Carrier quote a good deal?
We have a 1925 brick bungalow farmhouse in northern Alabama. We just bought it seven months ago and have lived through a hot, humid summer and a rather mild winter now with just window AC and propane wall heaters. We are planning to put in central heat and air this spring, so I have been getting several quotes. All the variables and options and price points are making my head spin!
We've had load calculations done and everyone agrees on a 3.5 ton system for downstairs and a 2 ton upstairs. Beyond that, some say basic level heat pumps are sufficient, others go all out with upgraded systems. We have access to natural gas at the street (utility company will run the line and set the meter for about $50) and we have a 200 amp panel with four double pole breaker spaces available, so we should be able to go any way we want.
We have a small basement area under the middle of the house, leading to crawl space around the perimeter. It gets a little narrow in places, so we need sheet metal ducts for the main trunks at least, and one HVAC installer has recommended we go with all metal for the feeder lines, too, because we are in the middle of 40 acres of pasture and there are mice, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. around. Others have told us rodents won't bother the small 6" flexible lines, but one guy said they have seen them chew through them, so I'm not sure what to believe.
So far, we have several quotes for Rheem or other cheaper systems (one was Goodman, which I've heard to stay away from!), all 13 seer heat pumps for upstairs and down. These come in around $8000 for down and $5000 for up (sheet metal ducts on the main run and flexible for the rest), so it would just be a matter of picking a guy we like. But we have heard some say Rheem has been having lots of problems lately, so we did get a larger, reputable company to give us a higher end quote. He priced a Carrier dual fuel (hybrid) system 15-16 seer for downstairs ($10,000) and a standard 13 seer Carrier heat pump for upstairs ($4000), all metal ducts everywhere. That seems like a great deal, especially since they will do all the gas connections (beyond the utility company setting the meter). Any questions or concerns we should have? They have been around since 1978 and I'll be calling references, but it's very overwhelming to talk about variable speed fans, multi stage furnaces, dehumidifying, and all those things beyond the basics when I barely understand what they are talking about!
Here are the specs on the system the last guy quoted:
downstairs 3.5 ton Carrier:
Furnace - 59TP5A100E21-16
A/C unit - CNPHP4221ATA
Hybrid unit - 25HNB542A003
upstairs 2 ton Carrier:
Furnace - FB4CNF024T00
A/C unit - 25HBC324A003
We have 10 ft ceilings downstairs, single pane weighted sash windows, lath and plaster walls with no insulation, and blown-in insulation between the floors and in the knee walls upstairs with some R-13 fiberglass on a few walls up there. There is no insulation on the roof or in the rafter bays yet, but we are planning an upstairs renovation and will be adding some. The last guy thinks we will be unhappy with a heat pump for downstairs and strongly recommends we go with gas or dual fuel for both winter comfort and cost efficiency. He said the Carrier can dehumidify in all situations, not just while cooling, which he says is important in our humid climate.
Does this last guy seem like a good deal? I'm not really sure what other questions to ask of you knowledgeable forum members, but if anyone can comment on heat pump versus gas/hybrid in my climate in an old house, or on Rheem versus Carrier, or on any aspect of this large investment, please do!