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Old 04-20-2014, 09:11 PM   #21
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+1
A home inspector is likely to flag the units, possibly delaying the sale. There are several manufacturer and utility company rebates available. Not sure if there is a Federal credit available anymore. Do some research. We found out about a $600 utility company rebate after we had already replaced our unit. The HVAC company did not mention it. Our cooling costs dropped almost 30% with the new unit. We had a 12 yr old builder grade unit and it needed some type of repair every year.

I do not believe you can mix new and old components due to the new refrigerants in use. The fact that your estimator could not give you a sound reason for not mixing old and new would scare me away.
Actually you can not mix new and old outside units and inside coils. if one had an a/c system with a furnace you would just change the coil. But with a heat pump system the rest of the airhandler is just a blower and some backup resistance heat strips. (Which is why the circuit breaker for the AHU is so large, when it gets cold enough (teens) you effectively have electric heat. If you were to take the covers off the AHU and assuming there is no backup gas, propane or oil furnace, you would find the coil, the blower and the resistance strips plus control circuit boards.
I replaced the 3 units at my house over 2 years and the electric bill has come down. (12 SEER to 15 SEER). I did notice that between the 1994 and 2011 units the number of wires between the AHU and the outside unit went from 4 to 5 as the outside unit signals when it is on defrost, so the resistance heat can come on to keep the house warm.
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Old 04-20-2014, 10:00 PM   #22
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I dunno about that, it seems unlikely that new AC/heat pump units to replace functioning old ones is the kind of "improvement" that will result in a dollar-for-dollar higher sales price. If prospective buyers go into the house and it is appropriately cool/warm, then that's probably the standard to meet. I'd make cosmetic repairs to the outside cabinets so that they aren't an eyesore and don't draw attention to the age of the units (coat of paint, shine up the fans, etc) and that's about it.

A listing real estate agent is likely to suggest you replace the units because:
1) they aren't the ones paying for them
2) A higher selling price, even if it's only 50 cents on the dollar for what you spent, increases their commission

I'd skip the replacement and be prepared to use the dough as a concession on the price if a prospective buyer brings up the issue. A prospective buyer might not notice or care about the heat pump at all (lots of buyers fixate on countertops and finishes hardly noticing the true mechanicals of the house), or they might be the other way and really want a geothermal system or one with exceptionally high SEER. Why spend $10-20K and be guessing? As a buyer, I'd much prefer to get a price break to spend on what I want rather than someone's assurance that units were new and worked well.

I noticed!!! I put it in our contract that if either the roof or A/C units were more than 10 year old we got a discount (cannot remember if $3K or $5K... but think it was $5)....


Now, if you live in a sellers market... then they ignore your request and sell it to someone who does not care....
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:11 AM   #23
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My guess is the sale price of your house will NOT "swing" 22k based on whether you do this work (plus 11k with the work done or minus 11k without the work).

If it ain't broke; don't fix it.

Little bit funny ... had a house on the market with an older roof. No leaks; but it was the same roof when I bought; I owned the place for 12 years. Buyer makes a verbal offer contingent on a new roof. I said the price was "OK" but I am NOT replacing the roof ... "it doesn't leak". He walks.

I continued renting out the place for another year ... get a vacancy. Put it back on the market. It sold for 30k more than I was asking a year prior. With the same roof.

The rising tide lifts all boats.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:36 AM   #24
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24 yo system; seems to me any astute buyer would want a credit to replace, and certainly so if a reputable inspector was involved.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:56 AM   #25
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Most homebuyers want the new system installed so the cost is in the price of the home mortgage and won't have money for immediate improvements like two new HVAC systems....
This is the main reason IMHO to do improvements before selling. You limit your pool of potential buyers to only those who can afford to do the improvements on their own (new roof, update kitchen, hvac replacements, window replacement, whatever) and who would prefer the credit.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:34 AM   #26
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Around here we just add a one year insurance policy to the sale to cover appliances that need repair or replacement during that period. If the A/C is in working condition, let it be.

It also depends on where you live and the time on the components. In Houston (the Great Swamp), A/C units rarely make it past 10 - 15 years. In Ventura county, California, where I lived for 12 years, we only used the A/C or heat a few weeks a year.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:46 AM   #27
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A lot of pro and con discussion about repair or replace, but the OP didn't ask that question:
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We hope to sell the house in a year or so, so replacement is essential; but even if we stayed, we'd want to replace those units, which seem like they could go at any time.
I agree that spending any money on repairing 24 year units is a waste of money.

The question asked was is it necessary to replace both the internal and external units, and the responses have confirmed that to be the case.

Now, let's talk about paying off the mortgage early...
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Old 04-21-2014, 02:03 PM   #28
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ReWahoo, I actually got a lot out of the whole discussion. I don't mind if things get a little away from my original question. People often "surface" items I didn't think to ask.

Thanks, everybody,

Amethyst

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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
A lot of pro and con discussion about repair or replace, but the OP didn't ask that question:

I agree that spending any money on repairing 24 year units is a waste of money.

The question asked was is it necessary to replace both the internal and external units, and the responses have confirmed that to be the case.

Now, let's talk about paying off the mortgage early...
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Old 04-21-2014, 02:44 PM   #29
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ReWahoo, I actually got a lot out of the whole discussion. I don't mind if things get a little away from my original question. People often "surface" items I didn't think to ask.
I agree, that's often the case. But I just couldn't help pointing out to the alligator wrestlers that the swamp still needed draining...
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Old 04-21-2014, 03:36 PM   #30
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You limit your pool of potential buyers to only those who can afford to do the improvements on their own (new roof, update kitchen, hvac replacements, window replacement, whatever) and who would prefer the credit.
I'd add other possible categories of buyers who would be in the pool:
-- Those don't place a lot of importance on the age of the air conditioner/furnace when weighed against all the other factors involved in selecting a new home (many of which can't be as easily addressed).
-- Those who would prefer to have new units of their choice installed prior to moving in (and included in the negotiated purchase price, put into the mortgage).

IIRC, Amethyst lives in a high-cost RE market. Given the relatively small fraction of the total price of an upscale home that is represented by the HVAC system, it seems unlikely that this one thing would be a dealbreaker for any serious prospective buyer. To the (I think minor) fraction of buyers who have an "issue", the chance to give them a credit (or to buy a replacement unit of their choice after getting sufficient nonrefundable "assurances" that they will by the home) could actually be a plus.

Spending $20+K on the (I think slight) chance that I'd see a commensurate increase in market value or an improvement in marketability seems a bad bet. But, I'm surely no expert. I don't think a RE agent is a good source of advice, either.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:09 PM   #31
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On mixing "old' and "new" : 2 neighbors got new heat pumps 3 years ago. One neighbor said she "had to" have the air handler replaced also due to the new "requirements". But the other neighbor said the contractor said he could do the outside unit alone, but she decided to get the air handler done also, since she had tons of tax rebates from [mod edit]the federal government and discounts from the contractor for paying cash. When and if I get my heat pump replaced I expect to hear different stories from the salesmen about what is required.

The neighbor who used the tax rebates got the system (both air handler and heat pump) for $4,000. Trane units. And then the $1500 rebate came off and she only paid $2,500. This was in Pa.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:16 PM   #32
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On mixing "old' and "new" : 2 neighbors got new heat pumps 3 years ago. One neighbor said she "had to" have the air handler replaced also due to the new "requirements". But the other neighbor said the contractor said he could do the outside unit alone, but she decided to get the air handler done also, since she had tons of tax rebates from [mod edit] the federal government and discounts from the contractor for paying cash. When and if I get my heat pump replaced I expect to hear different stories from the salesmen about what is required.
If the old unit was r-22 then the inside coil will have to be replaced due to the new refrigerant used (it is at a higher pressure among other differences). Then the question becomes is it really cheaper to just buy a new coil? But then you also have to check does the housing around the coil have serious rust problems, since it is wet most of the summer. One change I noticed with the newer units, is the outside unit comes on for 30 seconds before the blower starts, so the blast of hot or cold air is not as large.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:35 PM   #33
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We just recently worked through HVAC thing--and ended up buying a whole new unit (ours was quite old). Anyhow, the process is a nuisance. And, you're never quite sure how much you're being mislead (lied to).

So, given your situation:
1. that you are actually going to sell your place in about a year
2 that your current HVAC isn't going to kill you

You might want to consider having the new owners buy their own HVAC (if it even comes to that) and let them deal with the HVAC guys--even if you have to pay for part of the HVAC. Not dealing with the HVAC people must be worth something to you.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:51 PM   #34
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Actually you can not mix new and old outside units and inside coils. if one had an a/c system with a furnace you would just change the coil. But with a heat pump system the rest of the airhandler is just a blower and some backup resistance heat strips. (Which is why the circuit breaker for the AHU is so large, when it gets cold enough (teens) you effectively have electric heat. If you were to take the covers off the AHU and assuming there is no backup gas, propane or oil furnace, you would find the coil, the blower and the resistance strips plus control circuit boards.
I replaced the 3 units at my house over 2 years and the electric bill has come down. (12 SEER to 15 SEER). I did notice that between the 1994 and 2011 units the number of wires between the AHU and the outside unit went from 4 to 5 as the outside unit signals when it is on defrost, so the resistance heat can come on to keep the house warm.
Not sure why you are quoting me as I think we are both saying new and old components cannot be mixed or maybe I am missing your point entirely. I do disagree with your statement "the rest of the airhandler is just a blower and some backup resistance heat strips." The AC or heat pump indoor coil has the same function as the outdoor coil (e.g. exchange energy(heat) between the refrigerant and the air.)
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:10 PM   #35
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Very interesting discussion. It's amazing to me the heating/cooling requirements of different locations we can pick and choose from after ER by virtue of being of "independent means" as mentioned in another thread.

When we moved to SW Oregon I really wasn't thinking of the HVAC requirements for the place. I had budgeted $7,500 to install a heat pump at the house we eventually bought since it only had a wood stove and a swamp cooler. I thought something along the lines of living in the house for a little while and then getting the work done (I've lived in San Antonio and Austin so I have a general idea of what that is like). It turns out that a wood stove for the winter months and a swamp cooler for the very dry summer months (Mid June to Mid September) has worked quite well for the last 15 years since I moved here.

Sorry for the side trip and offering absolutely nothing of value to the OP...
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:01 PM   #36
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To get back to the OP question....


Since you are selling your house, it might not matter as much.... but if I had it inspected and was told that the outside unit was new and the inside was 25 years old... I would cut the price I was willing to pay... again, a sellers market can ignore someone like me...


Now, if I were going to stay in the house... I would replace everything... how much longer do you think that the part can work
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