Hi, this is my first post so please excuse my lack of knowledge...I
have a 10-year old home with builder grade Lennox, 10 SEER. 2-ton unit
downstairs, 2.5 upstairs. Over the last 2-3 summers, the downstairs
unit has needed refrigerant and the last guy here determined the evap
coil has a leak.
The same outfit estimated some items today and as I am very new at this
I wanted to try and get some advice, and also ask if these prices are
in line. I am in the Atlanta, GA area.
1) Replace evaporator coil only with like unit, $950
2) Replace evap coil (upgrade 2 ton to 3 ton) plus replace external
unit, all taxes, materials, etc, upgrade the 2 ton outside to 2.5 ton
(I think I need this as have never been happy with the power) : $2700.
Parts will be Lennox, 11 SEER (13 SEER is about $1000 more so am
thinking this will do as it is is till an upgrade from 10).
Should I get more quotes? Or is this a pretty fair figure? The company
comes recommended from a neighbor who has been in the construction
business (but is not affiliated).
PS Had posted this to alt.hvac and was advised to try this forum.
First I would consider going up to an efficiency level that gets you
the tax credit
Secondly, another poster helped me with this site a few days ago
That's a lot of money. Will the coil be gold plated?
Assuming the furnace can handle 3 tons (and it probably can, even if it is a
Lennox), that sounds better, although that much for a 11 SEER is a little
high. Do you need 2.5 tons? If you oversize, you may not be able to remove
the humidity Atlanta is known for. Will the new cooling system be rated at
11 SEER with the existing furnace?
I'd get another quote, two would be better. Try www.benspost.org or
www.kudzu.com Both sites are fairly good.
Funny how they 'advised' you. Imagine, berating people that way in an
unmoderated usenet forum.
He says he's never been happy with the power, but he doesn't say it doesn't
cool properly. I think he's going to get less dehumidification with a bigger
unit, and (assuming the current duct sizes are correct) where are they
getting the additional needed air flow from?
OP here... by not happy I meant that cooling has been less than
expected or when compared to the upstairs unit (which *is* 2.5 ton, for
about the same sq ft up v down). For example on hot and humid days, the
setting of say 74 when 99 outside might bring it down to 77 and the
unit would keep running all day. (this is prior to the leak, when the
system was barely a year or two old). This is where I got the idea it
was underpowered, but that is just a layman's guess.
I have been receiving a couple of pieces of advice via email saying the
coil is all I really need to replace; the rest is relatively sturdy
stuff save for small stuff like relays, capacitor, fan, etc.
The furnace I believe is a 2.5 ton unit already, so yes it will handle
the upsize. Also, with upping the coil to 3 ton, shouldn't that
translate to more efficiency again?
Thanks for all responses so far. I do have a time pressure (yes, I know
what that usually means) from the guy as he says he has one or two 11
SEER units left as they are essentially phased out. But I still have
at least two months of cool/pleasant weather left before I need to
I will be calling a couple more outfits tomorrow.
You can't go by sq. ft., you have to go by heat loss/gain calculations.
Those calculations are subject to the parameters that the person doing the
calculations enters. If you have a lot of 99 degree days, then enter that
into the calculation. If you only have one or two, then entering a lower
figure will give you more comfort and energy savings under average
One of the major benefits of air conditioning is it's ability to dehumidify.
You may not want to keep your house at 74 when it's 99 degrees outside. 77
is probably perfectly acceptable if the humidity is low. After the leak was
repaired, did you FEEL comfortable on a 99 degree day? If you install a
larger unit, it may not dehumidify properly on days when it's 80 degrees
outside. I've seen people insist on installing a larger unit and not feel
comfortable on average days. The cold air satisfies the thermostat before
other rooms can get cool.
What type of furnace do you have, and what size is your duct work?
Do not be pressured into buying anything, especially if you are only buying
Case in point. Here in Atlanta, there are a lot of older homes that have
the exact same size cooling systems upstairs and down. The designer seems
to have forgotten one major point, that warm air rises. Therefore, the
upstairs will always be warmer than the downstairs, unless the system is
Not necessairly. Increasing the coil size *may* help efficiency, but not
always. Since the coil will be bigger, that will increase the surface area
and that should help with the dehumidification.
I'd be more worried about the pressure he's putting on you to buy that unit.
Thanks again to all. I have contacted a couple of other outfits and
have a vist scheduled for Monday.
Firm 2: Trane, $900 coil, $3K for 13 SEER (not certain of tonnage, will
Firm 3: Carrier, $1K coil, $2300 10 SEER, $4K 13 SEER (ouuuuch), 2.5
Firm 1: (repeated for convenience): Lennox, $950 coil, $2700 11 SEER
Wanted to ask about the extended warranty and maintenance plans. They
all seem to want the latter to honor the former. Are either of them a
good deal for the consumer?
I will do some more reading over the weekend re tonnage. It seems like
the guy coming on Monday is more 'technical' (the first guy was
dedicated sales and didn't know much at all except his prices and
expiring deals). Maybe I will get better info on Mon.
If a salesman is a former experienced technician, that's fine. If a salesman
has no hands on experience, cross that company off your list. They are
trained to tell you what they think you want to hear. My prices for Ruud are
lower than Trane or Carrier/Bryant. Call a Rheem/Ruud dealer for a free
Maintenance plans and extended warranties are insurance. Companies are
betting that it won't break down, and you're betting that it will. If a
company sells enough of them, they make money on them. Better insurance
would be to find someone with a good local reputation. It will save you a
lot of aggravation in the long run.
You can go through all the financial calculations, profit/loss, accountants,
etc., but bottom line is you have to charge what your competition is
charging for the same quality of work. Send me an email if you want to know
what a Rheem seminar said on how to do job costing.
One more estimate, from a fairly large outfit in the area:
The salesman, an ex-technician, determined that I need a 3 ton unit! He
took measurements, counted returns, etc. When requested he quoted me
for a 2.5 ton but said he would not install it as it would be 'wrong'.
Anyway, for a Trane 13 SEER, 3 ton, a job which includes replacing aprx
40 feet of copper lines: $3500.
Note that his position is very different from the first guy, who
actually spent more time selling and less measuring, etc. although
their total in-home time was about the same. First guy only talked to
2.5 tons when questioned about it.
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