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View Full Version : Opinion wanted: Home heating/cooling


Frankie
05-30-2006, 01:53 PM
My house was built in the late 60s. I remodeled it about 10 years ago. The original compressor and furnace/AC have worked loyally till now. However there's a refrigerant leak that has drained the entire Freon supply. I met with the tech today and he is of the opinion that I shouldn't put more money into the old system. I'm keeping this house for another 2 years. 3 max. What's the most economical way to approach this problem? Do you guys know of a good brand that does not cost an arm and a leg?

Monkeylook4food
05-30-2006, 01:56 PM
I know that you can get tax credits for green units. If you're having problems now and the system is almost 50 years old, any informed homebuyer will be aware of the issue and factor the cost of a new system into their decision. You might as well bite the bullet or that system could potentially nickel and dime you even more than a complete replacement would.

Frankie
05-30-2006, 02:01 PM
I know that you can get tax credits for green units.Sorry, I'm not sure I know what you mean by this.

If you're having problems now and the system is almost 50 years old, any informed homebuyer will be aware of the issue and factor the cost of a new system into their decision. You might as well bite the bullet or that system could potentially nickel and dime you even more than a complete replacement would.I am definitely leaning toward replacing the system. But I don't want to go very expensive. That's why I wanna know if you guys know of any good, not too expensive brand or any good deals out there.

htismaqe
05-30-2006, 02:23 PM
By green unit, he means environmentally friendly.

Most power companies will also cut you a rebate check if you purchase an approved "energy saver".

My dad does residential heating and cooling, but his stuff isn't necessarily inexpensive, he deals with high quality stuff...

jspchief
05-30-2006, 02:29 PM
Have you considered getting the freon recharged? Sometimes it's more economical in the short term to recharge the freon every year or two. The determining factor is the speed of the leak. I have a slow leak that needs recharged every 2-3 years, but if you have a fast leak, that won't work.

If you're going to buy a new one, and are sure you'll be moving soon, I'd go cheap. It's not like AC brand is a determing factor for most homebuyers.

One thing that should be considered is the efficiency of the new one over the old one. If you're going to a 60% efficient, to an 80% efficient, you'll see a nice savings on your power bill. That alone will offset some cost. I wouldn't go to the extent of 90% or high efficiency though, you'll be spending money that you'll never recoup.

chiefsfaninNC
05-30-2006, 02:38 PM
Go with a dual fuel system. Heat pump and furnace combo. The furnace only kicks on when the temperature gets below 40 degrees. Since your duct work is already in place you should be able to put a furnace and heat pump in place for about $10,000. New codes went into effect on Jan 1. Make sure the installer is furnishing a 14 seer system minimum. Anything less and he is dumping onhand stock on you. Which would be fine if you are not pulling a permit, and he is giving you a good deal.

jspchief
05-30-2006, 02:39 PM
Go with a dual fuel system. Heat pump and furnace combo. The furnace only kicks on when the temperature gets below 40 degrees. Since your duct work is already in place you should be able to put a furnace and heat pump in place for about $10,000. New codes went into effect on Jan 1. Make sure the installer is furnishing a 14 seer system minimum. Anything less and he is dumping onhand stock on you. Which would be fine if you are not pulling a permit, and he is giving you a good deal.Did you even read the thread starter?

chiefsfaninNC
05-30-2006, 02:44 PM
Did you even read the thread starter?


Yes I did. And that is the most economical solution. He could put a f*ing bandaid on the hole if it isn't a compressor leak. But that would be moronic.

jspchief
05-30-2006, 02:48 PM
Yes I did. And that is the most economical solution. He could put a f*ing bandaid on the hole if it isn't a compressor leak. But that would be moronic.10k is the most economical solution?

I'm pretty sure you can get a lot of AC units installed for well under 10K.

chiefsfaninNC
05-30-2006, 02:54 PM
Did you read my post? It is a dual fuel system. It is a heat pump and furnace. Two systems operating as one. It qualifies for tax breaks and increases the value of the home. Also reduces energy consuption.

jspchief
05-30-2006, 02:57 PM
Did you read my post? It is a dual fuel system. It is a heat pump and furnace. Two systems operating as one. It qualifies for tax breaks and increases the value of the home. Also reduces energy consuption.Does he need a furnace too? I got the impression that he just needed an AC unit.

I just don't think it's the best fit for someone who's looking for cheap, to get by for a few years before he moves. In fact, your suggestion seems like the exact opposite of what he's after.

Inspector
05-30-2006, 03:01 PM
Just get a high quality fan. It's almost the same.

You could always run the fan in front of an open freezer door to get the air a little cooler.

chiefsfaninNC
05-30-2006, 03:08 PM
Does he need a furnace too? I got the impression that he just needed an AC unit.

I just don't think it's the best fit for someone who's looking for cheap, to get by for a few years before he moves. In fact, your suggestion seems like the exact opposite of what he's after.


I get the impression it was you who did not read the starter. It says compressor, furnace, a/c unit. $10,000 is not alot of money considering the investment in a home. He could go cheaper. Buy a window a/c unit for $300. The next home buyer will consider that in his purchase price however. Also, my numbers are based on North Carolina COL. It may be cheaper where he lives.

Bob Dole
05-30-2006, 03:14 PM
Window units are the ultimate zone cooling solution.

jspchief
05-30-2006, 03:22 PM
I get the impression it was you who did not read the starter. It says compressor, furnace, a/c unit. $10,000 is not alot of money considering the investment in a home. He could go cheaper. Buy a window a/c unit for $300. The next home buyer will consider that in his purchase price however. Also, my numbers are based on North Carolina COL. It may be cheaper where he lives.A freon leak has what to do with a furnace? Sounds to me like he needs a new AC unit.


A home built in the 60s probably didn't come with AC. So what they likely did was add an AC unit that uses the furnace to move the air. Now it's possible that that furnace was not designed in a manner that effectively runs an AC unit, but it's clearly got them by so far. So if the freon is leaking, it's an AC problem that has no bearing on the furnace. Replace that unit with one of a similar size so as not to exacerbate the air flow problems of the under-powered furnace. you're probably talking about an AC unit that's under 4k installed.

As for the investment factor, you're not going to recoup upgraded HVAC through the sale price of your home. You'll recoup it from energy savings if you live there long enough, but chances are you aren't going to be able to raise the sale price of your home to offset the cost of putting in a heat pump. People just don't care enough to pay extra for a good HVAC unit. Especially in a 50 year old home that more than likely has poor insulation and inefficient windows. It's not like he's selling an Energy Star home.

Moon§hiner
05-31-2006, 11:53 AM
Getting here a bit late, but a good hvac tech has the tools to detect the leak and repair most...if you only plan on staying a couple of years more, I'd go that route....worst case scenario would be a new indoor coil but again if it's at a fitting, easily repaired.
I'd get a second opinion, as I hate to admit it but some guys in my business encourage new systems because they get a sales commission.

edit...btw a ten year old system is not worn out if maintained properly..I would expect any well installed system to last 20 years. If yours is 40+ years old, then it's time to think about it....though I still work on some even older.

plbrdude
05-31-2006, 12:16 PM
Go with a dual fuel system. Heat pump and furnace combo. The furnace only kicks on when the temperature gets below 40 degrees. Since your duct work is already in place you should be able to put a furnace and heat pump in place for about $10,000. New codes went into effect on Jan 1. Make sure the installer is furnishing a 14 seer system minimum. Anything less and he is dumping onhand stock on you. Which would be fine if you are not pulling a permit, and he is giving you a good deal.



if you have to pay 10 grrrrr for a system, you got took. look more for 3500---6000 range. if you replace, Heil is a very good brand. ask your company to provide entry level equipment if you want to save a few bucks.

Moon§hiner
05-31-2006, 12:24 PM
Or if you want really cheap, go to a Goodman supply house and they'll sell it to you no questions asked...heh....pay me now, or pay me later :)

Brock
05-31-2006, 12:26 PM
Or if you want really cheap, go to a Goodman supply house and they'll sell it to you no questions asked...heh....pay me now, or pay me later :)

Do you do side jobs? Where in KS are you located?

Moon§hiner
05-31-2006, 12:39 PM
No sorry Brock, I don't do them anymore except for family....I'm getting up there in years and like my time off and one of the few in the business to keep it around 40 hrs...I'm in western Kansas...if you are nearby I might be able to hook you up with someone that I trust though.

tiptap
05-31-2006, 12:52 PM
As I understand it, in another 2 years you will have to comply with the new coolant mandate. All the old system piping won't work with the new coolant. So you'll be doing yourself a favor if you go ahead and replace because when you do go to sell it in 2 years people will generally be aware of this changeover and will not be happy buying a house that will have an extragant replacement expense when the air system does go out. If you buy the system now you assure your house sells because you got the old freon system in under the deadline and it will last 30 or so years for the new owner.

Moon§hiner
05-31-2006, 12:59 PM
Bullcrap....R22 will not be phased out until 2020....by then I expect technology to find drop-ins to replace r22...talk like this is only scare tactics by unscrupulous salesmen.

http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/22phaseout.html

Frankie
05-31-2006, 01:34 PM
Have you considered getting the freon recharged? Sometimes it's more economical in the short term to recharge the freon every year or two. The determining factor is the speed of the leak. I have a slow leak that needs recharged every 2-3 years, but if you have a fast leak, that won't work.

If you're going to buy a new one, and are sure you'll be moving soon, I'd go cheap. It's not like AC brand is a determing factor for most homebuyers.

One thing that should be considered is the efficiency of the new one over the old one. If you're going to a 60% efficient, to an 80% efficient, you'll see a nice savings on your power bill. That alone will offset some cost. I wouldn't go to the extent of 90% or high efficiency though, you'll be spending money that you'll never recoup.
Thanks. Good points.

Frankie
05-31-2006, 01:39 PM
Getting here a bit late, but a good hvac tech has the tools to detect the leak and repair most...if you only plan on staying a couple of years more, I'd go that route....worst case scenario would be a new indoor coil but again if it's at a fitting, easily repaired.
I'd get a second opinion, as I hate to admit it but some guys in my business encourage new systems because they get a sales commission.

edit...btw a ten year old system is not worn out if maintained properly..I would expect any well installed system to last 20 years. If yours is 40+ years old, then it's time to think about it....though I still work on some even older.
:hmmm:

Iowanian
05-31-2006, 01:43 PM
Use some of that wad of free money you have and buy a new energy efficient unit.

Moon§hiner
05-31-2006, 01:49 PM
Use some of that wad of free money you have and buy a new energy efficient unit.
Common sense is that if you are only planning on staying a couple of years, you are buying a high effecient system for somebody else....you'd be surprised that it doesn't add that much value to a new home to make a payback....the average homeowner just looks as the "pretties" of the house. My advice to any homeowner is to look at the payback in utility savings and chances are if you aren't planning on living in that house for the next 10 or more years it's not worth spending the big bucks...my competitors hate me, but I am telling them the truth.

elvomito
05-31-2006, 01:49 PM
the tech is trying to make extra profit and get over on you
he's in the business of finding and repairing leaks... remind him of that or get a new tech.
my unit was leaking also, so i got certified and bought the tools necessary to fix my problems.

if you have the leak fixed AND have a TXV installed, your current unit will most likely work better than the day it was originally installed.
furthermore, if you do get a new system, those high efficiency r410a heatpumps look tempting.

Moon§hiner
05-31-2006, 02:02 PM
Thermal Expansion Valves are a great help in extending the life of some systems that have inadequate ductwork....a good installer trys to solve the problem rather than put a bandaid on it. Granted sometimes you can't and you use the TXV

elvomito
05-31-2006, 02:32 PM
...inadequate ductwork....8" flex duct would be the correct spec right lol

007
05-31-2006, 02:40 PM
Just get a high quality fan. It's almost the same.

You could always run the fan in front of an open freezer door to get the air a little cooler.


ROFL

Moon§hiner
05-31-2006, 02:51 PM
8" flex duct would be the correct spec right lol
8" flex duct is fantastic if you can get a .5 ton air conditioner and you only want to cool one medium sized room.
for return air....I'm not here to give instructions on how to build your system... maybe you have multiple 8" runs but that system is only as good as the return system...hmmm, bet that's not adequate or you wouldn't have had to add txv to make it work... based on "some" of the advice here I see a lot of people that have little or no knowledge tell him to buy new..I think otherwisem based on his circumstances...I was just suggesting to Frankie to get a second opinion and debunk other ignorant replies.....and yes I'll look in to view more ignorance.

chubychecker
05-31-2006, 04:00 PM
I've been going through the same thing. In fact, I had a guy out today to see what he could do repair wise. My system is unique (at least according to the tech) in that the coil is in the attic. The vents are then in the ceiling blowing down. Both units are 30 years old, so probably need to be replaced. I too am not going to be here for more than a couple of years. I have had three people now out to look at this and all three want to install the coil in the basement and redo all duct work. The only bid I got was in the 8k range. So what to do??? I could replace the compressor (which seems to be the problem) for $800 or so, but still have a 30 year old system, or bite the bullet and replace everything duct work and all. Any suggestions??

Moon§hiner
05-31-2006, 04:18 PM
I've been going through the same thing. In fact, I had a guy out today to see what he could do repair wise. My system is unique (at least according to the tech) in that the coil is in the attic. The vents are then in the ceiling blowing down. Both units are 30 years old, so probably need to be replaced. I too am not going to be here for more than a couple of years. I have had three people now out to look at this and all three want to install the coil in the basement and redo all duct work. The only bid I got was in the 8k range. So what to do??? I could replace the compressor (which seems to be the problem) for $800 or so, but still have a 30 year old system, or bite the bullet and replace everything duct work and all. Any suggestions??Newer 13 seer coils that were mandated as of Jan. 6th probably won't fit in your old cabinet in your attic....I can't believe that my company is the only one that is imaginative enough to be able to find ones that will still work....might not be able to a year from now but they are still readily available. Not sure what to tell you except the fact that I get more disappointed in my fellow service members every day. Quality and pride in the job just isn't there anymore very often.

elvomito
05-31-2006, 04:24 PM
I've been going through the same thing. In fact, I had a guy out today to see what he could do repair wise. My system is unique (at least according to the tech) in that the coil is in the attic. The vents are then in the ceiling blowing down. Both units are 30 years old, so probably need to be replaced. I too am not going to be here for more than a couple of years. I have had three people now out to look at this and all three want to install the coil in the basement and redo all duct work. The only bid I got was in the 8k range. So what to do??? I could replace the compressor (which seems to be the problem) for $800 or so, but still have a 30 year old system, or bite the bullet and replace everything duct work and all. Any suggestions??for 8k you could probably get a super neat mini-duct system
http://www.spacepak.com/

Calcountry
05-31-2006, 05:37 PM
Get one of them new wood pellet/corn stoves. They can burn wood pellets or whole corn.

Comes in handy if one or the other fuel is in temporary shortage. Of course, corn stoves use totally renewable fuel, and lessens demand for mid eastern products.

Dave Lane
05-31-2006, 07:06 PM
I recommend a Heil unit you can get one installed for about $2500 furnace A coil and lines and compressor. Actual cost on a compressor is about $400 for a 3 ton unit. If you're moving in 3 years its the way to go...

Dave

tiptap
05-31-2006, 07:44 PM
Bullcrap....R22 will not be phased out until 2020....by then I expect technology to find drop-ins to replace r22...talk like this is only scare tactics by unscrupulous salesmen.

http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/22phaseout.html


My statement was not that R22 was not going to be available but that new systems after 2010 will not be able to use R22 (as noted in your reference). And that the coolant ducts are not compatible with R22 so there will be a bigger price for putting in a new system if your old one breaks down. Especially for going through walls and the corresponding repairs afterwards.

I was saying putting in a R22 systems now with good efficiency would make the house good for 30 years and the lifetime of R22 availability. I think this will become more on people's mind buying houses in a year or two as this becomes better understood. Old systems that have to be replaced will be more expensive in changing to a non R22 system.

Frankie
05-31-2006, 09:09 PM
I recommend a Heil unit you can get one installed for about $2500 furnace A coil and lines and compressor. Actual cost on a compressor is about $400 for a 3 ton unit. If you're moving in 3 years its the way to go...

Dave
I've mentally prepared myself for $3500+. $2500 would be just great.