Help with AC choices?

renorosaFebruary 5, 2013

We are doing an addition to our 2 story colonial in the Boston area (expensive market) that will be about 2400 square feet when completed. We are working with a reputable GC whom we trust and have a bid from his HVAC contractor (see below), who is also well rated on Angies List, etc.. Our house has never had central air before so I think most of the costs below pertain to the labor of setting up the systems and not just the AC equipment. We don't have a lot of time to obtain alternate quotes. We may be naive but we do trust our GC that his HVAC guy, though not likely to be the cheapest, will do a quality job.

We've been encouraged to consider the most expensive option if we care about humidity and efficiency. Lowering humidity has high value to us -- it's humidity that we hate and we could easily imagine keeping a warmer temperature so long as the air is dryer -- we don't like the feeling of over-airconditioned spaces.

Does this seem like a reasonable bid? What questions should I be asking?

To furnish and install one (1) York 2.5-Ton Air Handler, Model #AHR30B3XH21 and one (1) York 2.5-ton Condenser, Model #YCJD30S41S1H (13 Seer).
To furnish and install insulated sheet metal duct work with six (6) supply outlets to Second Floor and two (2) supply outlets to the First Floor.
To furnish and install one (1) Trion Air Bear Filtration System.
To furnish and install refrigeration piping from indoor coil to outdoor condenser.

That basic bid is about $13,000
1. To upgrade Air Handler to M#AVG48D3XH21and Condenser to M#YCJF030S41S1H (16.25 Seer).
this next option bumps only slightly to $13,750

2. To upgrade Air Handler to M#AVG48D3XH21and Condenser to a 2-stage Condenser, M#CZH03611C (18 Seer).

this jumps the price to $15,600.

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The addition is 2400 sq feet or the whole house with addition?

What kind of heat do you have now?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:05PM
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I going to "echo" a lot of experts here on the forum and say that you need to have a load calculation done first.

That will separate the serious, knowledgeable people from the rest. Take my word for is important. If you find yourself fighting them on doing one, then move on.

For example, if you oversize the cooling capability, then you'll increase your changes of humidity problems. On the other hand if someone picks something too low in output, then you'll be uncomfortable and have warmer areas in your home.

Once you have that, then look at what they are offering and the price. You really should have three quotes.

I can't tell you the number of times I've been "burned" by trusting someone who seems like the good guy down the street.

This post was edited by audiomixer on Tue, Feb 5, 13 at 19:49

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Agree fully with audio, especially cooling load calculation, but might add since you live in Boston, I doubt whether you will need A/C for more than 3 months.
I personally would not pay extra for a 2 stage system.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:10PM
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A 2-stage AC can be very effective for lowering humidity. I find I am comfortable with a 78 degree setting with the indoor humidity in the upper 30s to low 40s.

You don't need to spend the extra money on an 18 SEER AC in Boston. The second option is the best value in my opinion. The 2-stage proposal seems over priced. As much as I like the 2-stage feature I would have a hard time justifying the extra $1850.

Ask if options 2 and 3 can be matched with a 3 ton air handler. You may be able to save a few hundred dollars with a small loss of efficiency.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:46AM
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I would interested in both the sizing of addition and how you plan to heat it.

As far as pricing, the best thing I can say is it is quite frisky and that would be an understatement. Lots of fingers in that pie!


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:58AM
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My understanding is that the quote includes installing duct work for the AC. It is difficult to estimate the cost of that part of the installation.

Most general contractors know nothing about HVAC, so you need to really speak directly with the HVAC contractor and judge whether they are competent. I think you should get additional quotes. Don't be pressured into making a quick decision.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:38AM
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For Mike

Right or wrong, ductwork is cheap both labor and material. Installer should have no Bldg obstacles since this is an addition. Now what a dealerGC charges is a different story. And generally these ductwork jockeys are poorly paid as far as in the residential HVAC labor market. Insulation is cheap as well.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:51AM
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This may sound crazy, but the cost of the heat pump version is actually less money than the straight cooling 2 stage unit he quoted you. I thought i had a mis-print in my price book but the YZH36 (heat pump condenser)is almost $200.00 (at cost) compaired to the CZH36 (straight cooling condenser). in the south and their pricing might be a little different than mine, but it sure wouldnt hurt to get a heat pump quote as well.
Hope this helps

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:27PM
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Good suggestion by previous post...need to learn though how OP plans to heat this addition.

Waiting on a response to my question.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:34PM
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After feeling that I was being taken advantage of by high pressured sales people, on the advice of several friends I called Lowe's and a guy came out right away and gave me a free estimate and no pressure. I got a great deal on a Trane and I love it. Another thing that I love about it, is that everything is made here in the USA.

I live in the south and my home is 1850 square feet and I have a 3 1/2 ton unit and I don't believe you are going to get the best efficiency from a 2 1/2 ton unless you are installing two units. Please get at least one other estimate you home is too important to rush into a decision.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:40PM
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3 1/2 ton for 1850 sq ft?...

Wonder if load calc was performed?

Wonder what size you replaced?

If oversized, you will suffer in the South with poor dehumidification.


You should start your own thread rather than hyjacking another.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:06PM
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