need primer on a/c


Seems the cash may become available to install a/c in time for summer, but I haven't got a clue about the basics. I plan to get 3-4 quotes, but would appreciate some guidance.
Also, recommendations for/against contractors in western NY/Rochester area (I know there are a few of you here) would be appreciated (you can email me privately with that info). Anyone know enough to give a ballpark on an 1100sf/3bd 50's ranch-on-a-slab?
We were planning on doing a ridge vent and adding insulation to deal with the current ice dam situation. I assume this would assist with efficiency of the a/c as well? Do I need two different guys, or should one guy be able to handle everything?
Before a/c became financially possible, I was planning to have an electrician in to install center light/ceiling fan fixtures in each of the bedrooms, and see how we do our first summer. Would fans impact the efficiency of the a/c? (I may still want fans to help with the heat in the winter, as the heat vents are in the ceilings in most rooms, and I have been using the fan in the living room to bring the heat down and it has helped the overall comfort level in that room.)
Thanks for any info,anecdotes, websites, etc.
Karen
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What kind of heating system do you have now? Forced air? Hot water? Oil burner, electric heat? Gas heat? Makes a big difference. How old is the furnace?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Previous owners have kept all the manuals for major appliances, etc. Manual for furnace says "gas fired warm air furnace single stage" and has handwritten on it "new 2005".
K
Art wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

That stinks. They should have given them to you.

Reading over their shoulders, I guess.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You probably want to look in yellow pages for HVAC company that handles ac which is same brand as your furnace and see what it costs to add central ac. Get multiple estimates and make sure he takes size of house, number of windows, insulation into his calculation to determine size required. You want the right size unit.... nothing bigger or smaller.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Gas fired warm air furnace", now that's interesting. I've never heard of a cool air furnace, hehehe. Like my neighbor always said, there's no such thing as a hot water heater, else you wouldn't need the heater.
Anyhow, you are looking at about a 2 to 2 1/2 ton unit for 1100 sq ft. Suggestion, find a contractor who carries Carrier, call them out and have them look at your existing system. They may be able to add the air conditioning evaporator coil, which is the inside coil, and then the outside condensor coil, to your existing furnace/fan setup. If the house never had air conditioning, the duct work may not be sized the best for air conditioning but may be ok.
I mention Carrier for a few reasons:
1. I have a lot of experience using and maintaining Carrier and other A/C products 2. Carrier's new line of 'split systems', those which have separate inside fan and coil and outside coil, have variable speed fan motors and use a Thermidistat instead of a thermostat. This gives you the ability to dehumidify during the cooling season even when the temperature in the house is cool and also other good features. Other good brands have similar capabilities 3. Stick with a good brand like Carrier, Trane, Rheem
You should be able to find a contractor who can do it all but they still may sub some of it out if any new duct work is needed.
Are your ducts insulated? You will need insulated ducts because the condensation will be bad news otherwise. You will have mold everywhere if you don't insulate. With a house the age of yours and it only ever centrally heated, there may be some retrofitting of ducts and other things you don't anticipate. Just make sure to get 3 bids from 3 reputable contractors who carry name brands like mentioned above. Also, your contract with the contractor should spell out everything to be done. For instance, if they have to insulate ducts, specify minimum 1 1/2 inch thick insulation installed without compressing the insulating material, ie, you want the 1 1/2 inches. I got screwed on my new home because I trusted the contractor after talking to him and didn't spell out things like the insulation and duct size/shape. The people who did the duct insulating wrapped it with 2" insulation, which was a good thickness, but the wrapped it so tight, the insulation is only about 3/4 " thick. My ducts are in the crawl space and sweat in the summer because of this. So spell everything out.
Your evaporator, inside coil, needs to be plumbed so the condensate lines are installed per code. Typically the primary goes into your plumbing drain system and the secondary/overflow drips outside the house.
Make sure they insulate the larger suction line completely, from exit of the evaporator to inlet of the condensor and the insulation needs to be glued at seams with rubber cement. Pipes need to be adequately supported.
Make sure you get a 13 seer or greater rating unit, they do pay for themselves. Look up seer on the internet for more info.
Good luck
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dkhedmo wrote:

Well, it is time to download, print & study the HVAC Process. If you learn enough, you may be enabled to sort out the good contractors from the bad ones: <A HREF="http://www.udarrell.com/proper_cfm_btuh_duct_sizing_air_conditioning_systems.html "> - udarrell
--
WISDOM PRINCIPLED EMPOWERMENT COMMUNICATIONS -
THE REAL POLITICAL ISSUES and PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks, I'll get on that right now.
K
udarrell wrote:

HREF="http://www.udarrell.com/proper_cfm_btuh_duct_sizing_air_conditioning_systems.html ">

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes it will help. You'd probably want a roofer or handyman to do the roof as it will probably be cheaper.

It won't impact the actual efficiency, but it willk cirulate hte air and keep the temperature more even. A whole huse fan will suck in air from outside if it is cooler while hte ceiling fan just moves around hte air that is already there. Each has a puropse.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Then put that in the subject line. There is too much traffic here for anyone to read all of it. The location will catch the eye of those who live there.
would be appreciated (you can

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We're pretty close to the change over time when the old freon won't be available any more. So, please ask the guys if they are using the old R-22 or the new stuff. The old freon will be available for a lot of years, for recharging. Personally, I like the old stuff.
As the other poster mentioned, it may be possible to just add AC to your existing system. I've done that many times on a previous job. As to people to embrace, or avoid. I'd be suspicious of anyone who wants to replace both the furnace and the AC, unless the furnace is really ancient.
Incidentally, I'm in the Rochester area.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.