Looking at new system - confused with quotes

Haver99September 18, 2013


I'm replacing a 16 year old Trane system, heating and A/C. The existing condensor is a 5 Ton unit, and the heater an 80% 120,000 unit. Both run fine, but I'd like to upgrade the equipment before it breaks down, get more fuel efficient equipment, etc. The house is in Philadelphia, is 3100 sf, with a bit of a temperature difference between the 1st and 2nd floors, particularly in one room. I've received 3 quotes so far, with two relatively close, and the 3rd significantly higher. Two of the contractors ran load calcs, and have confirmed that I should stick with a 5 ton compressor, and 100,000 BTU (@95%) heater. Here's what I have so far:

Quote 1 - American Standard - $9900 ($8500 after rebates)
Gold XI 16 seer 2 stage 60,000 BTU AC (Model 4A7A6061H1)
Gold ZM 100,000 BTU 95% direct vent 2 stage variable speed gas furnace (Model AUH2C100A9V4)
American Standard 16 seer evaporator coil (TXCD063)
Use the existing Honeywell 8000 thermostat I have
Install a new line set, pressure test and triple evacuate system (I need to ask him about this as the existing line set is behind drywall)
Reconnect to existing supply and return ducts
Reconnect existing Aprilaire 600 humidifier and Aprilaire 5000 air cleaner
5 year parts and labor warranty along with standard equipment warranties

Quote 2 - Trane - $8400 ($7400 after rebates)
XV95 Two Stage furnace 100,000 BTU (model TUH2C100A9V5VA), includes drip pan
XB16 15 seer XB16, 60,000 btu a/c (model 4TTB6061A1)
Indoor cased A-coil model 4NXCD063BC3
Trane programmable 2 stage heat and cool thermostat
Ductwork transitions to suit new equipment
5 year labor warranty along with standard equipment warranties

Quote 3 - Carrier - $13400 ($11800 after all rebates)
Performance 96 two stage furnace, 100,000 btu (model 59TP5A100E2120)
Performance 17 two stage a/c, 60,000 btu (model 24ACB760)
Evaporator coil CNPVP6024
Honeywell Prestige IAQ
Install all new vertical ducting and new supply plenem ducting
Install new Honeywell large fan powered humidifier
Furnace mounted on a base return box (existing system doesn't have this) and drip pan and water alarm
Whole house suppressor, condensate trap
Nitrogen used to flush lines, and during brazing, as existing lines used
Standard equipment warranties, will provide labor if we have them do annual maintenance

The last person seemed to know really know his stuff, but he also made it sound like the other guys were cutting corners, not doing things correctly. I'm in no rush to have this done, and am not fishing for the lowest bid, but I would like to do it right. Appreciate any input on both the equipment as well as what type of things I should look for in an installation.

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I will defer to someone currently abreast of new split residential systems to rate them because I deal with commercial pack units primarly. I do have a couple of thoughts in general. It doesn't help discussing bids with competiors during inital bidding. Near the final desision sometimes asking the contractor you like best to add a consesion offered by a competior might be ok. By the same reasoning,a contractor shouldn't disparage another unless they suspect outright deception or fraud. The old lines can only be used if properly sized for new equipment. It does sound like you are doing your homework so that puts you ahead of most consumers.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:08PM
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Some observations.

Did you get the load calcs for both heating and cooling in writing on the software letterhead? I would like to know what they showed. What design temps were used for both heating and cooling, inside and outside?

Throw the Carrier quote away. More expensive and not even a var speed furnace.

The AmStd and Trane quotes are similar except for outside condenser. Ask Trane dealer to upgrade the XB16 condenser to XR17 condenser. I assume both plan to reuse your air filter and humidifier.you need a true two stage thermostat with either system. Both Dealers plan to provide new refrigerant linesets?

What plans if any do dealers have to improve temperature difference in one room?

Pst back.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Thanks so much for the feedback. The load calcs were software based (on laptops, no letterheads). I used the online tool, however, and they were pretty comparable to what I came up with.

Agree on the XR17, I was expecting to go back to him about that. Both would use the existing air filter and humidifier, so assume I'll need the HW IAQ in both instances?

With respect to the new line set, it's a great question. The existing line set is behind drywall, so I'm assuming that the plans were to flush and test the existing line set. Quote one says replace, but I'm not convinced he really thought this through. I'm actually not averse to cutting the drywall to get to it - I'm pretty handy with drywall, so if it was worthwhile replacing, I'd be willing to do it.

Plans to alter the temperature in the one room would occur after the new equipment was installed, likely working with the dampers near the furnace as all the ductwork is behind drywall, even in the basement. This was the argument from the Carrier guy to replace the vertical ductwork. He claimed than increasing the size of the supply (currenty 24"x10"?) and using a base box return would improve things. In fact, he claimed that not using the base box return with a new heater is against manufacturer instructions. He was the most specific about balancing the system, including coming back and using foam inserts in specific rooms if necessary.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 1:22PM
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What were the numbers on the load calcs?

I agree about the HW VP IAQ stat, WiFi model if that has any interest to you.

With respect to lineset, if existing is correct size then I see no reason not to have it flushed. But if not, it should be replaced new with correct size. Then you can do your expert sheet rock repair. Suggest you review with both quoting dealers.

You have adequate returns in your home on each floor?

Don't like the idea of waiting on that one room temp difference. At least find out what dealer has in mind. Should be to enlarge existing supply or add another supply. I want to know the plan now not later.

You have damper supply control to each floor? If not, have it added.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 1:39PM
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This may be the first time I somewhat disagree with Tigerdunes. From the quotes you received and the data the Carrier guy gave you, He is the guy you want to work with. He is correct about the sizing of your ductwork. I would be he is upping it to 24 x 12. This will allow you to get the full 2000 CFMs of air at a .1 friction loss. And in all fairness, he is offering a lot more goods/services for the added cost than the other two are. You can now start negotiating better equipment.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:17PM
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If I recall correctly, the a/c came in at just under 60,000, the heat came in at 90,000.

I don't have damper supply control currently, the American Standard dealer did suggest that as an option. The Carrier dealer did stress that the revised ductwork at the furnace would improve the CFM's, simply because the fan wouldn't have to deal with as many elbows near the furnace, which apparently degrade the CFM's rapidly.

That was the thing that has me up in the air. He seems like he's more thorough than the other two dealers, but he also bordered on "criticizing" anyone that didn't do it his way, and he was charging a 50% premium for this. He didn't quote infinity systems, but based on a neighbor's system he installed and a throwaway comment he made (before he gave me the quote he said "I think we're looking at $12k-$16k"), I know he'll come in at around around $15,000, which seems excessive.

This post was edited by Haver99 on Thu, Sep 19, 13 at 14:54

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:41PM
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For the previous poster

I lost confidence in the Carrier dealer when I saw the furnace he quoted. Wrong model furnace. Plus there was the price difference.

"Install all new vertical ducting and new supply plenem ducting
Install new Honeywell large fan powered humidifier
Furnace mounted on a base return box (existing system doesn't have this) and drip pan and water alarm "

It is not clear to me the added value for the added cost. Certainly there is the question of whether a new humidifier is needed or not. Since I can't see the job, I have to give my best advice on the info provided.


This post was edited by tigerdunes on Thu, Sep 19, 13 at 15:24

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 3:16PM
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I am skeptical of the load calculations. These seem high for a 3100 sq. foot house in Philadelphia. I would think a 4 ton AC and a 80,000 BTU furnace would be adequate. I feel none of the contractors want to sell you equipment which is smaller than what you currently have.

Can you get a copy of the load calculations?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 3:29PM
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@ mike

From what I can gather form his postings, he has a bad ductwork design and is only getting 4 tons worth of performance our of the 5 ton unit. Duct is too small and has multiple fittings right off the unit.

@ Tigerdunes

Good catch on the wrong units.

These prices are really subjective since none of us are actually looking at the project. I estimate for a living and will be damned if I'm short on labor hours. I have been doing this too long to work for practice..........I do this to make money. IMO a premium is due for quality work.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 3:48PM
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For the OP

If you have multiple turns in your supply and return lines, it would be wise to have these smoothed out.

I would ask both the Trane and AmStd dealers if your ductwork is sized correctly especially for 5 tons of cooling which would be 2000 CFMs of cooling.

I am skeptical also of the load calculations.i would compare the two you were given very carefully. My best advice is to run a load calc yourself. Yes it will take a little time and cost you a little money. Well worth it though.

If interested, I can provide you a link.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 5:40PM
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TD, a link would be greatly appreciated. I appreciate everyone's feedback.

I'm planning to go back to the AmStd and Trane dealers to clarify the duct issues, as well as what their plans are with respect to the line set. I'm also hoping to get one more Trane quote as well.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Load calc link

Here is a link that might be useful: Residential Load Calc

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 12:34PM
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