Trane XB Air Conditioner Question

distarrApril 26, 2010

I've gotten two estimates from two different HVAC contractors for a Trane XB 13 SEER air conditioner and air handler. The first was for a 2 ton unit and came to ~$6000 and the other was for a 2.5 ton unit and came to ~$3500. The more expensive quote came from a larger contractor. This seems crazy to me that there could be such a difference in price. Both estimates include labor, removal etc. Does anyone have any idea which estimate seems more reasonable for an XB system? I got a really good impression from the cheaper contractor even before I heard the price, but am a little nervous that it seems to good to be true. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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It does seem too good to be true. Go with your instinct on the better contractor--that will be the most important part of your decision. $6000 for a complete removal/installation sounds much more in line. Is the $3500 quote leaving something out? They are quoting a larger unit--is this because they are guessing and the larger outfit has the size right?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 8:34PM
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the XB13 is bottom end trane. what mdl air handler was quoted? new lineset to be installed? just off hand and without more info, a two ton straight AC at $6K seems extremely high.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 7:04AM
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We were quoted the 4TEC air handler with the $6K quote. Also we are replacing an old Freon system so the quote also included a new lineset.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 7:17AM
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In my market, $6k would not be considered absurd (Washington, DC). Anything under $5k and I'd get suspicious. For a straight a/c system, however, I wouldn't expect as low as $3.5k, but I would expect within the $5000 range, give or take. Really depends on installation requirements. Trane equipment generally costs more than most brands.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 4:25PM
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I know what you mean about getting suspicious. The $3.5K quote includes the new 2.5 ton compressor and air handler, a new fused disc box outside, new condensate pump, and removal of the old system. Everything but the permits. No duct work needs to be done since we are replacing an old system, but still, the quote seems low. Of course we've never had to replace a central AC before so we have no idea. My only other thought is that I am pregnant with twins and he was feeling kindly toward me!
As to your first follow up, the lowball contractor did not calculate the manual J, he just took the square footage of the house from the survey and didn't check how many windows we have.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 5:03PM
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normally, I agree with Ryan. But not this time. either you have left out some pertinent information or the 6K dealer is simply overcharging you.

what size are you replacing and how did it perform?

what is your location?

I would solicit several more quotes. since this is a straight AC system, how do you heat?

and you realize that you are leaving the tax credit lying on the table.

while prices can vary between markets, take a look at this recent thread regarding a 4 ton XB14 HP in the Houston mkt.


Here is a link that might be useful: XB14 Trane HP Houston Mkt

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 8:31AM
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We are replacing a 2 ton, 20 year old system. We just bought this house a year ago when it was too cold for the home inspector to test the system and due to the cool summer here in central New Jersey we never tried it last summer. I had someone come look at it a few weeks ago to get it ready for this summer and he told us how old it was and that it was very low in coolant and we should consider replacing versus repairing. Pretty much what we expected.
We heat with a gas hot water boiler.
We looked into the tax credit and it still makes monetary sense for us to go with the bottom end model since we only plan on staying in this house for 3-5 more years and we plan on doing some other work to take advantage of the tax credit before the year is out.
I'm going to check around for another Trane dealer and see about getting another estimate. I feel like we are in a bit of a rush to get this done before the babies arrive, but I want to avoid us making a bad decision.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 8:53AM
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ah, New Jersey. that explains alot.

While I don't care for your equipment selection, I would talk further with the 3.5K quote dealer.

I would not go up in size unless you have a load calc in hand to support that size.

you might check on a basic 13 SEER Rudd/Rheem or Bryant.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 9:12AM
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Ask the lower price contractor to give you a higher end equipment since his price is so low. Maybe you can qualify for the tax credit. With the money saved from the tax credit you would have a nicer system and still be around $3500 with the less expensive contractor.

Maybe ask him to install a heatpump instead of AC.
I know they are not popular in New Jersey because of the expensive electric, but I think it would still save money and add comfort to heat with heatpump when above 40 degress fahrenheit. You would have extra flexibility too.

Alot of lower priced contractors do good around me because they get alot of work instead of making lots on just 1 install every once and a while.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 11:40AM
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Either 2 or 2.5 tons is correct. How many squarefeet are we talking about here? More often than not, the dealer quoting smaller equipment is more correct. But you aren't talking about a tremendous size difference here. Still something to look into.

The dealer may have been looking out for you with the $3500 bid, since unless he's cutting significant corners/reusing more ductwork than the other dealer--or some significant difference--he can't be making much money off the job. How long has he been in business?

Just so you know, I'm not in the HVAC business, so I have no bias as far as profit margin goes. Having seen many quotes, for your job and system selection, I would expect in the $5000-6000 range.

What kind of price would you expect for a complete installation and removal following all proper procedures? Assuming the a/c costs roughly $1000 or more (who knows..Trane, NJ..could be expensive units), the air handler costs around $700 or more, and then there is the cost of additional materials (metal, Puron, copper, electrical, thermostat, etc.) and labor. On top of that, the dealer has to make some money if he wants to be in business to service the equipment down the road and pay for trucks, insurance, etc. I do agree that $6000 may be on the higher side of the spectrum, and I would expect more of a $5000 price tag. Regardless neither of us know what the job exactly involves or how much the Trane equipment costs in New Jersey. Likely quite a bit more than in Florida.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 3:36PM
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hey Ryan

take a look at my link concerning the 4 ton XB14 for a Houston, Texas homeowner. and that was for a heat pump, not a straight AC install.

I will say this. New Jersey pricing is usually on the absurd side.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 3:58PM
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The central air is only on the first floor which is ~1300 square feet. The $3.5K contractor has been in the HVAC business for 20+ years, 13 as an independent contractor. The owner himself came out to give us the estimate and asked about our future plans for staying in the house before advising the low end model. The $6K estimate came from a bigger company who sent out a salesman who intially suggested a higher end model.
I called a third company and am getting another estimate tomorrow. Hopefully this will shed some light on whose estimate is more realistic.
And believe me tigerdunes, it's not only the pricing in NJ that's absurd!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 4:53PM
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you are on the right track. keep at it and let us know what you find.

it would seem to me that you should be able to find a good tax credit qualifying system for around $5-$5.5K.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 5:02PM
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I agree. I took a look at the Houston HO's thread the other day and thought the pricing was very reasonable. I guess the farther North you go (where A/C becomes less of a priority), the higher the prices are. Which makes sense... I agree with the $5-5500 ballpark. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 5:22PM
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Ok, so just got the 3rd estimate. This one came in at $6.5k for the same set up, 2 ton XB13 and 4TEC air handler. This company is probably about the same size as the company that gave me the $6k quote.
Now that I think about it, maybe the $3.5K contractor didn't say that he would be replacing the line set. If he were to just flush the old line set could that make a big difference in price? I'm planning on calling him and asking some more questions. I can see that this contractor has a much lower overhead. It's just him and his crew, no salesman, secretaries, etc. which could also account for some of the price difference, but again, how much of a difference?
Thanks for all of the good points and suggestions so far!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 1:30PM
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Seasons come and seasons go, but the XB will always be there to provide total comfort for your home. Reliable, durable, and quiet, this heat pump meets government efficiency standards and features exclusive, state-of-the-art Trane technology. ItÂs the dependable answer for all your heating and cooling needs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trane XB Air Conditioner

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 6:21AM
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you can buy an xb for $690 and a coil is only $260 air handlers are cheap too...
I would guess for 6 grand that company is making at least 3 grand

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 10:43PM
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I just got a Trane TX 13 system put in today. It included the new line set to change freon type, duct work, a lot of other stuff, and a new Trane furnace. It was $4,300. They did a beautiful job and they fixed a lot of stuff that was done incorrectly when the old one was installed. I live outside of Chicago. I think this was a really good deal.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 7:14PM
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Hey guys and gals,
I am new to this sight but could use some helpful info as well on this system. Have a quote for a 3 ton Trane XB13 Heater 9.6 KW, 34,600 BTU, Condenser is 4TTB30306, Air Handler is TEM3AOB36531. Includes all the usual stuff including an extra return (only have one now) Size of house is 1499 sq feet. Quote is for $5,000 Does this sound reasonable? Oh yeah, company has an "A" rating on Angie's list and have been around for a long time. Thanks for any advise.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 1:18PM
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Maybe the lower priced contractor has access to a 2.5 ton unit on the cheap. Ask him for a quote for a 2 ton unit. That should be all your house needs. Unless the lineset is undersized, it should be fine if its flushed properly. Having said that, if the lineset is easily accessible, it's not much more expensive to replace than to flush. FWIW, I just got a 3 ton Carrier HP system replaced with another Carrier (5HCD336 and FV4CNF005) for $3500 in Virginia. The biggest company was actually the least expensive (range 2500-6000 for similarly spec'd equipment from different manufacturers).

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 5:29PM
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guys and gals?

You may get better responses by starting a thread rather than dusting off a years old thread.

Just sayin'

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 3:04PM
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