A/C & Heater Replacement??

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My wife and I moved into a 30 year-old house a year ago. Everything worked ok over the past year but I have never been please with the A/C. Well, as winter slowly approaches here in Louisiana I go to turn on my Gas heater and smell a small hint of gas. Again, my pregnant wife smells it too. So I shut everything down including the pilot light and call someone to come and inspect it. I am clueless when it comes to this equipment and service so I just picked someone out of the yellow pages that appeared professional. A man shows up and immediately panics and says I have a cracked chamber. He says the evidence of this is to look at the flame where it is yellow? Isn't most fire yellow to some degree? I go down to my gas stove and see the same type of flame. Of course I do plan to get a second opinion. Anyway, he has his boss come out and take a look to see what it would cost to basically replace everything and do some needed duct work. Here is what he proposed:
Rheem 12 SEER (electric a/c and inside gas furnace part) redo and add some duct work throughout the house redo some of the piping that goes from the outside unit to the inside unit raise the slab where my outside unit will be so it is to code Cost: $5600 (includes tax and everything)
Ultimately, it does sound like quite a bit of work and everything he proposed makes sense. However, if you haven't already been able to tell from my description (i.e. outside unit vs. inside unit) I am completely naive about this whole process. So if anyone out there can help me I sure would appreciate it.
My concerns are this: How should I choose someone to do this type of work? I want it done right but I can't really tell from the yellow pages who is professional and who isn't.
Is Rheem the manufacturer I should go with? I have always heard that Trane and American Standard was best. This guy that gave me this quote even said that American Standard is probably a little better than Rheem but given my installation he said Rheem would be best. Again, I just don't know.
Is electric A/C and Gas heat really the way to go? Should I be considering other options?
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Simply put I am lost but have to get this done since Winter will be here before I know it and I don't want to risk any development issues with our new baby.
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A new unit is probably adviseable . Today you should go get a Digital display Co alarm to see if gas Co, is leaking . You didnt mention what model equipment , btu , effifency, ac size or seer
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Yes, I'd definitely call for a second and third company's opinion.
Gas heat flames oughta be blue, and maybe a trace of yellow here or there. But in my expereince. a cracked heat exchanger doesn't necessarily guarantee a yellow flame. And smelling gas doesn't necessarily mean a cracked heat exchanger.
Natural gas heat, and electrically powered AC sounds right to me. But then, I live in NYS.
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Christopher A. Young
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30 year old gas furnace?? its long past its normal service life of 18 - 20 years.

Always a good idea.

got model numbers??

The outside and inside units work in tandom.... one will not work without the other

Your tech appears to be a Rheem dealer... Rheem (when correctly installed) is top quality equipment. Call your local building inspector and the Rheem wholesale supply house and ask the following question. "Would you trust XYZ company to do a top quality installation of a new heating and cooling system in *your* family's home?"

Rheem/RUUD was rated just as high as Trane/American Standard by Consumer Reports 2 years ago

I can't *see* it from here... I would be inclined to go with the tech's recomendations

natural gas...yes, propane...no. If you do not have nat gas, I would be looking at a high efficiency heat pump system.

Check this site for information on Rheem equipment http://www.rheemac.com /
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Steve @ Noon-Air Heating and A/C
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This is Turtle.
Stop right here and listen up.
If you have any yellow in the flame of the gas furnace AND the gas stove TOO. You have a Gas / Air mix problem on your gas system. Here is the list of possible thing wrong with it.
1) Bad gas pressure to your home. Most of the time the regulator is malifuctioning. 2) Both stove and Furnace are not set right on air to gas pressure mix. I see this a lot but mostly on Propane and not Natural gas. You sure you don't have propane and not natural gas. 3) BOTH the stove and the furnace need cleaning bad enough to cause a poor air to gas mix. 4) You have a HVAC professional Salesman and Not a HVAC Professional Repairman looking at it. If you wanted it replaced call a saleman ,. If you want it repaired, call a Repairman. 5) The system being 30 years old is a good reason to change it out for efficency and maybe some safety too , but changing it out for poor gas pressure to your home or poor air fuel mix setting on the equipment is not a reason to change it out. 6) Here in Louisiana we have a disclosure law when a realestate agency sells a home and the furnce is found defective with in 2 years. The cost of fixing or repair of the equipment will be paid by the realstate agent's coverage insurance that they must carry to be a agent. If they told you that the furnace was defective and needed some major repair. they are off the hook and only if they told you in writting [ look in the conditions of Sale on the contract ] . Anything not disclosed at time of the sale is covered under insurance.
Now the brands you spoke about. i would go with the Rheem here in Louisiana for parts are real easy to get and warehouses are everywhere. The American standard / Trane parts are hard to get here in Louisiana and would be a problem if you need them in a hurry. Alway buy brand / equipment that you can get parts for them easily in your area or state. Now to the quality of the AS / Trane verses the Rheem . Well I see very little difference in quality as to speak of but let the price and avaiability of parts be your guide.
Where you at Boy? I live in Louisiana Too at Oakdale , Louisiana / Central Louisiana. E-Mail me or get with me and i will look at this circus forming around you. I can't stand it when people start lieing to others around me. Use the E-Mail address here on the newsgroup or post back here.
My BullShit Indicator is reading 9 out of a scale of 1 to 10.
I'm not saing not to change it out but not for the reason stated here. After 30 years of service. I would say you might need to get a new one.
TURTLE
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Mine too. :-)

Changing it out for efficiency reasons is a good thing (but, it should be the owners choice)
Not someone scaring you into buying a furnace because of *YELLOW* flame.

-- kjpro _-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>
( kjpro @ starband . net ) remove spaces to e-mail
Want it done yesterday? Or done right today, to save money tomorrow!!
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Turtle,
Do you have a spell checker? Do you know how to use it?
Since you don't know how to spell I'd suggest that you figure out how to use the spell checker.
B
TURTLE wrote:

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Dude...thats just Turtle......but also keep in mind that he has probably forgotten more than most of the rest of us know.
--
Steve @ Noon-Air Heating and A/C
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===========================I agree..
When I see any thread involving air conditioning or heating with a reply from TURTLE... I read his responce.. . I also read every response made my CHVAC
Both these guys know their Sh$$ ...
Bob Griffiths
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this is turtle.
Suoery about steppming on yourn little tippey toes. I knodded it is bad but I will come mittest to do better nextey timey.
TURTLE
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Yes, and yes he does use his Cajun spell checker. Why?

--
One-seventh of your life is spent on a
Monday.
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Don't see you giving the *Quality & Quantity* of info like Turtle does.
Sorry, you can't be more like him.
But, that's no reason to dis (sp?) him.
-- kjpro _-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>
( kjpro @ starband . net ) remove spaces to e-mail
Want it done yesterday? Or done right today, to save money tomorrow!!
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ishtarbgl wrote in message

This is a chance to demonstrate how public-spirited you are.
1. Call cops 2. Cooperate with cops in setting up sting operation for these birds who are trying to adjust your disposable income for the coming year or two.
Yellow flame means insufficient air. Usually can be adjusted in the twinkle on an eye. . .or the flick of a wrist just before you got there (i.e. from blue to yellow for the sales pitch)
Cracked heat exchangers are as old a furnace scam as there is. However, they usually pull it on older widows. Going after expectant parents is a stroke of genius.
Regards Old Al
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wrote:

Your advice was ok up until the last paragraph. A cracked heat exchanger is NOT AN OLD SCAM, you fool. Anything can be a scam but a real crack in a heat exchanger is not something to take lightly. Was that furnace really cracked? I have NO unearthly idea. A second opinion is in order. Dont make everyone think a crack is a scam. Its Not. Bubba
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Bubba wrote in message ...

See the "evidence" of a cracked heat exchanger. . .the yellow flame.
We had the cops put out a newspaper bulletin when birds like that came through our town.
Regards Old Al
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What Bubba is saying is, that a cracked HE is NOT a scam.
But, one telling a client that one is when it's not is a scam.
Ever seen a flame pull up or blow towards you when the main blower comes on?? (think that has something to do with the HE?)
-- kjpro _-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>_-~-_>
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Want it done yesterday? Or done right today, to save money tomorrow!!
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On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 11:27:32 GMT, "kjpro" <( kjpro @ starband . com ) see-my-sig-for-e-mail> wrote:

No use kjpro. Old Al is "Bent" on the scam and the cop thing. He'll never get it right. Something about seeing the Forest for the Trees kind of thing. Bubba
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This is Turtle.
Old AL , i'm behind you 110% on locking up any crack headed hvac service company tring to scam customers by telling the customer that they have a cracked heat exchanger when they don't. Cracked Heat exchangers are a real problem to be dealt with real soon and not to run them like that. I only see about 2 or 3 a year for we just don't use very much heat on furnaces to get the use out of them. the cooling system usely wears out and you just change the heat exchanger out by changing the furnace out with the cooling system. The point that the others are tring to get over to you is we in the hvac industry have a problem with the public thinking that if I or a respectiable hvac service man says they have a cracked heat exchanger. They automaticly think it is a scam and will not take the advise of a respectiable service man and they really do have a cracked heat exchanger. I / We in the industry have to cut the gas off to the furnace and disconnect the gas line from the furnace and plug it off. Then tell the customer the problem and tell them if you want to take the responiability for trouble by running the furnace with a crack in the heat exchanger, Have at it but I will not hook it back up. By this scam thing going on makes us have to protect ourself from law suite by disconnecting the gas line and maybe loose a customer but i will still have reasoniable cost of my Contractor Liability insurance. We get the contractor Liability insurance maybe $2k a year but get hit by a cracked heat exchanger & leave it running and some one gets hurt in some way. You will be looking at about $20k a year for coverage. If you get hit twice , you can't buy coverage at all and the Lords of London will be your only choice after that.
So Al , don't have a blanket phrase on cracked heat exchangers being a scam for we catch hell in the industry when people get the ideal that a cracked heat exchanger is a scam of some kind. I remember one time a customer for 20 years when he had a cracked heat exchanger told me it was a crock of bull that heat changer cracks was nothing at all. I showed him the hole and could stick my finger through it and he still wanted to run it. He fixed it hisself with some liquid steel but had to change it out the next season because it split too far up to get to it with the liquid steel stuff. I lost him as a customer for he wanted me to do as he said on safety matters. The other service company told him when they were installing the new system that it was that the blower was blowing too hard and caused the hole to form in the fire chamber and having a hole was not a problem at all. till it would blow flames out the fire chamber ports. i guess CO in your home would not be a problem either.
this is what we are tring to point out to you.
TURTLE
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First thing you should do is immediately go out and buy a Carbon Monoxide detector if you do not have one (every home should have one no matter what).. If it is is a cracked heat exchanger you run the risk of having having carbon monoxide get into your home especially with the yellow flame you mentioned which indicates improper combustion. Definitely get a 2nd and perhaps a 3rd opinion/estimate. As for choosing contractors - you may want to look at contractors that have been around a while and maybe ask neighbors and co-workers. Then after you get 2 or 3 companies in mind contact the local BBB office and see if any of them have unresolved complaints against them and how many (even a good contractor may get complaints against them but they will work to resolve them).
Henry

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