Another HVAC Quote - Good or not

mentalcaseJanuary 28, 2014

So NJ has a program in place where rebates and special financing are offered if you increase your total energy savings. I had a local HVAC company come out and audit my home and the work the recommended came out to be pretty expensive. It may be spot on, but I have no clue as I�ve never had to purchase HVAC equipment since becoming a homeowner. Does this sound right?

All lennox equipment:
-SLP98 70k BTU
-XC17 2 TON
-HC10 air filter
-IComfort Tstat
-CX34-38b Evap Coil
All for nearly 11k � 1k Lennox Rebate = 10k

They also want to blow 6"more insulation into my 1200 sqft attic, air seal my basement, and a few other minor things for an additional 5k.

All in all it�s not too bad after the rebate and financing, but I just want to ensure that the company isn�t taking advantage of me and padding their profit with the incentives available.

Thanks in advance!

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tigerdunes

I am not comfortable with that quote...

Equipment OK, pricing highly frisky!

Especially the add-ons.

IMO

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 3:20PM
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cindywhitall

I nearly went crazy deciding on that program. I firmly believe my prices were jacked up, but I did get some value out of the rebate. The financing was nice too. My situation required more equipment than most to qualify. You can read my issues here http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hvac/msg0613455019230.html

Watch out its Long as I constantly questioned my own thoughts.

System works nicely, though I had humidity issues for at least a month last summer, and some install issues. Bills are lower and it's nice to have new reliable equipment. They tried to talk me into heat pump, but I'm so glad I didn't as I read posts about defrost costs, noise etc.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 4:12PM
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mentalcase

That definitely was a long post, but a worth while read. The salesman didn't even recommend a heat pump for me saying that a efficient furnace would be fine for my home. I did ask to go with the top of the line variable speed furnace as I hear they condition an extremely comfortable space and are highly efficient.

My main reason to dive into the program was the financing. The equipment in my house is nearly 20 years old and while working fine is extremely loud and I'm unsure of it's maintenance. Our bed rooms tend to get very cold which are directly above the unfinished part of our basement. I'm thinking we have a ton of air leakage in the basement which causes them to be drafty. The salesman talked me out of adding a humidifier which surprised me. I have some really sinus issues during the winter when my house get terribly dry (20% RH). He mentioned that with the sealing and insulation that should not fluctuate much.

Out of pocket I'd be paying 10k and financing it over 10 years. I'd also save monthly to help off set the cost, but I'm more inclined to go with the program for the piece of mind that I have new equipment and i'm hoping a more comfortable house.

How far off do you think the prices are and is there room for negotiation? I am waiting on quotes from other companies for the same work as well.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 6:29PM
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sktn77a

HVAC contractors invariably pad their prices if they know rebates and/or tax credits are available. Price appears steep even after rebate although I don't know what the "usual and customary" costs are in your region. Be sure to tell the other dealers up front that you are not eligible for any federal or state rebates or credits. You can claim most of them after the fact without involving the contractor. Most utility company and ALL manufacturer rebates, require "dealer participation"! Getting the picture?

This post was edited by sktn77a on Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 21:27

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:19PM
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cindywhitall

I find my house is less dry, our RH is holding in the mid 30's which I think is good for the dry air we've been having. I think last year it was high 30s.
We leave front door open for spoiled pup to look out of storm door. I bet lots of dry air sneaks in that way! At least it's lowE glass!

I have have carrier so I can't compare prices. I got their mid- hi level. 2-stage both heat and ac, but I thought multi speed and variable speed were the same, so mine is multi speed and not variable, I think variable would have been their Infinity line and they wanted another 1000 or more.

I think there can be some negotiating, but they might just offer you different packages and jimmy the price around that way. I got so turned around trying to compare after a while. I had toooo much info and that's why I lost sight of the VS and ended up with multi, so be careful. Plus I was trying to stay under a price. You can try to use the quotes against each other, like buying a car.

My saga ran into the fall, so I used buying in the slow season and was able to get them down. You might try that if you can wait for April, but watch the rebate dates.

I paid $12k total out of pocket, but got a tankless water heater in the deal too. Love it. Sitting here now in my full steamy garden tub and when son comes home in a minute there will still be loads of water for him. Since my old furnace was 90%, I needed a high high eff water heater to qualify for top rebate.

They also told me that with air sealing they have to install direct vent water heater ( or tankless which also direct vent) for safety reasons (CO2) because the regular kind need air to draft correctly and if house is tight it might not draft well. Don't know if that was BS, but I did see it to be the case on some websites. Is your water heater direct (power) vent?

Payment is $83. We have savings, but not sure if they really are $83 month!

My house is 2850 sq ft. The jan gas bill was $199, not counting the annual credit that is on jan bill for some reason. Old heater was 126k btu at 90% and new is 100k at 96%. How does yours compare?

I liked the financing too, and figured even if dealer "stole" the rebates by up-pricing, the 0% alone was a deal.....is it still 10 years at zero? We also jumped as we saw many neighbors with broken down ac. (Same age and model)

Sorry if tmi. I get that way, never shut up!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:36PM
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cindywhitall

Quick thing....if your price doesn't include 10 year parts and labor you might want to ask for that at no additional cost as a negotiation. With all the technology I these things I am glad to have it, especially since I am paying for ten years!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 10:11PM
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mentalcase

TMI is appreciated. I have a tendency to over think and over research so I can understand.

I have a much smaller house (1300 sqft) but we do have a half finished basement and heat/cool that as well. The salesman mentioned that we might need a new water heater, but after running a few tests felt we'd be fine. Which BTW I do not want to change. I just had a bradford and white put in when we bought the place 2 years ago. My house is so terribly insulated that we got most of the improvement from that and the furnace.

My gas bills are not terrible. During the dead of winter we are around 140-150, but my house fluctuates a bunch so I'm more interested in improving that vs efficiency.

The financing is still 10yrs 0% and I think I'm going to wait for a 2 more bids to come through and then decide. With the rebates I sone really have to overthink this one.

Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 10:29PM
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mike_home

The prices I have seen quoted under the NJ Clean Energy program are very inflated. You will never recover the $5K invested in the insulation and sealing.

Get a quote for the HVAC system by someone who is not involved in the program. If you want to improve your insulation get a quote form an insulation company.

You don't have to do both at the same time if you don't have the funds. If you need to finance look into a home equity loan. The rates are low and the interest is a tax deduction.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:47PM
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cindywhitall

Excellent point mike, I didn't really pay attention to the 5k for just the insulating and sealing. Way overpriced. I know you probably remember my issues with the program (you were reasonable and helpful,with your replies, thanks btw).

That part is where the poster can negotiate and certainly get other ITEMIZED quotes.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:44AM
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JJMizzy

I recently had to make the same decision. My house qalified for the rebates. $5,000 from the NJ and a $10,000 loan at 0% from the gas company. It was no suprise that the quote I recieved was $15,000. So they got my $5000 rebate and I had a $10,000 loan at 0% payable over 10 years. I was told this is a great deal because there is no out of pocket expense to me upfront. What I would get for this is, Hight efficiency AC/Furnace with variable speed blower and a high efficiency water heater. In addition air seal attic (seal up all openings in ceiling arund light fixtures, batroom fans etc, and blow in additional insulation. For now I turned this down. In my eyes the the Ac/Furnace and water heater are worth 9,000-10,000. That means they are getting at least $5,000 to seal and add insulation. Seems real high. If they would do the job for $11,000 - $13,000 Then I could borrow less or get some of that rebate in my pocket I would coinsider it. I think companies are able to over charge for this service since there is no upfront cost to the homeowner. I plan on getting some estimates for added insulation to see if I am correct.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 7:41AM
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mentalcase

They are definitely padding their quotes due to the rebates, but in the end it would cost me the same. I received a few quotes today for just the equipment side of things and they were all around what I was paying minus the air sealing and insulating. I am going for the best furnace Lennox offers and a fairly decent compressor.

In the end I decided to go for it after negotiating a few little things here and there. I'm sure I won't recoup that 5k in insulating and air sealing, but at least I'm going to have new, top of the line equipment with no huge out of pocket expense. I'll take the piece of mind.

There is no doubt in my mind that my house needs insulation and the equipment is getting up there in age. Doing this out of pocket would nearly pillage my savings and put me in a rough spot should an emergency occur.

Now I'm just bummed about giving up my Nest. Oh well I guess.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 12:04AM
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chuckfh

Worried the air conditioning contractors padding pocket? What about homeowners padding their pockets with tax payers money? Same coin different sides.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:12AM
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mike_home

You are both right. As a NJ tax payer I am not happy how this program is set up. There have been several posters who have described the systems offered by the contractors. In my opinion they were both over priced and not the best in terms of energy efficiency. The state official who created the rebate rules needs to learn some fundamentals about HVAC.

Thanks for letting me vent. :)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:01AM
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