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Advice on a new HVAC unit

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Old 08-26-2010, 10:39 AM   #1
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Advice on a new HVAC unit

After a week where we decided to get new carpet and had to replace a garage door, wouldn't you know it, our A/C unit craps out. Our compressor is shot and not under warranty. Cost to fix..$2500. It's only 8 years old.

The wise move is to replace the unit, become more energy efficient and get a $1500 tax credit. We have a 2 story, $2400 ft2 home. It was built in 2002 and the builder didn't do a great job w/ the AC install.

Friend of mine, works for a well respected local company. They do a thorough job, explaining and creating a good system. I know friends and neighbors he helped. He's going to replace w/ a 15 seer, 3.5 ton Trane unit, inside air handler, new refridgerant lines from unit, new air handlers, and re-route/improve the duct work in our room above the garage to improve efficiency. Bottom line, about 9k. We're getting another quote, but any thoughts out there. Damn, 9k. It's going to save us money no doubt, but I'm in a little bit of shock here. I was expecting 7k-ish.
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:42 AM   #2
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

Get a Tran, nothing stops a Tran.

I have a Tran and so does my neighbor we were both the model homes back in 1997 when the community was built. We were the only two that got Tran HVAC systems we have slowly watch each of the houses around us replace theirs, ours still running strong.
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:55 AM   #3
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

8 years old and dead already? That's rough.


I'd get a second opinion. Can a component or part in the compressor be replaced instead of just putting a whole new unit in?

I had to replace my entire heat pump/AC system a few years ago. Reason why...a defrost control board went out. It was 17 years old...and the manufacturer made it a policy to stop producing and stocking replacement parts after 10 years. I could not locate the part ANYWHERE. It was basically just a small motherboard, but without it, the outdoor unit would not come on.

Being only 8 years old, I'd think you can get a replacement part if the it's just a single part needing replaced.


I don't see why it should cost that much, sounds like they're taking you for a ride with that "improve duct efficiency" suggestion. Unless the builders completely dropped the ball on the ductwork installation and didn't seal things up properly, I'd forgo the ducting work. Just get a unit that matches up with the existing ductwork.

Also, get this thermostat...LOVE IT...saves money too:

Buy Honeywell VisionPro 8000 Programmable Thermostat, 1 Heat/1 Cool | Honeywell TH8110U1003





If you DO have to go the replacement route...try to do what I did. I ordered a system and had it delivered to my house. Then, I found an HVAC tech who did it "on the side" for me for $500 plus about $25 in supplies he needed from his truck.

Cost of system including outdoor unit and indoor air handler = $1800 + programmable therostat, $140, + installation $525, total cost = just under $2500...for an entirely new system with 10-year warranty.

Then, I was able to deduct over $700 off my taxes for a credit because it's efficient.

I bought a Goodman system. They're VERY good units, have the best warranty in the business. They sometimes get a bad rep because they're one of the few companies that will sell directly to non-contractors, so people buy them and botch their self-installs. If installed properly by a pro or someone who knows what they're going...they're awesome. I love mine.


I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this company, incredible service, great pricing and warranties:

Ingram's Water and Air

Buy Geothermal Heat Pump, Goodman Heat Pump, Goodman Air Conditioner online

They sell a lot of brands, not just Goodman.
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:55 AM   #4
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

I did like buster and got a heatpump from a guy who sold them on craigslist to make extra money on the side, and then got another guy to install it as sidework. I got a Carrier, because my mom has had good experience with hers, but also because the warranty follows the unit and it doesnít matter who installed it or where you got it. Carrier only sells to their certified installers, so you cant really get them like you can other brands, thatís why it doesnít matter where it came from or who installed it.

I got a new 3 ton 13 seer heatpump with air handler, coils, and the thermostat Buster has for 2100. I could have gotten a 14 or 15 seer variable speed unit for a couple hundred more but my house is only 1500 sq feet so it wasnít really worth it. Also my place only had central heat but not air before I moved in and my return is inadequate for what I am doing now, and to put a new return or add a additional return it would have been real expensive. Either way everything runs great and my house is cool. So even though you need duct work it might not really be worth it.

I can give you the email and number of the guy I bought the system from, he is in the DC area. Let me know.

Also something else to consider in addition to your energy credit is a medial deduction. I was diagnosed with an allergy to dust mite, which 99% of people have. So it is recommend that I have air conditioning in my house to combat my allergy, along with a circuit breaker to provide power to my ac unit and other things like non-fabric couches, blinds (not drapes), hardwood floors, and some other stuff. So if you, your wife, or dependents have an allergy to dust mites or something else like mold you can possible take a deduction for this stuff. Itís a tough deduction to get because you have go over 7.5% of AGI, but anything over that amount can be used to reduce your income. So if you can afford it and someone in your family is suffering from allergies you could do a bunch of updates to your house right now. Plus any other medical expenses you have this year can add on to it. Also one thing im not sure about is if the expense increases the value of your home you may have to reduce it by the value your home increased. But I think thatís a little trickier than it sounds.
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:22 PM   #5
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

I didn't buy it from a guy on Craigslist, I bought it from a distributor and had a guy someone referred to me install it on the side.

I wouldn't trust any "guy" on Craigslist.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

What do you have against giving some random guy on craigslist a couple thousand dollars???? This guy was legit though. It was a brand new unit and I had a lot of different models and options to choice from to fit the my needs.

Also I read a little into what the deal is if your home value increases by way of adding a medical necessary improvement. It is actually pretty cut and dry. (cost of the upgrade) - (the value of your house immediately afterupgrade - the value of your house immediately before upgrade) is what can be used meet 7.5% of AGI. Im not sure, but I donít think your need a real deal appraisal. For someone like you that is replacing a old unit with a new one the increase in your home value is going to be negligible. For me adding a heat pump to a house that previously didnít have one it may be significant in relation to the cost, thank God I also needed couches and stuff.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:25 PM   #7
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlmpetert View Post
What do you have against giving some random guy on craigslist a couple thousand dollars????


Well when you put it that way...
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:40 PM   #8
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

THAT sounds like a ridiculous amount of money. Remember these guys are getting a little commish on "upselling". Get AT LEAST a couple of more estimates. AND make it tough on them. Pin them down with the new upgrades, WHY you need these things, whats wrong with the old, how much you will save and put a calulator to it to see if the trade off is worth it. If they cannot give you a pretty accurate answer, their info is sh....!
GOod luck...ask lots of questions
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:16 PM   #9
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster View Post
8 years old and dead already? That's rough.


I'd get a second opinion. Can a component or part in the compressor be replaced instead of just putting a whole new unit in?

I had to replace my entire heat pump/AC system a few years ago. Reason why...a defrost control board went out. It was 17 years old...and the manufacturer made it a policy to stop producing and stocking replacement parts after 10 years. I could not locate the part ANYWHERE. It was basically just a small motherboard, but without it, the outdoor unit would not come on.

Being only 8 years old, I'd think you can get a replacement part if the it's just a single part needing replaced.


I don't see why it should cost that much, sounds like they're taking you for a ride with that "improve duct efficiency" suggestion. Unless the builders completely dropped the ball on the ductwork installation and didn't seal things up properly, I'd forgo the ducting work. Just get a unit that matches up with the existing ductwork.

Also, get this thermostat...LOVE IT...saves money too:

Buy Honeywell VisionPro 8000 Programmable Thermostat, 1 Heat/1 Cool | Honeywell TH8110U1003





If you DO have to go the replacement route...try to do what I did. I ordered a system and had it delivered to my house. Then, I found an HVAC tech who did it "on the side" for me for $500 plus about $25 in supplies he needed from his truck.

Cost of system including outdoor unit and indoor air handler = $1800 + programmable therostat, $140, + installation $525, total cost = just under $2500...for an entirely new system with 10-year warranty.

Then, I was able to deduct over $700 off my taxes for a credit because it's efficient.

I bought a Goodman system. They're VERY good units, have the best warranty in the business. They sometimes get a bad rep because they're one of the few companies that will sell directly to non-contractors, so people buy them and botch their self-installs. If installed properly by a pro or someone who knows what they're going...they're awesome. I love mine.


I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this company, incredible service, great pricing and warranties:

Ingram's Water and Air

Buy Geothermal Heat Pump, Goodman Heat Pump, Goodman Air Conditioner online

They sell a lot of brands, not just Goodman.
Thanks, we already have someone coming out tomorrow to give a 2nd quote. I checked out Ingrams. I believe it's about $2650 for a similar unit/air handler w/out installation. I'll update later.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:56 PM   #10
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

^ Good deal. If you can find a trustworthy installer from an HVAC company to do it on the side for anywhere around $500, you'll be set. That shouldn't be hard to do right now, there are probably a ton of guys wanting extra work/cash in this economy.

Watch to see if there are any company vans in the neighborhood and just ask them...want some extra work on the side? Make sure he did good work for your neighbor though.

Ingram's was great. Although it took getting them to schedule a delivery truck from Kentucky to Pennsylvania that cost be $200 (included in prices I quoted earlier...will be less for you obviously), their price was still unbeatable and they have a nice warranty on top of the manufacturer's warranty. The employers were incredibly helpful and friendly, they checked to make sure the equipment I ordered would be 100% compatible and were the right tonnage for my house before placing the order. Southern hospitality I guess. I've recommended them to other people too.
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:37 AM   #11
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Re: Advice on a new HVAC unit

Quote:
Originally Posted by redsk1 View Post
Thanks, we already have someone coming out tomorrow to give a 2nd quote. I checked out Ingrams. I believe it's about $2650 for a similar unit/air handler w/out installation. I'll update later.

If you are thinking of going with Ingrams, give me your e-mail address. They always send me offers and holiday cards (ha) and this morning, I received an e-mail good for a 2% discount for a Labor Day special. I'll forward it to you to use. 2% off $2650 is $53...half your thermostat cost.
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