HVAC questions - new system quotes

virginia16May 30, 2012

Our a/c unit needs to be replaced and I am not sure which system to go with. We have two units and we need to replace the lower level unit (main floor and finished basement). Our furnace is basic builder grade, installed in 1998, but it still works fine. Unsure as to whether we should just go ahead and replace. We are located in Northern Virginia, with summers that are quite humid.

I've received several estimates and here are the different options we have been given with the lowest quote for each (prices include rebates):

Option 1, ($7,581): Carrier Infinity Series 80 two stage gas furnace 58CVA090 with Infinity Series 17 3 ton two stage a/c 24ANB736

Option 2, ($8,428 but this is for 48 month 0% financing. I need to find out the pay now cash discount): Trane XV80 two stage gas furnace with Trane XL15i 3 ton a/c

Option 3, ($4,300): Carrier Comfort Series 16 a/c 24ACC636 only

Option 4, ($4,819): Trane XL15i a/c only

I feel that all the companies I have contacted are solid, with good reviews so that doesn't seem to be a deciding factor. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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If you currently have humidity issues in your house, then I suggest getting a 2-stage AC. This will mean you will need to get a variable spped furnace. It would be a good idea to replace the current furnace given the age and quality. Option 1 is a very good system assuming it includes the Infinity controller.

Is the furnace located in the basement? If so is it possible to install a 95%+ efficiency furnace? In my opinion it is worth the extra money if you plan to live in the house for several years.

Did the contractors do a load calculation? These sizes seem large considering it is for the first floor only.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 7:40AM
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What size living area for the main floor? And what size for finished basement?

What size furnace and AC are you replacing?

I would prefer a 95% condensing furnace correctly sized over the 80% eff

On option 3 and 4, it would be a waste of money getting either of these high eff outside condensers and airing with an older builder grade equipment. It is like paying good money and not being able to achieve the capability of the equipment.

If you do decide to stay with the 80% eff furnace, then change the condenser to the HP version.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 8:22AM
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Thanks for your input. I would estimate the living area for the main floor and finished basement to be around 2,900 sq ft. We are replacing a 3 ton 10 seer AC. I think the furnace is 70,000 btu.

I met with another company yesterday, and I liked this company the best. I still would like some advice though. We are leaning towards the following option, which he recommended:

Carrier 58CVA090-16 Infinity series variable speed furnace
Carrier 25HMB636 Infinity series 3 ton/16 seer two speed heat pump

The total installed price quoted is $8,855. More than we wanted to spend but Carrier's extended labor warranty for years 2-10 is rolled into this price. Is the extended labor warranty recommended? On another company quote it was listed separately at $650 and I don't know if that is something we should try to negotiate out of.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:07PM
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I recommend getting the Carrier labor warranty if you plan to live in the house for another several years. It will pay for itself after one repair. If you sell your house it can be transferred to the new owner for a fee ($150?).

I think you are better off spending the extra money on a 95% AFUE furnace and dropping the heat pump if you are looking to save some money.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:55AM
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