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Central AC or Heat Pump or other options for new system? Recommendations please

Central AC or Heat Pump or other options for new system? Recommendations please

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  #1  
Old 08-06-18, 08:27 PM
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Central AC or Heat Pump or other options for new system? Recommendations please

Hi
I live in an area where the summer months usually are not over the 80's but lately there have been extremes. There have been days of 95 degree plus temperature here many times this season .

My 1400 sq foot townhouse already has a central gas furnace and ducting but it does not have air conditioning. So far I have not bothered to install air conditioning (have been just using a fan and open windows morning and night on warmer days), but I feel that it is time to install an AC system.

What are my options? Should I install a regular central air, or a heat pump or a ductless split system (I would prefer not to have an indoor unit in each room so a split system would be my last choice unless there are great advantages to it)

1. Costs to install central air / heat pump / split - pros and cons. I have no idea how each system works

2. What brands are the best and most reliable AC system? My gas furnace is a Ruud system and it was installed in 2014.

3. Electricity/Gas costs -

4. Some neighbors have warned that there have been condenser vandalism in the area (for theft of copper i guess). Is it a good idea to get a cage or some sort of locking thing to prevent the outside condenser from being vandalized for copper?

5. Any other considerations
 
  #2  
Old 08-06-18, 09:01 PM
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Stick with the three year old gas furnace and have a coil installed with an outside condenser. This is not the most energy efficient setup as the duct work is set up for heating but it is the most cost effective. This is how my system is set up in northern NJ. Natural gas is the fuel of choice here for heating.

Call some hvac companies and get some free estimates although you won't get any bargains smack in the middle of the hot season.
 
  #3  
Old 08-06-18, 09:21 PM
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There isn’t such a thing as a best brand.
There are systems that are sized, selected, and installed correctly that run great and others don’t have those things done that don’t run so great.
Read here-

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/...vac-brands.htm
 
  #4  
Old 08-07-18, 09:18 AM
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Thank you PJMax and roughneck77. Great suggestions. and the angieslist info was very useful, roughneck77.
I will probably tolerate the heat for this summer as I will not get any good deals smack in the middle of the hot season, as PJMax pointed out.

My next door neighbor who has the exact same 1400 sqfoot townhouse is getting a heat pump installed for some reason..... What is the difference between a heat pump unit and a condenser/coil unit?

Also, what are the best ways to prevent the outside condenser unit from being vandalized/stolen?

Any idea of the costs of installing a system in a 1400 sq foot townhose?
 
  #5  
Old 08-07-18, 09:43 AM
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Depending on your location getting the outside unit up off the ground is one good way to defend against theft. At the coast is very common and even required by some insurance companies and it's not unusual to see them on a platform sticking out the side of the house 8-10 feet off the ground.
 
  #6  
Old 08-07-18, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Jayad View Post
What is the difference between a heat pump unit and a condenser/coil unit?
A heat pump and an A/C are very similar. The primary difference is that a heat pump has a reversing valve which allows the system to "run in reverse" providing heating. An A/C only cools, whereas a heat pump can heat and cool depending upon which mode it's running in.
 
  #7  
Old 08-22-18, 05:52 PM
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Hi
So I received the first quote today.
  • $4200 before tax for a RUUD 2.0 ton 13 seer Outdoor AC unit, Indoor coil, new thermostat , installation fees.
  • $5400 before tax for a RUUD 2.0 ton 14 seer Outdoor Heat pump unit, Indoor Coil, Thermostat, installation fees. It will be a hybrid unit working with the existing 4 year old Natural Gas Ruud Furnace.

Are these costs reasonable? Is the $1200 additional for the heat pump setting worth it?

I am waiting for a couple other gentlemen to come out and do estimates but they are busy this time of year and it will take a couple more weeks. I can't imagine them being much different (unless they quote a cheaper brand of AC unit)

Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
Stick with the three year old gas furnace and have a coil installed with an outside condenser. This is not the most energy efficient setup as the duct work is set up for heating but it is the most cost effective. This is how my system is set up in northern NJ. Natural gas is the fuel of choice here for heating.

Call some hvac companies and get some free estimates although you won't get any bargains smack in the middle of the hot season.
 
  #8  
Old 08-22-18, 06:46 PM
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Since you have a natural gas furnace...... I would only consider the addition of a heat pump over a split A/C if the price of electricity was lower than the cost of gas.

Where I am here in NJ.... natural gas is the least costliest way to heat.
 
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Old 08-22-18, 09:19 PM
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Thank you. The technician pretty much said the same thing. He said the AC would last a little longer than the heat pump and it may take 4-5 years or more to recover the additional cost of the heat pump.

It usually doesn't get below 30 here in winter and it only snows maybe once or twice a year. Summers usually top arund 85 with maybe 2-3 weeks a year in the 90s and sometimes 100s. Natural gas costs 81 cents a Therm. Electricity is 8.16 cents per kwh

I did some rough calculations and it looks like it will take at least 4 years to recoup the difference in price between the AC and the Heat Pump

Do you think $4200 plus tax is reasonable for the AC install with the existing blower setup? I know there are regional differences plus difference between different brands.

I looked up some websites and the national average is right around $1600 parts and $2800 labor/markup. I did not realize that the markup was that high but HVAC guys need to make a living and it is definitely a specialized field



Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
Since you have a natural gas furnace...... I would only consider the addition of a heat pump over a split A/C if the price of electricity was lower than the cost of gas.

Where I am here in NJ.... natural gas is the least costliest way to heat.
 
  #10  
Old 08-24-18, 11:58 AM
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To decide whether to get a heatpump or not, you have to calculate cost of delivered heat and compare.

A heatpump can deliver 2 to 4 units of heat for every unit of energy consumed. The downside is that electricity is far more expensive than gas in most areas so there may not be any savings.

Over the winter, electricity would have to be no more than 2 times the cost of gas to justify getting a heatpump.

The other disadvantage is that the capacity of the heatpump is far lower than that of a furnace and drops the colder it gets. So it won't heat like a furnace, but can keep your house warm until it's too cold for it to keep up.

If you were to get a heatpump, the furnace would stay and take over when the heatpump can no longer keep up. There a thermostats with outdoor temp sensors which can do the change-over automatically.

Now, gas will not stay cheap forever and if you live in an area where most of the power comes from coal, hydro, or nuclear, in the feature it may be cheaper to heat with a heatpump instead of furnace. So a heatpump would give you some flexibility.

-------------
As far as adding central air to an existing system goes, insufficiently sized air ducts to the second floor and low floor level returns can really negatively impact performance.

So your duct system may need to be modified for central air to work well.

Natural gas costs 81 cents a Therm. Electricity is 8.16 cents per kwh
You have cheap electricity if it includes all charges. Make sure it does.

1 therm is 100 000 btu and a kwh electricity is 3412 btu.

Your electricity is $2.39 per therm.

Heatpump would need to run a COP of 2.36 to break even.

I assumed the efficiency of your furnace is 80%, vented with a metal pipe and adjusted cost of gas to reflect heat lost up the chimney.

COP is energy output divided by energy input. kw out over kw in.

You can get the rated cops at different outdoor temps from heatpump specs. Most good heatpumps can do at least 2.5 a 30F, better ones can do 3.
 
  #11  
Old 08-30-18, 09:19 PM
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So why does it cost $4600 to install a $1000 condenser?

So most of the estimates I got are from $4500 - $5000

I already have all the ductwork, electrical connections, and a gas furnace that already has a place for a coil.
They just have to install a condenser outside and connect it to the already existing electric connection and already existing duct. And they have to install a coil.

When I check the prices online for a condenser unit, I can get a Goodman for under $1000. The brand names like carrier and lennox prices are not available online. I am sure they only make them available to their dealers so that they can mark them up however they want

So let us take the example of condensers that you can easily buy online. A Goodman, Rheem or Daikin 13 seer unit is around $900. The coil is around $300. So around $1200 if I buy them online. I am sure the HVAC companies probably get them for much less on wholesale.

They dont have to lay any ductwork or wire the electricals. They just need to install the coil and the condenser on existing connections..

So, Why $4500 for parts that cost $1200? Is $3300 justifiable for 3 hours of work?
 
  #12  
Old 08-31-18, 03:09 AM
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would expect it would take a lot longer than 3 hours to install besides placing the condenser unit and installing the evaporator coil they would still need to run pipe and wiring between those 2 locations but they do probably have some mark up on the unit.
given your winter temps would probably consider the heat pump option also.
 
  #13  
Old 08-31-18, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by alan73 View Post
would expect it would take a lot longer than 3 hours to install besides placing the condenser unit and installing the evaporator coil they would still need to run pipe and wiring between those 2 locations but they do probably have some mark up on the unit.
given your winter temps would probably consider the heat pump option also.
Hi Alan
Pipe and wiring and electrical connections are already there. It is a newer home and the builder put in all the connections for an AC unit There is even a readymade concrete slab for the condenser unit already put in place by the builder.. I was still surprised at a $3300 gross markup.
 
 

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