price dif of single stage a/c vs heat pump

cindywhitallJuly 29, 2012

I'm trying to make a decision and think I've chosen a contractor. I am stuck between a single stage a/c and a heat pump. Same SEER, same brand, same contractor. His price is about 1500 more for the heat pump (dual fuel/gas backup). I had the impression his cost is about $700 more on the unit. (Amana). Is install that much more difficult to justify that price, or is he probably adding more markup?

I want to ask him to knock off about 5% of his total hvac price, which if you've been following my thousands of posts, is a really high price for what I'm getting.

I'm sure he will still be making PLENTY. If I had the info on the price difference and difference in install it might help me bargain. I had the impression it is just a few wires that might be different, but the install would be the same for the most part. Maybe going from single stage to heat pump is $1500...I hope the heat pump is worth it in savings and comfort.

I'm one of those people who hates paying sticker price. I hate thinking somebody else with more info got a better deal. It is just my nature to try to haggle a little...Take it or leave it doesn't suit me well...


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This must be said. You are a very conflicted homeowner as far as HVAC and your project. You have over a dozen threads the last thirty days. I think it would be very difficult for a dealer to satisfy you and if a reputable dealer knew your history, they would not want your business.

As I recall, you live in NJ, a state with high taxes and cost of living. I have
noticed that HVAC is much more expensive in your state.

To your question, the dealer cost difference from an AC condenser to same model HP condenser should be no more than $500 for a sgl stage quality unit. Less for builder grade model in the cheaper brands. By now, you should
know those. Now the problem is markup and what is reasonable. Certainly $1500 up charge on a single stage Amana is very unreasonable.

The install difference between a HP and straight AC is inconsequential. You would however need a dual fuel thermostat if pairing with a gas furnace.

I can't recall your electric rate or natural gas rate to know if you can even justify a heat pump. I personally think you would not be happy with it and certainly with a high cost difference you would never see a reasonable
payback. I suggest you stick with a good 2-3 stage or modulating furnace with high eff sgl stage AC condenser.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:05AM
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I thought you were going to get a 95%+ efficiency gas furnace. If that is true, then it is unlikely you will ever see a pay back on your heat pump given the gas and electricity rates in NJ. You are better off using the additional money for insulation upgrades.

As I stated earlier, you are paying very high prices due to the NJ Clean Energy program. There is no way to justify an additional $1500 for a Amana heat pump.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Tiger, my conflict is because I know I am being overcharged due to the rebate program. I resent that and just want a fair deal. I know that I am "losing" part of my rebate to the contractor who leaves me with just enough to make me think its a good deal because of the great financing. It is the financing which has made me decide to do it, that plus the attic sealing and insulation which I would probably not otherwise do. I ask a lot of questions because I like to be informed.

Not really sure if heat pump will be worth it here either. They claim my energy "savings" will be an additional 5% or so, though a contractor not in the program told me they will manipulate numbers to make it work. Because the heat pump is slightly more efficient in my case I get a $1000 higher rebate, so my net cost is Actually the same. This is because the non hp option uses a more efficient hot water heater (needed for the program) that they are charging 400 more for, AND the rebate is 1000 lower. With those 2 choices the hp makes sense. It would make even more sense if the upgrade cost was not $1500. I could go tankless with non hp, get the full rebate, but cost is 500 more than hp. Figured I am more likely to see savings on the hp so not spending the extra 500.

Anyway, after this heat wave i totally see the value in getting my attic done, so even though I will not be fully realizing the amazing 5000 rebate I will probably do it. My ac, in it's 16th year, had a hard time getting below 75 on these hot days, even the ones only in the low 90's. I'm sure it will be going in the next year or two. Neighbor paid 9200 beforerebates for a Lennox xc17 with an 80% furnace. I figure my higher eff furnace would cost more and so would a heat pump, but I know Amana would be cheaper than Lennox, based on that i think the 9200 is a reasonable cost to compare.... I will be spending about 11k for the Amana system, with a new power vent hwh and insulation and air sealing. I think that is reasonable (though I'd prefer a different brand ). I also think my price should be closer to 9k after rebates and that I am getting "only" 2000-2500 value of the 5000 rebate. I am also getting excellent financing. The dealer did do my audit and spend time getting my estimates together and revising them.....not 2500 worth of work.

Decided to just do it if I can get the price dif between hp and not-hp lowered.

I know you think I'm a pain, but what would you do? Would you accept a price you know is very high or keep asking questions? You have to,admit the price of 11800 is very high for Amana Aszc16 and Amvc95. (4 ton, 90k btu)

Does any of that explain why I am conflicted? I am not normally difficult, only when I sense something is not right. Lucky for me when I buy cars there are sites to tell me what is fair and reasonable....being educated is my best option.

I could just get an hvac but I don't see us ever forking out the $ for the attic work,separately, and I know it should be done. The attic must be done to get rebate so may as well do it.

I hope you can see I am moving toward a decision. I don't want to bother getting more prices. I trust this co and now want to get the best deal that is reasonable from them. Just really wondering at this point how much wiggle room there might be on the Amana set up. The carrier is 2k more and I just don't see the value in it.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 9:39AM
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Have you calculated your annual heating and cooling costs? You should do this. I am fairly sure you are going to be dissappointed when you compare this year's cost with next few years. You are not going to get the energy savings your energy auditors are claiming.

You realize you are funding the zero percent financing? No one is giving out free loans. It is built into the price.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Mike is exactly right about the financing and potential payback.

But it must be said, it is easier today to get zero percent financing on nearly everything today assuming you have good credit. Money is cheap. But qualifying may be problematic depending on the credit standards for the program.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Mike, I do not believe I will save as much as they claim but I should save something right?

I know the whole incentives are built in and that is why the high costs. I believe I am getting some benefit, though not nearly as much as advertised.

I suppose I could just go fairly basic and cheap....and not insulate or get more eff, but the system is old and does need replacing, so I figure I am stuck paying in the neighborhood of 9k here in NJ for just a high eff hvac without the program. Does that sound about right?
Those who have paid less got lower efficiency.

If I can get away with 11-12k including the hvac, sealing, r19 additonal insul, power vent .63 hot water heater and financing then I think it is better deal than paying 9k for just hvac. Am I getting an amazing deal? No.

I will sit down with a calculator . One company did do some calc based on savings of 25% and it was avg savings of 71.59 with payment of 83 for financing. I want to confirm he didn't add up all my bills and that he took some off for tv, lights, clothes dryer, etc.

Still do find 25% hard to believe but it would be great!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 12:33PM
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I agree interest rates are at historical lows and borrowing money is cheap right now. It is tempting to borrow money for items you may not need. Everyone has to make their own personal financial decisions.

I guess I am don't care for the way this NJ Clean Energy program works. You are going to throw away a 9 year old hot water heater so you can buy a new one which requires electricity to operate. Personally I think this is wasteful and not very green. The attic sealing and additional insulation will help lower energy costs. You are not going to get a 25% savings. I would be surprised if you got even 10%!

If you think the finances make sense to go with the NJ Clean Energy deal, then go for it. But I get this bad feeling when a contractor tells you it will cost an additional $1500 to upgrade an AC condenser to a heat pump. Either he does not want to be bothered installing a heat pump, or he is looking to take advantage of a customer who is trying to use the program.

Please keep us posted. I want to see how this turns out in the end.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 1:34PM
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utility companies are ok with helping
the consumer to save 15-20%

they just don't want to save you more.
or rather their stockholders don't want
you to save more.

is anyone going to seal the ductwork
or do any air sealing of the house?
mastic & caulk are cheap and have a huge
effect on comfort & savings.

I forget...there have been sooooo many

I talk to a guy on another forum who
is still waiting to get on as an auditor
for NJ utility program.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:09PM
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Energy-rater, They will air seal the attic and basement and add insulation. I have no ducts in the attic and they say the basement ones don't need it. The utility is paying the rebate, but the hvac company is jacking up the price and making extra profit because they can still offer me a decent price. it's my opinion they are price jacking. The only proof i have is that nobody in the neighborhood has paid as much as I have been quoted for the hvac portion. I don't know what a good air sealing and insulation co would charge.

I can see that the utilities wouldn't want my bills to be too low!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 9:12PM
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"I can see that the utilities wouldn't want my bills to be too low!"

Incredible comment!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 9:22PM
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