Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
jkelley9

Need advice on replacement HVAC system

Note: This thread is 929 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

45 posts / 5692 viewsLast Reply

Recommended Posts

This is something I struggle with on a regular basis. I'm 28 years old and I look like I'm 18. My wife and I make very good money and have nice things. I have a good idea about how most mechanical and chemical things work as I'm a chemical and biomolecular engineer and I do not have a desk job. I work in a chemical plant as a process engineer and troubleshoot on a daily basis getting my hands on equipment/parts and such. I say this because I have a very difficult time dealing with contractors that come to my home (home inspector, plumber, HVAC, electrician, etc). I have no preconceived notions that I know more than they do. Especially when it comes to HVAC stuff. I didn't go to school for that stuff and a lot of these guys work with units day in and day out for years. I've have to be an idiot to think I knew more than they did about it. But time and time again (I think because of my age and how old I look) I get a major stink eye and EXTREME price gouging. I'm always courteous and I never correct them on anything because frankly I do not have the experience. But often times it's blatantly apparent I'm being taken for a complete sucker. You should hear some of the things. And if I go the other route and (while still being courteous and respectful) try to ask informed and relevant questions it's like they completely shut down and can't handle it, and will basically get all agitated (yes, I'm completely serious).

I have a 2600 sqft home, 2 stories. I have a 2-ton ac and furnace packaged unit for the downstairs and a 2-ton split ac system also with furnace for the upstairs.

Our home is 16 years old and I'm sure it's on it's way out. We had a $500 electric bill last month. And my AC upstairs hasn't been able to bring the temperature down to set point. At times it's working it's hardest and it cant get below 80F near 6:00pm on a hot day. 

I had an HVAC contractor come in today and basically told me everything was in "terrible" condition and about to blow up, essentially. Then quoted me $12,000 to replace both units. The units he quoted were Goodman re-branded Comfort Maker "Plus" units, both 2-ton, 14 SEER, 80% AFUE. He even told me that those units were re-branded Goodman brand units so I'm not even making any assumptions.

Now I do believe I need to replace these suckers soon. But I didn't expect him to come in at almost the price of a new car. He then did some sales pitch nonsense such as trying to sucker me into thinking I'll be saving $200-300 per month because my bill should never be more than $250 so $250 x 12 mo/yr = $3,000 every year that "I could have put towards new units." Except the high months are summer-only............ you know..... when it's hot. I do believe I'll save $200/mo those couple of months. But that was a ridiculous calculation if I'd ever heard one.

I asked him how long it would take to install both units. He said "a full day's work."

So then I went to Google of course. And found that sites like comfort.com, alpinehomeair.com, acwholesalers.com, etc sell AC units... and the Goodman units with the exact same specs are:

Upstairs: 2-ton 14 SEER Split AC unit with furnace @ 80% AFUE = $1,500 with free shipping

Downstairs: 2-ton 14 SEER Gas/Electric (AC+furnace) packaged unit = $1,900 with free shipping

So that totals to a whopping $3,400 (before tax of course).

My calculation here is say $1,000 ($125/hr x 8 hr labor) + $3,400 parts + $680 (+20% markup) = $5,000 ish. 

Of course, these are the original manufactured Goodman units without the re-branding, heck they may not even be as good. They may be half as good as a Trane or Carrier. I don't know enough about it or the industry as a whole. But where the HECK is the extra $7,000 coming from??? For the price difference here I could replace the freaking unit every 4-5 years and come out ahead. I could replace almost every component in the units every few years and still come out ahead.

Can someone please, please, please help me understand this?

I'm completely open to the fact that there may be something glaringly missing from my thought process and understandings of all of the components to make this replacement happen. Maybe those units don't come with all the parts and pieces I need or something (but I don't think that's the case...)???

I always DIY when I can. I'm educated in how compressors, furnaces, blowers, drives, condensers/heat exchangers, evaporator coils, refrigerant systems all work. I work with these systems and calculations in my job on a regular basis, primarily for chemical unit operations. However I'm not an idiot and don't want to assume I can do it myself and blow myself up, or fry a breaker/panel, or do anything illegal (like making a gas connection or charging/discharging the refrigerant). Just because I know the theory and calculations doesn't mean I can handle this install myself.

I really need some clarity on this mega huge purchase for our home. It would be extremely appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

7 minutes ago, jkelley9 said:

This is something I struggle with on a regular basis. I'm 28 years old and I look like I'm 18. My wife and I make very good money and have nice things. I have a good idea about how most mechanical and chemical things work as I'm a chemical and biomolecular engineer and I do not have a desk job. I work in a chemical plant as a process engineer and troubleshoot on a daily basis getting my hands on equipment/parts and such. I say this because I have a very difficult time dealing with contractors that come to my home (home inspector, plumber, HVAC, electrician, etc). I have no preconceived notions that I know more than they do. Especially when it comes to HVAC stuff. I didn't go to school for that stuff and a lot of these guys work with units day in and day out for years. I've have to be an idiot to think I knew more than they did about it. But time and time again (I think because of my age and how old I look) I get a major stink eye and EXTREME price gouging. I'm always courteous and I never correct them on anything because frankly I do not have the experience. But often times it's blatantly apparent I'm being taken for a complete sucker. You should hear some of the things. And if I go the other route and (while still being courteous and respectful) try to ask informed and relevant questions it's like they completely shut down and can't handle it, and will basically get all agitated (yes, I'm completely serious).

I have a 2600 sqft home, 2 stories. I have a 2-ton ac and furnace packaged unit for the downstairs and a 2-ton split ac system also with furnace for the upstairs.

Our home is 16 years old and I'm sure it's on it's way out. We had a $500 electric bill last month. And my AC upstairs hasn't been able to bring the temperature down to set point. At times it's working it's hardest and it cant get below 80F near 6:00pm on a hot day. 

I had an HVAC contractor come in today and basically told me everything was in "terrible" condition and about to blow up, essentially. Then quoted me $12,000 to replace both units. The units he quoted were Goodman re-branded Comfort Maker "Plus" units, both 2-ton, 14 SEER, 80% AFUE. He even told me that those units were re-branded Goodman brand units so I'm not even making any assumptions.

Now I do believe I need to replace these suckers soon. But I didn't expect him to come in at almost the price of a new car. He then did some sales pitch nonsense such as trying to sucker me into thinking I'll be saving $200-300 per month because my bill should never be more than $250 so $250 x 12 mo/yr = $3,000 every year that "I could have put towards new units." Except the high months are summer-only............ you know..... when it's hot. I do believe I'll save $200/mo those couple of months. But that was a ridiculous calculation if I'd ever heard one.

I asked him how long it would take to install both units. He said "a full day's work."

So then I went to Google of course. And found that sites like comfort.com, alpinehomeair.com, acwholesalers.com, etc sell AC units... and the Goodman units with the exact same specs are:

Upstairs: 2-ton 14 SEER Split AC unit with furnace @ 80% AFUE = $1,500 with free shipping

Downstairs: 2-ton 14 SEER Gas/Electric (AC+furnace) packaged unit = $1,900 with free shipping

So that totals to a whopping $3,400 (before tax of course).

My calculation here is say $1,000 ($125/hr x 8 hr labor) + $3,400 parts + $680 (+20% markup) = $5,000 ish. 

Of course, these are the original manufactured Goodman units without the re-branding, heck they may not even be as good. They may be half as good as a Trane or Carrier. I don't know enough about it or the industry as a whole. But where the HECK is the extra $7,000 coming from??? For the price difference here I could replace the freaking unit every 4-5 years and come out ahead. I could replace almost every component in the units every few years and still come out ahead.

Can someone please, please, please help me understand this?

I'm completely open to the fact that there may be something glaringly missing from my thought process and understandings of all of the components to make this replacement happen. Maybe those units don't come with all the parts and pieces I need or something (but I don't think that's the case...)???

I always DIY when I can. I'm educated in how compressors, furnaces, blowers, drives, condensers/heat exchangers, evaporator coils, refrigerant systems all work. I work with these systems and calculations in my job on a regular basis, primarily for chemical unit operations. However I'm not an idiot and don't want to assume I can do it myself and blow myself up, or fry a breaker/panel, or do anything illegal (like making a gas connection or charging/discharging the refrigerant). Just because I know the theory and calculations doesn't mean I can handle this install myself.

I really need some clarity on this mega huge purchase for our home. It would be extremely appreciated!

Specific thoughts: My house in SoCal, 2500 sq feet, needed a 4 ton unit, it was roughly $5000 to replace. Furnace was still okay. So similar to yours in sq ft, cooling requirement, etc. Maybe since you need 2 smaller units it would be a little more, but you wouldn't think more than $1000 more. And unless the unit you buy is gold plated, manufacturer prices should be more or less similar, there's competition there too. Just cause it says Trane or Carrier doesn't mean the air is colder. Get a home warranty for maintenance, if necessary.

General thoughts: Professionally I learned to get (at least) 3 independent written bids on every large project, and I made a point to tell the bidders that I would be getting 3 bids, so they knew they had competition. Which bid you choose is up to you. But just because you look young is no reason, people try to rip anybody off that they can.

Get at least two more written bids from legitimate HVAC businesses. Just don't be in a hurry to choose, and make sure everything makes sense. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

20 minutes ago, MrFlipper said:

Specific thoughts: My house in SoCal, 2500 sq feet, needed a 4 ton unit, it was roughly $5000 to replace. Furnace was still okay. So similar to yours in sq ft, cooling requirement, etc. Maybe since you need 2 smaller units it would be a little more, but you wouldn't think more than $1000 more. And unless the unit you buy is gold plated, manufacturer prices should be more or less similar, there's competition there too. Just cause it says Trane or Carrier doesn't mean the air is colder. Get a home warranty for maintenance, if necessary.

General thoughts: Professionally I learned to get (at least) 3 independent written bids on every large project, and I made a point to tell the bidders that I would be getting 3 bids, so they knew they had competition. Which bid you choose is up to you. But just because you look young is no reason, people try to rip anybody off that they can.

Get at least two more written bids from legitimate HVAC businesses. Just don't be in a hurry to choose, and make sure everything makes sense. Good luck!

Thank you, I appreciate the response. Especially since you've had a system replaced yourself, that's helpful. And yea I'm not in a rush. It's now off-season and my units are functioning. All my units still "work" but I think it's the upstairs AC condenser (actually the compressor mostly) that is causing a much higher load than normal and thus, a higher electricity cost. 

I do always get more than one bid, always 3 or more as you said. I actually do a lot of project work for my company and this is very routine for me; specc'ing, quoting, purchasing, etc. 

But seriously, even when they know I'll be getting more than one bid for the job they don't budge. 

I have a very recent example of this: The aluminum flashing had fallen off one of the end of one of the trusses on my roof and I would have had to rent a telescoping ladder and a brake to fold the aluminum and do it myself (which I've done before) so I figured I'd just pay a little more and have someone else do it. I was even willing to make the job a little bigger and do the whole side of the house so it all color-matched. I got 6 bids. All were around $500-700. Insane. I went to my operations manager and we laughed about it together and I explained how I always have this problem. Fortunately he put me in contact with the siding/roofing guy that we contract at our plant and the guy was totally honest with me and said "yea that's literally a 30 minute job, I'll swing by one day when I'm on another job and knock it out for your for $100." He wasn't kidding, it literally took him 20 minutes I think. I was happy to pay him the $100 even for 20 minutes of work. Honestly I would have paid $200 or more.

So I'm trying to go that same process now with connections at work. I'll talk to some more folks at work tomorrow and make some calls to some guys that do business with us so that I can HOPEFULLY get a reasonable quote. Unfortunately we don't have an on-site licensed HVAC guy/gal. We contract that out, everything from our building AC to control room AC/diagnostic system/DCS integration, up through our 200 ton ethylene glycol process chiller lol.

I'm hoping someone here on these boards has maybe gone through this process of getting quotes and "working them down" and really finding out the true cost of installation. Someone that's a better negotiator than I and naturally fetches more respect from these guys lol.

Edited by jkelley9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I do HVAC and plumbing for a living (project manager/estimator).  There is no way 8 hours of labor covers for the install of 2 furnaces and AC systems.  I would estimate the labor to be closer to 60 hours. Possibly more if new lineset needs to be installed.

Also, don't put to much stock in the large name brands (carrier, Trane, York, etc.) A lot of the added costs comes from the name and advertising.  Our company has been installing Goodman product for about ten years. They are just as reliable (possibly more) than any other unit.

Hit me up with any other questions.  I do believe there is certainly some crooked contractors out there.  Many times the disconnect comes from talking to someone that is a good mechanic, but not so good with business/communication skills.  I know we have some excellent techs that can have a difficult time (at times) talking to the customer.  Some of them just want to fix/install stuff, not worry about customer relations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

8 minutes ago, 14ledo81 said:

I do HVAC and plumbing for a living (project manager/estimator).  There is no way 8 hours of labor covers for the install of 2 furnaces and AC systems.  I would estimate the labor to be closer to 60 hours. Possibly more if new lineset needs to be installed.

Also, don't put to much stock in the large name brands (carrier, Trane, York, etc.) A lot of the added costs comes from the name and advertising.  Our company has been installing Goodman product for about ten years. They are just as reliable (possibly more) than any other unit.

Ah good, that confirms and makes me feel better about going towards Goodman. 

When you say 60 hours do you mean for a new install? This would just be a replacement of existing units; as I like to call them: "replacements in kind." Assuming no duct work or anything needs to be cleaned/redone (which I don't believe, filters were changed regularly in the house). I know there's a decent amount of electrical and hookups and whatnot but does it really add up to 60 hours...? 

Thanks! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Just across the board in SC, after the crazy floods I had the following done by one of the more reputable contractors:

- American Standard 3.5 ton package unit, 14 Seer with the bells and whistles (variable fan, etc which is mega important to us so there's no artic blast)

- All duct work replaced in house

- New thermostat

- New Vapor barrier

Done for $8,700 with a 10 year warranty.  Installation was a full days worth for a crew of six.  

I was able to talk them down from the initial price of $9,500 b/c I found two different contractors who were cheaper on the exact same unit and then cheaper on the duct work.  I may have also gotten a sympathy natural disaster discount along the way. :)

I ended doing 5 quotes and tossing the 2 folks who came to the house and quoted me with no measurements nor really looking at what the issues where.    They offered not as good quality brands and were dead set against the package unit simply because we had an old split system (which was rusting out due to humidity and mositure). 

I probably spent close to 40 hours doing research, talking with them, etc before we got the right contractor to take care of it.    Once I was comfortable with the contractor, I made sure to get all of the other ones in the running to quote the unit I wanted. 

Can you go to Lowe's and get a quick quote for their bulk installer?  That's a quick and easy way to get a reference point. 

Edit:   Think HVAC quoting can be a pain,  roof quotes was a gazillion times more painful and way way more variable for the samething.  Some of my quotes were 3x others for the exact same product, warranty, installation. 

Edited by 101101

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, 101101 said:

Just across the board in SC, after the crazy floods I had the following done by one of the more reputable contractors:

- American Standard 3.5 ton package unit, 14 Seer with the bells and whistles (variable fan, etc which is mega important to us so there's no artic blast)

- All duct work replaced in house

- New thermostat

- New Vapor barrier

Done for $8,700 with a 10 year warranty. 

I was able to talk them down from the initial price of $9,500 b/c I found two different contractors who were cheaper on the exact same unit and then cheaper on the duct work. 

I ended doing 5 quotes and tossing the 2 folks who came to the house and quoted me with no measurements nor really looking at what the issues where.    They offered not as good quality brands and were dead set against the package unit simply because we had an old split system (which was rusting out due to humidity and mositure). 

I probably spent close to 40 hours doing research, talking with them, etc before we got the right contractor to take care of it.    Once I was comfortable with the contractor, I made sure to get all of the other ones in the running to quote the unit I wanted. 

Can you go to Lowe's and get a quick quote for their bulk installer?  That's a quick and easy way to get a reference point. 

Holy crap. Yea that's what I'm talking about! for $8,700 you got a MUCH larger unit than one of mine (comparable to my 2 units though), all duct work (which I don't think I'll need and certainly wasn't in the quote), a vapor barrier which isn't easy work, and a thermostat to boot (that I also don't need since I have 2 wifi color-and-everything honeywell units)

... so mine was quoted for $4,000 MORE just for a pull and replace job (simply put, even though I know it's much more work than that in reality).

Edited by jkelley9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Just now, jkelley9 said:

Ah good, that confirms and makes me feel better about going towards Goodman. 

When you say 60 hours do you mean for a new install? This would just be a replacement of existing units; as I like to call them: "replacements in kind." Assuming no duct work or anything needs to be cleaned/redone (which I don't believe, filters were changed regularly in the house). I know there's a decent amount of electrical and hookups and whatnot but does it really add up to 60 hours...? 

Thanks! 

Yes, it actually does. The majority of the time there is some duct transitions that have to be fabricated and installed.  The new units will almost certainly not be the exact size. Gas piping, venting, condensate drain piping, main power, control wiring (t-stat), all needs to be modified/reconnected to both furnaces. AC linesets need to brazed back together, vacuumed, and charged with refrigerant.

Think of the time to just simply demo, remove, and physically place the new pieces of equipment in place. Most mechanical companies (ours does) pay there employees from the time they arrive at the office. They may have 2 hours of labor per tech to load up and travel before they have even started. 

I am not sure why he would have told you one day, unless he planned on putting quite a few guys there (which is not that efficient). I would have said 2 or 3 days depending on how many techs I have available.

FWIW, $3000 (for my area anyway) is fairly average price for the replacement of a furnace or AC system. As you are replacing 4 systems (2 furnaces, 2 AC), the $12,000 total is probably right where I would be.

One thing you may want to ask your contractor about is sizing. Two story homes have a higher cooling need on the second floor, but less heating needs. Maybe he could bump up the AC size and downsize the furnace a bit for the upstairs.  There is only just so much you can do with that though. Smaller furnaces (btu) have smaller blowers (cfm).  Larger AC needs larger blowers.  I would think you could at least bump it up to a 2.5 or 3 ton though.  Quite often (especially if the 2nd floor is fairly open to the lower), the upstairs AC actually cools the whole house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Just now, jkelley9 said:

Holy crap. Yea that's what I'm talking about! for $8,700 you got a MUCH larger unit than one of mine (comparable to my 2 units though), all duct work (which I don't think I'll need and certainly wasn't in the quote), a vapor barrier which isn't easy work, and a thermostat to boot (that I also don't need since I have 2 wifi color-and-everything honeywell units).

Not to mention, if you has the ductwork done then that probably means you had to bring all the elctrical and connections all the way to your unit which is a large part of the cost as well (I'm assuming a fresh install?)

... so mine was quoted for $4,000 MORE just for a pull and replace job (simply put, even though I know it's much more work than that in reality).

There was some seriously creative work by the installers :)  

My old crawlspace door was repurposed for the main duct which let them avoid moving the electrical and all of those costs.   They moved the crawlspace door to the back of the house which was awesome now I don't trip all over my sewer pipes when I go in.  All of the serious bidders mentioned the ease of the job for the duct work which went into the pricing.  I've got about 4.5 feet in my crawl space and the way my attic rafters they were able to zip around. 

But yeah,  get multiple quotes.  I had a few that didn't even get in the door when I asked for a general price on the the unit. 

I did get the serious upsell from contractor about zoning my house which is where I think he was banking on recouping some of the money but we ended up settling for the duct work to be designed in a manner for which we could zone later (two stories, 2200 sq ft).    We were so happy with everything that we're actually considering doing it if my wife's work doesn't relocate her later this year. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know too little about HVAC to give specific advice, but I've had some very high quotes with both a central air system and a high efficiency boiler (with the plumbing already in place). High enough that I would never reach any sort of return on the investment.

As far as contractors, ask friends or co-workers who they'd recommend. Like any other profession, there are honest ones and others who are less so.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

We're having ours redone this Friday.  Just from reading the gobbledegook on the estimate (it's all foreign to me), we're getting a 4 ton Bryant heating and air system with filter base and digital wifi thermostat, 16 seer ac, 2 stage heater, for $7600.

We got one other independent estimate that was fairly comparable.

Wife also gets head start on contractors for this kind of stuff through a local moms Facebook group she belongs to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

1 hour ago, jkelley9 said:

It would be extremely appreciated!

I can give you some insight to the process replacing the systems. First, the old refrigerant must be pumped out of the system. Next, the lines can be cut at the outside condensing unit and at the indoor coil. Next, electrical can be disconnected at both outside and from the furnace. Now the old outside unit can be removed. Then the furnace can be demo'ed. The supply duct and return ducts will be disconnected in a manner required for furnace and coil removal. Pending location and ease of access, the contactors only remove the ducts necessary to allow for new connections to be installed. Sometimes the new equipment matches the size of older systems, but usually there are different. Also, the furnace venting is removed. The old furnace and coil are now ready to remove.

Now comes the fun part. The new furnace and A-Coil are set in place. Next the contractor should measure new duct pieces for the supply and return. Then the mechanic orders the pieces from the shop or in most cases returns to the shop to make them.

Often it's a two man  with a third helper, one will most likely stay and re-install new refrigerant lines and the electrical service. He may need to install new PVC pipe if you purchase a hi-efficient furnace. Also, the hot water are usually vented with older furnaces and will require a change in the pipe work. A third helper is often used and helps when needed and does clean up.

It will take a couple of hours for the new ducting to be fabricated. When the worker returns they work diligently to install the material. Also, other components like air filter section, humidifiers, electric air cleaners are common and may need re-work or replacement.

Total replacement in one day (8-hours) is really pushing it. My experience was typically 10 or 12 hours to do a job in a craftsman like manner with attention to details.

Also a contractor will need to charge for the initial sales call, purchase and delivery of materials, removal and discard of old equipment and billing. They sometimes try to sell follow up service calls (maintenance/warranty) or other accessories.

Start up and operations should be checked for both ac and heat.

I've been retired and out of the business for several years. I would suggest getting three estimates from local contractors. Also check their locations as you will be charged travel time, so the closer located contractor may be a lower cost.

Also, name brand equipment make equipment (contractor grade) cheaper products. I typically would offer customers options and describe the differences. For the most part, the better grade furnaces are very quite. Efficiency of all equipment are really based on the ducting installed. Outer insulated wrap, sealing of every connection and size and routing are all factors.

Since you live in NC, your heating bills should be less then northern areas but most likely you AC costs are higher.

Cooling upper levels is a real challenge to contractors trying to first route proper size ducts to upper levels and getting cool air to longer duct runs. I often tried to use two systems for multi levels or install zone systems.

Asking questions was never a problem, I often gave customers a full description about product and installation procedure.

A quality contractor should provide any information and answer any and all questions.

I once had a customer who had so many questions, I finally said to him "it's not Rocket science" He promptly told me he was a Rocket Scientist and worked at the Areo Space division in Denver. Lol

Anyway, 12K sounds very high. Call on other local contractors for estimates.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

9 hours ago, jamo said:

Did they break out labor and hardware individually on the quote?

No, he said he would but he didn't. One unit was like $6,200 "installed" and the other was $5,800 ish "installed"

7 hours ago, Club Rat said:

I can give you some insight to the process replacing the systems. First, the old refrigerant must be pumped out of the system. Next, the lines can be cut at the outside condensing unit and at the indoor coil. Next, electrical can be disconnected at both outside and from the furnace. Now the old outside unit can be removed. Then the furnace can be demo'ed. The supply duct and return ducts will be disconnected in a manner required for furnace and coil removal. Pending location and ease of access, the contactors only remove the ducts necessary to allow for new connections to be installed. Sometimes the new equipment matches the size of older systems, but usually there are different. Also, the furnace venting is removed. The old furnace and coil are now ready to remove.

Now comes the fun part. The new furnace and A-Coil are set in place. Next the contractor should measure new duct pieces for the supply and return. Then the mechanic orders the pieces from the shop or in most cases returns to the shop to make them.

Often it's a two man  with a third helper, one will most likely stay and re-install new refrigerant lines and the electrical service. He may need to install new PVC pipe if you purchase a hi-efficient furnace. Also, the hot water are usually vented with older furnaces and will require a change in the pipe work. A third helper is often used and helps when needed and does clean up.

It will take a couple of hours for the new ducting to be fabricated. When the worker returns they work diligently to install the material. Also, other components like air filter section, humidifiers, electric air cleaners are common and may need re-work or replacement.

Total replacement in one day (8-hours) is really pushing it. My experience was typically 10 or 12 hours to do a job in a craftsman like manner with attention to details.

Also a contractor will need to charge for the initial sales call, purchase and delivery of materials, removal and discard of old equipment and billing. They sometimes try to sell follow up service calls (maintenance/warranty) or other accessories.

Start up and operations should be checked for both ac and heat.

I've been retired and out of the business for several years. I would suggest getting three estimates from local contractors. Also check their locations as you will be charged travel time, so the closer located contractor may be a lower cost.

Also, name brand equipment make equipment (contractor grade) cheaper products. I typically would offer customers options and describe the differences. For the most part, the better grade furnaces are very quite. Efficiency of all equipment are really based on the ducting installed. Outer insulated wrap, sealing of every connection and size and routing are all factors.

Since you live in NC, your heating bills should be less then northern areas but most likely you AC costs are higher.

Cooling upper levels is a real challenge to contractors trying to first route proper size ducts to upper levels and getting cool air to longer duct runs. I often tried to use two systems for multi levels or install zone systems.

Asking questions was never a problem, I often gave customers a full description about product and installation procedure.

A quality contractor should provide any information and answer any and all questions.

I once had a customer who had so many questions, I finally said to him "it's not Rocket science" He promptly told me he was a Rocket Scientist and worked at the Areo Space division in Denver. Lol

Anyway, 12K sounds very high. Call on other local contractors for estimates.

 

Thanks for the detail. It sounds like this guy just wasted my time other than maybe explaining what was going bad "everything," but even then maybe he's just trying to sucker me. Like I said, everything is technically working. Heat is not a problem throughout the house and the AC only struggles upstairs. Downstairs can cool down really fast. I understand that the upstairs is more difficult to cool but I'm just saying... the system is working.

Our production manager here has given my contact info to a good friend of his who owns an HVAC company that he uses. He said he's already called the guy and to cut the BS lol. 

Also, some of the operations guys around here say that one of our E&I techs who I work with on a regular basis and is VERY good knows how to hook these units up and may even be HVAC certified. So there's the possibility of being able to buy these units and pay him for his time and I can be his helper. Everything I've read on all of the connections and such (PVC, copper pipe, electrical) I've all done before, most on several occasions. I'm also very familiar with how control boards and such work and are wired.

Also, apparently the Goodman units come with a full installation manual. So I'm really leaning towards the "do it yourself" route now. I'm totally okay with paying people to do work especially when it's guaranteed (since DIY is a lot of risk) but if we're talking a 3rd the price overall.... then I could mess it up 3 times and still be in the same wheelhouse lol. And the added benefit of learning something new, which I always love. 

Thanks again for all the help y'all. I really appreciate it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

8 hours ago, Golfingdad said:

We're having ours redone this Friday.  Just from reading the gobbledegook on the estimate (it's all foreign to me), we're getting a 4 ton Bryant heating and air system with filter base and digital wifi thermostat, 16 seer ac, 2 stage heater, for $7600.

 

8 hours ago, Club Rat said:

 

Anyway, 12K sounds very high. Call on other local contractors for estimates.

 

 

High?  Did you see Drew is paying $7600 for one system?  The $12,000 price was for two complete systems installed.

 

11 minutes ago, jkelley9 said:

No, he said he would but he didn't. One unit was like $6,200 "installed" and the other was $5,800 ish "installed"

Thanks for the detail. It sounds like this guy just wasted my time other than maybe explaining what was going bad "everything," but even then maybe he's just trying to sucker me. Like I said, everything is technically working. Heat is not a problem throughout the house and the AC only struggles upstairs. Downstairs can cool down really fast. I understand that the upstairs is more difficult to cool but I'm just saying... the system is working.

Our production manager here has given my contact info to a good friend of his who owns an HVAC company that he uses. He said he's already called the guy and to cut the BS lol. 

Also, some of the operations guys around here say that one of our E&I techs who I work with on a regular basis and is VERY good knows how to hook these units up and may even be HVAC certified. So there's the possibility of being able to buy these units and pay him for his time and I can be his helper. Everything I've read on all of the connections and such (PVC, copper pipe, electrical) I've all done before, most on several occasions. I'm also very familiar with how control boards and such work and are wired.

Also, apparently the Goodman units come with a full installation manual. So I'm really leaning towards the "do it yourself" route now. I'm totally okay with paying people to do work especially when it's guaranteed (since DIY is a lot of risk) but if we're talking a 3rd the price overall.... then I could mess it up 3 times and still be in the same wheelhouse lol. And the added benefit of learning something new, which I always love. 

Thanks again for all the help y'all. I really appreciate it!

 

You certainly can go the DIY route.  A couple of things to keep in mind.  You would need someone that is certified to handle refrigerant at the least.  Another big thing is warranty parts.  I believe it can be difficult to go through Goodman's warranty system if you are not a contractor.  If you really can do it for a third of the price, it may be worth it to you.

I also lean toward (most times) the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" route.  If your only problem is AC on the second floor, try to look at ways to block off the two floors.  That way all the hot air from the 1st is not going up there, and the 2nd floor system does not have to try to cool the whole house.  Could also need a good service/cleaning.  That is something you could try to tackle yourself.  Get some coil cleaner (different types for indoor coil and outdoor), and clean the condenser coil and the A-coil.  I have seen many times that make a huge difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I don't think the price if that far off for 4 systems, but I would want to see labor and equipment split out.  I also agree with @14ledo81 that you should consider a larger unit for the upstairs.  

When I built my home in VA I went with a 2 ton unit in VA and from the day it was brand new it had trouble cooling the upstairs down to the set temperature in the heat of the summer.  You don't want to have too large a unit but I'd look at at least 2.5 ton for upstairs.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

1 hour ago, 14ledo81 said:

You certainly can go the DIY route.  A couple of things to keep in mind.  You would need someone that is certified to handle refrigerant at the least.  Another big thing is warranty parts.  I believe it can be difficult to go through Goodman's warranty system if you are not a contractor.  If you really can do it for a third of the price, it may be worth it to you.

I also lean toward (most times) the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" route.  If your only problem is AC on the second floor, try to look at ways to block off the two floors.  That way all the hot air from the 1st is not going up there, and the 2nd floor system does not have to try to cool the whole house.  Could also need a good service/cleaning.  That is something you could try to tackle yourself.  Get some coil cleaner (different types for indoor coil and outdoor), and clean the condenser coil and the A-coil.  I have seen many times that make a huge difference.

Good, this makes me feel better, thank you. I do believe I can handle most of this job. I'm always looking to learn new stuff anyways. It's one of the things that drives my wife crazy... so why stop here! (lol) 

I agree with you when it comes to if it ain't broke don't fix it. I don't think I'm going to touch the downstairs system yet. And for the furnace upstairs I'll leave it alone for now as well. I think I'll try to tackle just the upstairs AC system for now.

I also agree that I will not be handling the refrigerant. I'll have someone certified/licensed to do that. In NC (and maybe everywhere?) I think there's actually a law against handling refrigerant even if it's on your own property and you own the unit. You'd know more about it than I would, but I think it has something to do with the greenhouse emissions and stuff and the refrigeration certified folks have been "informed by the EPA" of the risks and such and to minimize release to the environment.

What's actually interesting is that my upstairs unit has very good pressures on the refrigerant side. He says it's not leaking or anything but he did say the coil in the attic (inside) is in "pretty bad condition." He said the compressor in the outdoor condenser is tripping out on overload (which was my original diagnosis anyways, because it would kick out HARD [loud] often during a hot day even without reaching set point inside on the tstat). I would hear it happen when I was doing yard work and stuff. Also, he said the refrigerant return line coming off the condenser should be cold, and it wasn't. 

I'll need to have something figured out in the 1-2 months before the outside temps drop below ~60F and I won't be able to test the system if I do choose to install it. Otherwise I may just put it off until early Spring (and more time to get my ducks in a row).

I'm going to do a lot of research and maybe even buy an HVAC book. I feel like I can do this work myself for under $5k including all of the extraneous parts/pieces I'll need to make the connections. That's a long jump away from $12k. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Note: This thread is 929 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...