Planning to Replace Furnace and A/C - Guidance Please

ann_123April 7, 2012

We are planning to replace our furnace and air conditioner soon. Overall, we've been happy with how both units have performed, but the furnace is very old and beginning to rust and we've had to recharge the a/c a couple of times now (and that's become pricey). What questions are most important to ask the dealer and what information should I expect to see on a quote sheet?

I have quotes from a few dealers for York, Carrier, and Trane systems that are now nearly two years old. Found it all quite confusing and was surprised by the $3,000 range in prices for what seemed to be similar units. They included a quote for a 95% efficient single stage York with a 13 SEER Latitude for $6,300; a 95% two stage, variable speed York with the same a/c for $7,200; a 95% efficient two stage, variable speed Trane with a 13 SEER for $7,700; and a 95% efficient Carrier 58MVC-100-120 with a 13 SEER Carrier 24ACB342 for $9,600. Quotes also included installation of a chimney liner to support the existing water heater, new line sets for the air conditioner (about 20 feet total), and a new a/c disconnect box (which is rusting too).

Here's some background information:

We are located 30 miles west of Chicago. Our house is a 2,200 sf, two-story with an unfinished basement that was built in 1976 with standard 2x4 stud construction with fiberglass batting. We've resided (vinyl with styrofoam backing plus Tyvec), replaced all windows with Marvin double panes (with foam sealant around the perimeter), replaced all entry doors (double front, single back, sliding patio and garage access) and have topped off the blown in fiberglass attic insulation to 12 inches.

The furnace is a Tappan and looks original to the house (Model 140 0 48 E5; SN 76A18737; Natural Gas; Input 140,000 BTU, 1/3 HP Fan). The air conditioner is a Heil that was installed in May 1991 (Model CA 3042UKA1, SN L912115033). We also have an April Air Humidifer Model 760 that's a few years old and we're thinking of reusing (the humidistat and control is located in the return vent in the basement). The hot water heater is also natural gas and it and the furnace are currently vented up the same chimney.

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The questions you should ask is how did the contractor determine the sizes of the furnace and AC. I see you have an very big furnace (140K BTU input), and I think a 3.5 ton AC. These appear to be oversized, but a load calculation is the only way to tell by how much. I would also ask the contractor to inspect the duct work for possible issues and discuss any heating or cooling problems you may have. The quote should list the model number of all pieces of equipment. It would be good to get the AHRI number. This insures the system is an approved match. I would also like to see which thermostat and filter are included, and the warranty.

You will need to get new quotes. Prices and models have changed.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 9:16AM
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