My house is currently 35 years old, and it has an oil furnace with
baseboard hot water heat. I think my current heater is a Columbia
brand. I just got it serviced and it is running at about 75%
The service tech suggested that it might be time to get a new one.
Also I have a separate central air system from Trane which is also
about the same age. There is an outdoor unit and something up in the
attic too. The outdoor unit is rusting quite a bit, but it still works
The last time I had someone come out to service it, they also
suggested getting a new one soon.
These are obviously big ticket items. I'd like to replace both with
quality systems, but want to save however I can. Is there any way I
can order a good system myself, get it delivered, and then hire
someone to install to save some cash on this? Any other suggestions on
getting a good deal for these?
Any help is appreciated. I am in the Philadelphia area.
Sure, you can get a great deal by hiring the best HVAC company in your area.
Have them install a unit that's correctly sized, installed and set-up to
operate with-in the manufacture's specifications.
That' the best way you can save your money!
Otherwise, purchase a system on the web and have your favorite hack finish
the job and continue to pay out the nose for utilities.
It's your choice!
Most guys in the trade just totally hate people like you. Why? Because cheap
folks like you typically want the technician to use all his years of
experience to tell you makes, models, size, and so on. And then you go out
and try to save a buck, and expect him to use his years of experience to
If you proceed, please expect a couple things. First, don't ask your
installer for any technical details. Size, etc. Second, expect the install
to cost a heck of a lot more. Cause you'll pay a house call each time he has
to come out to the house. You'll (from lack of experience) end up not buying
a bunch of important parts. Since you're supplying the parts, you can expect
him to have to come back four or five times, as you try to track down parts.
You won't get any warranty from the installer. So, in a couple years (or
weeks) when the system breaks, you'll have to pay the guy to come out and
pull out the bad part. That is, if he's willing to diagnose what is wrong.
Diagnosis costs extra. Then you can be without heat or AC as the case may
be. For a couple days while you get the part. And then a couple days while
you schedule the install.
You can likely save a few bucks -- but it's false economy.
Christopher A. Young
(Using backup computer. In a couple
The best way to save money on a new comfort system is to get the highest
efficiency, correctly sized, equipment you can afford, with a top quality
installation, by a master contractor/tech.
You can get it done right and save a bunch of money over the years on your
utility bills, with a quite, efficient comfort system, *OR* you can take
your chances and get it done cheap.
I will say this quickly and get out fast before the locals get restless. I
also live in the Philli area and have a similar situation, house built in
77, original oil heat and AC, techs want to replace both as they are "very
inefficient and you can save much money by replacing them." Cost of
replacement for both is around $12,000. As hot as it has been this summer,
average electric bill is $200 and paid a total of $1600 for oil last year.
Year before was a little higher around $1800.
Now if I replace oil furnace and gained 30%, which is impossible as it
would place my efficiency at over 100% (cold fusion anyone?) it would save
me around $540 per year and if I replace my existing AC and gained the
projected $300/ month savings (representing a credit from Atlantic City
Electric of $100/ month...yeah thats thats gonna happen), I would show a
savings of around $1800 per year (assuming that I am running my AC for four
months during the summer).
Based on these wildly optimistic and, thus inaccurate, figures it would
take seven years to show any gain from this installation. This does not
take into account rises in oil or electicity, but also does not account for
maintainence and repair costs for the equipment, (how much is the solid
state control board on a thiry year old furnace? vs. the electronics for
the new, improved stuff?) Before you get your knickers in a twist, the
question is retorical, Ok Bubba? (the thermostate has already been belt
sanded and acidified)
So, what to do? My own approach is to wait until my present installation
dies or becomes terminal and then bite the bullet. As long as the major
stuff, heat exchanger, coils, condensing unit, remain in working shape the
payback period is too long to justify the capital outlay to replace them.
Take the 12K and invest it into something that pays a high rate of return
and then you can pay cash when it finally dies.
Just my take,
Wow, I came here humbly ignorant of anything about hvac and ended up
all kinds of names. Obviously I came to the wrong message board, and
$12,000 is a drop in the bucket to the hvac bluebloods on here. Sorry
you all and sorry for my ignorance. Thanks for your advice Doc and
everyone who kept
the personal insults to a minimum. I guess I know where not to come
for a recommendation
when I decide to get a good heater and ac through a dealer given the
pleasant and non-condescending
demeanor of these folks. I'll just go crawl back under the rock from
which I came now and resume
my miserable existence with my functional 35 year old heating and ac
systems for now.
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