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air conditioning & duct replacement
Old 01-30-2017, 04:08 PM   #1
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air conditioning & duct replacement

Has anyone recently have a new air conditioner with all new duct work installed ? I have an estimate of $8,700 which I think is good but is it ??
The unit is a 3.5 ton heat pump and the house is 2,800 under air .
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:14 PM   #2
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Has anyone recently have a new air conditioner with all new duct work installed ? I have an estimate of $8,700 which I think is good but is it ??
The unit is a 3.5 ton heat pump and the house is 2,800 under air .
It depends on many things, including where your ductwork runs, 2-story vs ranch, crawlspace vs slab, etc. Also, of course on the specific equipment (top of the line vs workhorse vs bottom of the barrel), but overall, this does sound like a decent ballpark figure to me, for such a large place.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:14 PM   #3
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I'd probably get second and third opinions--and estimates.

In most cases, all new ducts is not really required--unless the current piping is oversized or undersized.

Buying HVAC is not really very simple. So many of the big city HVAC companies have sold out to HVAC manufacurers and the original owners are working as their employees.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:23 PM   #4
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I'd probably get second and third opinions--and estimates.

In most cases, all new ducts is not really required--unless the current piping is oversized or undersized.

Buying HVAC is not really very simple. So many of the big city HVAC companies have sold out to HVAC manufacurers and the original owners are working as their employees.
Our ducts are undersized and leaking or so they say .
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:07 PM   #5
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Of course they are.

Have you got a second opinion? Sounds fishy to me.
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:15 PM   #6
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I believe this is very location-dependent.
Ten years ago I had a completely new HVAC system installed when we bought a house. All electric, heat pump, 3.5 tons.

No change to the ductwork (I'd be very skeptical of the need for that), and it cost us about $5,600 here in low COL flyover country.

What I found very interesting is that I got four bids for the job. Three were in line with each other, but the fourth one was roughly three times the average of the other three. I think the fact that the fourth one was the most heavily advertised outfit in the area had something to do with that.
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:23 PM   #7
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Of course they are.

Have you got a second opinion? Sounds fishy to me.
I will be getting one but our duct work is in the garage so even I can see it is leaking .
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:26 PM   #8
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We live in an elevated house and the quote is also for moving the unit .It was on a platform 17' up and now it will be suspended in the garage .
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:42 PM   #9
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We're in the process of comparing 7 quotes from 4 different companies. Our quotes range from ~$8500 to ~$10,500 for a 2.5-3 ton 16 SEER unit. The duct replacement parts of the quotes are all over the place, from ~$2200 to over $4000 (on a ~1300 SF single story house). The units are Trane, Carrier, and Daikin. Our quotes came from the highest rated company in our town, the two highest rated Angie's List companies in SWFL, and Lowes. Lowes contracts out the work to another highly rated (on Angie's List) company, but their prices are the highest due to having to kick back to Lowes. However, since I have a zillion DiscoverCard points that I can cash in for Lowes Gift Cards at $90 for a $100 card, we can effectively knock 10% off the price. But without that, I wouldn't recommend them.

The duct work issue seems to be dependent on the age and condition of the ducts. Ours are hardboard (aka fiberboard), and are 30 years old as is the house and the A/C unit and air handler. We have an odor in the house that comes from the ducts and we haven't been able to get rid of it even with sanitizing the ductwork. Your need to replace the ducts would be dependent on their condition. But definitely don't cheap out if they need to be done. The people on this forum torture nickels, and it sometimes colors their advice.

I would definitely recommend quotes from multiple companies. Let them tell you what needs to be done, don't lead them asking things like "do we need to replace our ductwork." Here is a really good article to read before picking a system, and just as important, a company. https://asm-air.com/hvac/hvac-installation-cost/


Edit: By the way, what brand AC is your quote for? We've heard (from all four companies as well as online reviews) to avoid Lennox and Goodman. Even Carrier isn't what it used to be. Also, as it says in the article, it's good to get quotes from companies that sell more than just one brand.
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:59 PM   #10
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I got some good leads from Yelp. Quiet a variation on quotes.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:01 PM   #11
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I will be getting one but our duct work is in the garage so even I can see it is leaking .
Why not just buy a couple rolls of foil tape and seal the ducts. It's cheap, easy, and very effective.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:06 PM   #12
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Why not just buy a couple rolls of foil tape and seal the ducts. It's cheap, easy, and very effective.
I think you are assuming square metal ductwork, which isn't the only type out there. Patching may or may not be a solution. And tape doesn't always hold well in FL heat and humidity.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:06 PM   #13
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My quote is for a Daikin.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:33 PM   #14
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I had my ducts changed.... they were bad... do not believe people who say they cannot go bad... we had the ones in gray plastic and they were horrible...

Now have the aluminum wrapped ones... also got R-8 instead of R-6... cost only a couple hundred more... I am very happy with the work done except for a couple of places...

One run goes to my daughters bathroom and toilet... it has a LOT of air going to it and it is either freezing or hot... but my son's room has a line that is off of a large line and gets very little air... so in the summer his room gets hot and in the winter cold...

I have been looking at changing the bathroom run for my son and vice versa.... they are close and would not cost me much to do....

Now, I cannot remember the price, but it was over $3,000... maybe close to $4,000 to do... but I also had them put in a system that splits the house in two even off one system... that has balanced out the house... also had them put in a whole house filter... OH... and also added 3 12 inch returns since the one that I had was not even close to being enough air to feed the system...

As I said, very happy with the results...

I got bids for a new AC in the $5000 to $14,000 range based on if I stayed with the current heater or not... and if I went to a two stage system... and what the rating was... when it is time I will probably go to the low end unless both the AC and heater goes out at the same time... the heater is much newer than the AC, so probably will not happen...
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:17 PM   #15
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Another question I have is the quote is for a heat pump and I live in Florida where we have maybe 7 days of cold weather and I never have heat on the whole day . Is a heat pump necessary ? I have had air conditioners with heat strips that worked fine .
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:28 PM   #16
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They are basically the same thing, but ask the people giving you the quotes. I did read something about heat pump installations being more expensive than just an AC, but if you ever do run it it's much cheaper than the resistance heaters. We're getting a heat pump/AC and we're farther south than you.
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Old 01-30-2017, 08:23 PM   #17
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It depends on many things, including where your ductwork runs, 2-story vs ranch, crawlspace vs slab, etc. Also, of course on the specific equipment (top of the line vs workhorse vs bottom of the barrel), but overall, this does sound like a decent ballpark figure to me, for such a large place.
Including the ductwork also then depends on how ductwork is installed in the house. BTW note that there are also mini split systems which do no use ductwork but have wall mounted air handlers in several rooms room. (Several may be served by one outside unit) This does provide a more zoned system, and might even be more efficient. Each wall unit has its own thermostat. All you need to run are the refrigerant pipes between the outdoor and indoor unit.
The major AC manufactures now all sell mini splits. One reason they are more efficient is that you don't have to push the air as hard or as far in ducts to get the heating and cooling needed.
BTW if you had an old house that had steam or hot water heat mini split ac's would be the way to go as no duct chases would be required.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:21 PM   #18
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As others have said, so many variables, no one can really answer this on a forum. But I would be thinking:

What is the current size of my A/C - is it adequate when it is working well?

Why are they saying my ducts are bad? Were they inspected when I moved in? Do I have a reasonable sized A/C that isn't keeping up because of this leakage? Can the leakage be fixed w/o replacement?

To avoid a rip-off, you are going to need a lot more info, and/or more quotes or really solid references for a dealer you can just trust.

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Old 01-31-2017, 06:57 AM   #19
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Also when comparing cost of unit the "SEER" rating is going to tell you the efficiency of the unit. Lower SEER typically is lower cost to buy but costs more to operate. A higher SEER number is more efficient, you may see 13 SEER to 18 for central air heat-pumps, higher for mini splits.
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Old 01-31-2017, 07:04 AM   #20
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There are also mini split A/C units that have multiple inside units working off 1 outside compressor.
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