Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 04:35 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
FinanceDude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 12,484
Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

I keep getting these desperate letters from all the HVAC guys in my area that "want to keep their guys working", etc.

My current unit is 18 years old, and although it runs well, I am sure the efficiency is way down, plus, it's pretty loud when the blower kicks in.

I live in the Midwest, and have about 2200 square feet of house. I have been getting some quotes, but they all seem like a lot of money...........$5000-$10000.

Ideas? Just don't want to be stupid about it..............
__________________

__________________
Consult with your own advisor or representative. My thoughts should not be construed as investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results (love that one).......:)


This Thread is USELESS without pics.........:)
FinanceDude is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 04:41 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

"It depends".

All new ductwork or reuse the existing? If new, highly insulated (recommended for a very cold or very hot area)?

Efficiency rating desired?

4000-6000 installed for a pretty decent system in that size home is realistic. 10k for a high efficiency system with a lot of new highly insulated ductwork is a bit high but not that bad.

In my experience, the systems manufacturer and a lot of the specs pale in comparison to how well the system is installed. I have a great system that was installed, to be kind to their intelligence, by a bunch of sight impaired drunks. Works terribly and unfortunately, resolving what they screwed up would cost so much I might as well hang in there and wait until the unit needs replacing.

So find a great installer that knows their stuff, and perhaps worry a bit less about which model they're installing.
__________________

__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 04:52 PM   #3
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 557
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I have a great system that was installed, to be kind to their intelligence, by a bunch of sight impaired drunks.



FD
CFB makes a good point about the quality of the workmanship. Also about the type of system. If you are going both new furnace and ac, 4-6,000. probably not too far out of line, if fully installed and guaranteed by a reputable company. Do the BBB thing, also go with a major manufacture's installation company.
__________________
uncledrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 04:59 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,005
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

I'd say $5k might be about right. Does it make sense to wait until spring when the demand might be much less? HVAC guys might be more willing to negotiate a little just to keep their crews busy when no one is calling for heat/AC repairs or new furnace installs.
__________________
justin is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 05:25 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
saluki9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,032
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

We have a 2500sq ft house with a 30 year old furnace. I had a quote from last week to install a new Carrier 2 state and a new a/c coil for $3,400. Go figure, on the same quote was a proposal to install a heater for my 400sq ft garage which would cost $2,400. Something doesn't seem right
__________________
saluki9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 05:33 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

I'm betting they "forgot" something on that $3400 quote.

Also make sure to check your local utility company for available rebates, and look for state and federal tax incentives for specific high efficiency heating and cooling products.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 05:35 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,038
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

I have an 1800 sq. ft. house. I had the central air and heat 'electric', replaced several years ago. About 4K then. I live in the south with a short heating season so I didn't go for a heat pump.

I have thought in my retirement house I may well use window units. I can buy a lot of them for 4K.
__________________
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.
Lazarus is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 06:59 PM   #8
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

Check in to an energy credit you can take this and next year if you replace with effeciant model. (2006-2008)
We missed it cause ours died at the age of 20 in 2005

not sure of house size but average 25year old 4 bedroom replacement system was $6000
__________________
5j404 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 07:13 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,951
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

What type of unit do you currently have (gas/electric/heat pump)?
What exactly are you replacing: heating unit/cooling unit/both?
What capacity are the replacement units? (BTUs for heat/Tons or BTUs cooling)
What is the efficiency rating of the new unit(s)

If you know these variables, it would be a lot easier to compare. You should probably expect reasonable payback given the age of your unit. Fuel costs and labor costs in the Midwest are probably favorable compared to East Coast.
The guys sending the letters are probably NOT the most efficient ones to deal with, but don't go cheap either. I would think the mid to lower end of that range should be reasonable.
__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 07:33 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
thefed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,203
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

here's something to chew on:

your parts for the ac unit will cost the company approx 750 bucks
the furnace itself will cost NO MORE than 1000 (carrier/trane) To be frugal, i'd even go with a ducane (sp?) or goodman, either will last you 15 yrs and can be had for 600 bucks or so

Install should take about 6 hours...even at 60/hr labor times two guys.....



are you handy at all? surprisingly a furnace is a simple undertaking
__________________
thefed is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 07:34 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
thefed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,203
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed
here's something to chew on:

your parts for the ac unit will cost the company approx 750 bucks
the furnace itself will cost NO MORE than 1000 (carrier/trane) To be frugal, i'd even go with a ducane (sp?) or goodman, either will last you 15 yrs and can be had for 600 bucks or so

Install should take about 6 hours...even at 60/hr labor times two guys.....


edit: i quoted prices on 80% efficient furnaces, obviously higher efficiency = more $$
are you handy at all? surprisingly a furnace is a simple undertaking
__________________
thefed is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 08:50 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,951
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed
here's something to chew on:

your parts for the ac unit will cost the company approx 750 bucks
the furnace itself will cost NO MORE than 1000 (carrier/trane) To be frugal, i'd even go with a ducane (sp?) or goodman, either will last you 15 yrs and can be had for 600 bucks or so

Install should take about 6 hours...even at 60/hr labor times two guys.....



are you handy at all? surprisingly a furnace is a simple undertaking
Our house is 7 years old. We've replaced some major components on both of the GOODMAN systems installed by the builder. These were "builder grade" units and the quality is not as good as what resellers usually offer. This could be a real problem if you select the cheapest unit you can find (or shop HD). One component was obviously flawed from day one and failed about 30 days out of warranty, but the GOODMAN customer service was a joke. FWIW, labor around here can run $100/man-hr......so I wish I had your connections to get this done less expensively.
__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 09:11 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,627
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

We had to a Trane XR12 outdoor A/C compressor/condensor and indoor coils installed for $2400. This replaced an older system hit by lightning that exploded. This unit cools the upstairs only. We have a second separate system that does the downstairs.

We did get a quote that was double that for the EXACT same hardware.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 09:31 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
FinanceDude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 12,484
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4cash
What type of unit do you currently have (gas/electric/heat pump)?
What exactly are you replacing: heating unit/cooling unit/both?
What capacity are the replacement units? (BTUs for heat/Tons or BTUs cooling)
What is the efficiency rating of the new unit(s)

If you know these variables, it would be a lot easier to compare. You should probably expect reasonable payback given the age of your unit. Fuel costs and labor costs in the Midwest are probably favorable compared to East Coast.
The guys sending the letters are probably NOT the most efficient ones to deal with, but don't go cheap either. I would think the mid to lower end of that range should be reasonable.
Have gas furnace, electric AC. I have been told its a "5-ton" unit...........I hav eno idea what that means.

It's a Tempstar, which I am told is lower end. It is 18 years old, and maybe was 60% efficient when it was new............
__________________
Consult with your own advisor or representative. My thoughts should not be construed as investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results (love that one).......:)


This Thread is USELESS without pics.........:)
FinanceDude is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-15-2007, 09:53 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

I bought my Goodman gas furnace from a dealer called Alpine Home Air, and installed it myself. I had to fabricate a new enclosure for the "A" coil (the A/C condenser coil), and some other parts. It was a good project (it had all the elements: explosive gases, electricity, power tools). I'd only attempt to do an AC install if I could find a trained AC tech to connect the pressure lines and inspect my work.

I've been happy with the Goodman furnace, and their AC units come with a good warrantee. They manufacture their own compressors, which are also built into the AC units of some other manufacturers. Dealers of "brand name" equipment will say bad things about Goodman, but they are fine.

Anyway, this web site will show you what the retail price of the components themselves are.
http://www.alpinehomeair.com/
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-16-2007, 09:37 AM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
I have been told its a "5-ton" unit...........I hav eno idea what that means.
Tonnage refers to overall cooling capacity
http://www.proctoreng.com/articles/bigger.html

As this article recommends, "going bigger" on air conditioning can be counterproductive and a waste of money. In a nutshell, compressors are at their most efficient when running and startups are expensive. An oversized unit will turn on and off a lot more than a right-sized unit, wasting money. The only downside to an undersized unit is that it may not keep up with the load on the very hottest days of the year.

Five tons is a shitload. I have an 1800 square foot house in an area that regularly sits in the 100-110 degree range for days/weeks at a time, for much of the summer...I think I have a 3.5 ton unit.

The efficiency on your old unit is probably so low that by switching to a higher efficiency unit you'll probably get a payback in 7-10 years max.

For folks talking about using window a/c units, theres an interesting alternative I've been looking at to 'help' during the hottest days. There is a mini-split system (many makers) that has a small outdoor compressor about the size of a costco-size bucket of laundry detergent and a unit that mounts on a wall inside. Drill a 3" hole, run a single hose/wire package through it that has a condenser line and power from the head unit to the outdoor unit. Plug it in and you're good to go. Many of them are pre-pressurized with refrigerant so that once you connect the hoses the system pressurizes. I think by code you're still supposed to have an AC guy come out and check for leaks. But basically if you can drill a 3" hole in your houses exterior without fear, you can install a 12-16k+ btu air conditioner that looks good, doesnt tie up a window, and has all the noise outside. Some come with multiple "head" units that feed off the same compressor. I've seen 12k btu refurbs selling for $300-400 on amazon, although a new unit in the 16k+ range is often $1000 and up. Great way to resolve that "warm part of the house", cool a small home addition or supplement an existing older unit without replacing it.

Examples:
http://www.ac-world.com/SplitAir.php
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-16-2007, 10:36 AM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 347
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

To add to CFB's post, a five ton may be too much but if you have a lot of high humidity days in the summer it may well be sized correctly. If labor is $100/hr/man a price if 5000 is about right. For the lower efficient units jazz4cash is about right for pricing if you can find them. The FEDs changed the rules again and all of the lower efficiency units had to be discontinued so you'd be buying an orphan.
__________________
USCG regulations say you have to go out. They don't say anything about coming back.
USK Coastie is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-16-2007, 11:27 AM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

Humidity does add to the load on the AC, but getting one that is too big actually leads to less comfort in higher humidity. To dehumidify, you want to pass a large volume of air through the unit during its cycle, so that a lot of water will be removed and the house made more comfortabe. A larger unit will run less air through the unit, but have a bigger temp drop for the air moved through it. The house will reach the desired temp before enough water has been removed, and the house will feel clammy.

If you are going to get the unit replaced by a pro, make sure they do a real heat calculation for your house (using the method from "AHSRAE Manual J.") Most HVAC guys that came to my house for the furnace just looked at the data plate on the old unit or asked me the square footage of the house and used a rule-of-thumb--WRONG.

Here's a good calculator for doing it yourself, if you'd like:
http://mrhvac.com/loadcalcshortform.htm
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-16-2007, 02:37 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
thefed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,203
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4cash
Our house is 7 years old. We've replaced some major components on both of the GOODMAN systems installed by the builder. These were "builder grade" units and the quality is not as good as what resellers usually offer. This could be a real problem if you select the cheapest unit you can find (or shop HD). One component was obviously flawed from day one and failed about 30 days out of warranty, but the GOODMAN customer service was a joke. FWIW, labor around here can run $100/man-hr......so I wish I had your connections to get this done less expensively.
was your problem with the ehat exchanger? goodman got lots of bad publicity about their cust serrvice and overall quality in the late 90's, but they've done a good job correcting those problems on late rmodels


i guess just take it fwiw
__________________
thefed is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??
Old 02-16-2007, 04:30 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: Reasonable Cost of a central air/furnace unit??

I've seen a few heat exchangers crack prematurely from using those "filtrete" air filters. Worst product on the market, IMO. Many heating/ac units dont get the airflow they require with one of those installed, causing the fan to kick into a higher speed (if its available) and cracking the heat exchangers or freezing the a/c coils.

Very bad news. Check with your manufacturer and you may find that about 95% of them do not recommend using them.

You can have the intake opening enlarged on installation or aftermarket to account for the reduced air flow. That having been said, I read an interesting site a year or two ago that produced a fairly comprehensive study of these 'allergen removal furnace filters' that showed they werent particularly effective either.
__________________

__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The REAL Cost of Healthcare Premium Caps ScaredtoQuit FIRE and Money 25 06-18-2007 08:46 PM
Cost of Living Differences astroboy Life after FIRE 5 12-07-2006 08:36 AM
Cost of kids accountingsucks Young Dreamers 24 06-21-2006 07:37 AM
Low cost funds into ETFs? Olav23 FIRE and Money 26 07-06-2005 10:42 PM
The Hidden Cost of War Mountain_Mike Other topics 4 06-20-2005 08:16 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:36 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.