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.
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.
"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
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
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
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
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.
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:
WISDOM PRINCIPLED EMPOWERMENT COMMUNICATIONS -
THE REAL POLITICAL ISSUES and PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT
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.
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.
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