New furnace replacement cost


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Old 03-04-14, 03:24 PM
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HVAC Replacement Questions

Young home owner here trying not to get taken advantage of.

Info on my house. We have a 1800sf tri level that has 16 windows and 17 HVAC vents. The most used parts of the house face west (master bedroom, family room, and kitchen), so the sun has a decent influence on room temps.

The current system has trouble cooling the house during the summer. On a hot day the ac unit will run all day trying to hold 72 degrees, and on those hot hot days it will lose ground getting up to 77 degrees.

The heating side of things seems to do alright if we keep the fan setting to on and circulate the air throughout the house.

We currently have a 3ton system, and im not sure what the heating btu's are.

I live in the Omaha area. Average highs in july/aug are close to 90 but our hot hot days easily get into the 100's, average lows in Jan/feb close to 10 and our cold cold night easily get well below zero, - teens this year.

My questions:
The person that came out today (btw, hasn't given me a estimate yet) said it would be worth going from a 3ton to a 3.5 ton system, do you agree?

Has anyone with a similar home replace their system, if so what kind of system did you replace it with, and for how much?

Has anyone ever ordered their own system and hired someone to install it? How much did the install cost?

Thanks for all the help, just trying not to get taken!!!
 

Last edited by NebDave; 03-04-14 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 03-04-14, 03:33 PM
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The person that came out today (btw, hasn't given me a estimate yet) said it would be worth going from a 3ton to a 3.5 ton system, do you agree?
Nope.

a) When you upsize the a/c, you have to upsize the ductwork too, at a high cost. Your ductwork might be too small as is.

b) Your existing system may not actually running at rated capacity. Low airflow, improper refrigerant charge, and duct leakage (especially if your ducts are in the attic or unconditioned crawlspace) greatly reduce capacity. The existing a/c system should be checked out to see if it's actually providing 3 tons of cooling. Many contractors may not be detail oriented enough to do this - airflow and wetbulb temperatures must be measured.

c) You may have excessive heat gain. Air leakage, lack of attic insulation, and inadequate attic ventilation can cause a system not to keep up

d) 3 tons is plenty for an 1800 sq ft house unless it has major issues.

e) 72F is a pretty low setpoint, especially in 100F+ weather; if you have high humidity now, with proper humidity control* you might find that 75F+ (that's what systems are sized for) is comfortable. Humidity should ideally be at 50%.

*Do you have/use exhaust fans in kitchen/bathrooms?

Don't upsize.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 03:42 PM
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The heating side of things seems to do alright if we keep the fan setting to on and circulate the air throughout the house.
Look into a furnace with a variable speed blower motor -> these motors run at a very low speed in continuous fan mode and can save a couple hundred dollars each year.

Has anyone ever ordered their own system and hired someone to install it? How much did the install cost?
Don't do that either.

Reasons:

a) equipment sold online has no warranty

b) Selecting the right equipment in itself can be problematic. A furnace isn't like a fridge; it has to be a good match for your house and ductwork

c) only a desparate (aka incompetent or inexperienced) contractor would install anything supplied by the homeowner

--------------
Signs that you're dealing with a good contractor:

a) Full model numbers are in the quote
b) there's a factory parts and labour warranty
c) Venting info is in the quote -> if u get a high efficiency furnace, make sure they connect combustion air intake
d) The salesperson does a load calculation and checks attic insulation
e) Duct transitions/alterations are in the quote
 
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Old 03-04-14, 06:17 PM
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Amen Muggle! I agree with all of your points.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 07:18 PM
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Muggle, thanks for all the info. As for the questions on your first post, our bathrooms do have exhaust fans, our kitchen does not. The kitchen has a fan that is built into the microwave.

I did look info ordering my own system online and did find out that the warranty, on a goodman system, would be valid if one of their dealers installed it. That's according to Goodmans own warranty documents. I can see that I might have trouble finding a reputable installer plus picking the right system would be an issue. Not ready to rule that option out because of potentail savings, but will differently find an installer before ordering. And if i get a good estiamte it will save me all that anyway.

Lastly, the person that came over earlier today was not a good contractor. The person requested to see our furnace, counted the vents on the lower level, then asked about the vents on the upper level and told me he would get back to me with an estimate. Wasn't in my house more than five minutes and didn't even look at the outside unit. Haven't heard anything back from him either.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 01:49 AM
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Absolutely the first thing to do is a heat loss/heat gain calculation for the house. This is step one for sizing both the heating system and the cooling system. There are several free programs available on the Internet and most (not all) are worth every penny they cost. There are also a few programs that cost a nominal fee that are much better than the free ones. This one: ...HVAC Calculate...HVAC Software, HVAC-Calc for HVAC Calculate has often been said to be the best $50 you can spend on your system.

Once you have the initial calculation you can then try "plugging in" different energy saving upgrades such as better air sealing or more insulation to see the possible results BEFORE doing the work. After taking into consideration the upgrades you plan to accomplish in a timely manner you can then size the heating and cooling equipment. Note that ANY contractor worth their salt will do such a calculation prior to installing any equipment but will rarely do the calculation for a simple no commitment estimate.

Another route is doing (have done) a complete energy audit, including blower door test to determine what energy savings measures would be the most (and least) cost effective in YOUR home. Again you would factor these measures (the ones that you will implement) into the heat gain/loss calculation to determine the proper size of equipment to install.

As for self install of the equipment...many have done so but the suggestion that in most cases doing so will void any warranties is not something to take lightly. When I had my furnace replaced I could have bought at wholesale and done the work myself. Instead I chose to have it done BECAUSE I did want the factory warranty and secondly I wanted it done in a day rather than over the course of a week (or longer) which is what it would have take me. Although I have never needed any warranty service I also have never regretted that decision.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 12:32 PM
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Thank Furd, I've spent $50 and more and much dumber things!

I would never install it on my own because you exactly right. Could I figure it out, probably. But that thinking has got me in way over my head before, plus gas and electric I don't like working with! My question was more do HVAC companies install systems that people have purchased on their own. In Goodmans warranty paper work it says you can purchase it on your own (internet, phone, whatever), but you do have to have one of their certified installers install it.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 05:22 PM
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Finding the Goodman certified installer will be the problem. Since part of the total profit gained by the contractor is from their buying the equipment and then reselling it for a higher price they WILL charge more for an installation only than for a complete package. Bottom line is that it is unlikely that you will save any significant amount of money by buying the equipment and then contracting for installation only. There is the further problem of what happens if the equipment is damaged in shipping or there is unseen damage not noticed until after installation. In the latter case who will be responsible for the repairs or replacement?

Just a bad idea in my opinion.
 
 

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