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Old 06-23-2015, 01:19 PM   #21
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A good suggestion, but it is worth noting that these come in two flavors - one hose and two hose. The two hose units work much better, as the one hose units are constantly blowing cooled air out the window and sucking warm outside make-up air through the home's air leak passages.
+1

When used in a home, the single-hose portable AC will cool its room at the expense of the other rooms, as it draws exterior hot air through window and door leaks from the other rooms. Very, very bad! It's not too different than the typical fireplace drawing cold air into other rooms so it can vent its exhaust up the chimney. Bad, very bad.

If one can accommodate a window AC, it is cheaper and works better than a single-hose standalone unit.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:25 PM   #22
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Thanks, I didn't know about the two-hose units. That does sound more efficient. I've got a one-hose model I use in an outbuilding, now I have a good DIY project to see if I can modify the source of air for the condenser cooling.
There is a blogger who built his own travel trailer and tried to turn a single-hose AC into a dual-hose by building an enclosure with some baffles to direct the air. It did not work well (he provided little detail), so gave up and put in a split system. Search for "Over the top cargo trailer" if you are curious.
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:56 PM   #23
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Update

Thanks, everyone for your input. Decision was reached today. Process went like this:

Bid 1 - Company associated with Costco. Rep came out on Monday, took about 1.5 hours to review equipment, discuss performance of current system, listen to our concerns and talk about our options. Sent an email later that night with estimates for 2 systems. Option 1: 3 ton single stage AC and 80,000 BTU gas furnace - cost $8900. Option 2: 3 ton two stage AC and 80,000 BTU two stage furnace with variable speed blower - cost $10,200. Overall impression was that they were fairly knowledgeable and, as a large operation, would be able to get to it within a week. For some reason they really wanted me to know that the owner ran a Christian operation.

Bid 2 - Company recommended by friends. Rep came out Tuesday, took a quick look at the current install and wrote up an estimate on the spot. Single stage AC, 80,000 BTU single stage furnace - cost $7700. In and out in twenty minutes.

Bid 3 - Company heard about through ads. Rep came out Wednesday, Took a long look at the equipment, took tons of pictures. Asked many questions about current system satisfaction and explained how the two-stage options would improve comfort. Very responsive to my questions. Suggested that the current furnace was likely too big but that he would have to do a load calculation () to be sure. Said he would send me the estimate by email after he completed the calculations. Came back with Option 1: 3 ton single stage AC and 66,000 BTU two stage furnace - $6500, Option 2: 3 ton two stage AC with 80,000 BTU two stage furnace with variable speed blower - $7700. The down side is that it would be 2 weeks before the install.

All equipment is comparable, high quality stuff.

So, after DW and I discuss this, I call Rep 3 back and say that we will take his Option 2 and we set a date for the install.

THEN a different rep from Company 1 calls me to see if we have made a commitment yet. I tell him yes, that we are going with company 3. HE asks why, so I tell him that $2500 is a lot of money and that we would be happy to suffer for a week to save that kind of cash. He then offers to drop his price by $2000. THIS REALLY P***ED ME OFF. I told him that I would not be comfortable going back on the agreement that I had already made.

What bothers me most is that I told all three of them that I was getting 3 bids and that they should make their best offer. These guys seemed to think that they could squeeze an extra couple grand out of me, if I wasn't smart enough to do my legwork. Didn't seem very Christian to me. I'm thinking about complaining to Costco - I can see where a number of people might not get multiple bids because they would assume that, if Costco partners with them, then the price must be good.

End of Rant
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:38 PM   #24
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I had a similar experience with Costco and HVAC quotes. I needed a new forced air unit (FAU) to work with an IQAir Air whole house air purifier I was installing. The Costco guy came out and told me how great the Lennox system is. His quote was $4,800.

The installer for IQAir was also an HVAC installer. He told me that Lennox dealers are known for overpricing their systems. I went with a comparable system from Carrier for $2,000 and it's been working just fine. The Costco company also quoted me $1,400 for an Air Scrubber Plus, which after doing much research turns out to be a worthless piece of snake oil. I mentioned it to the HVAC guy who did my installation and he told me that he can purchase the Air Scrubber for $375, but he only installs if it customers insist because he knows they don't work. I called Costco to complain about the substantially higher price and the obnoxious $1,400 add on. They told me they don't monitor the prices their outside vendors charge for their services nor what products they recommend.

So I quickly learned that using Costco for outside services makes no sense at all. They don't negotiate their prices, but they take a cut on every deal. I love Costco stores, but their third party services are of no value at all.

BTW, I also may need a new AC unit, so I called my HVAC guy today to find out what it should cost. He said the newer more energy efficient units cost $3,000, including a new coil. I have two units, so each unit needs to cool 2,000 square feet. This price was for a four ton unit. I'm sure there are many options to choose from, but I know he will tell me what a fair market price is, so $3,000 is probably a pretty good estimate to replace a unit if you go with someone who doesn't excessively mark it up.
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:43 PM   #25
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... For some reason they really wanted me to know that the owner ran a Christian operation.

... These guys seemed to think that they could squeeze an extra couple grand out of me, if I wasn't smart enough to do my legwork. Didn't seem very Christian to me...
Just because someone is religious doesn't mean that he does not want to maximize his profits. Maybe it simply means that their work will be good, if only overpriced.
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:20 PM   #26
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Just because someone is religious doesn't mean that he does not want to maximize his profits. Maybe it simply means that their work will be good, if only overpriced.
I have no problem with someone trying to make a good profit, but this atheist really gets hung up on the "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" thing. You can't convince me that this business behavior fits that paradigm. I would have had no problem with them saying that $10,200 was there best price or for them to have originally bid $8200. But I just can't see the behavior this company displayed as Biblically inspired.
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:25 PM   #27
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Just joking. I am an agnostic, and do not think business and religion should mix.
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Old 06-26-2015, 04:43 AM   #28
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Option 2: 3 ton two stage AC with 80,000 BTU two stage furnace with variable speed blower - $7700. The down side is that it would be 2 weeks before the install.
Okay, so that makes me feel much better about the estimate I mentioned above - we're beginning to see a little price advantage of having moved this far south. Of course, we'll pay for that advantage with higher costs for energy since we'll need to run these suckers much more than you will in Virginia.
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Old 06-26-2015, 05:41 AM   #29
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The single biggest problem I had when replacing both my furnace and my AC (sequentially) was that contractors refused to do a Manual J calculation to determine the right size. Instead they wanted to base it off the existing equipment or use a fudge factor based on square feet and install a much too large unit.

This is a big deal because a furnace that is too big cycles too often and does not maintain an even temperature, and is not as efficient as a properly sized one. An AC too large does not properly dehumidify the air , does not hold an even temperature and wastes energy.

I did my own calculations (on-line calculator) and had to sign a waiver basically stating I'd not taken their recommendations. I could not be happier. My two stage gas furnace keeps the house warm on subzero days on the 35,000 btu stage, only kicking into the 70,000 btu stage when switching from night time to daytime temperature. Similarly, the two ton AC works great and really cuts the humidity.

I found huge variation in prices for the same equipment between quotes.

Agree you'll need an inside coil and maybe a chimney liner.
Do you still have the link to the on-line calculator you used? Thanks.
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Old 06-26-2015, 07:56 AM   #30
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I am not sure where it came from, but in the back of my mind, I seem to recall hearing complaints about Costco's HVAC services. I think jjq made a good decision.
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Old 06-26-2015, 08:03 AM   #31
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I'm thinking about complaining to Costco - I can see where a number of people might not get multiple bids because they would assume that, if Costco partners with them, then the price must be good.
I agree that you need to contact Costco to let them know how unhappy you are with their 'partner'.
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Old 06-26-2015, 12:02 PM   #32
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Do you still have the link to the on-line calculator you used? Thanks.
Sorry, I went back to my bookmarks and found a bunch of dead links. Google "Manual J heat calculator". The free ones are not as comprehensive as a professional model, but will get you close.
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Update - Cool air restored
Old 07-10-2015, 06:38 PM   #33
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Update - Cool air restored

AC was installed yesterday. Everything went smoothly and there were no unpleasant surprises for me (the installers apparently had a couple of minor ones.). Thanks to everyone for the input. I really feel like I came out of this with a quality system, properly sized, properly installed, at a reasonable price.
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:11 AM   #34
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This has been an interesting posting. You can go online and see the cost of a/c components. After the total installed prices are quoted, it's obvious that HVAC is a high markup business.


What's not been said is that many of the really good HVAC contractors in big cities have sold out to major HVAC manufacturers. For example, Atlanta has very few independent large HVAC contractors. This means they're quoting you only one brand of HVAC equipment--often at very inflated or expensive prices.


I am serviced by a father/son HVAC company, and they're downright inexpensive due to having low overhead. When one of my heat pump systems goes out, they'll research the different brands to see what's the most cost effective option for me. Chances are I'll be switching over to a heat pump/natural hybrid system--efficient in our climate.
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Old 07-11-2015, 02:56 PM   #35
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This has been an interesting posting. You can go online and see the cost of a/c components. After the total installed prices are quoted, it's obvious that HVAC is a high markup business.


What's not been said is that many of the really good HVAC contractors in big cities have sold out to major HVAC manufacturers. For example, Atlanta has very few independent large HVAC contractors. This means they're quoting you only one brand of HVAC equipment--often at very inflated or expensive prices.


I am serviced by a father/son HVAC company, and they're downright inexpensive due to having low overhead. When one of my heat pump systems goes out, they'll research the different brands to see what's the most cost effective option for me. Chances are I'll be switching over to a heat pump/natural hybrid system--efficient in our climate.
Yes, interesting and informative thread! I'm wondering how much I'll end up paying in eastern Pa to replace my Trane XE1000 heat pump/ac unit. If the neighbors are any indication, I'll be paying about $5,000 for the hp/ac unit and the inside coil, including installation. So that's $2,000 in parts and...ummmm.... $3,000 in labor. For about 6 hours..... It's the $3,000 in labor that blows my mind. I'll have to keep my nose to the grindstone and find out what the insiders do in this situation. Can't be everyone here in my area is paying three grand for hp installation.
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Old 07-12-2015, 04:53 AM   #36
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It's not just the labor, though. Parts don't cost the same everywhere because the carrying costs are different. In some extreme examples, carrying costs represent 50% of the cost of the product, so even modest regional variances in carrying costs can be substantial. In the northeast warehouse costs are higher so that will skew the carrying costs associated with product purchased in the northeast.
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Old 07-12-2015, 06:59 AM   #37
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a lot of areas have rebates for high efficiency heating and air. I wonder if the high prices are parially due to the rebates?
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:02 AM   #38
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Good point. One of the complaints about government rebates is that they sometimes do nothing more than raise the ceiling on pricing helping the seller more than the buyer.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:32 AM   #39
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So that's $2,000 in parts and...ummmm.... $3,000 in labor. For about 6 hours..... It's the $3,000 in labor that blows my mind.
And the labor is not that difficult, if everything is easily accessible. I've got a simple setup (evap coil in abasement room with good access, outside compressor/outside unit at grade level just outside) and when my unit crumps out I'll definitely be looking for an HVAC tech who wants to make a few hundred dollars on a side job to come out and hook up the refrigerant lines and check out the operation of the units after I get everything else in place and hooked up.
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:02 AM   #40
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A half hour on the web resulted in my finding no rebates/discounts/tax breaks for heat pump in 2015, in Pa. One of my neighbors scored bigtime a few years ago with the $1,500 tax credit on a new heat pump. It was a Trane. List price was $6,000. She then got several *discounts* (don't know what exactly) to get it down to $4,000. Then an additional $400 off for paying cash. Now down to $3,600. Then the $1,500 tax credit brings it down to $2,100. Not bad. And this was for the outside unit and the inside coil. She was not planning on replacing the inside coil, but the deal was too attractive to resist. I guess she is a good negotiator, too.
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