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AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Included

Posted by bentleyvt (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 1, 11 at 17:50

Hi! This forum has already taught me so much, and I was hoping for specific advice to my situation.

New homeowner, 1 year to be exact, Central Virginia location, 2400 sq. foot 2-story home built in 1982. The 4-ton York A/C unit and Gas Furnace (in garage) are originals...29 years old! Gas bills were in the 170-250 range during winter months, and summer electric bills are around 160-200.

When I bought the house, I knew it was only a matter of time before the HVAC needed replaced based on their extended lives. I went with a home warranty the first year, and this year I elected to go with an "Equipment Breakdown Coverage" Policy via my homeowners insurance. $40/year but $500 deductible.

Last Friday the A/C shut off and tripped the breaker, no life once we flipped the breaker back on. After a technician came out, they diagnosed the problem as the compressor was locked up and the unit would need to be replaced.

I've had a few different companies come out and give quotes, and they have been all over the place. Two highly recommended companies and two reputable companies.

All companies have recommended that I replace the A/C with a heat pump and replace the gas furnace at the same time. I'm trying to look at it from a monetary standpoint but also mindful of reliability and quality. Is it necessary to replace all things at once?

After talks with the insurance company, I am thinking they will cover $2500-3000...and I can use that with whatever company for whatever system.

Would it make sense to just replace the A/C with another standalone A/C so that insurance covers most (except $500 deductible and anything I spend to get a above par model)? Then when the furnace goes out, do the same with that?

From what I understand, if I would want to upgrade to a heat pump, then I would need to replace my gas furnace....is that true?

Would it make sense to upgrade to a heat pump and new gas furnace all at once?

Thanks for any input - I'll post the quotes later tonight if I get time!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Since your furnace is 29 years old, it does not make sense not to replace the furnace at the same time. Doing it now will save some money on the installation, and allow you to buy a matched system. A dual fuel system may make sense. You need to look at the relative costs of natural gas and electricity.

I recommend you get the cash option from the warranty company and begin the search for a good HVAC installer.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Mike - thanks for the reply, thats exactly what the HVAC companies have said...but of course, they are selling a product too.

I still plan to keep my equipment breakdown policy, so would it be wise to replace the A/C for the 500 deductible, and then wait for the furnace to go bad and then do the same?

Or is it that important to buy a complete system? I'll post the quotes in a few...I believe these quotes are a little outrageous because they now I'm out of A/C in the middle of summer!


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Recommended Installer 1:
- System 1 -
Heat-Pump - Trane XR13 R-410A
Furnace - 95% 120K BTU Single Stage Up-flow Horizontal Left Furnace
Thermostat - HD Color Display Honeywell Prestige - dont need it that nice!
- 5-ton Trane Cased Coil
- 3/4 x 3/8 50 ft.
- Free Maintenance for 2 years
- Reconnect Gas Pipe at unit
- PVC Vent to outside wall
- Radius T Fitting for Ductwork
- Return Plenum
- U-fitting for Ductwork
- Haul-away old unit
- Condenser Pad
Total Cost $7,808

- System 2 -
same as above, but Trane TUH2D - 95% 120k BTU Varible Speed Upflow Horizontal Furnace
Total Cost $8,908

- System 3 -
same as system 2, but with the Xl 15i Heat Pump
Total Cost $10,869


Recommended Company #2
- System 1 -
AC - 4-ton Lennox 13ACX Condenser
Furnace - Lennox 93% Merit
Thermostat - Honeywell Focus Pro 5000
Essentially the same as the other company for the extras and install
Total Costs $8,372

- System 2 -
XC14 Condenser
90% Dave Lennox Signature Collection Furnace
Total Cost $9,956


Other Company
- System 1 -
4-Ton Carrier Base Series 13 Seer
Infinity Series 2 stage Gas Variable Speed 90k BTU - 80%
Edge Thermostat
Flush line set
auxiliary drain switch
Total Costs $5,091

- System 2 -
Carrier 4 ton - Comfort Series 15 Seer...same as above for everything else
Total Cost $5,970

I haven't started the negotiation process, but I hope there is decent wiggle room.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Are you saying it will only cost you a $500 deductible to replace your AC condenser? What is the equipment and who will do the installation? Does this include a new line set and coil? Do you have a cash option?

I would be leary of the insurance company handling the replacement. They are going to go with the cheapest soultion possible. I recommend getting the cash and finding a good HVAC contractor.

You could wait on the furnace if you think the insurace company is going to pay out on 29 year old equipment. I would be concerned what will happen when the old coil is dismantled from the furnace. What if something bresks? Who is responsbile? Will the insurance company cover the cost of replacement?

If you go this route, I suggest you select a matching furnace now so you know exactly what you should get when the time comes.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Bentley

Change everything now.

95% var speed two stg furnace paired with 15 SEER AC

Or

80% var speed two stg furnace paired with 15 SEER Heat Pump


To your quotes

clearly installer #1 seems intent on grossly oversizing you on furnace.

Company #2 System 1 is quoting low end Lennox with a premium price.

Other Company-CarrierSystem #2

I like this best with the following exceptions.
You would want the Infinity controller, Carrier tin plated coil, box filter. I want to see mdl numbers for everything and change condenser to 15 Seer Comfort heat pump model.

IMO


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Mike - I have an Equipment Breakdown Policy coverage, the deductible is $500. They will give me the cash to repair the part or replace the unit, whichever is cheaper. Since it is a very old, I've been told it would be cheaper to just replace the unit. Insurance has initially said $2000-3000 most likely.

So essentially, I could replace the A/C for just the deductible. But will I need to replace coils on the furnace with just an a/c replacement?


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Bentley

Yes.

The evap coil must be a match to your new outside condenser regardless what your decision is.

IMO


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

The more I think about it, the more I feel you should replace the furnace now.

Speak to your insurance company about getting money for the furnance. Most reputable HVAC contractors will not want to take on this job without replacing everything. Too many things could go wrong, and they don't want to be responsbile. Tell the insurance company you are having a hard time getting quotes for a condenser, coil, and line set only replacement. Perhaps you can negoiate a deal.

Please consider a furnace has more parts that can be replaced. Once it does, the insurance will want to pay for the replacement part, and you will need to pay for $500 deductible each time. This could cost you more out of pocket money than paying for the furnace now.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Thanks TigerDunes & Mike, I really appreciate you taking the time to offer your expertise.

I guess the truth is that the A/C unit shouldn't/cant be replaced with just another in its place without changing the coils on the furnace. For that reason, I'm going to try and see if the HVAC company will argue that point to the insurer and see if I can get any compensation for the furnace.

What are you guys thinking about the quotes...how much should a brand name heat pump and furnace cost in the Mid-Atlantic area? I'd like to get a good feel for what it should cost for negotiating purposes.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

It is difficult for anyone to estimate prices for your area. You are free to post prices and people can give their opinions. Don't fall in love with the cheapest guy.

Good HVAC contractors don't negoiate their prices. This is especially true when they are busy. You may turn off some contractors with negoiating a lower price. They will think you are shopping many contractors and wasting their time.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

It seems the other company that gave the Carrier quotes is the one too go with since their pricing is reasonable. Pricing of the other company's is high in my opinion.

Definitely go with the heatpump over the straight A/C. I would ask the other company for the 15 seer model heatpump version of the A/C they quoted.

Since your furnace is 29 years old, I think its wise to replace it now. Another well instaled system might last another 29 years and save you money on repairs and utility bills.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

I think that you need better details from your insurance. I would be surprised to hear that they will cover more than the cost of the compressor as that is the only part that has failed.

All the 'savings' numbers I see using a heat pump do not include the extra cost of buying and maintaining the 410A hardware. Your old compressor would not have lasted 29yrs if it was also used as a heat pump (maybe 15 at best).


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

I think a heatpump coupled with a gas furnace can last more than 15 years. The idea is to use the heatpump during the mild temperatures. I would say 35 and above. In these situations your not going to get endless runs. It will stop running.

In a heatpump only situation where this isn't a gas furnace - that will take serious time off the life of the outdoor unit. I think the heatpump can provide better comfort in these 35 and up situations by running the longer cycles of warm air compared to the short cycles of the gas furnace. The gas furnace when above 35 doesn't always heat rooms fully.

29 years out of an outdoor unit likely required repairs over the years to keep the unit going.

What brand was that old 29 year old system? Im sure its well past its prime.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Thanks for all the input, I found another authorized trane dealer in my area, I'm going to try and get a quote from them tomorrow so I can try comparing like for like.

The owner of company one has agreed to come out and look at the gas furnace and the "system" to see if there is anything else to claim. It seems like, if you have to change the furnace coils with an AC/Heat pump replacement, you should get part of the furnace costs covered too. But I bet the insurance will say they will pay the replacement part costs, which will be lower than any combination of systems.

I dont know what I'm really going to decide. I could be in the house 5-10 years...if its the latter, I'd see my payback, but not necessarily in 5 years. If I already have good ductwork, is the installer still that much more important? Does Company 3 from above with the Carrier models sound like an ok deal?

Worth a try, but I need to get something finalized this week...going on 9 days in a hot, muggy June.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

I would ask company 3 with the Carrier models to provide a 1 or 2 year free labor contract included in the price. That will give them extra incentive to do the job right so they are not returning to fix their mistakes.
Installers are very important - but it doesn't mean that installers charging less than the highest dollar are bad.

Their is alot of HVAC installers out there that are licensed and do good work and work independently and have reasonable prices. The most expensive installers are typically the big-name ones that have the name recognition that helps them give high prices and people accept these bids. I was once given a 6,000 estimate for a goodman heatpump consensor and coil and new lineset and t-stat. With that type of profit that guy could afford to spend all week or longer doing the install.

Make sure installer 3 with the carrier stuff is licensed. Ask him how long he's been doing this. As long as he's licensed and been doing for a few years I would let him do it.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

A proper installation is key to the system working properly. You are unlikely to get a good installation from the low priced bidder.

I am biased towards Carrier equipment, but I am skeptical of the Carrier contractor. In one quote he proposed a Base condenser (bottom of the line) with the Infinity furnace (top of the line). This is a strange combination. He then proposed flushing the line set which should be replaced unless it is extremely difficult.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Since my last update, I've received a few more quotes from companies I looked up and they seem high too. Also, the owner of company 1 came out and said it should definitely be a 4-ton unit.

He gave me a quote for a :
- 4-ton Tran XR13 Condenser
- 95% 100k BTU Variable Speed Upflow Horizontal Left Furnace
- Prestige Thermostat (says its much better and only slightly more expensive than having to get a 'dual-fuel kit'??)
- Replace lineset, and the whole nine yards
Total Cost: $7,972

But...when he gave me the price sheet, we had discussed the price being for an XR13 Heat Pump. In today's phone call he said he'd do the heat pump for that price too, it was his mistake. He actually offered it up real quick...to the point that I'm wondering how high IS his price?

Is that price for the furnace and heat pump a good deal? I'm thinking about calling tomorrow to maybe see if we can make $7k work. If not, offer $7500 and hope they will meet in the middle.

I also heard back from my insurance/warranty co. and they said they would pay $3,821 for repairs/replacements because that's the cost to replace with a straight a/c unit and replace coils on the furnace too. I can use that money as I wish.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

He should really take $7,000 with the heatpump upgrade and maybe upgrade to 14 seer outdoor unit.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Well...I did a little negotiating and ultimately I got:

Trane XR13
TUH2C100A9V4VA furnace
4TXCD043BC3HCA 4-Ton Trane Cased Coil
10 Year Parts, 1 Year Labor, 10 Year Compressor
Ductwork Transition
Radius T-Fitting for Ductwork
Haul-away old stuff
Condenser Pad
New refrigerant lines
Prestige Comfort w/ Remote
Box-in under stairwell, current unfinished with return vent in floor

Total Cost: $7500

I hope I'm getting a fair deal, I know I am paying more of a a premium for a few reasons, quality company, quality brand, and its summertime and I dont have A/C! Let me know what you think about my system!


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

bentley

this is a 4 ton AC or HP condenser?

I like Trane but it has to be said in a nat gas furnace/condenser configuration the efficiency numbers are very disappointing especially considering the VX95 var spd furnace. Typical for Trane though.

The pricing you are receiving is very good. This is an authorized Trane dealer?

if 4 ton condenser, then the evap coil listed is not an AHRI certified match. I would definitely follow up with dealer on this point.

I personally think the 100K furnace is oversized and suggest you also ask dealer if there is an 80K model with 4 ton rated blower. That would help you on operating costs.

Are you adding a whole house air filter cabinet? you should.

IMO


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Its a 4-ton XR13 Heat pump - 4TWR3048A1000A. Is the coil I quoted a match for the HP?

I'm only going to live here somewhere between 5-10 years, so I didnt want to buy the biggest and baddest, but I did want quality.

I'm glad I got a good price, they actually quoted me for a A/C unit instead of heat pump and I noticed the mistake and they said they'd eat the difference. One thing we did do to lower costs is not go with the 'U-Fitting' or 'Return Plenum'. My understanding is that they can help with airflow efficiency, but he said it wouldn't compromise the system to leave those off. We arent doing a whole house air filter cabinet because he says we don't have the room. The Dealer is member of BBB, Trane Comfort Specialist, NATE Certified, and BPI Certified.

My previous furnace is a 144K furnace and all the quotes were for 90-100k. I wouldn't think 100k would be too oversized considering from what I'm coming from...


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

I would tell them you want matched units and demand defrost along with a TXV (thermostatic expansion valve) instead of a piston type orifice.
This will probably push you into the 15 seer range but the comfort level and savings you will gain from a 13 seer piston with timer defrost to the 14-15 seer txv demand defrost are probably the two of the biggest money saving and comfort yielding upgrades to be had for the money from 13-20 seer.

Variable speed blower is also a very nice upgrade.

Replace both systems without a doubt.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Bentley

First I think a 95% eff furnace paired with a HP is overkill for your location/climate.

For the 4 ton XR 13 HP, your dealer is quoting the wrong coil. The only matching coils are the following:

4TXCC049BC3. AHRI #4563408

4TXCD050BC3. AHRI. #4563434

The efficiency numbers on the HP can only be described as poor.

What about the whole house air filter cabinet that I asked about?

Ask dealer if the XV95 comes with a 4 ton rated blower in an 80 K size.

IMO


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Well the furnace is 29 years old too. They recommended a 95% efficiency furnace because if its any less, then I would need a chimney inspection and potentially a new liner.

On the coil, the guy has quote a 4TXCD050BC3HCA but he crossed it out and wrote 4TXCD043 - 21 wide. He also changed the measurements from 26.9H x 24.6W x 21.5D to 21W. I'm not sure how to question that...is there some place online I can find where it says what coils should match?

Would you put more money into it upgrading the HP? They've said that the HP + V/S furnace will actually see improved SEER performance than just 13.

I chose the HP because we do have a lot of the winter above 30 degrees, so I thought that made sense.

One contractor quoted me for a Home Media Filter but this contractor said its impossible, there is no room for it.

Still haven't signed anything yet, so still looking for your opinions.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Well the furnace is 29 years old too. They recommended a 95% efficiency furnace because if its any less, then I would need a chimney inspection and potentially a new liner.

On the coil, the guy has quote a 4TXCD050BC3HCA but he crossed it out and wrote 4TXCD043 - 21 wide. He also changed the measurements from 26.9H x 24.6W x 21.5D to 21W. I'm not sure how to question that...is there some place online I can find where it says what coils should match?

Would you put more money into it upgrading the HP? They've said that the HP + V/S furnace will actually see improved SEER performance than just 13.

I chose the HP because we do have a lot of the winter above 30 degrees, so I thought that made sense.

One contractor quoted me for a Home Media Filter but this contractor said its impossible, there is no room for it.

Still haven't signed anything yet, so still looking for your opinions.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

I like the idea of the 14 seer heatpump over the 13. It shouldn't cost much extra.
I"m glad your going with the heatpump over straight a/c. Wise upgrade. Since natural gas is currently less expensive, and you will be having a 95% gas furnace > I would make your switchpoint from heatpump to gas at 35 or 40. I wouldn't go down to 30.

Variable speed fan is nice. Just verify the indoor coil with have a txv. It does make a difference in efficiency.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Bentley

The 4TXCD50 coil is a match;the 43 coil is not and should not be considered. This would be for the XR13 regardless if straight AC or HP.

You can go the AHRI Directory and look it up.I provided you AHRI matching number for the only coil selections.

Well here is old HP proponent. he doesn't know your electric rate or nat
gas rate to determine any financial benefit to the HP over straight AC. He just makes a blanket endorsement.

I would dbl check with dealer about the XV95 in an 80K mdl with a 4 ton
rated blower. The 100K model is oversized.

You will need an outdoor sensor for best dual fuel operation.

How do you currently filter your return air-1" filters? I would want
salesman to show me why a 5" filter cabinet can not be installed. Not only do they filter air for improved indoor air quality, they also provide better protection for the VS blower ably as well as the evap coil.

I've laid it out for you. don't know what else I can add.

IMO


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

We know the Op is in Virginia. I"m pretty sure they have reasonably priced electric. Lots of people have heatpumps in that state because of their milder winters and reasonably priced electric so it makes sense.

Its important to mention the heatpumps so people become aware they can be upgraded over just regular A/C.

There are loads of people in Pennsylvania and other states with reasonable electric rates still heating with oil and replacing A/C's without upgrading to a heatpump.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

VA's rates just went up a bit, I think, to around $0.10-$0.12/kwh. The rates just went into effect and I have not seen the new tariffs.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Some updates...

Thanks to everyone's help, I've questioned the dealer on many of the items you all asked.

They said they misquoted the coil and that for that set-up, it would be 4TXCD050BC3HCA.

I also questioned why they said the system would get greater than 13 SEER when AHRI said it wouldnt. No answers, but they said I could upgrade to the Xl15i for $1000 more (with 4TXCC008 coil). I remembered from their earlier quote that the Xl15i system comes with a Trane Comfortlink thermostat - when I brought that up, she concurred and said I could upgrade to the Xl15i at no cost difference...I would just get the Comfortlink vs. the Prestige with remote. Total $7500

Good deal now??


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Since I am going to be paying with check...I asked what kind of discount I could get vs. credit cards...they said 3%. Thats better than any CC rewards!

Looking forward to a brand new system tomorrow for $7275! I feel like I've come a long way from their original estimates!!!


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

Bentley

So exactly what did you decide on?

What mdl condenser? AC or HP?

What mdl evap coil?

what mdl thermostat?

Did you ask your dealer about the XV95 furnace 80K mdl with 4 ton rated blower?

What about the filter cabinet? If not this, then 1" filters at return?

Post back.

IMO


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

My compressor also went 1 1/2 weeks ago. I was not too upset at first because I was leaving to go to the Cape. However, I cannot stand the heat since coming back and I finally broke down and had a HVAC guy come out. It is the compressor as we thought. The freeon is full. The label on the outside says it was made in 1989 so I guess at 22 years old it lasted well. We bought this house 2 years ago and it seems everything has recently started to need to be replaced. We will be having our roof done soon. Anyways, my question is also whether I should just replace the compressor or update to a new energy efficient a.c.. The a.c. we have now is a HEIL. My furnace (oil) is a thermo pride and I believe it was replaced in 2007. The house was built in 1984. It is a raised ranch with a up and down in-law that does not run off this furnace (it has its own gas furnace). There is also a lower level apt. that is also seperate with it's own furnace (oil). However, my apt. space and the lower level tenant share the same oil tank. We only have central air. The in-law and lower apt. do not. I think my a.c. unit is a 1 ton. The service man quoted me $800 inclusive to put in a new compressor. He also said he had an old ? 6 years model a.c. (not just the compressor)that he recently took out of someones place when they updated theirs for a more energy efficient one. He said he'd give me a 1 year warranty and it would cost $5oo.oo for this used one. I did not ask for a quote on a new one because we need the money for the new roof He is suppose to be calling me back to let me know for sure the age of the old unit. Any advise would be appreciated.
Sue


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

The $7,275 quote is for:

4-Ton Trane XL15i Heat Pump - 4TWX5049E1
4-Ton Trane 4TXCC008CC3 Coil
Trane 95% V/S Furnace - UH2C100A9V4
Trane Comfort Link Thermostat - TZONE950AC52ZA

Boxing in under stairwell (currently not sealed properly)
New copper refrigerant lines
PVC Vent to side wall
Ductwork Transition
Radius T Fitting
Condenser Pad
Lifetime Heat Exchanger
12-Year Compressor Warranty
10 Year other parts warranty
1 year labor warranty
1 year free maintenance

I did not ask dealer about 80K furnace, all estimates I received were 90K or greater...current system is 144K...

Like I said before, this installer said that a Home Media Filter would not fit in his design. It is kind of cramped between the fireplace cinder blocks and a half walk in my garage - I think he may be right.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

I would pull the trigger on that deal for sure.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

bentley

here's a perfect example of Trane and why their components individually are much better than the efficiency numbers of the system itself.

3937935 Active Systems XL15I WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWX5049E1 4TXCC008CC3 *UH2C100A9V4 46000 11.50 14.50 46500 7.70 30600

for the HP proponent, how about that 7.7 HSPF heating efficiency? poor is the only description that comes to mind.

you are using 1" filters at your return grills for protection of blower and evap coil?

IMO


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

7.7? My old 13 seer builders grade tempstar/ICP system pulled better numbers than that and I sold it on craigslist and upgraded to a 15.


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RE: AC went bad...should I replace whole old system? Quotes Inclu

TigerDunes...sorry, I don't really understand all the various numbers that grade the systems. I had been told before that its good to get a system as a whole, instead of piecemeal it together. And I have read that Trane is a top quality manufacturer...so thats why I went with a whole Trane system.

I'll be able to compare electricity and gas bills and see the difference the new system makes.

Yes, I think there is only one inch filters on the furnace/blower. I haven't experienced any air filters with holes in them, so I don't think things that would hurt it would get by the air filter - if thats what you mean by protecting them.

Installation is going smooth so far. XL15i is a monster compared to my old unit...5 feet tall. The furnace seems much smaller than the old unit. Thermostat isn't on yet but is a nice 7 inch screen.


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