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Advice on replacing home air conditioner

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by climb, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. climb

    climb F1 Rookie

    Sep 19, 2006
    4,717
    Atlantic Beach Fl
    Full Name:
    Stuart K. Hicks
    #1 climb, Oct 12, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
    Called the A/C guy to check my unit and sure enough it's bad. Looking to replace.

    A Few facts:

    1. Unit is 12 years old and uses r22 (soon to be illegal to use)

    2. Replacing just the outdoor compressor would be a bad idea as the air handler and compressor need to both be designed for the new refrigerant (Puron)

    3. House is only 2000 sf and needs a 3.5 ton unit.

    Prices seem to be all over the map.

    One company i called asking for the low end unit gave me this hour long presentation on how sound the company was then tried to sell me a $12,000 unit. I asked him if he was serious then when he said yes i thanked him and politely asked him to leave.

    Another company came in with a top brand name unit (carrier) 15 seer for $5300 and a lower brand (goodman) for $3600.

    I looked on the internet and a company here in florida has the same unit for $1040 shipped and $500 for the air handler ($1590 total). I fiqure i could buy the unit myself and pay someone to install it. This method should only set me back around $2000. Or could i just put a new R22 unit in without replacing the compressor since the cut off date isn't until Dec 31st of this year?

    Anyone from the business or have experience that can help guide me?

    Thanks
     
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  3. lambo1

    lambo1 Karting

    Jan 20, 2004
    113
    That seems like alot of tonnage for a 2000sf house....up here in Canada the recommendations is 1 ton per 1000 sr ft...if you live in the south maybe bigger is better, not sure?...you get what you pay for when it comes to A/C units...my installer told me ot stay away from high efficiency..again I live up north so we only use our A/C 4 months out of the year
     
  4. Wade

    Wade Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 31, 2006
    32,194
    East Central, FL
    Full Name:
    Wade O.
    Stuart, this is a timely question since I'm almost in the same boat. My inside unit is from '86 and the outside '06. Although it's working great right now I'm on the fence for what to do; all new system or just upgrade inside and continue with R22.
     
  5. jeff

    jeff Formula 3

    Feb 19, 2001
    1,924
    North America
    I wish I had your guy's weather problems. It's 8 degrees at my house in Colorado.
     
  6. climb

    climb F1 Rookie

    Sep 19, 2006
    4,717
    Atlantic Beach Fl
    Full Name:
    Stuart K. Hicks
    I hear ya. I'm wondering if i should just replace both with the new refrigerant or try to save a few and just replace the compressor before it's illegal.

    So tempting because this company in florida sells the exact same units on the internet for 1/3 of the price WITH shipping. My fear is that i couldn't find someone competent to do the install or that i couldn't get a permit since the old air handler is 10 seer (the old minimum) and the new compressor would be 13 seer (the new minimun). These companies are telling me it's illegal to mix the two seer rating units so i have to get both. Seems like BS to me but i don't want to get the new unit and not get it installed right or have the city tell me i can't use it.
     
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  8. climb

    climb F1 Rookie

    Sep 19, 2006
    4,717
    Atlantic Beach Fl
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    Stuart K. Hicks
    Three different experts said i need a 3 ton and the existing unit (original) is 3 ton too.

    I fiqure the lower end units have the most sales and the most reliable track records as the feedback from installers has improved them since they sell more than the higher end botique units.
     
  9. climb

    climb F1 Rookie

    Sep 19, 2006
    4,717
    Atlantic Beach Fl
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    Stuart K. Hicks

    The cheepest quote i got for this unit with the air handler included was $3600. The air handler on this site is only $450 more. Check out the price delivered of the unit from this site:

    http://www.acwholesalers.com/Ductless-Mini-Split-Heat-Pumps-s/318.htm
     
  10. robert biscan

    robert biscan F1 Rookie

    A new unit carries a 5 yr. warranty except on the compressor which is one. The carrier has a model with a 10 year warranty on everything. It is one of their top models and is more efficient. I bought 4 for my house in fl. They work great and I love them so far. It has been a year and not one problem. If you buy on line or direct somehow I bet the warranty is out the window. I think it will cost about $800 or more to install the unit.
     
  11. LetsJet

    LetsJet F1 Veteran
    Owner

    May 24, 2004
    9,243
    DC/LA/Paris/Haleiwa
    Full Name:
    Mr.
    Hey Climb,

    Good job on all the research. My suggestion, if you are planning on staying in this house is to buy the highest efficiency unit you want to afford for the best price you can. 13 seer is a bit on the low end I would think. I noticed you're in Florida so is it safe to say you run the unit a lot? Wouldn't an electric savings be something to consider?

    Also, regarding sizing..... Don't oversize the unit as that will tend to get air cooler than it has time to dehumidify .That's really what you need down in Florida, I would think. So, make sure they do a real calculation on your house and not just get some sales guy to see what the old unit was. Unfortunately, undersizing is bad too making the unit run too long can cause ice buildup on the A coil.

    Getting the units yourself and hiring a guy has it's pros and cons. Make sure where ever you buy it will warranty it if it's a bad unit. I guarantee if it is faulty you'll be paying to put it in /take it out / and put it in. Also, make sure the installer is licensed as required dealing with HVAC and freon. Its not worth skimping. You should be able to find someone for a fair deal.

    Good Luck
     
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  13. BT

    BT F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 21, 2005
    14,835
    FL / GA
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    Bill Tracy
    Your tonnage is accurate. Here in South Florida we figure about one ton per 550 s.f. on residential, and about one ton per 185 s.f. on commercial space. I would not get the Goodman unit, they are like Janitrol, or other 'builder' brands. If they don't totally crap out within five years they will likely run inefficiently and cost you more than the difference for the Carrier or other mainline brand. We use Rheem pretty often, but they are like the low end of the mainline brands.
    Your prices seem pretty reasonable to me. I'd have a pro install it, and ask them to warranty their workmanship. Don't get a handyman to do the install.
    BT
     
  14. thirteendog

    thirteendog Formula 3

    Mar 6, 2008
    1,503
    Nashville, TN
    You're going to love a home A/C. It's one of the best invention's ever made :D
     
  15. climb

    climb F1 Rookie

    Sep 19, 2006
    4,717
    Atlantic Beach Fl
    Full Name:
    Stuart K. Hicks
    #12 climb, Oct 13, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2009
    Found local company with a great reputation that will do the unit for $3300.

    For this price they will:

    Put in a 3.5 ton heat pump/AC unit (Goodman)

    10 year parts and labor guarantee (Goodman pays their labor if needed)

    New air handler and add a proper drip tray and modify duct for better flow than i have now.

    I decided to go with the 13 seer and here is why:

    Based on the average amount of hours the typical home A/C uses my current unit (8 seer) would cost $1100 for just the A/C portion of the electric bill . A 13 seer unit would cost $670 for the same usage. To move up to a 16 seer would only move that number down to $590 for the same hour usage but cost nearly twice as much up front. The larger air handler and compressor would be a tight fit in the area i have for the unit too. With the way my unit was running and overheating it's probably more like a 6 seer so i should see an improvement in the efficiency and cost (hopefully).

    For those of you in South Florida your units may cost a little less since you don't need a heat pump unit and can get by with a straight A/C unit. Seems the higer seer rating comes from having a larger surface area for the heat exchange (radiator surface area) in both the outdoor and indoor unit.
     
  16. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Jan 20, 2004
    33,778
    Purgatory
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    Internet Poseur
    Don't overlook the "up-to" $1500 tax credit (gimme somma that Obama Money!!!) if you get a new system my the end of the year.
     
  17. CarbBoxer

    CarbBoxer Formula Junior

    Oct 7, 2008
    800
    Houston
    Full Name:
    PW
    I've had great service out of Goodman units.

    Scratch the surface and you find that different brands are made on the same production line.
     
  18. climb

    climb F1 Rookie

    Sep 19, 2006
    4,717
    Atlantic Beach Fl
    Full Name:
    Stuart K. Hicks
    I knew that but didn't want to get stuck without a "credit" like the dealers in the cash for clunkers program.

    Now that unit is in i'm happy.

    The air handler and coil were toast too. Also the original had no drain pan or float cut off safety switch (new one has two of both). Original narrow draw vent opened wider for correct flow. I can feel the air coming out now almost like a fan on low speed setting. It takes no time to bring it down several degrees now. I kept hearing this little fan running and realized it was my XBOX cooling fan that i'd never heard before since the outside compressor fan always drowned it out.

    Goodman is considered a cheep brand i know but i've heard good things about them. Also they have Copeland Scroll Compressors.
     

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