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Need Advice Replacing HVACs and Furnaces

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by Thundercleese, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Thundercleese

    Thundercleese 1001 11010001 0100

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    We all know the Goodman AC units are poop that VM installed. Several people have had theirs removed and replaced with more efficient units or because the Goodman units have broken down. My question is how many have replaced their furnace and units at the same time? What was the approx. cost? We got a quote from the company that has serviced our equipment for years and it sounded high. Does anyone know if the furnaces are crap too?

    Appreciate any feedback.
  2. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    The challenge is.. to get the high efficiency of your new AC unit to actually work.. it needs a high efficiency fan and other elements. Those elements are part of your furnace. So unless you have a relatively new or high efficiency furnace, they will recommend replacing both. The advantage to this of course is.. both systems are improved and you get year round improvements not just one season. For instance, the new fan will likely have more speeds to allow for quieter operation and constant air flow.. the AC may be multi-stage to allow for more efficient operation when not as much cooling is needed, etc.

    To get the highest efficiency furnace units, you may need some duct work done as some units use a different type of exhaust flue. Will depend on your existing ductwork and the units you chose.. so don't be surprised if that comes into play.

    Things to look for when shopping
    • ensure your quote is all inclusive of the system itself AND any site work (like ductwork, outside pad, plumbing, etc). If it's not listed, ask where it's covered
    • discuss the site work needed.. where you want the unit, if it's larger/smaller/etc. Make them be specific
    • Understand the parts warranties AND labor. Some include both, some only include one. This is an area where you should ensure you are comparing apples to apples when comparing vendors and brands
    • Understand everyone has brands they carry.. some may carry few, some may carry more, but there is economics in what they chose to carry. It's not always possible to mix and match vendors and brands.. and still get the best price. You have to evaluate the offering as a bundle (vendor and gear)
    • Decide for YOU what the efficiency you want to invest in. There is always bigger and better systems.. but at a cost. Be sure you are comfortable with the unit being spec'd. Ask for the prices of the next unit up and down in the range to be clear on what your investment really is. The salesman may offer a certain unit.. but you aren't usually limited to that efficiency only. Since you are looking at AC and furnace.. both will be variables you can pick
    • Be sure when quoted prices, that you understand what discounts are applied where. If someone is counting in tax credits or other things.. you want to know that so a) you can validate it true and b) for comparison shopping

    This is a competitive market, so talk to multiple vendors to find one that sells what you want, with a vendor you are comfortable with. They want your business.. offerings are often negotiable. It doesn't hurt to ask, or after getting a competitive bid, ask your other option to see what they can do.

    The price range is hard to say because of the variables.. but I would set an expectation of 7-12k if doing both units and not trying to cheap out. Different products/etc will shake that number around.. but when we did ours 2.5 years ago I think the initial quotes were between high 6 to 10k between the main contenders for my SFH. We ended up spending in the 8's if I recall.

    We shopped MEFlow, United Air, and Climatic and ended up with Climatic. I highly recommend them. I've had several friends use them as well and be satisfied with the product and Climatic themselves.

    This thread here is older.. but you will find several homeowner stories in it
    http://www.broadlandshoa.org/hoaforum/showthread.php?t=10512
  3. Thundercleese

    Thundercleese 1001 11010001 0100

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    We are looking at American Standard - just replacing the upstairs AC and furnace and wait to do the downstairs AC & furnace since we just can't swing it. Good advice. The warranty on parts & labor for 10 yrs only comes with a system not one unit.
  4. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    American Standard is basically Trane..(AS actually owns Trane) they are built just the same says my Trane employed college buddy. American Standard is what we were evaluating against the Carrier unit. We ended up with the Carrier Infinity mainly due to combination of factors that made it a better product at a better price in our situation. I think initially the AS unit had a better warranty.. and that part of what we negotiated in our deal. But I think Carrier has since matched the 10yr P&L warranty trend... but don't quote me on that :)

    We also only replaced one pair at the time. The other unit was stable and we weren't going to throw money at it for no gain until we needed it.
  5. lauralynne

    lauralynne Member

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    Just want to say thanks Flynnibus for all the details! Our upstairs AC needs to be replaced, and we are going to get bids from Climatic, Snell (our current svc. contractor) and Dave's -- all Angie's List award winners.
  6. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    I also recommend Climatic. The message thread flynnibus posted above has a lot of good information regarding HVAC replacement considerations. Make sure when people come out to bid on the job that they thoroughly look at your entire system, the duct work, thermostat, the layout and energy efficiency of your house, and do the research and not just throw a quote at you on the spot. This isn't a one-size-fits-all situation so the bid should be customized for your circumstances.
  7. Thundercleese

    Thundercleese 1001 11010001 0100

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    we ended up with 0% financing and decided to replace the entire thing (both systems). The advantage is about $2000 in savings. We used our existing service company because they threw in some freebees and we got a systems somewhere in the middle. They are installing today. We have had to put a pound of freon in both systems over the last few years. Which tells us there are leaks in both HVACs. The one upstairs got worse because they needed to put 3 lbs in and to do a leak check which was $ on top of probably cost of a coil. The furnace in the basement has also given us trouble with igniter switch being replaced twice and control panel replacement. Basically the only piece that has not given us an issue was the upstairs furnace. It didn't help that a year into moving in when we had our systems serviced we had to have the AC swapped since VM put the 2 ton downstairs and the 3 ton upstairs. What a bunch of idiots. At this point, we want the crap out of our house and we will have no worries or repairs we have to pay for over the next 10 years hopefully plus.

    Thanks to VM, we are basically rebuilding our house piece by piece.
  8. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Just curious, is this the original system, and how old is your house?
  9. Thundercleese

    Thundercleese 1001 11010001 0100

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    8.5 years old. For the last three years every summer we have had to put a lbs of freon in each unit.
  10. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Just curious, did you try to remedy the problem through the mfgr? It's definitely a defective unit and an expensive fix.
  11. SevenZero3

    SevenZero3 New Member

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    Sharing my recent experience:

    I went with these guys: http://www.richardsac.com/

    I live in a TH that was built in 2001. For $2500 I am getting a new Carrier, model# 24ACC636, 16 SEER, 36 ton unit and a new coil a top my gas furnace.

    I decided not to replace the furnace because I spoke to the actual owner and he laid out two options for me:

    1. Replace the AC unit and coil for $2500
    2. Replace both the AC and my gas furnace for $4000

    He did a great job explaining the pros and cons of both options as well as explaining SEER ratings, tonage, and all the other AC technical jargon.
    Pro: Brand new, more efficient, newer technology should naturally save on my electricty bill. Plus I save $1500 by not having to buy a new furnace.
    Con: Not a huge con, but the new AC unit would be more efficient with a new furnace, but for me this is not a show stopper.

    I feel the price is an absolute steal considering that Micahel and Sons quoted me $4400 plus an optional $400 for a service contract just to replace the AC and coil.


    This has been my positive experience with Richards...signing off.
  12. Thundercleese

    Thundercleese 1001 11010001 0100

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    No - these units were only under a one or two year warranty if I am correct. How lame is that?
  13. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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    Has anyone also had the duct work redone while doing this? I was looking at ours as our upstairs unit is barely blowing cold air anymore. Last year the unit would get behind by 10am and would run constantly all day until around 5am till it caught up again. Looking at what the builder installed I can only imagine the flex conduit they installed is part of the problem. Not to mention the single distribution box for the entire upstairs that has no baffle to control air flow. I was thinking when we have the AC unit replaced (like everyone else we replace capacitors and coolant every year in both units) we would also have the duct work redone to get rid of most of the flex conduit and for sure that crappy distro box.

    Mostly I'm wondering what the cost was if anyone had it done. I think I saw a while back someone did but can't remember the details and a search didn't bring anything up.
  14. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    We had some issues with hot and cold areas in our house. When Climatic came to replace the heat pump (which controls the upstairs, where the problem was) they made some adjustments to the air intake and the duct work. Nothing major needed to be done but even the small adjustments they did made a big difference.

    We had estimates from a few different places but after my extensive internet research (done so I didn't get totally hosed by being completely clueless) I felt that the guy from Climatic really knew his stuff so we had them do the work.

    I hope you get it all fixed before the summer heat!
  15. Dawne

    Dawne HOAB Sec-Treas/Tech Comm

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    We're currently getting bids for a whole new system. We've had out Climatic, Nugent & Sons, Furr, and I think one or two others. They all represent the major manufacturers: Trane, Carrier, Lennox, etc. Pricewise, they're all within the same ballpark for equivalent equipment (SEER, BTUs, all those fun things). Where we're finding differences is in warranty - particularly labor coverage. Another area is installation. In our research we've found that proper installation can make all the difference. You want to be sure to use a contractor that has experienced installers - with years of experience.

    We haven't decided who to go with yet - but when we do, I'll post an update here.
  16. lauralynne

    lauralynne Member

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    Climatic just installed a new Carrier Infinity HVAC system for us a few days ago. The crew was very professional. Sonny (the company vice president who provided the estimate for the work) comes across as really knowledgeable and committed to customer service. :) I'm kind of hoping for a mini-heat wave so that I can try out the new system soon ...
  17. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    My research also showed that an HVAC system is only as good as the installation. We were very happy with Climatic. There was a problem with the installation and Sonny was very proactive about making it right. It's one thing to say your company has good customer service and cares about their customers but when a problem actually occurs, you better back it up! Climatic did and that's what counts for me.

    I hate to sound like a "fanboy" but when a company or service exceeds my expectations I like to let people know. It's kind of rare...
  18. Thundercleese

    Thundercleese 1001 11010001 0100

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    We ended up using our existing service provider, ME Flow. They did a great job because suddenly we lost all our "hot spots". Though shotty insulation can't get rid of cold spots in closet in master bedroom, I was surprised how evenly cooled our house is when we had the AC on last week.

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