Don't know where else to turn... We're looking into replacing the
burnt-out whole-house ac unit and have been getting several quotes. The
frustrating part is that some installers are downright hostile to even
giving quotes for the higher efficiency models (even the level needed to
get the tax credit); they just say "oh, that's not worth the money".
A couple have given use quotes going from SEER 13 to 14 at about
$1000 (Sears, oddly, is only $130 from 13 to 14 but $1000 for going to
15). The Trane rep said that 13 to 14 was $1000 but Trane needs SEER 15
to qualify for the tax credit.
I've emailed some of the manufacturers directly trying to get msrp on
the various units because the installers seem so uniformly against
quoting anything higher, but I haven't gotten any responses from then
Anyone have any idea what the msrp differences should be as you go up
the SEER scale? And what is this bit the Trane rep is saying about
Trane needing SEER 15 to qualify instead of 14?
I'd keep trying, I keep hearing how difficult and expensive it is and
my experience was the opposite. 2 years ago, I had the local carrier
dealer in and he set me up with 18seer , and a 96% efficient gas
furnace, Infinity series, 4 ton each, + 5 ton coil, top-shelf
thermostat and Autumn Air filter, turn key for ~ $5400. That included
tearing out my old one, but not removing it from the property, I got ~
$30 scrapping it at the recycle yard after taking it apart and
separating the metals, I kept the squirrel cage fan. My ducts were up
to par so I didn't need anything outside the furnace closet (except the
outdoor unit of course) They did run a duct to the master bath which
was really needed.
Sounds like I'd love to live where you guys are :) The Trane guy said
$10,000 for a 13 SEER (ductwork already in place). The Sears (Carrier)
guy said $7350 for a 13 SEER, $7480 for a 14, $8350 for a 15. The Rheem
guy said $5500 for a 13, $6900 for a 14 - and he wouldn't quote anything
Don,t know where you live but I paid 1800.00 installed for 13 seer
which is what we require in Manitoba Canada. Got a Keeprite am really
pleased with it as we have had a heat wave here
Mark Modrall wrote:
Well, that makes de-selecting them as a vendor/installer you want to
deal with easy!
I don't think there really is such a thing as an MSRP--installers are
locally owned businesses and deal with their own overhead structure
based on their own situation and what their supplier costs are. I'm
sure you'll have absolutely no luck in getting any manufacturer to give
you actual cost information.
Look at the DOE site on the tax breaks, not all Energy Star rated units
are eligible for the tax break and just because a unit is rated at SEER
14 alone doesn't mean it will qualify, either, from one of the other
vendors. This guy, at least, was being straight up about that. The
others may not have lied about whether their units were/weren't, but
they surely may have left you w/ an impression that might not be so.
The reason for the quoting lack of inclination is that when one looks
at the differential cost for a unit that does comply/qualify, one will
find that it will be significantly more expensive (the $1000 is
probably on the low end and I'd check that one out throughly before
relying on it being so) and they simply know from experience that darn
few they go to the bother of quoting will actually go that route.
The DOE site also has a list of qualifying units so you can
double-check. You could then ask representatives from the various
manufacturers for a specific unit that might help.
I don't recall the exact amounts, but ISTR that when I looked some time
ago it seemed that the actual credit was pretty miniscule. This was
some time ago when we were thinking we were going to start in on the
remodel shortly which for various reasons got delayed so it's been long
enough ago I don't recall the actual figures/formula. I just remember
thinking it wasn't going to be enough to really affect the decision.
W/O actually looking up the data on the credit again, I'm guessing that
most folks look at the incremental cost, compare it to the credit and
see it just isn't that much of a gain over a good-quality,
high-efficiency unit but that isn't actually quite up to the
requirements of the credit.
That isn't written to reflect what I was trying to say very well--I was
trying to get at I think for many installers they just have had the
experience that potential customers look at the differential to what
actually qualifies for the credit and almost universally turn it down
so they think they're wasting their time in giving out yet another
quote that won't be accepted, anyway.
Also, you don't say where you're located, but if you're in an area that
is particularly hot right now, all installers are undoubtedly totally
swamped (so to speak) and it's a sellers' market. In that case, you
are probably also simply experiencing the effects of work overload.
They _should_ continue to treat every potential customer like it was
the only one they'll ever see for a month, but in August in St Louis
(to pick a location at random), there are simply not enough hours in a
day for any even semi-competent shop to keep up so they're going to do
as much as possible to shorten the time taken per call, even if it is
just the sales guy.
We're located in Massachusetts. We've gotten quotes from Sears in NH
and 3 from local guys... It's been really frustrating; the only guy
who even knows what SEER stands for or seems to have any idea what
systems qualify for the tax credit is the one who bid $12K (about $5k
more than anybody else). He's the Trane guy.
I've been poking around the IRS, DOE, energystar sites. None of them
will explicitly say what systems qualify. They point you to
ceehvacdirectory.org which is supposed to be a search engine for the
tax rebate but it's just about the crappiest site I've ever seen. If
you search by vendor, it says "11834 results, showing 1-10" but you
can't page through. If I enter the model numbers I got from the bids,
it says there are no results.
Rheem's website is nice because they post which models are eligible and
the accreditation form. But our Rheem rep, while the cheapest, is the
most incompetent and now looks dishonest to boot.
I'd go w/ dealer over price as the _primary_ criterion, certainly, as a
selector. You can earn more money but you may be stuck w/ a lousy
vendor/supplier. I'm fortunate to have a local fellow we've known
"since forever" and I just call him...when he's ready (as in 'good 'n
ready') he'll show up and do what he thinks needs done. When he's
done, I'll start hasseling him to send an invoice (which he never will)
so I'll have to guess what he spent on hardware and time and send him a
check. Six months or so later I'll call his wife and ask here to find
the check and deposit it...
Anyway, I hadn't looked at the ceehvac site since that last search--it
appears that it hasn't been updated since then, unfortunately. It
doesn't have a scroll arrow/bar, that's true, but there is a "Next
Page" button at the bottom of the page and you can download the entire
search results to a csv file and search it more easily locally.
Unfortunately, the fact it doesn't appear to be being update limits its
usefulness--I wasn't aware of that problem.
I did see look quickly for the tax credit info--seems like the maximum
credit for central A/C is $300 which is something, but not humongeous.
I remember thinking (and still do) that it really didn't seem like a
_major_ incentive. As I see it the rule for the full credit (and I
don't know whether there's any partial credit allowance or what--I
didn't really research the rule, just looked at a summary DOE poop
Central AC --EER 12.5/SEER 15 split Systems -- $300
EER 12/SEER 14 package systems
which would imply the Trane guy wasn't wrong and possibly the others
either were trying to blow smoke or (more likely) really just don't
know the rule. Iirc, anything over 13.5(?) qualifies as "Energy Star"
so the differential between those systems and the SEER 15 can be
pricey, so I think my previous "guess-work analysis" is probably not
too far off the mark. Most folks aren't going to spend the $1-2 k
additional to save $300 when they're laying out several thousand and
the kids need braces and they're hocked to both paychecks already... :)
I do think the vendors have to supply a certification statement that
the unit meets the requirements and I thought there was a requirement
from DOE/IRS on what units were acceptable. Did you poke around the
IRS site by any chance or look for the specific bid models on those
vendors' sites? I agree, however, finding that information shouldn't
be that hard. (I didn't ask my guy that question--he probably doesn't
know, either, though :) )
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