A/C & Heater Replacement??

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A yellow flame means nothing more than incomplete combustion. With a 30 year furnace a cracked heat exchanger is probable but the immediate concern is not smelling gas. I'd get a carbon monoxide detector. (I have a 30 year old furnace and do not fear using it.) If you are ok with respect to CO levels I'd not be too concerned while I shopped for an intelligent and honest a/c contractor. This may take several tries though.
Boden
ishtarbgl wrote:

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Thank you so much for all the advice. I am starting to gain some knowledge that will hopefully help me here. I should qualify one thing I mentioned earlier. I didn't mean to imply that the furnace was 30 years old because the house is from my initial post. The furnace was manufactured in 1985 making it right at 19 years old. I realize this is still very old and probably on its last leg but not 30.
A previous poster asked what part of LA I am from. I live in New Orleans.
The advice about the BBB was very good. I had not even considered that.
Ultimately, I do know I need more information. It is just hard to tell in the yellow pages who is good and who isn't. I'll ask around and see if I can find a contractor that seems reliable. This is one thing I don't really want to mess around with. If I have to pay a slightly higher price then so be it. I just want the job done right since heating and ac are obviously so important to any house.
Thanks again to everyone and if you have any other input please let me know. It is appreciated.
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Don't forget the co detector in the mean time to be safe...

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I would to thank everyone for the responses. This was a good exercise for me since I learned quite a bit.
First, I asked a number of my co-workers if they knew anyone they could trust. One person came up more than once so I called and asked to see if he could come take a look. He was a little booked up but got there as soon as he could. He was extremely polite and I described to him the issues that the other person had. He agreed with some it but not all of it. He took the furnace apart and cleaned it and checked for leaks. There were none. He said the issue with the flame was probably due to some slight rust build up and this was what was burning, not the actual gas. He said once he cleaned and brushed some of it away the flames should be more blue. He spent a little over an hour taking everything apart to make sure it was as it should be. When he fired it back up I was shocked to see the flames again. They were almost completely blue. He said my wife and I had nothing to worry about as far as a health threat was concerned. He went on to say the installation was not very professional and it could be replaced if I wanted to go down that road. He showed me where we were really losing efficieny due to the poor duct work too. I will probably wait a few months and then change everything out to get ready for summer.
Anyway, he did all this and gave me all this great information for $92. I gave him a $30 tip and told him how much I appreciated everything. The beauty of working with him was that I didn't have to trust his word on everything. He took the time to show me where there were issues and were there clearly were not.
Again, thanks to all the help here. If there is one important lesson I have taken away from this experience it is that the biggest ad in the yellow pages tells you nothing. The previous company that looked at our furnace had an exceptional ad in the yellow pages. Then this guy shows up in a white van with nothing in it (hardly any tools) and without taking anything apart tells me that my wife and I (and unborn child) are in real jeopardy. Then of course the salesman shows up in a matter of an hour after this asking for big money. Then he shows up the next day with a neatly outlined itemized list of what needs to be done. Comparatively, the next individual shows up completely prepared for anything and is able to deduce and desribe the issues and non-issues. Needless to say I was impressed and this guy doesn't even advertise in the yellow pages.
Thanks again for all the help I received here. It is appreciated. I am hoping this spring to go with an American Standard or Trane...should be interesting :)
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (ishtarbgl) wrote:

Good enough to post again. Professionals let their customers advertise.
--
A professional is someone who does a good job even when they don't feel like it.
-Bill

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Please do you and your wife a favor and shop contractors. Very seriously look at this model from Carrier. It is sooooooo nice. My electric bill was cut in half, my gas bill went down last winter by 15% and the air in my home is constantly moving which eliminates cold spots and provides overall comfort.
This is what I own (58CVA or Weathermaker 8000V) http://www.residential.carrier.com/products/gas_furnaces/set_gasfurn.htm
If you have the extra money and it is appropiate for your situation I would get the http://www.residential.carrier.com/products/gas_furnaces/set_gasfurn.htm as your gas bill will go down much more.
When comparing AC condensing units I would go with a 12+ seer and buy a unit that uses R-410a refrigerant. http://www.puron.com /
As far as other brands ... Rheem, Trane, American Standard? None of them can compete with how QUIET and reliable a Carrier or Bryant variable speed furnace is. Oh yea don't let the contractors glorify the furnace and charge you too much. Keep shopping until you get the price that makes sense. Make sure they breakout the bill, labor and material. You want to see what they are charging labor for ... ALL HVAC equipment has the potential for high profit.
There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation. -- WCF http://www.utahhousevalues.com
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Darrell, You have no clue what you are talking about. You do know that you posted the same exact link above, Twice? The second furnace you are speaking of will NOT make your bill go down MUCH more. Your Carrier salesman has done quite a number on you.

Once again, you have been "snuckered" by Carrier. Given the choice, Id take the R-22 for now.

Wrong, once again, bucko. All 3 of the brands you mentioned above are just as quiet and more than your "wonderful" Carrier. By the way, You DO know that Bryant and Carrier are one in the same? No, I didnt think you did.

Yeah right. You are going to change the contractors price? Keep shopping for the cheapest contractor you can find and you will get EXACTLY what you pay for...Period! Here's another clue. The price I give you is what you will pay. I dont break it down on an install. You dont like it? Go find yourself a cheap hack. It costs what it costs buddie boy. Bubba

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Hi Bubba & CBHvac:
Bubba wrote: "You do know that you posted the same exact link above, Twice?"
Thank you for pointing that out I didnt realize the website was masking the address. The second furnace, which is even quieter than the 58CVA or Weathermaker 8000V, is the 58MVP, which uses sealed combustion.
Bubba wrote: "The second furnace you are speaking of will NOT make your bill go down MUCH more."
Uuuhm, which part wont make a big difference?
1. The two stage gas burners where the microprocessor chooses which stage to use based on the homes indoor temperature and the thermostat setting.
OR
2. The 96.6% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). Come on guys, lets not just make comments off the cuf. A little research says that any brand running at 96.6% AFUE is going to greatly increase your efficiency thereby lowering your gas bill MUCH more or put another way .. noticeably.
Bubba wrote: "Once again, you have been "snuckered" by Carrier."
Ironically I havent spoke to a carrier salesman, just a few people. A Carrier commercial engineer and a Strongly biased Heil (Tempstar) contractor who put the Carrier MVP in his home last month because he knows its the quietest furnace hes ever repaired or installed.
Bubba wrote: "Given the choice, Id take the R-22 for now."
WHY? What would you take, a condensing unit with a Scroll compressor or one without? I would think you would be like most other contractors and take a Scroll compressor; your risk of a warranty service call goes down. Go here for some interesting facts about R-410a https://www.customer-copeland-corp.com/jsp/news/news_two.jsp . If you think the only reason I would choose R410a over R22 is because of the phase out ( http://www.enblue.com/tips-and-tricks/r410avsr22.shtml ) your wrong! R410a is flat out better, Copeland as well as the contractors, who are willing to invest in the new gauges and other equipment needed to install and service R410a, think so to.
Bubba wrote: "All 3 of the brands you mentioned above are just as quiet."
Proof, where is your proof. Well, Im not willing to find decibel tests either. All I have is my own experience. I helped 7 people buy furnaces in the last 2 years. 5 of which were put in new homes. 3 of the five are Carrier variable speed furnaces. The other two are Tempstar and Trane. The builder refused my claims and forced them to buy the other brands variable speed model. Standing right in front of the Trane or Tempstar unit I have to raise my voice to speak. We can talk normal in front of the Carrier units two 58CVAs and one 58MVP and its not just me that notices, my clients to do.
Bubba wrote: "DO know that Bryant and Carrier are one in the same?"
Errrh? Of course I do, your ASSsumptions are incorrect, I simply gave two brands so people whom HATE carrier like yourself could choose another brand and get the same product.
Bubba wrote: "Yeah right. You are going to change the contractors price?"
Keeping in mind that my application was a changeout not a new install. As a matter of fact yes I did change a contractors price. I had 4 contractors come over and bid the Carrier 58CVA. I got a very high bid from a prominent contractor who makes no bones about his $3300 price. I got a very low and reasonable bid from a contractor who just started his own company and left a very large company with lots of overhead. Needless to say the independent with 7 years experience had the best price and his answer to my question Can you sell and install the 58CVA for $1900 and still make a profit? His answer, "Yes." Which was a $210 discount off his quoted price. No, he wasnt a HACK the installation was flawless and I havent had one service call!
Bubba wrote: "you will get EXACTLY what you pay for...Period!"
Uhuuum! I wonder? Would have I got something different if I had paid $3300 versus $1900? YES, I would have, $1300 less money in my retirement account. Price isnt the only thing that determines a HACK education does too. Get informed and talk shop with the contractor. Shopping with information and education will sniff out a HACK far better than price. Hacks can charge $3000 too.
Bubba wrote: "the price I give you is what you will pay."
If you get the job ...
Darrell
There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation. -- WCF http://www.utahhousevalues.com
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So does all the other makers you point out and many you didnt.

Not over a 90% unit it wont. Even over a 80% unit.

You do realize that Tempstar is Carrier now dont you?

Amen.
Actually, no we dont. See, I went and invested in all that new shit, to find out that warranty calls, across to board on ICP crap in particular, have gone sky high. This is not from lack of training, this is due to the simple fact that R410 is simply harder on the units. Again, I point out R500, also a brainchild of Carrier, that went belly up in about 6 years. Why would you purposly install a system, that has increased cost to the consumer, increased downtime to the consumer, increased headaches for the installing company, and increased cost across the board when you can stick with a proven performer? Plus, an R22 replacement that is all but identical in performance is on the market now, and things are only going to look up for it.

First, no contractor FORCES anyone to do anything. Second, Tempstar IS ICP!! ICP is CARRIER. Its real nice when you can service 5 different brand NAMES with ONE line of part, since the ONLY difference is the name on the unit. Again, I point out that a proper installation, can make all the difference in the world.

Why in hell would you do that? Thats a scumbag hacks routine. EDUCATE the consumer, and let them choose. I dont hate ICP, I love em...those shitty evap coils all fail, and someones gonna have to change them, since they only came with a 1 year warranty.. Another reason, I am not a blue oval dealer.

I make no bones about my prices either. Of course, I dropped them somewhat when we started another division on the east coast, then raised them when I found out that the price shoppers literally ended up costing me more than the ones that understood what this thing called profit is.
BTW, any HVAC guy that went solo recently, has just as much overhead percentage as the larger company, IF hes going to be around in 4, 5 or 10 years. It might even be larger. Been there, done that. Tracked the numbers...its a simple fact.
The best prices normally come from a company, or independent, thats about to go belly up or is one payment from the gutter.

Not yet...hack installs tend to fester...ask anyone thats actually in the trade. Most people, sadly, dont understand enough about the operation of the unit to figure out why the heat exchanger cracked after only 5 years of use....

They can, but dont. Cheaper prices from legitimate companies means one thing...either they dont plan on being around long, or its stolen. Work in the trade long enough, and you will figure that out.
BTW, in all fairness, while I cant see what was involved, I bet he could have installed that unit for about $850....so why didnt he?

And more often than not...we do. Now....I am not speaking for Bubba...but its real simple.... Education time:
Alot of times, in this trade, you will get a request for a estimate. You go out, you spend the 4 hours on ManJ, and D, and perhaps T, and you work it up....you give the estimate to the customer, and never hear from them again, yet, only one person took the time to run the calcs, and it was you. The low ball cheap bastard that hasnt a clue what hes doing other than figurin hes gonna be able to buy that carton of smokes and that case of beer this weekend is using YOUR calculations to install the unit and ductwork. We ALL price on different rates, and those rates are determined by how bad we really need the work. Thankfully, I havent "needed" a job in over 5 years, and as such, the pricing stays pretty constant, till we get a bad feeling about things at an estimate. Yes..we can bid ourselves right out of a job. Guess what? Who cares?
Then, on the other hand, there are times that we give stuff away. Entire furnace installs as a matter of fact. Many times we get a call, and you can tell right off, not only will the people have a hard time paying for the service call, there is no way in hell they can afford a $3600 unit installed. (that price, BTW, is for an oil unit, installed where the crawlspace actually had to be shoveled out to get TO the EXISTING unit, and 3 days time fixing the screwups that time and the original install left for us..actually, pretty cheap in some markets) Then, you get under the home, and find that big ass crack in the heat exchanger, and you know what you legally have to do...shut it off, lock it out, tell them they have no heat, explain why, call the city, call the inspections department, and start to find a way to get them heat when its 30F outside and they live in a home with almost no insulation, and drafty windows, and they are in their 70s....you just install the damn thing and tell them to have a nice day, and if they can find a way to send payments thats nice, and if they cant, thats nice too...and you go on.
Do you make a profit on cases like that? Sure you do....but not in the monetary way.
Personally, if it wasnt for the EPA, State Board, mortage company, insurance company, grocery stores, gas, cost of tools and training, I would do this for free all day long.

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BC wrote: "You do realize that Tempstar is Carrier now don't you?"
Yes I did read that Tempstar sold to International Comfort Products (ICP) or Carrier about 2 years ago. I also understood that Tempstar didn't change a thing they are operating as normal.
BC wrote: "Its real nice when you can service 5 different brand NAMES with ONE line of part,"
Now BC if you do a little research you'll find that Carrier and Tempstar do not have interchangeable parts. Tempstar and Heil are interchangeable but not the later.
BC wrote: "you can stick with a proven performer? Plus, an R22 replacement that is all but identical in performance is on the market now."
Very good! Of all the research I did, I remember hearing of a hydrocarbon replacement to fluorocarbon based refrigerants or blends of, but didn't give it much thought based on Copeland-Scroll's acceptance of R410a. You see rather than just dismissing R410a off the cuff a little information can go a long way! I really like, if true, that Europe is widely using hydrocarbon refrigerants. I respect the Europeans choices and own many things built by Europeans, like Bosch.
http://www.elgas.com.au/commercial/care.htm
BC wrote: "Why in hell would you do that? That's a scumbag hacks routine."
Not true, when you have a product you like and become an expert at installing and repairing it makes sense to limit your practice to one product. Just like a surgeon limits himself to the heart he would refer you to a brain surgeon. Bottom-line is that Trane, American Standard, Lennox and Carrier are going to run well when installed properly. All I know is that the Trane unit I stood in front of was louder than the Carrier MVP or CVA.
BC wrote: "The best prices normally come from a company, or independent, that's about to go belly up or is one payment from the gutter."
Fair statement but isn't that a risk in any business transaction? I was referred to the contractor, I spent 30 minutes with him at my home while he did, like you, some calculations and I liked him. I do business with people I like.
BC wrote: "Most people, sadly, don't understand enough about the operation of the unit to figure out why the heat exchanger cracked after only 5 years of use...."
What would cause this? I wasn't under the impression a contractor couldn't screw up a replacement to the point it would fail early. I know of several new installs that were terrible. Tell us BC what should we look out for?
BC wrote: "I bet he could have installed that unit for about $850....so why didn't he?"
I think you answered your own question with "I found out that the price shoppers literally ended up costing me more than the ones that understood what this thing called profit is." My guess is that the unit costs around $800, the rest is labor, profit and margin.
BC wrote: "you give the estimate to the customer, and never hear from them again,"
My Carrier Commercial engineer is faced with this dilemma daily. He tells me some brilliant sales questions that have increased his success ten fold. Something like "Now if your going to shop me and use my calculations, will you give me an opportunity to match the competitions price if IF it's lower." Create some doubt before they go shopping you just might get the job with a subtle close. I personally went with the person who I felt was genuine and NOT digging for gold. You see I don't know whether the $3300 price was gold digging or just his price to remain profitable.
BC wrote: "Then, on the other hand, there are times that we give stuff away."
Fantastic, but how do I know your price covers these charitable actions? I don't unless you ask me to nominate someone for your annual give away. Even If I don't nominate someone at least I know your giving back to the community and maybe that is enough for me to do business with you regardless of your price.
Finally, I think what were talking about here is granny smith apples v. red delicious apples. When the farmers takes great care in growing either the apple tastes delicious and is good for me. Likewise even though I'm biased toward Carrier I'm sure that Trane whether it's noise level is 1 decibel higher or lower, is a competent choice, IF installed correctly.
Darrell
There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation. -- WCF http://www.utahhousevalues.com
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Darrel you talk about the 96.6% MVP. Well read the spec sheet closely. it says up to 96.6. In fact of the mvp line up only one unit is 96.6%. a 38000 BTU furnace. All other MVP are 94.5 or there about. A little deceptive advertising by Carrier dont you think. They made the smallest unit, the one sold least, the most efficent. If you look at the weight of the unit you will see it weighs apx 10% more than the next largest one . Bigger more efficent exchanger. All for BS marketing to con people. Just pointing out the facts.
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Hi Mark:
Your right, I'm wrong. Your wrong, I'm right. Is that game your playing here? I looked on Trane, Lennox and Carrier website and all three of them post "Up to or +"
Trane XV90 92%+ AFUE Lennox G61V Up to 94.6% AFUE Carrier 58MVP Up to 96.6 AFUE
What's deceptive about "Up to" isn't it obvious that the AFUE can change depending on the model, application and installation?
There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation. -- WCF http://www.utahhousevalues.com
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Whats even worse, is that no one seems to understand that rating, like SEER, is achieved in a lab enviroment. Up to- translated, means that if you happen to hit upon the EXACT same situation that was duplicated in a lab, you too can have that. Otherwise, it WILL be lower.

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You said 96.6 % Carrier is great . Only one unit a 38000 Btu MVP has 96.6% the rest are lower.Lower than Armstrong to. Carrier is deceiving you . Its not a matter of who is right but that Carriers adds are deceiving. I had 2 salesman out Both said would I like the 96.6 unit I said fine but its not made in a unit larger than 38000 btu unit. And I need 75000 One guy left in embarassment when I pulled out a spec sheet . Its a sales pitch, get it. There are others out there just as good. and better in AFUE.
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Sucker..thats all I got to say..no..wait..test subject....thats another thought that comes to mind.

Wow...the same link not one time, but two...

Sure....and dont bother to tell everyone that R22 is gonna be around for a long time yet, and Puron has already been proven to perhaps NOT be the next refrigerant..:) R500 comes to mind...

Nope...not unless they are all installed correctly, and I can put in a normal York 80% that you wont ever know comes on....hows that?

So..you dont wanna pay retail? Ok..hows this:
Furnace, 100K, 95%AFUE, $1 16 SEER 48,000BTU AC, R22, $1 Lineset, FREE Knowledge to properly remove, size, duct calculate, install, and service: $7600 Total 7602$$

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CBHOtAir who thinks he knows everything and can't see that people think he's full of shit for the most part embarrassed himself once again when he wrote:

Looks about right for you.
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Hey, you're talking about a friend of mine.....
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn More about Jesus
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I would think that a 19 year old furnace in someplace like Louisiania, where presumably it doesn't get used all that much, would be OK. Now if it happens to be a rather inefficient model, 19 years old, and having problems, then maybe I'd be thinking about replacing it.
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Please keep in mind the furnace is also being used as the air handler for the AC. I'm thinking the AC may be used a fair amount in a place like Louisiana. Any chance a newer furnace could reduce the electric bill?
On 28 Nov 2003 08:12:30 -0800, scott snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Childfree Scott) wrote:

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The units with Variable speed motors are said to increase seer by 1, offer more humidity removal by operating at low speed and cut winter electric costs as well
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