New HVAC System - Help With Finalizing the Deal

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  #1  
Old 10-13-11, 06:28 PM
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New HVAC System - Help With Finalizing the Deal

Hi Everyone -

I wasn't sure the best place to post this question so I put it here since this forum seems to get the most traffic.

I've got several bids to replace my HVAC system from reputable dealers (all quoted identical equipment - I've verified model numbers). I've selected the installer that I'm pretty sure I want to use who also happens to be the cheapest by a few hundred dollars (I didn't select him because he's the cheapest, I selected him because I feel the most confident about him and his crew). He doesn't know I'm going to choose him yet and he sent me an email letting me know that he wants my business and I should let him know what it'll take for him to get my business. Clearly, there is some more savings on the table for me.

Since he's already the least expensive, I was looking for some advice. Should I ask for a couple of hundred bucks off the price or ask for him to included a service/maintenance plan with my new system (that already comes with a 1 year parts/labor, 10 year parts warranty). He also does duct cleaning.

I want to be fair to him but also look out for myself and get the most bang for my buck.

What's the most fair/valuable thing for me to ask for?

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:02 PM
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Sounds like this guy is really hungry. As far as price that's between you & the contractor but I'd check him out well. Remember this: There are three ways to get any job done; Good, fast, & cheap. PICK TWO.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:04 PM
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I've checked him out. He's highly rated by the BBB and has good reviews online. He's been in business a long time and I see his service trucks around.

You're right though. Everyone else said they could have the job done in 1 day. He said he'd need a day and a half - so he's not fast. I can live with that.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:11 PM
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Something is fishy.
If it's going to take him a day & a half while everyone else is saying one day, yet he's still the cheapest? Something doesn't add up. More hours cost more money. Maybe he's doing it by himself or with a minimum wage helper where others are using a "crew".
 
  #5  
Old 10-13-11, 08:13 PM
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The other guys send out 3-4 guys for the job. He sends out his lead guy and a helper for a new install.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:24 PM
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I like the lead guy and the helper type businesses. Two many workers spoil the soup IMO.

Also I would go for the warranty instead of money off the top.

I would ask for additional labor warranty?
Free summer, winter tune ups with filters? Freon? ( Although you should not leak any, but after the first yr your paying if a leak does develop.

Just my 2 cents.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:31 PM
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The lead guy & a helper as opposed to 3-4 guys explains the time & labor cost difference.
I agree with Lawrosa about having too many on a job site. With a crew of 3 or 4 either the crew leader ends up going around checking everyone's work & doing no work himself (thus becoming overhead) or he works & the others take major shortcuts.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:32 PM
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Thanks guys - I appreciate both of your opinions and input (and would gladly accept more feedback from others!)

Another question:

As far as accessories go, part of the deal is an overflow pan under the furnace/coil with a float switch that will shut the system down in case condensation leaks and also a clear trap so that I can keep an eye on the crud growing in the drain. There's a pad under the outside condensing unit. I'm getting a new humidifier too. Oh, and a 4 inch media cabinet.

Is there anything else I should be looking for to make the system any nicer?

By the way, this is a Carrier Infinity system with the fancy Carrier Control.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:35 PM
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With that system, be sure to get the parts & labor 10 year warranty.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:36 PM
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Ok, why? What are the common problems?
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:43 PM
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Problems are not unusually common but can be labor intensive when they do crop up. The more complex something is, the more it costs to fix.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:48 PM
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Got it. Thanks. He did include his price for a 5 year and 10 year labor warranty on the bid. I think I'll try to work a deal out with him on a 10 year plan.. I'm not a big warranty guy but in this case it may be worth it.

I was wrong on my first post by the way. It comes with a 2 year labor warranty (not 1 year) , so I guess I'm really paying for 8 years.

Thanks for helping me out!
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:52 PM
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Here is a note from carrier.

1.To the original owner, the Carrier Infinityl is covered by a 10-year parts limited warranty upon timely registration of your new equipment. Ask your Carrier dealer about optional extended warranties, which may include labor. Warranty period is 5 years if not registered within 90 days. Jurisdictions where warranty benefits cannot be conditioned on registration will automatically receive a 10-year parts limited warranty. See warranty certificate at carrier.com for complete details

Is this a heat pump?

Also a lot of slick companys dont tell you to register the product.

Mike NJ
 
  #14  
Old 10-13-11, 08:55 PM
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Thanks, lawrose. The dealer claims they actually register it with Carrier for me so I should be good for 10 years on parts. If I bought a warranty from the dealer it would be for labor only... but it does include priority service, which is nice.

It's a gas furnace and air conditioner.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 09:13 PM
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IMO you are paying for the name also. I know what the carrier installs cost in my neck of the woods and I would not pay it.

Not to deter you but I like the Goodman brand. Most homeowners can save upwards of $5000 or more off total package price.

Gas Furnaces

But like anything else, some like Chevy, some like Ford.

Just my two cents again.

Mike NJ
 
  #16  
Old 10-13-11, 09:26 PM
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I looked at Goodman, and I'm not against that brand but in my comparison there are not as many Goodman dealers near by and the dealers that were near by didn't have reviews as good as the Carrier dealer reviews.

Trane was also on my list (matter of fact, one more guy is coming out tomorrow and he's a Trane guy). So maybe my product selection will change but I just felt more comfortable with the three Carrier dealers I spoke with over the 1 Trane guy I've seen so far. I think you probably have to like the company doing the install/maintenance as much if not more than the equipment.

Also, if I were saving $5,000, I'd be getting a system almost free! So, I'm glad you said that, it makes me feel like I'm paying the right price (knowing I'm paying some for the name).

I say the same thing you do all the time about Ford and Chevy.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 09:48 PM
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What eff. are you getting?

Carrier 90% install 10K plus here. The price is because name. The same goodman would be aroung 5K.

You could probably do the goodman for like $2.5 - 3K in your neck of the woods.

Its a matter of money to me, and if you do the research all the HVAC units are only made by a handful of companys. They just have a different badge.

I find as far as reviews go, If people spend alot of money they tend to praise the product they bought. It helps them justify the cost. Makes them feel good about it. ( Notes from my pychology classes )

I guess I am up to 10 cents in opinions...LOL

Mike NJ
 
  #18  
Old 10-13-11, 09:55 PM
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80% eff. To go up from 80%, I'd have to have a PVC flue installed and there really isn't a pretty way to run one from where my furnace is (at least not without doing a LOT of drywall work that would probably cost more in repair than the efficiency rating would cost/save me.

I sent you a PM with my prices and equipment because I didn't know what the rules were about posting that kind of stuff in the forum. If it's ok to do, I'll just copy it out and paste it in here. If anything, it'll help the next guy pricing the same or similar equipment.
 
  #19  
Old 10-13-11, 10:03 PM
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Yes From what I read in your PM is OK.

Wow.. I dont think thats right for an 80%... And they are not changing the lineset... Uggg.

Like I said wait for all the pros to chime in.

The flue? Where is the flue for the current unit, and what else is on that flue aside from the furnace?

Mike NJ
 
  #20  
Old 10-13-11, 10:11 PM
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The current flue goes from the basement to the roof. It's made out of metal. The gas hot water heater is also connected to it.

The line set is 11 years old. How long do they last for (or is that the wrong way to look at it)?
 
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Old 10-13-11, 10:43 PM
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The line set is 11 years old. How long do they last for (or is that the wrong way to look at it)?
The old and new freons dont mix. And if they try to clean it ( and I feel it never works) and dont do a good job the compressor life is severly reduced. Or wont last long at all.

I would copy and past the info you sent me in the PM. Give all detail you can. SEER, BTU , extras, etc..

Alot of guys here will help you out. Just as long as your informed before you buy.

Example:

I can buy a 96% goodman modulating furnace in the same size you stated, and a 5 ton A/C for about $4500. Without rebates. I think I can find someone to install it for $3000 dont you?

GCVM96

That furnace is way better than any 80% carrier IMO.

OK Time to hit the hay.

Hey be patient. What until you get all feed back. My opinions are just mine. Others may not agree.
 
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Old 10-14-11, 04:28 AM
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Not replacing the lineset is the wrong way to install a new system that you will be paying a lot of money for. It is a way that that dealer is cutting corners. Unless, that is, you have a brick house 3 stories tall and the the lineset runs inside the wall to the attic and then travels 60' through the attic and then back down 3 stories to the unit. I'm exaggerating a slight bit, but there are homes that the lineset simply can not be replaced in without major modification to the home. Make sure you check carriers warranty when the lineset has not been replaced. If at all possible it should be done. I know the contractor said they would flush it, but as Lawrosa stated, the refrigerant oils don't mix and your contractor can not 100% guarantee that all the oil has been removed.

Brand, well brand is brand as also stated before, some like fords some like chevys. My personal opinion is Trane/American Standard.

I would not go with an 80% if at all possible. That is $20 out of every $100 you spend on utilities to heat the home going out the chimney Vs. on a 95%, $5 out of every $100. You can see how that adds up.

The more bells and whistles you add to the system the more there is to break down so consider that when dealing with warranty decisions.

FYI,
Carrier is the same as Bryant and Payne. Payne being the cheap version.
 
  #23  
Old 10-14-11, 05:57 AM
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Thanks again, everyone.

Replacing the line set means I'll have to repair a lot of drywall in the ceiling of my finished basement. If it NEEDS to be done, I'll do it but if it can be avoided, I'd like to avoid it.

The contractor would replace it if I wanted to do it, he just thought it would unnecessary (along with the other 3 companies I had out). They all do a nitrogen flush.

This is the rest of the information:

After manufacture rebates, the system price is $7,900. That's for a Carrier Infinity system with the Infinity Controls. It's a 4 ton multi stage condensing unit, 5 ton tin plated coil, 110,000 BTU 2 stage furnace, 4 inch media cabinet, and a Honeywell HE300 humidifier. The furnace is 80% efficient and the AC will be SEER 17.2.

There will also need to be some duct fabrication work to adjust the return air side for the new media cabinet and also on the supply side to raise the new system up to fit a new drip pan under everything.

The company I selected is about $400 less than the next closest bids. All three Carrier dealers I had come out for a quote independent quoted identical equipment and the one Trane guy I had out so far quoted matching Trane equipment.

Installing a new flue for a more efficient furnace would be difficult because of the position of the furnace in the house and the required slope of the new flue and available space outside - avoiding windows and making it look ascetically nice. Fortunately for me, natural gas in this area is less expensive than in other areas which was a big consideration in staying with an 80% furnace.

I pay $1.13/therm and $0.12/KWH.
 
  #24  
Old 10-14-11, 09:56 AM
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Nitrogen flush is only OK after a R11 flush!
 
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Old 10-14-11, 06:14 PM
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A nitrogen only flush will not remove the oil on the inside of the line set & the oil is the real problem. A PROPER flush with RX-11 or similar solvent is needed to remove the residual oil, then the solvent is flushed out with nitrogen. Replacement of the line set is far preferable to flushing.
 
  #26  
Old 10-14-11, 06:36 PM
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I'll find out the exact process. When they were talking about that part of the installation, it went over my head a little bit so I didn't pay attention as closely as I should have.

I spent a lot of time today poking around trying to find a way to get two 3 inch PVC pipes outside the house to support a furnace with higher efficiency and have determined that there is just no possible way to do it without:
A: bringing it up from the basement through 2 floors and then the roof which would create a LOT of drywall work
B: building a bulkhead in the basement to cover the pipes

Neither is going to happen - just not worth it to do either - in my opinion. There really is no other option that will bring the pipes out of the house at least 4 feet away from windows (we have a lot of windows, I guess).

The good news is that after all that poking around - maybe it's not as hard as originally though to replace the line set. It looks like it may run through a different bulkhead in the basement which means there would be room to fish a new one through. I kind of assumed it was run through holes in the floor joists (which I thought would have been awfully big holes for joists...) - but it now looks like that's not the case. I'll dig around some more tomorrow and get some measurements so I can figure out exactly where that line set goes.

I have one more quote coming Monday or Tuesday from the company who originally installed all the HVAC systems in the neighborhood when the builders were putting up houses. I don't know if that's good or bad but they are a big company and the sales guy seemed to know his stuff but also indicated a couple of ways that they would do things that to me seemed like he was cutting corners. For instance, using a long flexible gas line rather than rigid piping directly into the furnace and reusing - and reinstalling - differently - my old bypass humidifier rather than getting a new powered one which I think I'd prefer. He also was saying that a 1 inch filter was just as good as a 4 inch filter which is much different than the other companies told me. He's adding a line item in the quote for some "magical" (my word, not his) device that gets installed in the air supply and has the ability to kill germs and whatever all over the house (something better than a UV bulb) - not just in the duct... that sounded pretty gimmicky to me. It'll be good to see what his price is though since he's so big.
 
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Old 10-14-11, 06:54 PM
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You could vent right out the wall of the basement. Over the sill plate possibly.

You could use the old flue that goes up the roof as a pipe chase but you cant have anything on there. You said your water heater is there. The only option would be an electric HWH. But that may be silly right? Put at 90+ funace in but loose saving with electric water heating.

They use trac pipe gas today. Cutting and threading days are over. Thats probably the flex stuff he is talking about. Less joints.

Humidifiers? Most people dont need them. Thier humidity in the home is fine. IMO they just add moisture in the duct work and make air quality worse. Mold, etc.... Worst invention to inject moisture in your air ducts IMO. Just my opinion.

The filter is probably one of those Ionic units that zap stuff. Like a bg zapper. Also attracts dust to it like a magnet. They work good from what I seen. You wash them out. So of thos I heard from the techs I worked with it like hospital filtration, or near quality.

Are you leaning alot here???? LOL Or are you getting your mind boggled?

Mike NJ
 
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Old 10-14-11, 06:57 PM
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Run, jfinn, run. Run as far & as fast you can from "Mr. Salesman".
If you don't, call me next. I have some oceanfront property in Arizona I'll let you have at a special price. If you don't like the ocean, how 'bout a mountain ski lodge in Florida?
 
  #29  
Old 10-14-11, 07:10 PM
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SO. MUCH. INFORMATION!

I'll look into the ionic doodad but I'm not a big fan of traditional ionic cleaners. They typically produce ozone which is harmful to your lungs.

My house needs a humidifier. We have all wood floors and a lot of wood furniture. I keep a hygrometer on my nightstand and the winter humidity can easily get to 17% or so.

Can't vent out the basement wall - the furnace backs to a wall that is shared with the garage. Next to the furnace is "under the stairs" which gets me to an outside wall but then the vent would dip down and go back up - can't do that. Can't use the old metal flue as a chase because of the gas water heater which we're not replacing.

Can't buy ocean property in Arizona or ski lodge in Florida - can't afford it after buying this new HVAC system!
 
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Old 10-14-11, 07:24 PM
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I know you mind's in a whirl. Just trying to lighten the load a bit. Hope no offense was taken because none was intended.

Sounds like you are in one of those situations where a 90+ would be more of a headache than it's worth. I'd suggest an 80%, two stage furnace with a variable speed blower. The vast majority of the time it will run on low & only come up on high during extreme cold or if the t-stat is pushed up several degrees. The temperature uniformity throughout the house will amaze you if the blower is left on the lowest setting & allowed to run constantly.
 
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Old 10-14-11, 07:30 PM
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Offense? What offense? I'm just joking with you! Seriously, you guys are the best!

I agree with you - and am back to where I started with an 80% unit (which is good, you just validated my plan).

I am looking forward to a two stage furnace and variable speed blower for just that reason - more consistent temperature all over. Plus, the new unit should be capable of providing higher CFM which will circulate the air better (my ducts are good for 1900 CFM - current unit provides 1600, I think).
 
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Old 10-14-11, 07:33 PM
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Oh - and the sales guy that was out today - I'm interested in his quote to see what the equipment costs from a really large company. The first company I posted about (the 1.5 day install time company) is still my #1 choice.

Man, I hope those dealers don't read this board..
 
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Old 10-14-11, 08:04 PM
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Can't vent out the basement wall - the furnace backs to a wall that is shared with the garage
Remeber a couple like that. Out into the garage, then out to the nearest posible wall. Ran along the ceiling.

I WANT YOU TO HAVE A 98%!!!!!!

Ha, ha, joking. Yeah a 80% sounds good, less intrusive, but they are killing you on that price.

At least you will be well informed when you do decide what you purchase.

I apologize that I started you on this tangent.

Mike NJ
 
  #34  
Old 10-14-11, 08:18 PM
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I want me to have a 98%, too! My wife would kill me if I rebuilt the house to accommodate it though.

You didn't start me on any tangent - I got exactly what I was looking for - validation that I'm selecting the right equipment. I believe I am.
 
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Old 10-15-11, 12:40 PM
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Two things you have to be careful of when cranking up the blower speed:
(1) Noise
(2) All furnaces have a temperature rise range in which they are supposed to operate. Sometimes cranking up the blower speed can cause you to drop out of that range on the low end.
 
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Old 10-17-11, 07:23 AM
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Can you tell me more about #2 - cranking up the blower speed can cause you to drop out of that range on the low end?

What does that mean in "end user" terms?

I'm learning!

Thanks
 
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Old 10-17-11, 02:52 PM
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Dropping below the manufacturers minimum temperature rise can cause condensation in the primary heat exchanger thus its premature failure.
 
  #38  
Old 11-11-11, 08:40 AM
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Hey Guys -

Just following up on this one. We had the Carrier Infinity system installed earlier this week. So far, it's great. It's near silent (I can not believe how quiet the outside unit is!).

The variable speed fan is a huge improvement over the single speed that the old furnace had. I like how it runs for a longer time at a lower speed. The house has humidified to 45% in one day and two nights. That's something the old system could never do - it couldn't get our humidity past 30%.

Thanks again for all the guidance! You guys are great!
 
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Old 11-11-11, 06:28 PM
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Great to hear you're happy with the new system. After it gets a season under it's belt, don't forget to drop by & let us know how things went.
 
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