Comparing HVAC quotes - help appreciated

temp33July 27, 2011


I live outside Philly in a 2600 square foot three level house (including finished basement). We are replacing a 25 year old carrier furnace and a 14 year old 3.5 ton carrier AC. Duct system is underneath ceiling of finished basement. We have double paned windows downstairs and the insulation of the house varies (very good in basement which is new). We've had the HVAC serviced twice/ year since we moved in 5 years ago.

Last weekend the AC went. We have been considering upgrading the system anyway, so looked at this as a good opportunity to get a more efficient system.

We have received 3 quotes so far (one more coming tomorrow) and would appreciate any feedback.

Quote #1:

Carrier MEC 2 stage variable speed furnace (Performance 95)

Carrier 15 SEER AC system

Coil (no description)

Thermostat (no description)

$10,942 ($10,067 after rebates/ tax credits)

Quote #2:

Trane XV95 Gas 2 stage variable speed furnace (120k BTU)

Trane 16 SEER 2 speed AC (4TTX5049)

Coil: ACE48D44245

Thermostat: TCONT602 Programmable

$10,217 ($9,817 after rebates/ credits)

Quote #3:

Ruud 95% 2 stage variable speed furnace (Model UGRM-10EZAJS - 100k BTU)

Ruud 3.5ton 14.5 SEER AC (410A refrigerant)

Coil: Matching Ruud

Thermostat: Honeywell digital

$7,550 ($7,150 after rebates/ credits)

Quote #1 and #2 looked to me like they were just seeing how desperate we would be during a hot week. Quote 3 is most attractive due to price and references of contractor.

That said, always wary of the quote that's substantially less and I don't have good experience/ visibility into what the right price should be.

Any feedback in terms of questions I should be asking would be much appreciated.

Thank you

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It would be helpful for you to provide all mdl numbers and sizes for your quotes including evap coils and thermostats.

What size furnace and eff are you replacing? What size AC are you replacing?

Any existing problems heating and cooling your home now?

I'll break down the Trane quote for you.
You definitely don't need the 120 KBTU XV95-the 100 K should be more than adequate. You have been quoted a third party evap coil by the Trane dealer-I would not have it. You want a Trane coil. Wrong thermostat quoted-you want Trane's mdl 803 or identical HW mdl #8321. Are new refrigerant line sets being provided? Have any of the quoting dealers mentioned a whole house air filter cabinet? You should have one.

Correct sizing of HVAC is important. Have you even asked for a load calc both heating and cooling?

Post back.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 7:21AM
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Hi TigerDunes:
Thanks very much for the post back. I appreciate it.

Our current furnace is a Carrier (I believe the model number is V800 A1088). I don't know much in other specifics about it. The contractors we saw estimate that it is 60-70% efficient. The current AC is a 3.5ton BDP model number 5690J042-A. We did have a load calc done by one of the contractors. He said that we probably could use a 4 ton AC, but that would mean we would need to replace all of the piping. He asked whether we were comfortable with heat/ AC performance before this issue and we have been.

We do have a Honeywell HE air cleaner (F300E 1019) which we would plan to keep with the new system.

I did receive some additional details (model numbers) on Quote 3 and also received a 4th quote:

Quote #3:
Ruud 95% 2 stage variable speed furnace (Model UGRM-10EZAJS - 100k BTU)
Ruud 3.5ton 14.5 SEER AC (410A refrigerant)
Coil: Matching Ruud (RCFL-HN4821 AC)
Thermostat: Honeywell digital 6000
$7,550 ($7,150 after rebates/ credits)

Quote #4
Carrier 58MEB100-20 93% gas furnace
Carrier 24ACC642 16 SEER AC
Coil: Carrier CNPVP4824
Thermostat: Honeywell digital (no model yet)
$7800 ($6850 after rebates/ credits)

I really appreciate your insights here. Thanks very much for your feedback.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 11:00PM
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I like quote number 4. Good quality equipment and reasonable price with the rebate.

If your interested in getting a fancier system, you might want to ask your contractor how much it would cost to upgrade your A/C to the same model heatpump. This could provide some flexibility incase gas prices go up again.
Often the heatpump model of an A/C doesn't cost much more than the straight A/C model. Its up to you ofcourse though. Sometimes its not worth upgrading to a heatpump if you live in an area with very expensive electricity (close to 20 cents per KW total rate).

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 8:55AM
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I would never recommend upgrading to a HP without knowing some facts and that would start with your nat gas and electric rate.

For a quality HP condenser you could expect an up charge of min $500 plus the cost of dual fuel controls.

Let's try to get more detail on your furnace. It would be helpful to know the BTU input and output numbers which are usually found on your furnace data plate. Any problem heating your home with this furnace?

It would be nice to know the mdl number of the Rudd AC condenser quoted.

Also on qut #4, pls verify if Carrier furrnace quoted is 2 stg or sgl stg, high eff or var speed blower.

Post back.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 11:04AM
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One other question.

In your OP, you stated home was 2600 sq ft including finished basement. How large is living area of finished basement?

Heating/cooling loads for finished areas of basement below or partially below grade are normally very small.

Post back.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 12:07PM
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