Hi everyone - my apologies in advance for the long-ass post:
The time has come to replace the 25 year old furnace in my recently
purchased house. I'm planning on also replacing the central air while
I'm at it. While I'm not thrilled about having to put out the dough, I
am looking forward to resolving my biggest peeve with my current
system - which is that the air conditioning has trouble getting to the
upstairs of the house in the summer.
My house is tiny - about 1,200 square feet. It's a Cape Cod -
officially it's 1.5 stories, meaning that the upstairs bedrooms are
actually in the attic, so to speak.
I have 2 quotes that I'm dealing with. The first vendor wants to
install a Trane furnace (2 stage, 92% efficient - 80,000 BTUs) and a
Trane AC unit (I think it's 14 SEER). He noted that I have asbestos in
my basement, which butts up against the "main" ductwork (sorry, don't
know the correct terminology); he said that the existing ductwork was
fine and that I wouldn't need to have the asbestos removed. He said
that my cooling problem might be the result of having the wrong sized
AC unit installed; he also suggested that I raise the registers in the
upstairs bedrooms to the middle of the wall (about 3 feet up - they
are currently down around the baseboards) to help spread the air
Vendor #2 wants to install a Bryant 80% efficient 2-stage furnace
(70,000 BTUs) and a Bryant Puron Plus AC unit (13.5 seer - upgradable
to 14.5 for some extra $$$). He said that my cooling problem is
probably due mostly to improper air flow, and that I'd need to have
the asbestos removed so that he could make the return air trunk line
The Bryant guy's quote is almost exactly $1,000 less than the Trane
guy's quote, but having the asbestos removed will even that out.
Anyhow, my questions are many - I know that they're difficult to
answer without actually seeing the situation, but here they are:
- Could there be any equipment differences between the Trane and
Bryant brands that would explain the vendors' difference of opinion on
the size of the return air trunk line?
- Any opinions on Trane vs. Bryant?
- The Bryant guy wants to charge an extra $250 to install a Honeywell
T8600 programmable thermostat. I can buy that same model on the web
for $106. Is there any great skill/advantage to having the contractor
install it? For $250, I could buy the thermostat and have my handyman
buddy install it - *and*
wallpaper my bathroom after he's done.
Any other opinions, advice, etc. will be greatly appreciated. I really
would prefer to install the Trane - the warranty is better, and it's
just better looking, darnit - but the whole airflow argument concerns
me, and I don't want to put out a bunch of money for a new furnace/AC
if its performance is going to be hampered by inadequate ductwork.
Thanks much! - Ali