New Addition/New American Standard HVAC help

BCARFebruary 8, 2011

I am in Chicago and am adding a 2 story 1000 sq ft addition. The HVAC segment of my bid includes either a 95 AFUE (gold?) American Standard two stage and 15 SEER AC unit for $7900 plus $4k for additional duct work. The other option is the 95 AFUE modulating unit (platinum?) and 16 SEER AC for $8900 plus $4k ductwork. Is the AC unit overkill since I have variable or modulating on my furnace? Should a heat pump take the place of the ac unit?

Does these seem like reasonable bids?


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I"m a big fan of heatpumps. Heatpumps shouldn't cost alot more than the straight A/C and also give the ability to heat. This can really come in handy if natural gas spikes again. Even if it doesn't heatpump is usually very competitive in price when milder out (30 and above). Ofcourse this all depends on what you pay for electric.

If you currently have gas at the house, you should get a gas furnace, and I would upgrade from A/C to a heatpump if the cost isn't much extra.

I would go with the highest efficiency single stage condensor for your A/C or heatpump. Anything else is overkill. I think 2-stage furnace is plenty. Modulating is nice but not necessary. Get a nice thermostate to control it all. A nice thermostat will allow you to run in 1st stage most of the time on the gas furnace.

If you choose to get a gas furnace with your heatpump you may want to go with honeywell focus-pro wireless kit to control it all. This does a nice job.

By the way, the prices don't seem cheap but thats possible thats how it is. You may want to get some more estimates.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 7:46AM
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"Is the AC unit overkill since I have variable or modulating on my furnace?"
I have no idea what above statement means.

several questions.

what are the mdl numbers being quoted? you do not list sizes that are quoted.

what is your electric rate? As far as HP depends in large measure your electric rate vs nat gas rate.

where will furnace be located?

If you will list the mdl numbers, I will comment on the pricing. Many dealers use ductwork install as a large profit center. Apparently, you have one one of those dealers. Am Standard HVAC is good equipment.

post back.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 7:48AM
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In a mild climate like Chicago and 1000 sq ft of new construction which hopefully is well done, payback on anything over a base A/C is NOT there. You are spending $1000 to save peanuts each year.

How is size determined? If this addition is well built, heating needs are very minimal. The smallest 95% variable speed is 60k and that's likely way oversized. You could hook up only low fire and heat the place. Personally I'd switch to a brand with a comparable furnace that is much smaller. Probably need only 40,000 BTU input, 50K tops. Oversized is not efficient and on high, could be rather noisy in a small space.

Small A/C with minimal heat gain of a small space means low cost of operation so savings going to high SEER is minimal. Why spend $1000 to save $20-30 a year tops which is likely all you'll save.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 8:34PM
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Sorry so late in responding... The proposed units are 5 ton American Standard 95% AFUE model AUH2C100A9V4 AC is 15 SEER AS model 4A7A5048E1000A
price is $7900 plus $4k for duct work.

Second option is AS 95% AFUE model ADHMC100ACV4VA and AC unit 16 SEER model 4A7A6048C1000A also 5 ton. price $8900 plus $4k ductwork.

Let me know what you think. Thank you for your responses.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 6:21PM
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Sure hope that if for 1 big furnace for the whole house, not just the addition!

Any kind of zoning?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:59PM
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Just want to point out that the A/C model number you provided is a 4 ton unit, not a 5 ton unit. The furnace is a 100k 4 ton model as well.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:12PM
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if you are going with one large system, that would mean ductwork modifications and certainly zoning controls would be a must or else you will have major disappointment in comfort.

I personally think a separate properly sized system for the addition is a better choice.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 9:14AM
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Old part of house is 1700 sq ft. New will be 1000. So, two smaller furnaces, two smaller a/c units would be best, then zone controlled through a smart type of thermostat? Can they basically be two separate systems controlled individually?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 2:50PM
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This is the first time I've heard anyone refer to the climate in Chicago as 'mild'.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 10:16PM
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ok, after doing a bit of research I think I am in position to describe what I would like from my HVAC system with my addition...I don't need two separate systems, but one furnace, one a/c or heat pump and with proper ductwork I will be able to have a two zone (upstairs and down) system controlled separately through two thermostats, one on each level. Any way to control this through my iphone?
Thank you all for your responses. I truly appreciate them.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 12:08AM
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the general conscensus is that you get better control and ccomfort with two systems over one system that uses zoning controls for a large living space with just one system.

you need to take that into consideration, your overall satisfaction with existing system, and the ductwork modifications required to go to one system with zoning controls. you may be required to give up some living space as well with one system.

then there is the qualifying process of finding a capable HVAC dealer to do the job. look for experience and references that you can call and perhaps visit.

as far as remote access and iPhone usgae, this is rapidly changing everyday and you need to rely on dealer for advice on this subject.

I know Trane and Carrier have remote access capability. I do think that Carrier along with sister company Bryant offer the best integrated system for residential zoning on the market. And certainly I would be very careful in selecting a third party control/stat just to get remote iPhone access/capability.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 10:50AM
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Thanks for all of your responses!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 8:03PM
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