bryant furnace/AC replcmt and contractors-please help!

squidsNovember 1, 2009

I called several contractors recommended by Checkbook and received quotes on Carrier and Bryant systems. I've narrowed the search to 2 contractors, both selling Bryant. But I am confused and I don't know which contractor to believe.

All estimates, except one, were based on looking at our current system, a 25yo furnace w/ a cracked heat exchanger. Unfortunately, we just replaced the coil last year. The one estimate that did not look at our current unit before the estimate was done by a contractor (#2) who was referred to me as we went to high school together. He felt comfortable in knowing what our house needed and when I asked him later why he quoted the model he did, he said he never looks at what currently is installed to do a quote, since what is installed may not be correctly sized. He felt for certain that what we have now is way too much for our house.

No company did a manual J load estimate, but I would insist on one before purchasing the final equipment. I just need to know which direction to go in, if you know what I mean, and make sure I am not selecting equipment that is too much for our house. I've read some other postings and am getting confused on how to tell which system has var spd blowers, how many stages, etc. All systems quoted are eligible for $1500 tax credit. I'm leaning toward the 95% system, because I think we can make up the cost difference in energy savings, but I am posting all info to give a better picture on what quotes we received.

Currently:

Bryant 397HAW036100ACBA

3884C56241

~1800 sq ft front to back split level in Montg Cty Maryland. House built in '57 with little insulation in walls. There are some storm windows, but most are single paned. We've added insulation in the attic, and updated some insulation and windows in the kitchen (lower level on slab) but that is not nearly enough to make a dent to remedy cold spots in the house.

These 4 systems were quoted by contractor #1 (after I requested he quote the lower BTU model so I could compare apples to apples.) I will also post his original quote. Either way, both quotes are more $ than contractor #2. I had already canceled out the Legacy as an option.

167ANA036

315AAV048090

CNPVP4821

180ANA036

315AAV048090

CNPVP3621

167ANA036

355CAV042080

CNPVP4821

187ANA036

355CAV042080

CNPVP4821

and contractor #1's original quote:

Preferred line

315AAV060110

167ANA036

CNPVP4821

Evolution line

315AAV060110

180ANA036

CNPVP3621

These 4 systems were quoted by Contractor #2 (he did not mention what coil) This was a last minute appointment, as I had already had several estimates when a friend mentioned to me about this person. This contractor sat down with us and explained the most info of all the contractors, and also hand wrote down his numbers. I would ask for a more formal quote if we do decide to go with him, to make sure we are getting all we need.

180ANA036

315AAV048090

180ANA036

355CAV048090

167ANA036

315AAV048090

167ANA036

355CAV048090

I appreciate any guidance and clarification!

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tigerdunes

squids

I will offer my opinions.First Bryant is very solid equipment. It appears you have been quoted both the 80% eff and 95% Evolution furnaces. Great equipment. You do want the Evolution controller-no substitute please. For your area/climate, I see nothing wrong with the 80% eff furnaces(315AAV)-as long as they are paired with appropriate heat pump/evap coil. If you do not pair with heat pump, then go with 95% eff furnace(355CAV). As far as condenser line, stay with Preferrred 15 series, AC and HP "H" model.

either way, you do want to take advantage of Fed Govt Tax Credit.

80% eff Evolution Furnace with qualifying HP

3107587 Active Systems PREFERRED 15 PURON HP BRYANT HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS 265ANH036-A CNPV*4217A** 315(A,J)AV048090 35000 12.50 15.00 35400 8.50 21400

3496618 Active Systems PREFERRED 16 PURON HP BRYANT HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS 266ANA036-A CNPV*4821A**+UI 315(A,J)AV048090 34600 12.60 15.50 37000 9.10 22200

95% Evolution Furnace with Preferred AC condenser
1390145 Active Systems PREFERRED 15 PURON AC BRYANT HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS 165ANA036-B CNPV*4821A** 355(A,C)AV042080 35400 12.90 15.00

3485032 Active Systems PREFERRED 17 PURON AC BRYANT HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS 167ANA036-A CNPV*4821A**+UI 355(A,C)AV060080 36800 13.00 16.50

IMO
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 9:44AM
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squids

Thanks for the prompt reply, Tigerdunes!

We've pretty much decided on the 95% Evo for the furnace, but I'm not clear on the differences in the models. You show two different model numbers: 60080 and 42080 and 355A or 355C. Is it just the sizing/profile or are there other differences? I went to the Bryant website to compare models initially, but have not been able to find specific model info, such as a spec sheet.

This morning my husband said he doesn't see a need for a 3 stage A/C, but would like the 2 stage. I did notice that the Preferred A/C is rated just a bit quieter than the Evo model, though I'm not clear on the differences between the 165 and the 167 models. I'm also not clear on the differences between the Evo models 180 and 187. I always like to know why something is recommended and I do see you prefer the Preferred over the Evo A/C, so was just wondering why, and if you know anything about the other differences as well.

Thanks for your assistance!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 10:16AM
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tigerdunes

squids

if you are not considering a HP paired with 80% eff VS furnace, then look at the newly introduced two stg Performance 17 AC condenser. It appears this condenser will replace the Evolution 17 AC condenser. Check the numbers. mighty impressive.

3485145 Active Systems PREFERRED 17 PURON AC BRYANT HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS 167ANA036-A CNPV*4821A**+UI 355(A,C)AV042080 36800 12.90 16.50 1 RCU-A-CB 241

3485032 Active Systems PREFERRED 17 PURON AC BRYANT HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS 167ANA036-A CNPV*4821A**+UI 355(A,C)AV060080 36800 13.00 16.50 1 RCU-A-CB 241

as stated above, you do want the Evolution controller. It is pricey but worth it.

ask dealer about the furnace mdl number difference. this is more about blower rating size. either would be fine and both are listed as matching AHRI configurations.

IMO

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 10:57AM
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carrolljd

Hi Squids, I'm glad you found what you wanted. I don't know if we are allowed to mention contractors here but I'm also in MoCo and lookking at a Bryant/Carrier. I have also been through Checkbook and am looking at only the companies who are checkmarked for both quality and price and who are not sole practitioners. Can you give me the phone number, if not the name, of the company you settled on and the reason you did?

Also, how did you decide to do Bryant over Carrier?

Thanks.

Jane

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 12:27PM
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squids

Hi Carrolljd,

I went with contractor #2-not only was he significantly lower in price all the way around, I felt comfortable that I wasn't being oversold. When I asked further questions I was able to determine that contractor #1 had actually padded the estimate with a longer guarantee, but neglected to mention that we would be paying a higher price for that guarantee. I would have preferred the option whether to choose that additional guarantee or not. I can email you the info if you contact me directly. We have been happy with our system so far--which is saying a lot with this cold weather of late!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:53AM
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