good deal or overkill for AC and furnace

RobNoMarch 22, 2011

I have received 2 bids, and want to make sure i am not being taken advantage of. I am in Dallas, TX, in 1 story home, with roughly 2300 sq ft of livable space, and insulated attic.

1 bid:

110000BTU Infinity 80 4-way variable speed Carrier gas furnace

5 ton 17 SEER Performance Series Carrier - 2 stage

Infinity programmable therm

surge protector (not sure if this is needed)

5 ton evap coil

Duct Mount smoke detector

CO Monitor

Refrigerant locking caps

flush and pressure check line set

total = $11900, including small discount

other bid (doesn't go into as much detail as first one):

4 ton XC16 AC - Lennox

SL280V furnace

16 Merv filtration

Humistat therm

new 7/8" lineset (add $800)

dampers for vents

total = $12500


1. if the add-ons in the first bid (smoke detectors, co monitor) are necessary.

2. is one system better than other.

3. i recognize that 1 is for a 5 ton vs 4 ton unit, but is the quality different?

ideas and thoughts are always welcome

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I would recommend that you continue to take in a few more bids, unless you're really in a hurry. Is this an upgrade to an existing system, or a complete overhaul?

Another point I wanted to make is this: for every 400 sqft of space you need, you will need 1 ton of air; unless you are planning on installing zoning. For example, a 4 ton system will be effective for ~ 1600 sqft.

You'll want to make sure that whoever you do choose to go with will set you up with good quality, name brands (like: Rheem, Ruud, Lennox is good, York, Carrier) who will still give you an affordable price. For example, my company (based in L.A.) would most likely bid such a job for around $8,000.

Here is a link that might be useful: A1 Universal Technology ~ Striving to better serve the needs of your comfort

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:28AM
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Thanks for responding. I have actually gotten several bids, and even though these are the 2 highest bids, i question the quality of the other companies who have provided bids. The system is for a complete overhaul. My existing unit is 19 years old, thus needing to get a whole new system that is code compliant.

You indicated that Lennox is good. Is it much better than the other brands you mentioned?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 1:11AM
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i would tend to lean more towards lennox now since over the past 5 or so years now . i have had good results with the installations over the past few years. those bids are rather high .i can only assume its due to a high over head. example 3/8 - 7/8 line set would only run you around 225 - 275 dollars why the high increase in price? 800 dollars?? and what else would be so high in price.are these companies large outfits? and are they giving you some type of payment plan..i hope so.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 2:10AM
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Lots of companies make good equipment these days. If your interested in saving money get some generalized over the phone quotes. There is only a few brands I would stay away from.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:03AM
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What brands would you stay away from? I have heard that Tranes quality has decreased recently. Have you noticed the same?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:42AM
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correct sizing is important both heating and AC. what size are you replacing?

I find your pricing absurd.

I would not waste my time on phone quotes.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:43AM
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Don't know size of furnace, but AC is 5 ton. I know old rule was 1 ton per 500 sqft, but I was told that isn't that accurate these days due to different types of windows, insulation, etc.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:36AM
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request a professionally performed load calculation for accurate sizing to be certain. takes about 2-3 hrs to complete if done correctly.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:45AM
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Beaware of contractors who use a rule of thumb to size your equipment, or would give you a quote without inspecting the current plant and duct work. You need a proper load calulation.

I know it is hot in Texas, but 5 tons seems oversized. The 110,000 BTU furnace also seems oversized. I image the furnace was picked in order to match the fan to the 5 ton condenser.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 11:10AM
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correct, the furnace was picked based on AC unit. and yes, the BTU is a bit overkill.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 11:27AM
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You may get short cycling in summer and winter. If your ducts cannot handle the air flow, it will be noisy.

You are looking at spending a lot a money, and in the end you will not be happy. I am a fan of Carrier equipment, but not if it is not sized properly. Talk to more contractors who will size the equipment properly.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 4:07PM
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My current AC is a 19 y/o 5 ton Lennox. I will be getting a second load calc tomorrow nite, so will have better idea if 4 or 5 ton is the correct size. Are there smaller furnaces (less than 100000BTU) that can properly fit a 4 or 5 ton AC unit, that will keep the total at least 16 SEER?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:02PM
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Hi, just had a complete system installed yesterday. I live in N.dallas where cooling means more than heating. cost 7k even for everything. here is a list of what was installed for a single story 2000 sqft house.

Trane XR13 4 ton AC condenser - 13seer, 14seer with matching system.
Trane XR80 5 ton 1 stage with 4 speed blower.
New matching evaporator coil with the new R-410A refrigerant.
New return and supply plenums, all sheet metal construction with exterior wrapped insulation.
New manual air dampers at each supply duct.
Added an extra return air duct, grill and filter to double existing volume of return.
New drip pan with overflow float switch (cut off system if drainage get blocked - keeps ceiling from getting water damage).
New electrical disconnect and wiring (located outside by the condenser).
New concrete pad.
New programmable thermostat.
Did all the work required to rid and clean system of old coolant, hauled away old system and did a relatively good job cleaning up.

This new system is so much cooler and has better airflow than the old one and should be more efficient. I really wanted the sheet metal plenums with EXTERIOR insulation and the manual dampers. This should really pay off in the long run for comfort and health. Next time I should just have to replace the AC condenser. Furnace later. All in all I think I got a good deal and I'm pretty sure the work is A+. I paid a little extra for the plenums, dampers and for Trane products.

One reason I went with this contractor instead of the others is, this contractor continually offered top notch material, construction and products without me having to ask. The others would match the packages and price only after asking for the better stuff. This really spoke about the quality of work I could expect, and the contractors doing the work matter more than the brand name. But since I could get the best brand name products with top notch quality workmanship, it really was a no brainer. I actually spent just a little more for this company than the slightly cheaper one for the same work.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 4:18PM
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