plz help - Bryant Evolution heat pump price quote

cas66ragtopFebruary 28, 2011

Hello, I just got a price quote from a local vendor for a Bryant heat pump installation. I was hoping someone could look at what I have here, and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I live in Martinsburg, WV 25403. I have a 1-story, 2600 s.f. brick house. All ceilings are 9 feet high, I have a living room and dining room with 12 foot ceilings and a family room with a 16 foot ceiling. I currently have a 3.5 ton A/C (only) unit attached to all duct work. For heating I have an oil-fired water boiler. The coils for the heated water are within the duct work, for the heating of the house. I am sick of burning oil, all the noise and odors associated with it, and spending an average of $375 every 6 weeks, plus I still burn oil in the spring and summer just to have hot water. Seems like a very outdated system, even though it is supposedly only 18 yrs old.

I got 3 quotes. The best quote I got was as follows:

1 Bryant FE4ANF005 Puron Variable speed air handler

1 Bryant 286BNA048 Puron 2 speed heat pump, 4 ton/16 seer

1 Bryant Evolution thermostat control

1 15kw heat kit

They will modify the existing ductwork to allow room for the installation of the new heating/cooling gizmos associated with the neww heat pump and air handler. They will leave the existing Aprilaire humidifier alone.

Total price is $7,405 - original price was $7,745, but I negotiated, and a $340 discount was "the very best" they said they could do.

This package comes with a 2 year parts & labor warranty, and if I wanted a 10 year parts & labor warranty, that will cost $765 extra. Is this 10 yr extra warranty worth paying for?

I have to hire a plumber to install an electric water heater, and I also have to hire an electrician to provide power to the water heater and to provide power for the heat pump. I was told I need additional breakers and new wires ran for the new heat pump/air handler even though there will be a vacated breaker the existing AC unit is on and the existing breaker the oil furnace is on. This is all money I need to spend in addition to the quote from the HVAC vendor. Uggggghhhhh! I did have a quote from another vendor where they were going to do all of this, but their quote was $2000 more than the best quote, and rather than using the Evolution model, they were giving me the Preferred Series model, so I figured they were really gouging me.

I have seen the very same system on Ebay for $5800 installed. I don't know how much I would trust the Ebay model, it was just interesting to see the huge price difference. For all I know it could be counterfeit, or maybe its a unit that got returned and is "reconditioned" (even though the listing says its brand new). The other goofy thing about the Ebay model was that it only had a 1 yr warranty, when I know bryant has a 10 yr warranty. I feel safer having a local company do this. But then again, it makes me wonder how much gouging is being done by the local vendor.

Another question: Everybody knows the economy stinks. My guess is there are not too many people spending big money on HVAC systems nowadays. Meaning, HVAC companies are starving for business and willing to drastically cut prices just to beat their competition out of a job. Any truth to this? I work in land surveying, and this is exactly what is happening to us. We have competitors bidding jobs so low they arent making a dime of profit, they are just landing a job to keep the employees busy and thats it. How does this economy play into getting a decent price for a decent system?

One last question: I live in a pretty nice house in one of the more upscale neighborhoods. Does this mean I am more likely to be a victim of price gouging? I mean if I had an identical house located in a poorer neighborhood, is the price still the same? I have always assumed they think I have more funds available (not the case) so therefore they are going to charge me more.

OK I am done. thank you for reading my book. Please offer any suggestions. I look forward to hearing any helpful advice. thank you

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the pricing seems reasonable for a four ton system.

you are satisfied that the 4 ton is correct size?

how did the 3 1/2 ton AC handle your home's cooling needs?

I am not a proponent of purchasing HVAC over the internet. too many unknowns if there is a problem.

you get a 10 yr warranty on this system for parts, condenser, compressor air handler, etc. The ext warranty would add 10 yr labor. you would need to value its worth.

how is your home's insulation properties?

normally, the outside condenser, air handler, and backup heat strips are placed on separate circuits in your breaker box. you would want an outside disconnect at the condenser. for good dealers, that is SOP. also, you will need a new and correctly sized refrigerant lineset. that has been included?

15KW heat strip yields about 51 KBTUs. I would want these staged. ask dealer about this.

I would prefer the 006 air handler for the better heating efficiency. here are the numbers from AHRI.

3749069 Active Systems EVOLUTION 16 PURON HP BRYANT HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS 286BNA048****A FE4ANB006+UI 48000 12.90 16.50 48000 9.50 29800

just to be clear, you have an oil boiler or oil furnace?

I do recommend a good whole house air filter media cabinet. Dealer has inspected ductwork system as far as size,design, supplies/adequate returns, insulation qualities,etc?


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 8:42AM
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pricing for the heatpump isn't terrible. Its nice equipment. 2 stage condensorm variable speed blower. - etc.
Can't you have this contractor do the additional electric work for a good price? They don't sound too terrible.

How good are your windows? What type of insulation do you have in walls and attic? 9ft celings everywhere and some rooms with 12ft and 16ft is alot of space with 2600 sq. feet.

4 tons could be too small. I would prefer 5-ton 2 stage. You could run most the time at low stage. Its possible your ductwork won't support more than 3.5/4 ton though.

I wouldn't think you would need new electric to go outside to your new heatpump condensor. Its very possible you would need new electric to the air-handler to power the heat-strip. Regarding the electric and the hotwater tank you might want to consider a heatpump hot water tank to save on your electric consumption.

What do you pay for electric?

You could try calling some contractors and asking for some phone estimates. If they can't give you a rough idea over the phone tell them sorry. There is contractors that want business and are competitive. You need to find them when they are slow. Maybe they are still busy because of the winter season.

btw- how does the current A/C work on hot days? is your ductowork noisy?

I think the 2-year warranty is good. Hopefully any problems with the equipment install would be uncovered in 2 years.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 12:46PM
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The most important thing you need to have done is a Manual J load calculation. The contractor does this to estimate the heating and cooling requirements of your house. Many contractors will not do this and try to estimate the requirements. They tend to oversize the equipment. Bigger is not better when it comes to HVAC. If the 3.5 ton AC did a could job, then this is an indication of the size you need. Two stage condensers are only available in whole ton increments. This makes sizing more important.

It is hard to judge the price without knowing all the details. Personally I would like the HVAC contractor to take care of all the electrical work, even he has to sub it out to a licensed electrician. It is best to deal with one contractor if there is a problem.

Carrier and Bryant make the same equipment with different labels. The Carrier rebates started today. I assume Bryant has similar rebates. This may be an opportunity to save some money. There is also a small tax credit available for 2011. It is not as lucrative as last year.

In my opinion the 10 year labor warranty is a good investment if you plan to be in the house for 10 years.

Look into some more quotes. March and April is a good time to interview contractors since there business tends to slow down.

I am not an expert on heat pumps, however I have watched Tigerdunes give good advice on this topic.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 5:14PM
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Thank you everyone for responding. I will ask about the other air handler that Tiger suggested. Hopefully this will be a better choice and may even work to save me a little.

Nobody ever did a load test, they just looked at the existing 3.5 ton unit (which has done a good job) and assumed the duct work was properly sized. The house has been insulated pretty well, quality aderson windows, about 20 inches of blown insulation in the attic, but there is a door that I feel cold air coming through that I have been too lazy to fix.

I do plan on staying in this house probably for the rest of my life (unless I hit the lottery), so I guess the extra 10 yr warranty would be smart. I just figured if this equipment had a good track record and hardly ever needed service in the first 10 years, it would be a waste. But $765 spread out over ten years is cheap.

OK guys thanks again for all your help. I have never done something like this before, and this isnt exactly chump change. It makes me feel better knowing that a few experts who have nothing to gain is telling me this is a good system for a good price. I still might let the vendor sweat a few more days until I call again, maybe he will get nervous drop the price some more. Yeah right - I may have more of a shot at the lottery!

Thanks again

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 7:52PM
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The Bryant HP system quoted is top of line premium HVAC. The only thing wrong with it is not having electronic demand defrost.

these are my minimum specs for a new HP system. both outside and inside units should be replaced to have a properly matched system.

15 SEER, 12.5+ EER, 9 HSPF
best matching VS air handler
full BTUs in both cooling and heating for your rated size
R-410a refrigerant(same as Puron)
scroll compressor preferred
electronic demand defrost preferred
thermostat with "dehumidify on demand" feature
staged backup heat strips
new and correctly sized refrigerant lineset

you want a thorough inspection of your ductwork system. size, overall condition, supply and return lines, insulation qualities, leak test, etc.

any hot/cold spot issues in your home should be addressed.

I would only use authorized dealers for the various brands that provide quotes. see mfg websites.

I would look at Trane/AmStd,Rheem/Rudd,Carrier/Bryant.

I would not purchase a new HP system that did not have electronic demand defrost.

as stated in previous post, you do want a new and correctly sized lineset. This is not a place for any shortcut. I would also recommend a good 4-5" pleated filter media cabinet.

you do want the heat strips staged so you can better manage the operating cost of the more expensive strip heat backup/auxilliary.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:26AM
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Thanks to the original post. This is a valuable site. Last night I got a quote from local HVAC contractor for the same unit. Bryant FE4ANFOO5 with a 286BNA048. The price quote was $10,000.00, with a factory rebate of $1,100.00, which included the 10 year parts and labor warranty. After rebate, this made my price $8,900.00. I guess he saw me coming ----Oh, he told me it was a 3.5 ton HP to replace my 2.5 HP to cover the 400 sq. ft. addition I am adding to my house, which will make my total sq. ft. 2,000. I live in S.C.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 12:08PM
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you should start your own thread rather than piggybacking onto a similar one.

be aware the 286BNA048 is a 4 ton two stg HP condenser. if you are going up in size, you will need modifications to your ductwork system.

I would think a load calc would be in order for correct sizing. It is difficult for me to believe that a 4 ton is not oversized. you need to tred carefully here.

pricing seems suspect as well.

what size heat strip was recommended?


    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 3:59PM
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