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Central A/C Unit Help

Posted by Uxbridge (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 27, 13 at 8:08


I've just purchased and moved into a new home (3,106 sq. ft.) north of Toronto, Canada, that has:

- central air roughed-in (all ductwork is existing)
- south facing exposure with lots of windows (mainly south/north - not direct sunlight)
- very good insulation
- cellular binds on windows that also provide some insulation

Our summers here don't go much higher than 30+ degrees celsius at hottest points - and even when it does get that hot, it's usually for a day or so. Our warm weather can go from June to September, at best.

I recently went to a home show and was recommended some of the more recognized brands: Carrier, Lennox, Trane and York. I was told that I will need either a 3-ton or 3.5-ton unit. It was explained to me that the higher the SEER, the more efficient/less energy consumption the unit. Of course, as the SEERs increase, so does the price.

I am familiar with Lennox because the builder of my former home (half the size of new one) installed that brand. In 8 years, I had no problems/complaints with it but I also don't know any details about it like model/seer, etc.

The estimate I got for a Carrier unit was the lowest. Trane was the most expensive. One person I spoke to said York has the toughest construction (where coils are housed).

I'm hoping that someone(s) has some advice, recommendations for me. I'd greatly appreciate the help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Central A/C Unit Help

The first advice is make sure the AC has been sized properly. The contractor needs to measure the area of floors, walls, windows, and determine the insulation values of the exterior walls and attic. This information will determine the heat gain of the house. A size of 3 to 3.5 tons sounds about right for your house, but you want to make sure since you have never had AC. A unit that is too big is as bad as a unit which is too small.

You also need to find a contractor who will do a good installation. This is the most difficult part for the homeowner. I usually recommend looking for companies which are factory authorized dealers which are small enough for the owner to be personally involved in the installation. The contractor also needs to verify the existing duct work is properly sized for the equipment. The AC will never work properly if the duct work is too small or poorly installed.

Trane and Carrier are considered two of the best brands. Lennox and York are a notch lower, but still very good. These companies offer several models from low end equipment to top of the line. When shopping prices you need to do an apples to apples comparison of the models between brands. The quotes should list the model numbers of all equipment and all work which will be done.

You will get comments if you post the details of your quotes.

RE: Central A/C Unit Help

Thank you for your response!

I've got a guy coming tomorrow. He's offering a 16.5 seer Performance Series Carrier for $3,100. That's including tax and installation plus a free humidifier (+ $100 rebate from Carrier, making it $3,000). The model one lower with 15 seer is $2,700 - $100, same deal as above.

He quotes the Trane equivalent with 16.5 seer at $3,400 + tax.

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