New HVAC system, good deal?

chapsmeFebruary 23, 2012

I am in need of new A/C units, mine are 11 yrs old and are leaking badly at the coils. They are builder grade stuff; we have a 3 ton downstairs, 2.5 ton upstairs in approx 2800sqft home (with a vaulted family room/foyer that I hate) I live in NC.

There is a contractor in town offering a Buy One Get One Free deal. For example, buy a 96% eff Gas Furnace get a SEER 13 A/C Free.

I had them quote me a deal... two Gas Furnaces (96%) and two 3 ton (he increased the size for the upstairs) SEER 13 A/C units for approx $13k. Amana is the equipment mfg.

Two previous quotes for just two SEER 13 A/C units (same size as orig) came out in between $7500-$8000 (Trane equip.)

Now, given the other deal was a BOGO... I would have expected the quote to be closer to $8k, but it is almost $5000 higher... am I missing something here? Not factoring in labor for the free stuff? Any input would be helpful, thanks!

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sounds like the buy one get one deal - isn't such a good deal. How do you heat currently? With a heatpump or gas furnace?

Do the 2 trane units just include the outdoor units and indoor coils? or does it also include the air-hander/gas furnace?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Did you really think a contractor would give you two 3 ton condensers, coils, and line sets for free? The equipment alone is over $3500.

I would stay away from contractors who advertise these types of deals. You will be buying buidler grade stuff again, and likely to get a bad install. Keep looking for a contractor you can trust.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Do you happen to be in coastal NC? This could affect longevity due to sea air.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 3:31PM
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wow, thx for the replies... I actually live closer to the mountains, near the SC border.

Current heat is gas, builder grade 80% furnace. The trane quotes are for 2 outdoor units, coils in attic, no furnace/air handler. Part of the reason those quotes were for 13 SEER was b/c the air handler would need to be upgraded to a variable speed fan to use anything with higher SEER.

Mike_home, I am not sure I am following the logic... if that equipment is $3500 each, then my A/C only quotes have little labor cost factored in. They ran $7500-$8000 for two outdoor units/coils. The contractor is pretty trustworthy, one of the largest in the city, but they have a reputation for being costing more.

Is Trane that much better than Amana?

Thanks again for the replies!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 9:20PM
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I did a quick Google search on Amana equipment for the prices. I picked the prices of the cheapest equipment. I have no idea what local contractors in your area pay for equipment. My point is you can't expect free equipment and installation as part of a buy one get one free deal.

As for the Trane quote you would need determine which equipment was quoted. As a general rule, the installed price is 2X the price of the equipment. The installed price covers the labor costs, overhead, profit, and warranty. The Trane quote your received may be reasonable for your area. You would have to look at the details of the quote to make a fair assessment.

I have no experience with Amana or Trane equipment. However the general opinion is Trane builds a more reliable product. I have read Amana and Goodman have improved their quality for the past few years, but then again I have read bad stories on this and other forums. Personally I would spend a little more money and buy equipment which has had a good track record. This is especially true for an AC condenser/heat pump which is subject to the outdoor elements 365 days a year.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:12AM
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If this area is humid in the warm season, then a variable speed blower will be worth every penny.

If you go from 13 to 15 SEER, you should see an 8-10% further reduction in electricity usage. You can use this and your electrical rates to see how much you would save per year and how long it would take to make that money back.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 2:42PM
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hi Chaps-
I think I live where you live, and have seen those newspaper ads- I would not recommend that company. I just put in 2 Trane units the same sizes as you, and the quote was about the same.
This site was a huge help. It is ALL about the installation- it makes a tremendous difference. I also had a Manual J calc done, an inspection of all duct work, and asked for the actual model numbers on all quoted equipment. I then checked the model numbers on the internet and one company gave numbers that did not exist!
The company I choose did the Manual J, gave me the real model numbers with AHRI numbers, and a 2 year warranty on their install as well as a 10 year parts & labor warranty from the manufacturer. They provided all the paperwork for the rebates from DukePower and PNG, and registered the equipment with Trane.
good luck!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 6:32PM
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It sounds like the two for one company is adding the air handler as well as the cond and evap coil. The Trane guy is only quoting for a coil and condenser. Remember comps that do large quantity sales get kick backs from manufactures. At any rate you have to compare apples to apples. With the Amana install you are getting two air handlers worth about five grand installed plus warranties you would be foolish to spend 8 grand on new ac and not replace air handlers. Remember the golden rule "you get what you pay for". Even though the two for one is a bit high it does not sound like too bad of a deal. Keep in mind you should look into history of company.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 8:31AM
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Two problems with the Amana quote:

1. Highly efficient gas furnace at 96% AFUE connected to the lowest 13-SEER allowed by government standards. If you gonna get a highly energy efficient gas furnace, then use at least a 15 to 16 SEER a/c system. It seems like a waste to pair it with a 13-SEER condenser/coil.

2. The 13-SEER condenser is probably the builder's grade Goodman unit (Goodman owns Amana) which only costs about $800 per unit wholesale. So, you are paying $13k to get the lowest possible 13-SEER a/c system. You should be at 15 SEER minimum.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 12:03AM
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Oh, yeah. You need to provide model numbers for the condenser, coil, and gas furnace. Without the model numbers, it's hard to say what you are getting. Get the AHRI reference numbers which match the coil, condenser, and gas furnace.

Trane and Amana both carry builder's grade equipment that doesn't last as long as their mid-level models when correctly installed.

Also, for $13k I expect to get new coils, new gas furnace, new condenser, and new linesets.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 12:12AM
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