Geothermal (GSHP) replacement
My almost 80-year-old mother's house was built in 1998 with a Waterfurnace GSHP. The blower motor seized a couple of weeks ago. The service tech who replaced it (over $800? Seriously?) said the compressor was cycling on and off because it was drawing too much current. There's also a leak at one of the hose connections to the circulation pump and the pump is pretty badly rusted (though it still seems to work OK).
He's suggesting a totally new system rather than a new compressor, says system efficiency is better now, she'll get a tax credit, and so on. So, OK, we let them do a bid, and we had a couple other installers bid too.
Two of the bids are very close in price, right around $11k - $11.5k.
One is for a 4-ton Climatemaster Tranquility TT30 with "auxiliary hot water heater" (DSH?), brass twin pump, and 15kw backup. According to Climatemaster's web site, this is a 30 EER, 4.8 COP unit.
This is from an installer over an hour away who didn't even come to the house! I have no idea how he knew how to size the system, unless maybe he somehow had the info on her system on file. I suppose it's possible these were the people who did the original installation, but that's a total WAG. But the distance away and their reluctance to actually visit makes me very leery about these guys.
No warranty is stated on the estimate.
The second bid is for a 4-ton Carrier 50YDV049. This is rated for 16.2 - 27 EER and a COP of 3.6 to 4.6. It includes DSH, new 15kw backup heat strips, new thermostat, and "new sump kit with dual pumps."
Their warranty is 10 years parts, 5 years labor.
The last bid is from a more or less local contractor, who mom didn't much like because she says "he kept trying to push all kinds of add-ons." I wasn't there when he visited, so I don't know what that's all about, but I assume he was just overly pushy.
That bid is a couple thou higher, $13.8k for a Geostar Aston (they spelled it "Ashton") 4-ton with DSH and aux heat (no power stated), new thermostat, et cetera. This is also a 30 EER, 4.8 COP unit. I don't know whether the extra 2k is justified or not for this.
Same warranty as above, 10yr/5yr.
I suppose the cheapest route is to put a new compressor in the old Waterfurnace, which IMO should have lasted longer than 15 years. However, as I said, the circ pumps are also rusted from the leaking hose connection above them (gotta start checking the stuff in her basement more often), so they might have to be replaced too.
1. Do you think it's worth the extra money for a brand new system, or would you say "fix the Waterfurnace and put in new pumps if you have to"?
Keep in mind that she's getting up there in years. The scrawled-estimate guys are offering 36 month no interest financing. However, with her retiree's low-AGI tax, it'll probably take her 4 years to use up the tax credit, and (I hate to say this), who knows whether she'll still be living there then.
2. Are these - Carrier, Climatemaster, and Geostar - all good brands and models? Does one have a spectacularly worse or better reliability record?
3. Is the Geostar Aston worth ~2k more than the other two?