Two Residential HVAC bids: Request for comments

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Re: Two Residential HVAC bids: Request for comments
Greetings,
I belong to a little brick bungalow in the midwest, built in '54, poured-concrete foundation. Existing Furnace/AC is 21 years-old, will soon roll over and die.
I have two bids for new Carrier equipment: 1.) lo-end - 10 SEER AC, single-stage furnace. 2.) mid-level - 13 SEER AC, 2-stage furnace) stuff.
Would appreciate any/all comments on -anything- having to do with the equipment, its cost, terms, etc.
Here's the guts of the lo-end bid:
PROPOSAL INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING CARRIER EQUIPMENT: 38CKC024-3 (2 TON) -10 SEER Condensing unit 58ST A070-12 (70K BTU) - 80% Gas Furnace CK5AXA024014 - Carrier Cased Evaporator Coil
DUCTWORK: New Plenum Mod. Present Drop
CONTROLS & ELECTRICAL: Connect to Existing Electric for Condensing Unit Connect to Existing Electric for Furnace
PIPING: New Copper Line Set - Length: 50' Safety Gas Shut-Off Valve at Furnace Connect to Existing Gas Line New Plastic Condensation Drain Pipe to Sewer
MISCELLANEOUS: Clean up and Haul A way All Debris o
STANDARD WARRANTIES: EXTENDED WARRANTIES: Compressor: 5yrs Parts l.yr Labor Condensing Unit: 5yrs ALL Parts lyr ALL Labor Heat Exchanger: 2yrs Parts l.yr Labor Furnace: 5yrs ALL Parts lyr ALL Labor
We hereby propose to furnish labor and materials, complete in accordance with the above specifications and details for the sum of:
$3.334.00
PAYMENT TERMS: 1/3 DUE UPON ACCEPTANCE. BALANCE DUE UPON COMPLETION
Date: 10-27-05 Date: _ THIS PROPOSAL IS VALID FOR 30 DAYS FROM OFFER DATE (REBATE VALIDITY MAY VARY) ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's the guts of the mid-level bid:
PROPOSAL INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING CARRIER EQUIPMENT: 38TXA024-3 (2 TON) - 13 SEER Condensing unit - PURON 58CTA070-12 (70K BTU) - 80% 2 Stage Gas Furnace CK5AXA024014 - Carrier Cased Evaporator Coil
DUCTWORK, CONTROLS & ELECTRICAL, PIPING, MISCELLANEOUS: (same as lo-end bid)
STANDARD WARRANTIES: EXTENDED WARRANTIES: Compressor: 10yrs Parts 5yrs Labor Condensing Unit: 5yrs ALL Parts lyr ALL Labor Heat Exchanger: 20yrs Parts lyr Labor Furnace: 5yrs ALL Parts lyr ALL Labor
We hereby propose to furnish labor and materials, complete in accordance with the above specifications and details for the sum of:
$4.684.00
Less: $300 Carrier Rebate: Validitv of rebate reauires acceptance of this contract bv November 11.2005. installation ofsvstems bv November 25. 2005. and that customer submits rebate claim to Carrier bv December 9. 2005.
(Other details same as lo-end bid) ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Much Thanks, Puddin'
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I would get the *most* efficient furnace and A/C if at all possible. (Who knows how high these energy rates will be several years from now?)
Here is a Carrier furnace with 96.6% AFUE... http://www.residential.carrier.com/res/details/0,,CLI1_DIV109_ETI8542_INT3736_MID3736,00.html
And a Carrier 18 SEER A/C... http://www.residential.carrier.com/res/details/0,3041,CLI1_DIV109_ETI8228_MID3966,00.html
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Depends upon where in the midwest. I would think a 10 SEER A/C would be fine, but would want a more efficient furnace. I'm assuming that you live someplace where you rally don't use A/C all that much.
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Well I only use my air conditioning two months out of the year and bought the most efficient unit I could find 5 years ago. Doing this has saved me quite a bit of money!
Same with all my appliances - all "Energy Star" most efficient I can buy. My electric bill was $29 last month. It was $75 a month 6 years ago. Not bad factoring in the higher cost of electricity these days...

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How much money did you spend to save money??!
There are to schools of thought on this 1. buy the most efficient appliances, furnace, AC, whatever. 2. Buy lower to mid efficiency units.
In #1 you pay a bunch up front, less in the end. #2 you pay little up from, more in the end. Either way it pretty much balances itself out. either you pay the HVAC, or appliance company, or you pay the power utility. Do the math and the numbers are so close in the end it makes little difference which way to go.
I just replaced my furnace. For most people this would have been a $3500 install in my area. About $1000 less for a slightly less efficient model, (94% Vs., 95% fully modulating burner, variable speed blower) I hope to save a couple a hundred a year on gas and electricity, so 5 years to break even. If I move out of the house in less than five years I lost money.
A 14-16 SEER AC is probably 3 times the price of a 10 SEER. In this area many people use their AC just a few days a year. Pretty crazy to go high SEER on a AC you don't use. Pay back will never be seen as buy the time you save enough money to make the difference in price, it is past time to replace the equipment.
I work for a HVAC company and buy my equipment for cost. I have a 10 SEER AC. I have thought about replacing it with a higher SEER unit, but even at cost for the equipment, and not counting my labor time to install, it won't pay off in time. If you have to pay full price and have it done you are much better to just pay the utility. Greg
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One other thing to throw in the equation is whether there are improvements you can make to reduce heating or cooling load such as more or better insulation, better windows and doors, etc. and the costs vs. savings of those.
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Steve Kraus wrote:

best investment PayBack!
Contractors ought to follow these practices: http://www.nationalcomfortinstitute.com/article.cfm?AN=Total%20System%20Efficiency
- Darrell
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SERVICING OIL FURNACES
http://www.udarrell.com/air_conditioning_contractor_heating_contractor_lancaster.html
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"Greg O" wrote in message

Well actually I have a third school of thought which is not specifically related to HVAC. It is that I will spend almost any amount to save money where I can, if it will reduce my cost of living in the future. I'm always looking for ways to save on my monthly expenses.
I basically got tired of renting and my expenses going up, up, up! So I did something about it...
Examples: I bought a house and refinanced to a lower interest rate and my mortgage payments are now about $580 a month including taxes and insurance.
Installed Energy Star windows in house.
Installed Time of Use electric meter (lower rates at night) and timers on things like water heater, freezer, etc.
I bought "Energy Star" energy saving appliances.
I just installed a woodstove for heating.
Bought a small high gas mileage car.
Etc, etc., etc.
So basically I'm saving a *lot* of money from money saving things I have done in the past. So I can use *those* savings to save additional money on something else now.
The way I look at it, I'm saving $600 a month on my mortgage payment *alone* because I made a good deal and refinanced. So that money is available to save on other things. Then I spend that on things which will reduce my expenses further. Over time I have even more savings. It kind of snowballs with time. So my cost of living is actually going down, not up!
Therefore I would have no problem paying 3x for a more efficient A/C unit because the money to pay for it would have come from somewhere else I have saved money. I eat it on some things and do quite well on others. But overall is what counts to me.
I plan to live in my house for the rest of my life, so it will be nice to reduce my cost of living as much as possible. But I'm already doing pretty good right now. And who knows what the cost of energy will be 5 years from now?
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I fully understand what you are saying, but spending 3X for an AC may be a bad choice. If the AC costs you $2000 more, but you only save $50 a year, where is the savings? If you use the AC often, southern states, you may make the difference in 5 years. Where you live plays a big part in it. Greg
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"The way I look at it, I'm saving $600 a month on my mortgage payment *alone* because I made a good deal and refinanced.
Therefore I would have no problem paying 3x for a more efficient A/C unit because the money to pay for it would have come from somewhere else I have saved money"
This is one of the dumbest things I've heard in a long time. As others have pointed out, if the more efficient unit only saves you $25 a month, and you typically only use the A/C two months a year, you may never recover the extra upfront cost of the high efficiency unit. Factor in the time value of money and it gets even worse and takes longer to break even. For example, say the high efficiency A/C cost $1000 more. IF you put that into a bond yielding 5%, you'd earn $50 in interest each year, just about offsetting the savings, plus you'd still have the $1000. Then consider the possibility that the new high cost unit could go bad after it's out of warranty, say at 10 years. Now you may wind up replacing the whole thing earlier than the expected 15-20 years, putting you further in the hole.
Paying 3X for something has to be justified on the basis of the economics of that particular item. Whether the money came from savings on something else or your paycheck is irrelevant.
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A timer on a freezer?
WH or HVAC system I can see, but on a freezer?
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Lower rates at night he claims, so just run the freezer at night!? Greg
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"HeatMan" wrote in message

Yes, with a "time of use" electric meter, electricity is cheaper from 10pm to 6am. And my freezer will stay frozen for several days without electricity. So I have it on a timer and only run it during off-peak hours.
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..

is worth less then the dollar you spend today... You do have to factor that into your equations also...
Spending 3 times more today to save a little 10 years from now may not always "save" you money ...
Bob G.
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This is Turtle.
The ideal here is to beef up the type cooling or heating equipment you use the most . You being the Mid west -- i would say go up a 93+% afue rated furnace and stay down at a 10 or 12 seer on the cooling. Here in Louisiana you would get a standard 80% AFUE furnace and a 16 seer cooling unit.
Think about what you use the most of and beef it up.
TURTLE
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Thanks for various responses. Here is some additional info.
I am strapped for $. Out of work for years.
The little house is well-insulated and relatively air-tight. It is only 1-floor (800 sq. ft.). Full basement is neither heated nor cooled.
I am in St. Louis, MO. and use AC very little. Never run it in the day. Use my whole-house fan whenever possible. Run AC mostly in the evening in Jul./Aug. when the outside temp is over 90 degrees.
Nat. gas bill in coldest months (Dec., Jan.) averaged about $75 last season. It was near to being an average winter.
Personal priorities for HVAC system are: 1.) reliability/repairability 2.) efficiency relative to cost 3.) cost
There is an obvious trade-off between up-front cost and fuel/power costs over the years. I'm still trying to sort it out ...
Super-efficient/expensive furnaces are more complex, potentially less reliable/repairable? New AC's using R-410A are a less-than-proven technology in practical terms?
I have done OK with a single-stage furnace for 20+ years. What is the advantage of a 2-stage? The claimed furnace efficiency on the 2 bids are equal (80%).
My 21-year-old Carrier mid-price AC has had a small leak for about 18 years. Is there any way to avoid such insanities when specifying/purchasing a new system?
Re energy costs: the whole industry (whole world?) is quick becoming "One Big Enron"? Or is that just what they want us to believe? Elec. costs are expected to go straight to hell: nat. gas costs soon to follow?
My personal impression of the HVAC industry is that it is, to a material extent, "Out-Of-Control". They keep adding expensive bells-and- whistles which may or may-not be cost- effective depending on usage and other considerations. It's difficult for me to take what they (DOE, HVAC industry folks) say at "face value". Potential boondoggles for the consumer are inherent?
As I've taken only 1 bid to date, I'm curious as to how the contract prices might compare to similar equipment.
Thanks, Puddin'
wrote:

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parts and labor warranty costs only $100. per unit and the coil takes the warranty of the condenser it is installed with. Of couse I only know about 14 seer or better equipment as I am in NJ where the utility companies give rebates. And for only 800 sqare feet, is the sizing correct?
www.goodmanmfg.com
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Good point! I missed it completely!! 800 square feet? Unless it heats like a screen porch 40,000 BTU for heat, and 1-1/2 tons for cooling would be plenty. The 70K and 2 ton AC is too big at a guess, twice to big if it is as tight as the OP claims. He will see more energy savings with properly sized equipment. I live in a 930 square foot rambler and I have a 60,000 BTU furnace. I would have put in a 40,000 BTU, but the smallest modulating furnace that Ruud has is a 60K. It will mod down to 24K BTU. Greg
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wrote:

It's wierd. I know Goodman/Janitrol is huge and important in the HVAC industry ...
When I look in the St. Louis yellow pages, I don't see Goodman or Janitrol. When I ask for local dealers from Goodman's site, I get all kinds of hits for dealers that carry other major brands.
It's kinda like the locals don't wanna advertise Goodman. Maybe Goodman doesn't offer ad subsidies like the others ...

Given good solid eqpt./install, it's really the second 10 years I'm worried about.

The evap. coil can be warrantied for, say, 10 years? That part sounds interesting. A leaky A-coil can be like a plague.

The new stuff is comparably rated to the old. The old furnace was OK. The old AC was a little slow to cool, but they say it's better to chug along than to cycle on/off a lot ...

I took a peek, didn't find anything save the heat exchanger warranty.
Cheers, Puddin'
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PuddinMan,
I live in Myrtle Beach, SC in a 2000 square foot house and I have a 2-ton heat pump with 4 KW strip heat to do the whole thing. Sounds like your contractor oversized the equipment, but it all depends on your insulation and windows. Ask what kind of load calculation he did. Should be Manual J, 7th or 8th edition.
Based on your utility bills, I would go with 12 to 13 SEER and 90% efficient furnace. 96% furnace will probably not pay for itself with your climate and utility rate. Same with over 13 SEER. It all depends on your situation.
That being said, I will probably replace my 17 year old heat pump within the next year with a 2 stage model rated at 18.6 SEER and 9.5 HSPF. But I am a dealer and I can afford it and it needs replaced anyway. The cost difference should pay for itself in 3-5 years. Anything over 8 years payback should usually be avoided.
Goodman/Janitrol does not hold up that well here. Generally lasts 5 years less than Lennox/Trane/Carrier/American Standard.
Getting a Variable Speed indoor blower will dehumidify better, improve efficiency, be quieter, and work better with the new high efficiency/ High restriction pleated & electrostatic air filters.
Hope this helps.
Stretch
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