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A/C & Heater Replacement - Looking For Advice

Dragonfly

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I have 32 year old Carrier heating and a/c. The a/c unit finally died. I dread having to spend a huge chunk of money, but also realize how lucky I am that they lasted this long.

The heater still works, but at 32 years old, if I'm replacing one unit, I'm replacing both.

So here's the questions. Can I , or should I expect to buy something that will last 20 years? Or like everything else, has the overall quality of these systems gotten to where 10 years is the best I can expect?

What SEER rating for a/c is reasonable without paying far too much for a rating number that won't really return anything for me?
Will a cheaper 14 SEER system be easier to maintain and last longer than a more expensive 17 SEER system?
Same question for the heating system? Will 85% AFUE be better than a 92% AFUE in terms of longevity and dependability?

I don't care about having the ability to use a smart phone to regulate my house temp. I don't need the bells and whistles.
I want longevity and dependability along with efficiency.

I know that whatever I get I'll have a far more efficient system than what I had.

What about brand names? Should I stay away from Lennox? Or Trane? Goodman?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help.
 

Crovax

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I have 32 year old Carrier heating and a/c. The a/c unit finally died. I dread having to spend a huge chunk of money, but also realize how lucky I am that they lasted this long.

The heater still works, but at 32 years old, if I'm replacing one unit, I'm replacing both.

So here's the questions. Can I , or should I expect to buy something that will last 20 years? Or like everything else, has the overall quality of these systems gotten to where 10 years is the best I can expect?

What SEER rating for a/c is reasonable without paying far too much for a rating number that won't really return anything for me?
Will a cheaper 14 SEER system be easier to maintain and last longer than a more expensive 17 SEER system?
Same question for the heating system? Will 85% AFUE be better than a 92% AFUE in terms of longevity and dependability?

I don't care about having the ability to use a smart phone to regulate my house temp. I don't need the bells and whistles.
I want longevity and dependability along with efficiency.

I know that whatever I get I'll have a far more efficient system than what I had.

What about brand names? Should I stay away from Lennox? Or Trane? Goodman?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help.

The whole AC game is a sham, its impossible to get prices and each company usually only works with one brand

All the brands are about equal go with the highest SEER you can afford and make sure to get at least 3 quotes
 

Kobie

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your butt!
 

MaggieD

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I have 32 year old Carrier heating and a/c. The a/c unit finally died. I dread having to spend a huge chunk of money, but also realize how lucky I am that they lasted this long.

The heater still works, but at 32 years old, if I'm replacing one unit, I'm replacing both.

So here's the questions. Can I , or should I expect to buy something that will last 20 years? Or like everything else, has the overall quality of these systems gotten to where 10 years is the best I can expect?

What SEER rating for a/c is reasonable without paying far too much for a rating number that won't really return anything for me?
Will a cheaper 14 SEER system be easier to maintain and last longer than a more expensive 17 SEER system?
Same question for the heating system? Will 85% AFUE be better than a 92% AFUE in terms of longevity and dependability?

I don't care about having the ability to use a smart phone to regulate my house temp. I don't need the bells and whistles.
I want longevity and dependability along with efficiency.

I know that whatever I get I'll have a far more efficient system than what I had.

What about brand names? Should I stay away from Lennox? Or Trane? Goodman?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help.

I'd get a quote from a Carrier dealer and a Trane dealer. Look up reviews on line. The Internet is a powerful tool. I quickly found this helpful link:

How to Save Money on a New HVAC System

Wow. What a long link. Yikes! It talks about checking with both your state and your power company to see if either or both have rebates for certain standards. Links are provided to check. Also links to Carrier, Trane and Lennox to see if THEY have any useful rebates. Even suggested checking with Costco and/or Sam's, if you're a member of either, to see if the warehouse store was offering anything special for working with one of their partners. I didn't read the whole article, but maybe there's something useful there.

When I'm buying major mechanicals for the house, I buy middle of the road. I also always buy local. Longer the company's been in. Usiness the better. Check their reputation on Yelp or Angie's List. Ask your friends and neighbors to see if any of them have worked with someone in particular they like.

That's all I got. Hope somethin's useful. Good luck!
 

American

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I have 32 year old Carrier heating and a/c. The a/c unit finally died. I dread having to spend a huge chunk of money, but also realize how lucky I am that they lasted this long.

The heater still works, but at 32 years old, if I'm replacing one unit, I'm replacing both.

So here's the questions. Can I , or should I expect to buy something that will last 20 years? Or like everything else, has the overall quality of these systems gotten to where 10 years is the best I can expect?

What SEER rating for a/c is reasonable without paying far too much for a rating number that won't really return anything for me?
Will a cheaper 14 SEER system be easier to maintain and last longer than a more expensive 17 SEER system?
Same question for the heating system? Will 85% AFUE be better than a 92% AFUE in terms of longevity and dependability?

I don't care about having the ability to use a smart phone to regulate my house temp. I don't need the bells and whistles.
I want longevity and dependability along with efficiency.

I know that whatever I get I'll have a far more efficient system than what I had.

What about brand names? Should I stay away from Lennox? Or Trane? Goodman?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help.

How long are you planning to live at your current address?
 

AliHajiSheik

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I have 32 year old Carrier heating and a/c. The a/c unit finally died. I dread having to spend a huge chunk of money, but also realize how lucky I am that they lasted this long.

The heater still works, but at 32 years old, if I'm replacing one unit, I'm replacing both.

So here's the questions. Can I , or should I expect to buy something that will last 20 years? Or like everything else, has the overall quality of these systems gotten to where 10 years is the best I can expect?

What SEER rating for a/c is reasonable without paying far too much for a rating number that won't really return anything for me?
Will a cheaper 14 SEER system be easier to maintain and last longer than a more expensive 17 SEER system?
Same question for the heating system? Will 85% AFUE be better than a 92% AFUE in terms of longevity and dependability?

I don't care about having the ability to use a smart phone to regulate my house temp. I don't need the bells and whistles.
I want longevity and dependability along with efficiency.

I know that whatever I get I'll have a far more efficient system than what I had.

What about brand names? Should I stay away from Lennox? Or Trane? Goodman?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help.

as long as it is a reputable brand, I don't think you will find much distinction in the durability of between the different ratings. Your maintenance of the unit is more likely to be the determining factor in longevity. One item that can help save money in the long run are variable speed units. You can get variable speed on either air handlers or compressors--I could only afford the option on the compressor which really helps save on electric bills. The unit only draws a low amount of electricity to get going, but ramps up if the spread between the current and desired temperature is wider.

No idea bout your heat, we use a 97% efficient boiler for radiant heating :)
 

American

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In a perfect world, with planets aligned and what-not: 10-12 years

It would probably take you almost that long in an thermally efficient home to hit the break-even point on the cost savings curve; so I wouldn't buy the 90%+ efficient unit. Whatever you buy will put your current unit to shame, and save you money.
 

American

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Also, I hate to ask but what state do you live in, Dragonfly?
 

American

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No worries. Delaware.

Okay, I think that may be pushing it for a heat pump, so combination gas furnace and air conditioning. How many floors, and square footage? Age of dwelling?
 

woodsman

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I have 32 year old Carrier heating and a/c. The a/c unit finally died. I dread having to spend a huge chunk of money, but also realize how lucky I am that they lasted this long.

The heater still works, but at 32 years old, if I'm replacing one unit, I'm replacing both.

So here's the questions. Can I , or should I expect to buy something that will last 20 years? Or like everything else, has the overall quality of these systems gotten to where 10 years is the best I can expect?

What SEER rating for a/c is reasonable without paying far too much for a rating number that won't really return anything for me?
Will a cheaper 14 SEER system be easier to maintain and last longer than a more expensive 17 SEER system?
Same question for the heating system? Will 85% AFUE be better than a 92% AFUE in terms of longevity and dependability?

I don't care about having the ability to use a smart phone to regulate my house temp. I don't need the bells and whistles.
I want longevity and dependability along with efficiency.

I know that whatever I get I'll have a far more efficient system than what I had.

What about brand names? Should I stay away from Lennox? Or Trane? Goodman?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help.

I was a business owner for many years in the HVAC industry. Firstly, I would stay with one of the big four brands, Carrier, Lennox, Trane or American standard which is basically a Trane unit with a different badge.

Obviously you should get two to three bids on the job I also would stick with a medium to large size outfit that has a full service department. At the very least you should check the ratings of the outfit with the BBB.

As far as seer goes I would think 14 is just fine, keep in mind the efficiency of the unit is one thing but the structure it’s treating is just as important. Meaning spending monies on a higher seer unit may not be wise,putting that same money into the structure with weather proofing may be best.

Now there are so many variables, age of the home electric rates in the area and so on. The one thing I would check into is if your elect supplier offers rebates for higher efficiency units. If they do consider getting into a variable speed two stage furnace with matching two stage condensing unit. I can’t give you a cost per say but I can give you a very rough idea for basic equipment. Example: Lets say you need an 80,000 btu furnace with a 4 ton condensing unit and coil. That job is worth about $7000 to $8000 or about $1825 per ton.
 

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I once owned a "Domestic" A/C Refrigeration company called "Dr. Freeze" (Our cold is something to sneeze about) This was way back when Freon R22 was being used.

Basically, the only moving thing on an AC unit is the compressor motor and the fans.

Basically; there are only 3 or 4 companies which manufacture compressors.

Be sure to check your capacitor to make certain that it is your compressor which is kaput.

And try to get the largest compressor (hp) you can for the size of your dwelling.

And if you go cheap, and go minimum. your compressor will work overtime and burn out much quicker (start/stop) and your electrical bill will increase. It is start/stop that increases electrical useage because of the amps it takes to start up.

Calm
 
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Dragonfly

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Okay, I think that may be pushing it for a heat pump, so combination gas furnace and air conditioning. How many floors, and square footage? Age of dwelling?

Yeah, nobody uses heat pumps around here. two floors with an unfinished basement as well. Bedrooms on second floor. Around 2500 sq ft.
Built in 1985. We moved in towards end of 2005. Brick front. Rest of house is aluminum siding. Original windows. Attic is well insulated.
 

Dragonfly

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I once owned a "Domestic" A/C Refrigeration company called "Dr. Freeze" (Our cold is something to sneeze about) This was way back when Freon R22 was being used.

Basically, the only moving thing on an AC unit is the compressor motor and the fans.

Basically; there are only 3 or 4 companies which manufacture compressors.

Be sure to check your capacitor to make certain that it is your compressor which is kaput.

And try to get the largest compressor (hp) you can for the size of your dwelling.

And if you go cheap, and go minimum. your compressor will work overtime and burn out much quicker (start/stop) and your electrical bill will increase. It is start/stop that increases electrical useage because of the amps it takes to start up.

Calm

Much bigger problems than just the capacitor. Coolant leak somewhere. No pressure in lines. Plus, it's 31 to 32 years old.

Not planning on going cheap, but at some point going higher in efficiency just doesn't appear to have any/much pay-off to it.

I don't mind paying for dependability and longevity.
I have no desire to pay for latest and greatest high-tech, which could require a much higher amount of servicing.
 

Dragonfly

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Example: Lets say you need an 80,000 btu furnace with a 4 ton condensing unit and coil. That job is worth about $7000 to $8000 or about $1825 per ton.

Thanks. That's what I figured. Hoping to get a quote with some possible no-interest financing for a year of two. That would be sweet.
I know a guy I work with who got something like 4 years no-interest. I might cry if I can get that. :mrgreen:
 

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Yeah, nobody uses heat pumps around here. two floors with an unfinished basement as well. Bedrooms on second floor. Around 2500 sq ft.
Built in 1985. We moved in towards end of 2005. Brick front. Rest of house is aluminum siding. Original windows. Attic is well insulated.

Recommend upgrading windows if they aren't double-pane. Dual-zone system would be better. Planning to finish basement?
 

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I live in a climate where heat pumps work most of the time. The heat part doesn't work that well when it gets below 35-40 degrees. We are currently looking into a heat pump hybrid. It is also known as a dual fuel system. It is a heat pump with a back up gas furnace.

Basically the heat pump would do the cooling. It also would provide the heat till the outside temp hits 40 degrees. At that point the system would sense the colder temp and switch to using the gas furnace. Once the outside temp is above 40, the heat pump would take over the heating. You get the efficiency of a heat pump and the comfort of gas heat when its cold.

Something to look into.
 

Dragonfly

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Recommend upgrading windows if they aren't double-pane. Dual-zone system would be better. Planning to finish basement?

Can't afford windows, especially now. :doh

No plans to finish basement.
 

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Thanks. That's what I figured. Hoping to get a quote with some possible no-interest financing for a year of two. That would be sweet.
I know a guy I work with who got something like 4 years no-interest. I might cry if I can get that. :mrgreen:

I took a look at the Delaware rebate program, Its better than most, and, they offer financing. The only catch would be is you would need to do an energy audit and comply with the recommendations. If you do get some rebates which gives you a better choice of equipment please consider the two stage setup.

The reason why it works well is this, when the furnace is called by the thermostat in the heating mode the variable speed blower motor starts off very slowly and then builds to half speed.With that the gas valve only opens half way, after a few minutes it will then kick into the second stage and ramp up. If Its set up correctly with the correct Tstat the process will ramp down with the same process. This slow and even heat up dramatically increases the comfort level of the space and also saves on fuel and electricity. In the cooling mode the compressor is two stage with pretty much the same sequence.

The best situation would be if your home is zoned already, meaning why fire off 80,000 BTUs if 40,000 will satisfy one zone, same with the A/C why run the compressor full on if half speed will satisfy. But even if It’s not the saving in fuel,electric and the comfort level does justify this equipment if you can swing the cost.

I do know this is more information than most need but it never hurts to be up on stuff like this, It’s a big investment. If I was to pick an HVAC contractor I would go about it this way. Research the local area distributor of the equipment call and ask to talk to someone in sales. Ask them whom they would recommend, they would be more than happy to point you to the best outfit. You will also be given a choice from the sales person that visits your home. Residential equipment breaks down very simply, good, even better and the very best. The good is your basic contractor install unit, the even better is what I’m suggesting, the very best will have more bells and whistles than you will ever need.

Again apologies for the mountain of info, If you need more advice and help don’t hesitate to contact me.
 

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I took a look at the Delaware rebate program, Its better than most, and, they offer financing. The only catch would be is you would need to do an energy audit and comply with the recommendations. If you do get some rebates which gives you a better choice of equipment please consider the two stage setup.

The reason why it works well is this, when the furnace is called by the thermostat in the heating mode the variable speed blower motor starts off very slowly and then builds to half speed.With that the gas valve only opens half way, after a few minutes it will then kick into the second stage and ramp up. If Its set up correctly with the correct Tstat the process will ramp down with the same process. This slow and even heat up dramatically increases the comfort level of the space and also saves on fuel and electricity. In the cooling mode the compressor is two stage with pretty much the same sequence.

The best situation would be if your home is zoned already, meaning why fire off 80,000 BTUs if 40,000 will satisfy one zone, same with the A/C why run the compressor full on if half speed will satisfy. But even if It’s not the saving in fuel,electric and the comfort level does justify this equipment if you can swing the cost.

I do know this is more information than most need but it never hurts to be up on stuff like this, It’s a big investment. If I was to pick an HVAC contractor I would go about it this way. Research the local area distributor of the equipment call and ask to talk to someone in sales. Ask them whom they would recommend, they would be more than happy to point you to the best outfit. You will also be given a choice from the sales person that visits your home. Residential equipment breaks down very simply, good, even better and the very best. The good is your basic contractor install unit, the even better is what I’m suggesting, the very best will have more bells and whistles than you will ever need.

Again apologies for the mountain of info, If you need more advice and help don’t hesitate to contact me.

I appreciate all the info. I'm debating when I need to replace my current forced air heating system (no AC, don't need it). It's a Williamson that's pushing 28ish years. Still works I just don't know if I need to be proactive.
 

Dragonfly

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I took a look at the Delaware rebate program, Its better than most, and, they offer financing. The only catch would be is you would need to do an energy audit and comply with the recommendations. If you do get some rebates which gives you a better choice of equipment please consider the two stage setup.

The reason why it works well is this, when the furnace is called by the thermostat in the heating mode the variable speed blower motor starts off very slowly and then builds to half speed.With that the gas valve only opens half way, after a few minutes it will then kick into the second stage and ramp up. If Its set up correctly with the correct Tstat the process will ramp down with the same process. This slow and even heat up dramatically increases the comfort level of the space and also saves on fuel and electricity. In the cooling mode the compressor is two stage with pretty much the same sequence.

The best situation would be if your home is zoned already, meaning why fire off 80,000 BTUs if 40,000 will satisfy one zone, same with the A/C why run the compressor full on if half speed will satisfy. But even if It’s not the saving in fuel,electric and the comfort level does justify this equipment if you can swing the cost.

I do know this is more information than most need but it never hurts to be up on stuff like this, It’s a big investment. If I was to pick an HVAC contractor I would go about it this way. Research the local area distributor of the equipment call and ask to talk to someone in sales. Ask them whom they would recommend, they would be more than happy to point you to the best outfit. You will also be given a choice from the sales person that visits your home. Residential equipment breaks down very simply, good, even better and the very best. The good is your basic contractor install unit, the even better is what I’m suggesting, the very best will have more bells and whistles than you will ever need.

Again apologies for the mountain of info, If you need more advice and help don’t hesitate to contact me.

My house is not "zoned". :(
 

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Can't afford windows, especially now. :doh

No plans to finish basement.

If they aren't double-pane insulating windows, it will cost you when you sell. Just saying, I would make them a priority as soon as you can afford it. Also goes for doors and sliding glass. Any sliding glass door with aluminum frames from 1985 suck. I sold a house two years ago from 1985, much like yours. Fortunately the previous owner had already installed two 14 SEER Trane gas heat/AC systems. I upgraded the sliding porch door to an Andersen and it made a huge difference in the room. The sliding door with an extra stationary light was about $2000 installed. Lots of heat loss in a big door like that. Anyway, just some advice.
 
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