Too Good To Be True? Northern Virginia

mugnainiJuly 17, 2012

I have been shopping for a new HVAC system for months. Many companies came to our home to provide estimates, but not one "can even come close" to the following: CARRIER New updated Performance Boost 2 stage gas furnace is 59TP5A080

with 3.5 ton AC 24ACC642 with matching coil and t-stat $5604. The furnace has 2 stage gas valve; AC is single stage; 1 year labor warranty on Performance series. The company is called CYPRUS HVAC in Alexandria, VA. They have a A+ BBB rating and do not subcontract. They are also a Presidential Award recipient from CARRIER. My question is: How can this company offer to install the above equipment (including new fiberglass slab, etc.) at a price that is at least $1,850 less than the next highest bid (I had an AMANA rep stop by yesterday. His quote was $9,700 for a system that included a 13 SEER AC + Return Duct in basement + 3 inch venting to replace my 2 inch venting)? I am concerned with the old saying: "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!", but I have not been able to poke any holes in the CYPRUS bid. Can you provide your thoughts, please? I would also be interested in your thoughts about replacing my 2 inch venting with 3 inch. I have not experienced problems with my 2 inch venting on TRANE equipment (my HVAC system is 22 years old). Thanks!

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tigerdunes

You have quote in hand with all mdl numbers for furnace, evap coil, AC condenser, thermostat, filter cabinet, etc.?

Scope of work to be provided? New lineset included?

How long has dealer been in business?

Any down payment required?

As far as venting, this depends on what is recommended by Carrier. I would not deviate from that spec.

The furnace is Carrier's new Performance 96 two stage model not the Performance Boost that you listed in your post. See link. I would want to know the thermostat quoted. If not the Infinity controller, then at least a true two stage thermostat where the thermostat controls the staging of the heat and not the timer on control board that really is not what you want and nothing more than a cheap shortcut.

Get some referrals from recent customers if you are concerned. Obviously if you select this dealer, you want to guard against bait and switch tactics.

IMO

Here is a link that might be useful: Performance 96 Furnace

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 7:13AM
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mugnaini

Dealer has been in Alexandria since 1967. No new line set is necessary. Filter cabinet is an extra $350; may go with the standard 1 inch filter, though. As to the coil, the quote simply notes "MATCHING". Not sure what T-stat is, but not the Infinity (AC quoted is 3.5 ton,single stage. My ducts can accomodate 4 ton, but present 3.5 ton does fine job). I will ask about the two-stage t-stat. The only other extra would be to install a 10X10 return in a basement. I am told that will enhance comfort in the upstairs bedrooms in hot summer months.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 7:37AM
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tigerdunes

I would get the 4-5" filter cabinet, located where it can be easily changed out.

My mistake about the Infinity controller. You want Carrier's Edge thermostat.

It is not clear how a 10 x10 return in basement would help upstairs airflow.? You have adequate return in upstairs and main floor? Mighty important.

IMO

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 8:39AM
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mike_home

If you have access to the lineset you should have it replaced. The new system uses the R410 refrigerant. If the lineset is not changed, the installer must use a flushing technique specified by Carrier.

The contractor may give you a third party coil. You should insist on getting a Carrier tin plated coil. This is not a lot of additional money.

The size of the venting is determined by the size of the furnace and the length it must travel to reach the outside. This is clearly specified by the installation documentation. No need to go to a 3 inch vent if the 2 inch vent is allowed.

Adding more return air is helpful. I added a return vent in my basement in a finished area. The furnaces are in the unfinished area. If you do a return, then I recommend you add at least one supply in order to not create negative air pressure.

Get the 4 inch media filter. Is the contractor offering the 10 Carrier labor warranty?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 10:14AM
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neohioheatpump

There are alot of good contractors that give estimates at fair prices like the one you received. There are also plenty of higher priced contractors that want to make 5 or 6 grand on one job. That is a good price you should take. The guys that want 9 or 10 grand for a new A/C and furnace don't sell nearly as many as the guys that charge only 5 grand.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 12:29PM
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mugnaini

Thank you, all. I am just wondering how a company can offer such a price! Has anyone ever hear of Cyprus Air in Alexandria, VA? I understand they used to deal in TRANE, but went with CARRIER a few years ago. Just wondering whether that was their choice...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 12:34PM
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mugnaini

Well, it may have been "too good to be true" after all. The dealer that quoted the great price also has among the worst ratings in Washington Consumer Checkbook, along with numerous BBB complaints, and complaints with Fairfax County Consumer Division. Yet, this dealer has a "presidential award" from CARRIER. When I inquired with CARRIER as to what a dealer needs to do to earn such an "award", the response was "This annual award is designed to encourage self-analysis andreward individuals who have excelled in customer relations". Excelled in customer relations? They have to be kidding! When I inquired further as to whether CARRIER would stand behind the work of the dealer, the short reply was "no". Obviously, this is not the response I was looking for. it seems that CARRIER may be more focused on pushing hvac equipment out the door and not on customer service.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 3:48PM
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mike_home

Out of curiosity I went to the Cyprus HVAC web site. It looks like they are offering a free AC condenser with the purchase of furnace. I would suspicious of any dealer who offers deals like this especially in the middle of a heat wave!

Bravo on investigating these guys. I hope you find a reputable contractor.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 4:02PM
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mugnaini

Well, I may go with CYPRUS after all. I contacted CARRIER in Washington DC who knows the company's president and was advised I should give CYPRUS an opportunity to address my concerns. the CYPRUS resentative over to my home. He assured me that all techs are NATE certified, etc. and that the installation will be monitored by supervisors, etc. CARRIER in DC will also be advised if there are issues. My question is this: how does one know whether the installation was done properly? The HVAC system will be fully tested after installation, and I am sure it will work as intended, but is there anything else I should be looking for?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 9:06AM
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mike_home

Is Cyprus a factory authorized Carrier dealer? If they are, then Carrier is supposed to guarantee the installation is done correctly. If you are not satisfied the equipment will be removed and your money is refunded.

The average homeowner can't tell if the installation was done properly. The only guidance I can give is if looks like sloppy work to your eye, then it was probably done incorrectly. If you have specific questions about the installation, post them and perhaps someone will offer their comments.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:27AM
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mugnaini

Yes, CYPRUS AIR in Alexandria, VA, is an authorized CARRIER dealer and has CARRIER's Presidential Award. I did not know that CARRIER would "guarantee" that the installation is done correctly and that, if not satisfied, the equipment will be removed and money refunded.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:32AM
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mugnaini

Good morning -- Is someone able to verify the statement that If Cyprus is a factory authorized Carrier dealer, then Carrier is supposed to guarantee the installation is done correctly. If you are not satisfied the equipment will be removed and your money is refunded? CYPRUS is a Carrier dealer with a Presidential Award. And, as a follow-up, there is no other way for the homeowner to know whether the installation was done correctly?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 8:49AM
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mike_home

Call Carrier and ask about the installation guarantee.

If the system is not performing well, then there is a high problablity the cause is an installation problem. If you have concerns about the installation, post the question and someone will respond.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:56PM
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