New A/C qoutes
My wife and I have had 4 companies out to quote a new A/C unit. All 4 companies were referred from friends who have used them in the past and happy with their work.
We live in the Chicago area in a 1400 sq ft tri-level home and this unit will replace a no name 2.5 ton unit installed over 12 years ago.
All four companies are quoting us their economy line air conditioners.
Rheem 13 AJM
Carrier Comfort Base 13 seer
American Standard 13 seer
In your professional opinion, should I be asking them to quote a better unit/higher teir unit.
Thanks for any input you may have.
In my opinion they have not done their job unless they provide you with options and explain the benefits of each.
Since utility prices are only going up, I'd recommend you get pricing along with estimated seasonal operating cost for a "good, better,best" type units. Start with the 13 SEER, 14-15 SEER, and top with 16-18 SEER. An estimated "normal" total operation hours can be used for your area and then you can see what you could possibly save with each efficiency change. For example, using an electricity cost of 11 cents a KWH, based on 600 hours of seasonal use (on my chart) , and a 30,000 BTU size would cost @$155 for 13 SEER, $135 for 15 SEER, and $110 for an 18 SEER (your area seasonal use is only 600 hours). The higher efficiency units usually have the best and longest warranties. But as you can see, the actual seasonal savings of $20 would take a long time to save 2 or 3 thousand more in installation costs. But don't forget that electric cost will go up, not down in future. Since you are so far north, it makes the break even period pretty long on higher efficiency AC units!!
The question is: do you want a more expensive unit or are you happy with these? Without changing the furnace to one with a high efficiency blower motor, you won't get much over 13 and in Chicago climate, much over 13 won't pay you back anyway. A deluxe 13 gives you things like compressor protection and sound deadening methods. The 13AJN30 has 1.5 of its 4 sides blocked off and the fan makes a chopping noise, something the better RANL-030 doesn't do for example.
We use a lot of the 13AJN since the boys like selling low end stuff since most only look at who has the bottom dollar. Rheem had a big fan motor issue from the mfr Genteq but we only lost one. I think the factory and suppliers kept it from the homeowners.
Which American Standard? They have 3 13s. I like the 4A7A model which is the deluxe version.
Do all of those 13-SEER units have Copeland Scroll compressors?
Will the evaporator coil have a TXV metering device?
I would want those on my unit; you may have to go 14-SEER or higher to get them, U should find out...
A "Home Energy Efficiency Audit" would be advisable, after Retro-work followed a Manual J load calc for equipment sizing. Without that:
Well, in Chicago 1400-sf / 2.5-Ton is only 560-sf per ton of cooling; that spells somewhat oversized to me, however, by reducing airflow to a minimum & the right kind of room thermostat it might work...
With those component I'd probably operate the blower at around 350-cfm per ton of cooling or 875-cfm. That will provide a colder coil & a little more runtime for those humid days in Chicago.
That will help to get humidity low enough to be comfortable at 75-F or above.
At 75-F the 2.5-Ton gets around 26000-BTUH; 'around' .75% sensible & .25% latent.
Also, it will help to better match the airflow CFM to the duct system & the sizing of the Return Air filter.
If you don't do anything else, please don't let them oversize.