suspicious estimate

I'm replacing an aging and intermittently broken central AC in my house of about 2200 sq. ft. I'm getting lots of estimates. There was one contractor I felt pretty good about until he showed me the unit he was quoting me on. It's a Rheem unit, but it has a blower *and* a heating furnace in the same unit. He says I can just leave that alone unless I really want to hook it up (the unit will be in the attic, and I have a separate furnace in the basement for my baseboard water heating system). It's a 4-ton unit, and I think he said it was 17 SEER. Every other contractor is quoting me on 3 ton units (though sometimes for more money), lower SEER ratings (the Rheem is, so far, the only one qualified for the fed rebate), but it seemed odd that Rheem would recommend a unit with a furnace on it to be placed in an attic. This guy had the Rheem software that does the matching. Is this guy just blindly going with whatever they recommend? Does this warrant suspicion, or does Rheem just build their units this way?
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The furnace/blower combination is going to be the most common type of air handler. Rheem may well not make a separate blower only unit that matches that coil/condenser. So, it's not a big deal, but the unneeded furnace will add some cost, of course.

This is of more concern. You need to get the right size. Have any of these guys run a load calc?
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wrote:

NONE of the Rheem 4 ton systems currently on the street meet the minimum standards for the energy tax credit. There is supposed to be one out in a couple of weeks that is supposed to be 18 SEER and has twin compressors in it. There are several 3 ton Rheem systems that do qualify.
Get the load calc done so you know exactly what your home needs.... don't base this kind of investment on a guess, or "rule of thumb".
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I've had 5 estimates done in the past several days. I have 2 or 3 more coming today and tomorrow. Not a single person has done a proper load calc. Only one guy bothered to actually measure out the square footage of the living area.... badly. He came up about 500 sq. ft. shy, and I know this because I measured out everything myself when I did the flooring in this house. He used one of those fancy laser things :-/
He didn't measure anything else: windows, doors, ceiling height (I live in a split-level house, and the lower level has lower-than- standard ceilings). He did at least ask if they were double-pane. That guy was also about $4000 more expensive than anyone else.
Everyone else seems pretty happy to just see what I have, ask how it's working, and go from there. My existing AC is a Tappan unit from the 80's, and a Janitrol compressor from around 2001 (3.5 ton). No variable speed motors, no high efficiencies. My house gets cool, but it takes quite a while, and the temp from floor to floor has probably 8 degrees variance from ground level to 2nd level, with the 1st level being just about right. After talking to all these folks, I'm still a little torn, because I don't feel like any of them really did the work 'cept the super overpriced carrier guy. Frustrating.
I'll post back tomorrow after the last 2-3 estimates are in. Thanks for your help.
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Exactly!!
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On Sun, 28 Jun 2009 20:40:00 -0500, Injun Ear

    Seing as you don't know anyone here, don't have anyone's number, and no one here lives near you anyway, that shouldn't be much of a problem.

    There is. Write them a letter.
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wrote:

I would like to do my own load calculations including the calculations for the air ducts.
I currently have a central air conditioner and propane furnace. Would like to install a geothermal system, but I need to do some calculations to see if I need to put in larger air ducts.
So where do I find all the info needed to do the load calculations?
As HVAC contractors, how would you react to someone who came in with the load calculations already done? Would you give a quote based on them with the caveat that if selected you could inspect the house, point out anything that would increase the cost, and adjust the quote?
Dan
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wrote:

I would like to do my own load calculations including the calculations for the air ducts.
I currently have a central air conditioner and propane furnace. Would like to install a geothermal system, but I need to do some calculations to see if I need to put in larger air ducts.
So where do I find all the info needed to do the load calculations?
http://www.wrightsoft.com /
As HVAC contractors, how would you react to someone who came in with the load calculations already done? Would you give a quote based on them with the caveat that if selected you could inspect the house, point out anything that would increase the cost, and adjust the quote?
Dan
It doesn't matter what you have or haven't done.... my pricing is all flat rate. Its all inclusive for the complete job. Even if you do you own load calcs, I would have to verify the calcs to make sure they are correct. The question you have to ask yourself is this.... do you want it done cheap?? or do you want it done right??
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I would guess he bought it for another job and got stuck with it, or you wanted to get started right away and it's the only unit that is a close match for you at the local distributer. Who knows.
As you

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