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Old 09-21-2014, 11:19 PM   #61
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The gas furnace is a Lennox 35,000 / 70,000 BTU unit. The AC is a 2 ton Carrier.

Performance 13 Central Air Conditioning System - 24ACB3 | Carrier - Home Comfort

My AC would be 5 tons.... also an SEER of 16.... yours looks like a max 15... I would think the size and a tad more efficiency would cost.... just do not know how much....

DW is talking like she does not want to change... says it is working just fine... (just to add, she wants me to replace our SUV... I think she does not want anything to get in the way of doing that).....

I will get a few other quotes, but will probably take the advice of the survey.... do nothing...
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:28 PM   #62
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My AC would be 5 tons.... also an SEER of 16.... yours looks like a max 15... I would think the size and a tad more efficiency would cost.... just do not know how much....

DW is talking like she does not want to change... says it is working just fine... (just to add, she wants me to replace our SUV... I think she does not want anything to get in the way of doing that).....

I will get a few other quotes, but will probably take the advice of the survey.... do nothing...
It's model year changeover time. Maybe you can get a good deal on a leftover 2014 SUV.
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:38 PM   #63
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Hey.... I found a site that gives prices on Trane...


Trane Air Conditioners Prices - Pros, Cons, and Cost


The top of the line one was the most expensive one quoted... just the AC unit is $5500 wholesale... also getting the rest of the system replaced... the top of the line units are also very quiet compared to the lower rated ones...


Also looked at Sears.... and you can see the price of a 16 SEER or higher is in the $3000 to $4000 range... without installation.... looks like the quotes are not that far off when you compare the prices for the systems...


Air Condition Systems from Sears.com
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:45 AM   #64
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... Hired A/C certified tech to evac old unit, pull vac, finish recharge. ...
That's what I was wondering about...the vacuum pump, freon tank, pressure guages, etc would be "one time use" tools, and handling freon needs a license/certification.
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Old 09-22-2014, 11:13 AM   #65
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Hey.... I found a site that gives prices on Trane...


Trane Air Conditioners Prices - Pros, Cons, and Cost


The top of the line one was the most expensive one quoted... just the AC unit is $5500 wholesale... also getting the rest of the system replaced... the top of the line units are also very quiet compared to the lower rated ones...


Also looked at Sears.... and you can see the price of a 16 SEER or higher is in the $3000 to $4000 range... without installation.... looks like the quotes are not that far off when you compare the prices for the systems...


Air Condition Systems from Sears.com
Sounds like you have done your homework. My advice is to get four estimates and do a manual J calculation to ensure that you have the right size installed. I used an online calculator and my needed size units (heat and AC) were smaller than any of the reps recommended. They always oversize to CYA, which not only wastes money but also sacrifices comfort.
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Old 09-22-2014, 12:03 PM   #66
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Last week and the week before were brutal here in San Diego. I grew up here and do not ever remember it being so hot.

We definitely plan to get AC sometime in the next year. It was that bad. (And I've been FIRMLY in the "we don't need AC in San Diego" camp up till this last heat wave.)

We're looking at the dual split system for our 2000sf 2 story house. We're going to put in one unit in the living room, and one unit directly above, in the master bedroom. Fortunately, they're on the North side of the house, so we have a good place to put the compressor. We'll be retrofitting in pocket doors on the entry to the living room from the foyer, and a swinging door from the dining room to the kitchen.

Thank goodness the heat wave broke earlier this week.
Glad to hear I'm not alone! The last two summers have had truly unbearable periods. We may not run it much most summers, but I'd have killed for it this past summer.

I'm with you on the breaking of the heat. This past weekend was beautiful. I think the problem this summer was the lack of May gray/June gloom. Ocean temp is about 10 degrees higher than normal because of the early summer sun exposure. Kelp growth is bad this year, too, but the cool breeze and marine layer from the ocean have been missing more often than not this summer, thus the 85/80 days that have worn me down on A/C.

Our ducting appears to be in good shape based on my untrained eye, so I'll go home tonight and do a manual J calculation and see what I get. I'm guessing we don't need anything fancy at all given our small, single story, psuedo-oceanfront property. We don't have any windows with afternoon sun, just our master bedroom with exposure from about 10-2pm, and one skylight. Hoping a small size will work, and that the install will be relatively painless (and less expensive than I'm budgeting!).
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Old 09-22-2014, 03:28 PM   #67
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I assume the compressor would be laid outside, so I think they would have to put down a foundation for it.
For the "foundation" for the compressor yes, that used to require a concrete pad. At least around here and in MD what I've been seeing for the last 20+ years is either a plastic pad installed level on the ground or more recently two "arms" installed in the foundation wall to hold it a foot or three above ground. Those are usually put in when the foundation wall of the house is built. Not expensive at all.
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Old 09-22-2014, 04:55 PM   #68
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For the "foundation" for the compressor yes, that used to require a concrete pad. At least around here and in MD what I've been seeing for the last 20+ years is either a plastic pad installed level on the ground or more recently two "arms" installed in the foundation wall to hold it a foot or three above ground. Those are usually put in when the foundation wall of the house is built. Not expensive at all.
Let me make a vote against the "arms bolted to the wall". My dad had this and it ended up transmitting vibration through the whole structure. It is very low frequency, but can drive you crazy.

If placed on a pad, it is much better isolated. My installer actually had real pre-cast preform concrete pads they laid down.

Now, if you are in a flood prone area, they may raise the unit above the flood plain. This is very common where a house is built "on stilts" or even raised. (Think beachfront, but it isn't the only place.) In this case, the arms may be best.
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Old 09-22-2014, 07:59 PM   #69
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Our ducting appears to be in good shape based on my untrained eye, so I'll go home tonight and do a manual J calculation and see what I get. I'm guessing we don't need anything fancy at all given our small, single story, psuedo-oceanfront property. We don't have any windows with afternoon sun, just our master bedroom with exposure from about 10-2pm, and one skylight. Hoping a small size will work, and that the install will be relatively painless (and less expensive than I'm budgeting!).
I ended up prioritizing the installer over equipment brand choice because of the integration of gas furnace and heat pump systems. The propane furnace now functions as the aux heat. The price of propane was putting a hurt on the wallet.

Networking is good, several different people independently recommended the same HVAC installer as a competent person who took pride in a job done right. They were right, I'm happy.
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Old 09-23-2014, 05:17 AM   #70
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I ended up prioritizing the installer over equipment brand choice because of the integration of gas furnace and heat pump systems. The propane furnace now functions as the aux heat. The price of propane was putting a hurt on the wallet.

Networking is good, several different people independently recommended the same HVAC installer as a competent person who took pride in a job done right. They were right, I'm happy.
A crappy install does no good for the best of equipment. I think your idea is wise.

Crappy installs can create a variety of issues:
- Refrigerant leaks. Can severely damage and limit lifetime of equipment.
- Duct leakage. For supply, you lose the air. For return, you could get dirty air bypassing your filters and messing up the coils and heat exchanger.
- Wiring faults
- Poor condensate drainage. Failure to have proper backup drainage, catch pans or float limit switches.

I'm not an HVAC installer. However, I did manage 20+ units as a volunteer at my church. I've seen good and bad installs. The above 'bad' were all issues I ran into on the bad installs. The installer clearly took shortcuts.
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:32 AM   #71
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I live in Texas like the OP. Upon returning from a recent vacation we found out our downstairs unit had cratered. Just got an estimate for a 5 ton dual speed Trane unit replacing our outside compressor, coils, and furnace system for $8200.

Although that's a tough bill to swallow, I think it might be a reasonable cost overall for what we are buying and having done. I am getting two other quotes prepared for comparison sakes. Thanks goodeness we are having a cooler respite right now to allow time for comparisons.

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Old 09-24-2014, 11:06 AM   #72
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I live in Texas like the OP. Upon returning from a recent vacation we found out our downstairs unit had cratered. Just got an estimate for a 5 ton dual speed Trane unit replacing our outside compressor, coils, and furnace system for $8200.
A 5 ton unit just for the downstairs? Wow, you must have some serious square footage in that mansion.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:20 AM   #73
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A 5 ton unit just for the downstairs? Wow, you must have some serious square footage in that mansion.
Ok. Now you have me worried. I'm not an engineer or anything close to that and frankly an idiot when it comes to these matters.

You clearly imply I'm quoted a system far too big. My total house is 3000sqft. Not sure what just the downstairs is but certainly not of mansion proportions. I did ask how he sized the system quoted and he said it was equivalent to the old one being replaced.

As mentioned I have two other companies coming out to prepare quotes. It will be interesting to see if they provide similar specs or if they go smaller.

Now for the dumber question of the day. How big should my system be and how the heck should I know?

And should I pay off the mortgage or replace my HVAC system?
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Old 09-24-2014, 12:10 PM   #74
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Based on my limited learning experiences thus far, I admit that 5 tons does seem pretty large for just the downstairs of a 3000 sq ft home. Then again, your load is larger than mine, your house is larger than mine...

The price seems high for what I'm used to hearing. A 4 ton unit install "from scratch" out here cost my friends $4500. That was with all wiring, piping and ducting required to be installed, as well as the AC unit itself.

Other folks I've talked to also recommend looking at options other than Trane. You can find better value; Trane is considered by some to be "top of the line." Maybe you want that in Texas, and maybe the costs are totally different.

Definitely a good call to get two other estimates! I'd ask them to do a load calculation and tell you what they recommend based off of that, rather than trying to just replace the old one. It's possible you've got "too much" A/C, which is more expensive to install, and inefficient due to excessive cycling.
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Old 09-24-2014, 12:52 PM   #75
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Definitely a good call to get two other estimates! I'd ask them to do a load calculation and tell you what they recommend based off of that, rather than trying to just replace the old one. It's possible you've got "too much" A/C, which is more expensive to install, and inefficient due to excessive cycling.
+1

I'm far from an expert but I went through this process a few years ago and the "correct" size for our 2400 SF single-story TX house calculated at 3.5 tons. 5 tons may be reasonable for 3000 SF, but since you said "downstairs unit" it leads me to believe you have a second unit for upstairs, which led to my comment.

Definitely get a load calculation done with the other estimates.

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And should I pay off the mortgage or replace my HVAC system?
Not sure, but if I were you I'd work at least OMY and delay SS to age 68.387.
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Old 09-24-2014, 12:55 PM   #76
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Based on my limited learning experiences thus far, I admit that 5 tons does seem pretty large for just the downstairs of a 3000 sq ft home. Then again, your load is larger than mine, your house is larger than mine...
And I might add. Texas is not Coronado. Big difference. It isn't only sq. ft.
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Old 09-24-2014, 02:15 PM   #77
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And I might add. Texas is not Coronado. Big difference. It isn't only sq. ft.
Indeed, there are a bunch of variables not the least of which is the difference between Vermont and Texas. Size, number, of windows and whether they face north or south. How much insulation the house has, and where that insulation is. (All in the attic and are the walls insulated too?) Number of people (~300 btu each) and whether someone uses the kitchen oven a lot. And other stuff.

There are ways to calculate it and I found a couple of online calculators but they were for other parts of the country and not valid for Texas heat.

Here's one way to calculate it: How to Calculate the Right Size for an Air Conditioner

Or just search on "calculate central air conditioner size" and you'll get lots of hits.
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Old 09-24-2014, 02:27 PM   #78
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And I might add. Texas is not Coronado. Big difference. It isn't only sq. ft.
Yeah, that's what "your load is larger than mine, your house is larger than mine..." implied. I also mentioned Texas specifically as folks out here pass on paying extra for a Trane since we only run it two or three months out of the year instead of six...
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:09 AM   #79
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Yeah, that's what "your load is larger than mine, your house is larger than mine..." implied. I also mentioned Texas specifically as folks out here pass on paying extra for a Trane since we only run it two or three months out of the year instead of six...
What do you mean six..... more like nine!!!


I do not know the construction of others, but from what I am told, the Trane has a lot of aluminum which does not degrade like copper.... so the unit is still putting out the same cooling years later... I was told that with copper the SEER drops over the years...



Also, I was surprised when I was told that my unit is 4 tons for a 2700 sq.ft. house.... I would think 5 tons just for a downstairs is way too big... what do you have for the upstairs
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timely thread
Old 09-25-2014, 07:54 AM   #80
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timely thread

I saw this thread a couple of weeks ago and passed on it, because it wasn't relevant...yet. Problems over the weekend caused us to re-think and now I've got two companies coming out today for estimates.

My DW is one of those people who will be running the air conditioner nine months out of the year--in Illinois! She always claims we can put more clothes on but she can't take any more off.
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