Furnace/AC replacement questions--

My furnace and AC are both about 15 years old, I think they are on their last legs, so I am thinking about replacing them. AC struggles mightilly to keep up in warm weather, leaks the water that it takes out of the air. Furnace is just old, although no major problems.
I live in a 4 bedroom, 2 story colonial, I think 2000 square feet. Have 7 kids so doors are never shut. Live in Michigan, cold winters, humid summers. Don't want the kids growing up soft.. so I don't feel the need to run AC all the time, just a few weeks a summer when it is really hot and humid. Forced air/Natural gas.
Have a few questions:
* Is it wise to replace because it it old, or should I wait until a breakdown? (I happen to have cash on hand now, may or may not have cash in future when it breaks down) * Is it likely that a new unit would be more effient and start saving me significant money? (that is part of my thinking on replacing it now, instead of waiting, any validity in that avenue of thought) * I get from a few general conversations that I should avoid the super efficient models for some reason, what is the thinking there? * Any general recomendations on considerations when looking at AC? * Is there any advantage in replacing both AC and Heater together? * Any good Web sites where I can do general research before I start looking at specific brands or systems? * Any general ideas on cost, I realize they probably vary greatly, but any ballparks. * Can I save money by hauling out old furnace myself (if it will save a couple of hundred bucks, I have a saw-z-all and a couple of brothers, how tough could it be??) obviously I would have to safely vent refrigerant, which is probably freon, due to age of system.
Any Advice welcome--
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How long are you going to stay where you are?
Check this site http://198.147.238.24/ac_calc/default.asp
It will let you do some what ifs.
I would pay for the most efficient unit I could afford. (high SEER). I would contact several licensed installers and ask the questions to them, while getting quotations. It might be time to inspect and clean the old duct work and add more insulation to the attic. The installer is the most important part of the situation. An bad installer and great equipment still equals an crap result. Venting freon is against the law and is punishable if you get caught. I would ask all of the bidders for an option of them removing the freon and you and yours removing the equipment. Of course you will have an devil of an time getting rid of the compressor and A coil as they have to be certified that they contain no freon. I think it is easier to let the A/C guy deal with it.
Good luck
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On 29 Sep 2004 15:33:06 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Rotation Slim) wrote:

were talking 20-25 that'd be old.

I'd fix the ac and hang on a bit longer. \

Depends. The old one may be 80%, some of the new ones can hit 95%; look at your gas bill and see what the difference would be. Air conditioners may be better also, but if you don't run it much you won't save much.

I've heard that too. Some think they fail more. I've had one for seven years, it has never had a problem.

I'd do the whole thing at once, the old ac may not fit in a new furnace.
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We, too, live in Michigan (southeast) and faced a similar dilemma 3 years ago. Our home is a bi-level, about 1,800 square feet. It's best to replace everything at the same time. It's best to make the replacement when these appliances are still operating and you are not rushing to make a decision. We purchased a Trane furnace and A/C. These replaced a 22 year old furnace system and a 14 year old A/C system. Get at least 3 estimates......our estimates ranged from the ridiculous to the best price and warranty.
The only things we would do different is
1) NOT buy the 2 speed furnace (requires water removal hose). We don't believe the 2 speed has held up to the high efficiency hype and we don't like hearing the trickling water stream frequently run out into the sump pump. Plus, as one person later told us, there is just more parts to break down on this type of furnace. I'm just a consumer, so, I don't have a clue if that statement is true or not.
2) And, we would not get a programmable thermostat........it is a total pain.......we are so sorry we paid extra for that feature.
The best money saving features we put in was an automatic thermostat operated gas fireplace furnace in the lower level and a fan in the upper level portion of the hallway. Since we have a bi-level, this automatic fireplace furance has saved us a bundle in gas bills (we were surprised at the savings with just this one appliance!). I don't know if this savings is a result of the bi-level design or if it would work with any basement where the lower heated air can rise to the upper portion of the house. All I can say is that the gas bill savings was enormous and it cost hardly anything in electricity to run either.
Good Luck.

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