Central air replacement quote

jms5679July 21, 2011

My AC died last night. Had someone out to look at it today. There is apparently a hole in the outside coil and all the coolant leaked out, so no more cold air. They quoted me $2500 to replace the coil or 6,000 - 10,000 to replace the whole unit. It's a 2 ton unit and a 1,000 sq ft condo. 6 to 10 grand seems ridiculous to me. The unit is 12 years old so I would probably go for a whole new one and not just replace the coil. I live outside Philly if that matters. What's reasonable for a 2 ton unit to be installed?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tigerdunes

Jms

First question. How do you heat your condo?

Post back.

IMO

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 6:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
neohioheatpump

I would get some quotes. Call independent installers and ask for a general price over the phone. Some installers want to get rich on one job.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 8:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tigerdunes

As I have said several times, no legitimate and reliable HVAC dealer would give a price over the phone.

IMO

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ionized_gw

That seems like a lot unless they are replacing all of your ducts and a furnace.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maryland_irisman

There's too much information that has to be known to be able to give a reasonable estimate without a site survey. The area of the country also plays a big part on what you can expect to be a competitive cost for repairs/installations.

Are you in a high rise condo where the A/C company may have to rent or hire a rig to hoist the equipment?

In my area, markup is 300 percent of actual cost (cost of equipment, cost of labor, cost of sales)even though I personally have never charged that much, it helps determine if our prices are competitive and integrity is maintained. Too low a price can trigger a negative (and usually justifiable) perception of a company too. Depending on how busy the shop is, availability of other companies within the area (supply and demand) and whether the company even wants to do the job makes a difference on the cost of a job. Many times, if a company wants to specialize in commercial work, they will estimate a very high cost on residential work hoping you will try elsewhere and if you don't, it makes it worth their while to do the work. Also, what types of guarantee, value added incentives does the company offer? Nothing is free so "throw in's" are still included in the overall cost. Some companies don't even want to service units they did not clean install and will charge high prices for service and replacement.

I'll attempt to give you some idea of cost, at the risk of TIGER shaking his head in disgust, and I do highly respect his opinions and AGREE with his opinion here (even though he is in Texas and I'm in Maryland). You should try to get 3 people to come out, survey the situation and and give a solid estimate. I know with this current heat wave, folks don't want to wait and just go with what ever is presented to them and get the "oh no's" later, just to alleviate the suffering. Your pocket book and risk management will determine which way you might go. For example, the prices may be high in your area and full replacement now, might justify the costs (and rising costs)of future repair work. Getting at least 3 estimates with site surveys can help you make the best decision.

For example, if your condo is ground level and the unit was properly sized, and it doesn't require the tech to try to do jumping jacks in a phone booth, I could give you 3 estimates. Fix the hole, check for leaks, replace the filter dryer, vacuum and recharge the system for around $600.00. Just patching isn't all that would have to be done. The tech would have to assure the unit is at it's optimum before he left so coil cleaning, airflow adjustments, etc would need to be done to assure a satisfied customer. I'd guarantee my patch for a year but caution you another leak could appear elsewhere, something else could go wrong and due to the age of your unit, there would be no cost or part coverage from the manufacturer or supplier. I could plop a matched/exact condensing unit in for about $1,500.00-$2000.00. Again, the guarantee would be that which is provided by the manufacturer, cautioning you that any failures on the part of anything existing on the current unit that remain, that causes damage to the new condensing unit because of failue, will not be covered and could void guarantees and warranties on the new unit. Then there is complete replacement. Assuming all the manual conditions match what you have and, the manufacturer, model, seer that is being installed (in other words, mostly plug and play), that sized unit could cost approximately 5-8 thousand. Other companies in the area would charge much more, others would beat my estimate by a few dollars hoping to get the job. Obviously reputation and reliability in the area plays a big part. I have been known to hire a competitor to do certain jobs just to maintain my reliability reputation. That competitor luckily is one I trained and helped get into business so, that does help.

More info than you might have wanted but even a little knowledge will help you feel better about whatever decision you make. Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 11:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jms5679

It's a forced air heat/oil burner. AC unit is outside on the patio so no climbing on the roof.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 1:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tigerdunes

For Maryland

Good post, almost TMI. Just kidding. And I don't disagree with anything you said.

best regards

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maryland_irisman

Tiger, I know I can throw out a lot of info most times. I try to cover as many basis with the little information we get initially. I firmly believe in fully informed customers. I have customers that want every minute detail and others that say "just fix it and send me a bill". I get numerous emails from techs who lurk here to learn, for more elaboration so, I figure it helps someone somewhere.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tigerdunes

For Maryland

Not being a critic. You are one of the good guys. Like you, i believe an educated homeowner is one who can make the best decision for his specific situation when having HVAC issues.

Take care in all this heat.
TD

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 2:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jms5679

Thanks for all the opinions. I got a few more companies to come out and give me estimates. All were between 2,800 - 3,500. Far below the 6-10 grand the first guy wanted. However, all seem to be on a 3 week wait until they can come out and install so I've decided to just use a window unit and wait until the fall when hvac guys aren't nearly as busy. Maybe it will even be cheaper if I wait since it won't be their busy time.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 10:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
neohioheatpump

If your heating with oil, you should upgrade from an a/c unit to heatpump.
Heating with oil is expensive. A heatpump likely can produce heat cheaper than oil with all but the most expensive electric rates.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 8:39AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Are mini-splits a bad idea.
I have lived in both Europe and the Middle East and...
bry911
Honeywell th6320R Thermostat
My Honeywell TH6320R thermostat (communicating with...
zver11
Is this HVAC system OK?
Replacing original old ~9 seer unit. House is 2001...
thereloader
Geothermal in new construction.
Our house is currently under construction, and while...
bethmcg
Does Air Duct Cleaning really help?
We live in a 40 year old home with a forced air gas...
lincann
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™