HVAC – What I’ve Learned from 12 Appointments
Rule #1 – Never just get one opinion or bid. I dealt with twelve HVAC contractors.
Everyone has a different opinion about what you need and none of the twelve contractors agreed on exactly what I needed. What you’ll also discover is that you can learn something from each person.
Get 12 ideas from 12 people – put them all together and you’ll start to get a good overall idea of what you need. (You probably don’t need twelve like I did, but I had some problems I wanted to correct and not everyone agrees on the best solution.)
Some dealers don’t tell you about the company rebates. I have one Lennox company that was going to give me $1000 in rebates from Lennox and the union, another Lennox dealer doesn’t even mention the rebates.
My range of quotes have gone from $5400 for a basic SEER=14 system, to $10,000 for a SEER=16. (this is the guy who is keeping the rebates)
You need air movement not only coming into the room, but also leaving the room. Ideally if you have a 6″ supply coming in, you should have a 6″ supply going out. One dealer tried to get me to install one air return duct in the hall. When I asked him,What happens when I close the door?” he answered,” oh, there’s a small space under the door that the air can get through – WRONG!
If you have a 2nd floor room that gets hot, you can either add another register to the room or change the size from 6 inch to 8 inches. An 8″ duct is approximately equal to two 6″ ducts.
Trane.com website – has incorrect information about the $1500 tax credit, they don’t list a phone number and when you do finally find a phone number with Google, no one is there and the phone messaging system isn’t working. Also their contact web form doesn’t appear to be working.
Attic Tips – While you can put a 90+ AFUE furnace in the attic, it creates water condensation which has to go somewhere. My next door neighbor had water pouring out of her attic this winter and it turns out that her condensation pipe had frozen and the water had no where to go
SAFEPAN – Attic Installation
While all the dealers said they were going to install a safepan to catch water and condensation, the picture above shows a poor installation done on my neighbors home. Instead of putting the safepan on a piece of plywood, they just supported it in spots with 2x4s and it ended up in an “S” figure. Then if the Float switch is located near the top of the “S” the water can overflow near the bottom and you’ll have water in your ceiling.
TAX CREDIT INFO (link to gov. site)
To get the $1500 Tax Credit, you’ll need to buy a variable speed furnace which costs $1000 more than the regular furnace. Then you’ll have to buy a more expensive air conditioner. The $1500 tax credit definitely will cost you $1500 extra in the cost of the unit.
Also many companies still don’t list which units qualify for the tax credit. Many times you have to buy specific combinations of units – condenser, coil and furnace.
While you don’t have to send in any paperwork to prove your tax deduction, you do need to have your receipts and documentation to prove your credit if you’re audited.
Conclusion – I finally bought the 14 Seer AC and 80% AFUE 2 stage furnace. I saved about $1100 over the more efficient 16 SEER units and even though I missed out on the tax credits this year, I plan on getting them next year when I redo the downstairs units.
I ended up using Total Comfort Heating Heating and Air Conditioning, not only for my attic installation, but also for my first floor installation in 2010. They have a BBB rating of A+ and were great to work with. 314-99-2665. Ken Ross was great to work with.