a window AC unit and a small heater for winter in those rooms.

    Today a company with free estimates came out and said, "REPLACE." The unit works fine, actually, just horrifically inefficient for the house apparently. He wanted to sell me a 4 ton, 13 SEER Amana PGD.

    He pushed hard for me to accept a new unit at a seemingly high price and said an additional $xxxx for additional ducts.

    Nevada Power is offering $300 rebates with contractors as well.

    My questions:
    1. How do I compare units (package gas/electric)?
    2. How do I find best value installation?
    3. We've lived many years just surviving with the rooms simply not cool/hot. They are the office and guest room, not exactly used alot but the office is used a few hours each day. Do I really need to swap out?

    My email is in the profile - am open to suggestions or recommendations. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    kepp searching for other opinions and then compare prices and the quality they will give you. Bargain a lil. If you do that you'll get a good price and u'll be satisfied...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,042
    There are two unrelated issues here.

    If you can't get even temperatures, you have a ductwork problem first. Correcting the ductwork will make the house more comfortable, but may not reduce operating cost much. It depends on the airflow. If you already have insufficient airflow, a new unit isn't going to change that. Switching from a three ton to a four ton *may* only exacerbate the problem, because you need a third more airflow to run a four ton than you do to run a three ton. A lot depends on what changes to the ductwork he has in mind.

    I would talk to a few more contractors first, and focus on getting the airflow right- which means ductwork- as much as the equipment. You can't get the rated capacity or efficiency out of any unit, new or old, in a dry climate like yours without putting an unusually large amount of airflow through it. To even achieve that level of air flow usually takes oversized ducts, low-restriction filters, and setting the blower to a high fan speed.

    Now if you get all of that stuff right, switching from the current three ton to a 13 SEER three ton will cut your cooling bills by quite a bit. Don't assume that putting in a new unit will automatically correct original shortcomings in the rest of the system, though. Frankly I would work on ductwork first, and wait awhile on unit replacement. When you're totally satisfied with the contractor that does your ductwork improvements, you'll probably have a good clue if he's the right guy to replace the system.

    Check out http://hphaa.com/services/installati...tallation.htm. Since you are using a package unit, items 14-16 are not relevant. Otherwise this is an outstanding reference for a newbie in a dry climate that wants to get their money's worth by getting a system that meets modern technical standards and achieves the efficiency it was designed for.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,989
    Wyounger, -your post is very informative and ought to be of great help to him.

    In addition to your beneficial advice, I would have an energy heat-gain heat-loss audit done and then do all I could to reduce the size of the replacement equipment. The audit with the energy usage reductions completed, might also change the ductwork requirements. Energy conservation begins with all of us doing our part!

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