HVAC Question


Had an estimate from SEARS for a new gas furnace / central air the other night. Sales guy recommended a humidifier system and an electro- something filter system that allegedly removes all kinds of pollens and microbes that a normal replaceable cardboard filter will not . Each was around $600. Are these ad-ons gimmicks?
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How handy are you? $600 for a humidifier sounds a little high. I like my Aprilaire 600A for $200 and a few hours to install. http://www.filterace.com/detail.aspx?IDs7

I'm not familiar with the electronic ones- but Boair 5-stage seems to be what all the allergy forums were raving about. $75 for a slide in filter- I got two so I can clean one and have it drying for a couple weeks before swapping them again; http://www.riteair.com/p-13-boair-5-stage.aspx

Neither is IMO. I've had hot air heat in the great northeast for 60 years or so. I've used a Boair type filter for the past 15 yrs & think they trap *way* more than the regular throwaways.
The humidifier was an addition I put in last year-- Wow! what a difference.
Jim
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In my house the humdifier makes a big difference. The house was built in 2002 and we bought it in 2006. All the rooms have carpets. First winter in the house I was getting static shocks from everything, then I figured out the water line going to the humidifer was clogged. Once I unclogged the line, the static shocks went away. I think it probably depends on the age of the house, ours is new so its really well sealed.
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I don't believe humidity is a problem in our house. (I am the original poster). But my wife does . Our house is far from well-sealed so I don't want to spend extra money on something that will end up outside!
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You really should get more estimates. Sears does none of this work, they simply farm it out to local hvac contractors. Cal some others, give them the equipment list without the price, ask for a quote for that or comparable equipment.
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We are indeed getting other estimates.
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Right, so dont waste money heating it, its just going outside.
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Jeffy3 wrote: ...

Well, you ought to fix that leakage problem at the same time (or before) as if is really drafty that will save enough in relatively short order likely to more than pay for the work. Much of the commonest can pretty easily be done by the DIY'er at not a lot of cost.
We don't know where you're situated which makes guessing about the likelihood of whether humidifier and/or air cleaner would be useful acoutrements or not somewhat problematical.
Here, where it's cold in winter and dry to start with, the humidity control is big effect on comfort and the electrostatic air cleaner is a godsend for dust and pollen control all year 'round as well (had one since early 80s when folks redid the old farmhouse). But, again, it's a dry climate w/ much wind and hence airborne pollen/dust is a signficant factor not necessarily as prevalent elsewhere.
--
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OP here. I live a few miles from Philadelphia. House is brick outside, plaster walls inside, with NO insulation between them. And no, I cannot afford at this time to have the whole house insulated.
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OP here. I live a few miles from Philadelphia. House is brick outside, plaster walls inside, with NO insulation between them. And no, I cannot afford at this time to have the whole house insulated.
*****************************************************
So pay double the amount to heat you house instead. Insulation is the one big factor in saving $$$ over any other changes you can make. Do it in segments if you have to, just do it and you'll have more money to spend on more important things.
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Jeffy3 wrote:

Hi, I bet you flunked in your math class. Insulation is one time expense. From the energy saving you gain you can afford a/c and furnace soon. First thing first.
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Jeffy3 wrote:

Wow! then your priority one is to improve your insulation to MINIMIZE the heat loss. Yea! why heat or cool which will end up outside.
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Jeffy3 wrote:

Dunno. But for sure the SEARS estimate is probably about twice what an independent HVAC company would charge for comprable stuff.
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Sinclair749COOL had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/HVAC-Question-403736-.htm :
Jeffy3 wrote:

-------------------------------------
Anything from Sears is going to be too expensive. I would get a second opinion.
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Jeffy3 wrote:

Forced hot air sucks. Get hot water baseboard.
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On Mon, 02 Nov 2009 12:48:00 -0500, Van Chocstraw

Actually, it blows-- but I don't consider that a bad thing. I prefer a properly tuned hot air system because it responds quickly to heat calls and filters the air.
Not to mention the OP said he has central air. How do you cool with your hot water?
Jim
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If the ecectrostatic filter is not maintained it passes dirt, it also consumes more electricity, a media filter like Air Bear is better. Is your home dry in winter and you have no humidifier now and dont get static shocks then maybe a humidifier isnt necessary, but April Air is well known and has a unit that tracks outside temp to set proper humidity, Both of these units might cost less than 600 together so I bet your furnace price of off
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The humidifer is excellent, for winter. Keeps the house more comfortable. An electrostatic precipitator does get a lot of the pollen and such, that filters miss.
Call someone other than Shears. I used to work for Shears. Never made it out of training; I was too honest.
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Jeffy3 wrote:

Hi, First of all Sears are quite expensive. EAC and humidifier(Aprilaire) are both useful. Does not cost that much. I installed them myself.
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I'm not so sure how effective the electronic air filters really are. A friend bought a new house that has two gas HVAC units that both include electrostatic filters. He hadn't cleaned them in a year. We took the media out to wash them and I was very surprised at how little dirt there was on either of them. No more visible matter than would be on a cheap conventional filter like I have. His house is very clean, no pets, kids, etc, which may be a factor. I know they are working because if you bang on a duct a bit you can hear the high voltage arcing from particles that get dislodged.
Any one else have experience with how much dirt shows up on these electrostatic units?
Humidifier may be a good idea. My only concern would be that the house has no insulation in the walls. Is there a vapor barrier? If you do get one, I'd keep it set relatively low. Highly recommend Aprilaire. You can get their top of the line model for $225. Not that difficult to install. If you have the necessary skills, you can easily do it yourself. So, if you're getting some average humdifier for $600, it doesn't sound like a good deal to me.
As others have said, if you can insulate those walls, that would definitely pay for itself over time. The only issue obviously is it may not be that easy in your existing home. How about the attic? Is that well insulated?
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