Advice on new or used central air heat pump for home

Looking at replacing our 15 yr old 3 ton Trane (10 seer) with a new 3 1/2 ton 14 seer American Standard or Trane with a variable speed air handler. Reasons are mainly to save energy both cooling and heating costs. Our current heat is (3) 5k strips. We live in the southeast so a heat pump would be the best way to go. So far quotes are $4K to $4,500. I am seeing deals on 3 yr old and newer units on Ebay and Craigslists for $800 and less. I have been quoted by one source an installation charge of $1000 - labor only if I provide the system. Anyone have experience doing this? Perhaps we could buy an aftermarket warranty? Things are pretty tight budget wise - thanks, Bill
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Bill wrote:

justify replacing a system on the basis of energy savings alone.
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Why are you going larger? If not needed, it may cost you more to operate and not work as well if it is oversized. If it was undersized to start, different story. More is not better with AC.
Do some number crunching. It can take a long time to recover $4000 in costs. If you are spending $2400 a year and save 10%, it will take 16 years to break even and at that point, it may be worn out.
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Save money till you can afford to purchase a new system.
Why purchase soemthing YOU THINK works, only to get a POS? Then it will have no warranty!
Most companies that WILL install your equipment, are not the ones I'd want to install/service my equipment!
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Besides other things, you have to consider in the cost of purchase the money you could earn on the price. If you pay even only 2000 dollars, in a simple savings account that would earn 100 to 150 dollars a year depending on what happens to interest rates. If it's in blue-chip stocks, you might earn twice that, minus commissions. I don't know what CDs pay these days.
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wrote:

I think I over stated this one. I picked blue-chip because they are safe. Find out what they pay and figure you might be earning that, plus appreciation.

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Dear Bill, You are making all the classic home owner mistakes.
1) You really don't know what size equipment is needed for your home. You're just guessing. 2) You think you know what kind of equipment you need, but aren't sure. 3) You're going to be a total PIA customer, by providing the equipment and then wanting a super discount price from the installer.
Here's what happens: 1) You get the wrong sized equipment. I've been around enough home owners to know how this works. 2) You likely will get some type of equipment that's not suited to your purpose. 3) Since you don't pay enough for the install, you'll get the quickest and crappiest install you ever saw in your life.
My crystal ball says you're destined for 20 years of crappy service from the system, and you'll pay twice as much because of all the return calls and service calls. People like you seem to thrive on being in control, and saving money. You're in for some serious problems.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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My crystal ball says his system won't last that long. LOL
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