Extra Charge for Horizontal Furnace Installation?

aufhebungMarch 19, 2012

Hello everyone. I recently received a quote for installation of a new Trane system (XB300 compressor and XR80 furnace)--my current compressor is an old freon unit that is on its last legs and I want to get it replaced before the summer heat hits us. The salesman came to my house on Saturday, checked out my current equipment, did a load test, and told me his company is currently running a "special" that knocks almost $900 off the regular price of the system I mentioned. However, when I called him today to see about scheduling the installation, he told me that there would be an additional $500 installation charge due to having to install the furnace horizontally rather than vertically. This sent up red flags in my mind, causing me to suspect the old "bait and switch" tactic. When I asked him why the $500 installation fee wasn't included in the original price estimate, there was silence on the other end of the line for several seconds, and then a reply: "It was an oversight on my part." I feel like something fishy is going on and have made an appointment with another HVAC company to do an estimate tomorrow morning. What are your thoughts?

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Either an oversight on his part, or deciding they want to don't want to give $900 off and would like to make an extra $500.

You could tell them you are willing to accept the original price he gave but won't accept the price with the extra $500. You can always find another contractor.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Is the current furnace in the attic? Is it installed horizontally? If the answer is yes, then how did the salesman miss this detail?

I would be annoyed about the extra $500, but I would also be concerned how competent this contractor is when it comes to installaion.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:53AM
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Thanks for the replies! The furnace is currently in the attic and is installed horizontally--given that, I thought it seemed like quite a significant oversight that the Trane guy didn't include the $500 charge initially.

The new contractor who gave me a quote today recommended a 3-ton Lennox XC13 a/c with a new Lennox coil plus 4 enlarged ducts (he said I have 2 tons of ductwork and a 3 ton compressor, which is the primary reason why my house never seems to get cool enough). He did not recommend replacing the furnace. His quote came in at $6400 and he does not sell the lower end "Merit" line of Lennox products, so that's the cheapest he can do.

The Trane guy never even mentioned the ductwork, but instead tried to sell me a "complete system" with a new a/c, coil, furnace, and thermostat. My current furnace and thermostat work just fine but he insisted on replacing them for the purposes of efficiency. His quote was $4850 after adding on the $500 installation fee.

The very first quote I got was from a company that wanted to enlarge 3 ducts (they also made a comment about 2 tons of ductwork and a 3 ton compressor) and install a dry-shipped Goodman R22 a/c unit for about $2200 total. I would like to upgrade to R410a because it seems like a foregone conclusion, but I don't plan on being in this house for longer than another 5 years, so I'm not sure how much that matters?

I've pretty much crossed the Trane company off my list, but have one last contractor coming out this afternoon (he sells Rheem). I would appreciate any and all input you guys have regarding my situation.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 1:07PM
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How old is the current furnace? Does the Lennox contractor it will last problem free for another 5 years?

The Lennox quote for $6400 seems to be high. Did he indicate how much of this is for the modified duct work?

The Goodman quote ($2200) sounds like very low end equipment considering there will be modifying duct work and adding R22 refrigerant. I would stay away from this company.

Let's see what the Rheem contractor has to say. Now that you have some experience, you know how to test his knowledge.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 1:46PM
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Hi Mike! I don't know how old the furnace is, and neither did the Rheem guy, although he said it doesn't look very old and doesn't appear to have any problems that he could identify. He said he would run the serial number when he gets back to his office, and then he is going to email me a quote on replacing the a/c and the coil. He definitely is not a salesman, but rather seems like an HVAC guy.

When I specifically asked him about the ductwork, he didn't see any huge issues (unlike the Lennox salesman), but said that if they saw a need to run the ductwork differently once they were working on the system, they wouldn't charge anything to do it.

The Lennox salesman, on the other hand, wanted to charge $1400 for the ductwork, and the Goodman guy quoted me $600 for it.

Now I am feeling quite confused. 2 contractors indicated that don't have enough duct, and 2 didn't see a problem. My ductwork estimates range from $1500 to complimentary.

I'll give another update once I receive the actual estimate from the Rheem guy.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:30PM
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It amazing how three guys said different things. LOL . It is like going to 3 different doctors and they all say three different things. Unfortunately, on a trane furnace, the age is determined by the letter of the Serial #. If you have a trane condensor, just go out to the condensor and it should say mfg date 05/98 or something like that on the name plate. which means it was manufactured on May of 1998. I am surprise that they don't even know this basic information, sorry to say this, but if they don't know know how old the current system is, how can they design the system for you? Don't overlook the duct system, it's very important as far as system efficiency/performance. improper duct system will causes higher utility and premature breakdowns. ask them to do a duct calculation and draw it out for you. Lets assume you need a 3 ton unit based on heat load. 1 ton = 400cfm x 3 ton = 1200cfm total system input/output. Make sure they size your return/supply duct to match your system. good luck, getting bid is only half the battle, the other half is the installers, they also determines how long/efficiency your system will last. Let us know if you need any help. If you're not comfortable with the bids, ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers for an hvac contractor that they have used and are happy. I don't blame you for being concenscious, especially with the economy like this. I am an hvac installer/service myself and I've seen alot of hack jobs out there, big company, small company, dealer, no dealer, they are all the same. It all comes down to the person who design and the one that install them.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 2:37AM
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Thanks, handy-man, for your helpful response!

So far, the Trane salesman was the only person who did a load calculation (and he did a "whole house" calculation, not room-by-room) and the Lennox salesman was the only person who did a duct calculation. The Trane guy missed the ductwork issue, and the Lennox guy's bid is about $1500 more expensive than I was planning on paying, so...I have an appointment with another contractor for tomorrow morning. I feel like Goldilocks trying out all of these companies and looking for a bid that is "just right"! LOL If I can't find one, though, I will probably just go with the Lennox guy, since I think that his design made the most sense.

This next contractor deals in Trane and Ruud, and when I made the appointment, I said upfront that I wanted load and duct calculations performed. They answered my phone call at 8 pm last night when I expected to leave a message on a machine, so that is a positive first impression in my book.

I will keep you guys updated on my progress. Thanks for being so helpful--it's difficult to make decisions about things (like HVAC) when they are so far beyond my realm of expertise.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 9:39AM
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