Switching to Central Air conditioning and forced hot air

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Old 03-30-10, 01:54 PM
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Switching to Central Air conditioning and forced hot air

We have given up on our steam heat system that leaks water every year and ends up in costly repairs and have decided to have it replaced with HVAC (I hope that's the correct term).

I wanted to ask the experienced folks here about the questions I should be asking the contractors when getting estimates.

This is an old house with no duct work, no required electric work. The only thing in place is the gas line. It's a two family home and I'd like to have two separate units with separate gas lines (separate bills)

What is the most important thing to look for in the installation? So far I had one contractor come in and give me a price for Goodman units but he is not able to do the electric work, so I have to get an electrician for that.
Are Goodman units reasonably good?
Other than the Furnace (for heating), condenser (for cooling), air handler (for circulating air) and ducts is there anything else that is a major part of the HVAC system?

What is the average cost of yearly maintenance on the central air systems?
 
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Old 03-30-10, 04:56 PM
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Id go with a repeatably contractor. They will be selling Trane, Carrier, Lennox etc. They must do a heat load Manuel J and a duct Manuel D. Don't ask for this if they don't do it find another contractor.
 
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Old 03-31-10, 07:54 PM
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like airman says Manual J Heat load calc, and stick with major brand names Trane, american standard Carrier, Payne, York, Lennox, WOW did i just say lennox lol.
Sorry a little inside joke. Years ago i swore the engineers where smoking crack. Commercial factory wiring terminations where wire nuts i kidd you not We wont even mention there wiring schematics. But they have come along way.
If the tax rebates are still in effect i would select my new unit to meet the min requirements this way your bids will be easier to compare Apples to Apples. Maybe someone can way in on if the rebates are still in effect and what the min requirements are for heating and a/c.
Your best bang for your buck maybe right at the min requirements.
 
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Old 04-01-10, 08:36 AM
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Thank you guys for your responses.
I had two contractors come out so far.

Guy # 1 took wall to wall measurements on each floor and did some calculations on his notebook and told me that I will need a 2 ton unit in both apartments. Does that sound like he may have done some Manual J or S?

Guy # 2 just looked at the rooms and told me I need a 2.5 ton in the first floor unit and 2 ton on the second floor. I'm sure he was just bluffing.

I have quotes of $8.5K ( from # 1 - Goodman units with 92% efficiency) and $11K (from # 2 Goodman with 95%) not including the electric work. Is Goodman any good?

I will be selling this house within the next year (will probably put it on sale this summer) so do not want to spend fortunes on this (I have already done very painful and expensive upgrades/repairs to this place which I know I won't recover in this market) but desperately want to move.
 
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Old 04-01-10, 02:59 PM
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I understand where you are coming from. Think about this. Installing a higher efficiency unit will qualify you for the tax rebate. This will help offset the price. You will also have an advantage in selling your home with the higher end equipment. Everybody is looking at efficiency these days so you will have an advantage over other homes for sell. For the record I would stay away from goodman. Find a good contractor. Good contractors don't sell low end equipment.
 
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Old 04-10-10, 11:14 AM
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Thanks for your reply, I'll probably go with the unit that qualifies for the tax rebate. I'm still getting more quotes. I have a newbie question though. What is the difference between and Air Handler and a Furnace?

From what I understood these are the basic components

Condenser - (Outdoor)
Furnace - (Indoor)
Air handler - (also indoor?)
Ducts of course.


Anything else I missed here? Is this what they call a split system?
 
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Old 04-10-10, 11:20 AM
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The air handler is the fan unit. It is mounted before the furnace and A/C coils and pulls house air in and blows it across the heating or cooling device.

There's one thing that hasn't been mentioned...the evaporator coils. Those connect to the condenser/compressor outside, by way of flexible copper lines, and are mounted after the furnace. As the refrigerant evaporates (thus the name) in the larger tubing of the coils..it draws heat out of the air being blown across them.
 
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