New to HVAC/first proposal review

kevink109May 23, 2011

Well spent a few hours on this forum trying to get ready for my first proposal for a new HVAC system. Really am trying to cover the basics, don't really want to become a HVAC expert if I don't have to.

The original system came with the house- 1991. The home is a two story 1200 sqft up and roughly 1400 sqft down. I am located outside of Sacramento Ca. Average summer temp is 91f, and winter low average is right around 39-40f. We can a few nights below 30 and more than a few days above 100.

The first contractor was my first choice for a few reasons- A+ BBB rating, strong recommendation for the work they did for a neighbor, and my cousin who works for a competitor said I should go with them- best price, best work.

So they actually sent a technician out for the "sales" call- he spent sometime going over the current set up, measured the ducting in the attic, etc, etc.

This took about 1.5 hours- then he did some air flow calcs- He said it wasn't a full manual calculation. We then talked about length of stay and SEER ratings etc. Our current system is 9 SEER, and he he gave me a rundown on a 13 SEER and 15 SEER system.

Basically he said staying in the 13-15 range was ideal for cost/benefit ratio.

So I got the paperwork for the proposal and here is the base system:

Condensor: 13AJM60A01

Furnace: RGPS10NBRJR

Coil: CE60A34

Equipment says Ruud.

The quote covers everything- permits, new pad, gas line, shut off, new pans, thermostat- no brand listed, also need new returns- putting in two new larger returns- plus additional ductwork.

They have impressive warranties- 2 year comfort money back guarantee, $500 frustration guarantee- if anything has to be repaired in the first 2 years- they pay you. etc.

So the total on this is $9163

So its hard to compare regions, but does this seem like a mid grade product at a fairly high price?

Also- the upgrade to 15 seer is just listed as a $2000 adder- no equipment listed.

What else should I be asking- or looking?

thanks Kevin

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what size are you replacing both furnace and AC?

dealer is surely oversizing you both on furnace and AC.

you need a load calc. insist on it in writing.

don't think that dealer is looking out for you. AC is low end, not certain about furnace. He's also quoting a third party coil which is not advisable.

post back.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 7:37PM
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AC is 5 ton, 65000 btu on furnace

Current AC is 5 ton as well- granted its older but on high heat days it will run for hours straight trying to maintain 78 degrees.

Its hard when you are out of your element- how do you find a reputable contractor?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 7:59PM
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I might start by asking who does Manual J's. Apparently this is region dependent as they are mandatory here. I would suspect that with CAs regulatory environment that they are mandatory but I could be wrong. Perhaps they do one when they actually get the bid and then they might downsize the unit.

Is your house particularly hard to cool? Lots of windows that aren't low-e particularly on west side? Skylights?

Do you have typical CA tiered electric rates? If so, I can't imagine seer 15 wouldn't be worth it and I always figured that seer 18s were made for CA's high electric rates - particularly with the heat inland (but I was thinking southern CA).

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 6:03AM
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Are you sure about the size of the furnace? According to the Rheem furnace literature the furnace model you listed has a 100,000 BTU input/80,000 BTU output rating. I suspect this furnace was chosen in order to supply the 2000CFM of air flow need for the 5 ton air conditioner.

I think the furnace is way oversized for your mild winter. In order to resolve this, you need to find a contractor who will do a load calculation to verify you really require 5 tons of cooling. If you can get by with 4 tons, then you move down to the 75,000 BTU furnace. You will spend less money and be more comfortable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rheem furnace spec sheet

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 9:48AM
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Furnace is an 80% model which will deliver about 80,000 BTUs.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 9:52AM
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OK- called and asked- the furnace is 100k BTU 80% efficient.

They don't do the manual J until contract is in house- so I will start calling-

Is the house hard to cool?- well its the original tract home 5 ton unit from 1991- so on hot days it has to run like the devil, but eventually the upstairs can get down to 77-76 degrees

On the SEER rating- I figure at best my original unit is a 9-10 seer system, and my electric bill is never over $500/ even in the worst of the summer- so if I bump to a 13 or 15 SEER system I should still be ahead-

I'm open for more, but this contractor said- I was looking at a 14k for a SEER 16 system, and obviously more for anything higher.

I will keep looking, or can I find a independent engineer that can do the manual J?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 11:11AM
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If you are interested you can do the calculation yourself. You can get access to the software for $49. I have not used it myself, but I have read homeowners have used it successfully. The key is to put in accurate values for your house.

Few homes have adequately sized ducts, returns, and filter which can handle a 5 ton condenser. You should first convince yourself you need 5 tons of cooling before you start spending money on increasing your duct work.

Here is a link that might be useful: HVAC Calc

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 12:26PM
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