I'm in the process of getting quotes for Central Air/Heat Pump for my
26 year old center hall colonial (built in 1979)
Located in Upstate, NY (Hudson Valley)
2800 square ft, 2 stories, 4 bedrooms + 2 baths on the 2nd floor
oil fired hot water baseboard heat
150Amp electrical service presently (I have an inground pool and I run
the pump ~4hrs/day in the summer)
I've had three HVAC contractors bid and I must say... the HVAC folks do
have some strong convictions...
Items that all contractors agreed on...
performance/reliability of the system has less to do with what brand it
is than the quality of design/installation (and of course, each
contractor claimed they do the best job). The brands they quoted were
Trane, Rheem, York, Rudd, Lennox, Arcoaire
for some installations, the octopus run could save the homeowner some
$$$ and would perform as well).
unit will consume far less energy than the 3-4 window units I run
Now for the differences...
duct) was absolutely the only way to go and claimed that metal ductwork
leaks and is therefore less efficient. Further, the leaks will pull
fiberglass insulation particles from the attic and circulate it through
the house and cause a hazard. The others argued strongly that metal
ductwork, caulked, taped and insulated is the safer approach since the
ductboard itself contains fiberglass insulation and the insulation can
get loose. Further, the problem of pulling insulation from the attic
only exists where there's "negative air" and they take great care to
seal the return/intake area so no hot air from the attic is being
pulled into the system. Reading through this forum, this is subject
that is controversial to say the least...
the fact he brazed the copper joints (vs soldering) and its a more
reliable joint. The other guys kind of shrugged this one off as no big
deal since they normally run a single length of copper there's only 2
joints in the entire system (one at the compressor and one at the air
handler) the silver solder joint they normally use for residential
customers really hasn't been a problem for them. Regardless, they'll
braze the joint if I want it(since they do it for their commercial
system while the others quoted a 1 zone and said they could balance the
after a rebate from my utility. One guy tried to talk me out of the
heatpump since in the Northeast it's only be ~2 months/year we can use
the heatpump, the heat since its dry air coming from the ceiling is not
comfortable (we'd probably have the baseboard on anyway) and I don't
want the added parts+complexity. He did say he'll install it if I
wanted. The two other guys thought the heatpump would save enough
energy to be worthwhile, only one guy did say that he'll run additional
registers to a couple of the small bathrooms upstairs that he wasn't
planning on for AC only if we added a heatpump. I can believe forced
hot air coming from the ceiling may not be all that comfortable but are
heatpumps trouble prone? If its "free" (after rebate) why not install
it unless its a big headache?
the air. Wouldn't the house get cold even if it's a closed system?
recommending a 12 based on the payback period. So between 12 and 16
SEER... is there a payback period "calculator" somewhere I can use?
roof and suggested that I install a temperatured controlled fan to keep
the attic cool.
There is a BIG cost difference... Given the same AC unit, the
Ductboard, 2 zone, brazed joint guy is absolutely the most expensive,
about 1-1/2 to 2x the cost of the others. I can't believe all of that
is because of the 2 zone system. Is the ductboard more expensive?
So I'm a little confused and could use some help from some "non-biased"
Also... There are so many air filter options... I would like to keep
the dust down and maybe help with my Wife's allergy... what's the best
balance between a good filter vs cumbersome maintenance (it is
difficult to get up into my attic).
Thanks for any help!
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