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Old 01-17-2010, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis and Cincinnati
682 posts, read 1,387,611 times
Reputation: 609

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If you get a new furnace there are tax breaks, so that offsets a lot of the costs. The biggest thing you can do, that will save you a ton of money in the long run is to properly seal and insulate your ductwork. Even with a new furnace if your ductwork has gaps in the ducts, you can lose 20-30 percent of your heat efficiency. New furnaces tend to have more powerfull blowers and most old house ductwork isn't put together that well. A good heating contractor should be looking at your ductwork system to see if its compatable with the newer systems. You may need " balancers' a flap installed in the duct that can adjust to regulate flow properly rather than trying to do it at the register. Most duct systems are not properly balanced and even with a new furnace will not be as efficient as they could be.

Seal your ducts with the foil backed tape not regular duct tape and install the insulation yourself. Its not hard to do. Also check your register boxes for rust and its a good time to replace them as well if they have prolems. I'd spend a little more money for a better filter system.

I've been using heat pumps for the last 10 years on my restorations and I like them. Due to gas fluctuations Ive been going total electric but the hybrid gas/electric is good as well.

Anybody working for you will need to pull a permit and if electrical upgrade is required you will need a permit for that as well. If the contractor asks you as the homeowner to pull the permit, run away! Also make sure the contactor is liscened AND current, you can check with the city on that. Make sure they are insured and have workmans comp for their employees. Otherwise if an employee gets hurt in your house you could be liable.

References area must and you should make sure the furnace speced out is the one you actually get installed because it has to be certain energy efficiency to get the tax break.
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:26 AM
 
Location: A voice of truth, shouted down by fools.
1,086 posts, read 2,222,089 times
Reputation: 893
We just spent about $5400 in Warren County with a small "mom n pop" HVAC contractor for a 2 ton, 16 SEER heat pump. This replaced an existing 2 ton AC that Airtron put in in 1995. (Airtron did a terrible job on the installation and I won't use them or a successor again. The installer was a blue collar bimbo who rushed through everything and did disrespectfully sloppy work.)

The heat pump is now our main heat. The furnace, which is now "backup heat" for sub-15 degree days, is oil. The same company installed the oil furnace couple of years ago for $2800 or so IIRC.

Hear pumps have come a long way in the last 15 years. This pump runs a lot but it is super quiet.

I really recommend shopping for an HVAC place on Angie's List or by word of mouth. You're going to have to live with the vendor if there are kinks to iron out.

The way the system pricing worked out is like this. For $4000 or so we could have had a 14 SEER system installed, *but* it would not qualify for the energy tax credit, which this system tops out at $1500 (30% of the upgrade cost, up to $1500). So it was cheaper in terms of net expense to buy the more expensive 16 SEER system.

I got a quote from Recker & Berger (spelling?) for a similar upgrade. The cost for each SEER price point was about the same. However, this guy did things like put the pump on a concrete slab with blocks to raise the pump above the snow line - the R&B quote was for a composite base, which is basically a square piece of plastic. IMO, a small operator with everything to gain or lose on customer satisfaction is the way to go.

HTH.
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis and Cincinnati
682 posts, read 1,387,611 times
Reputation: 609
Most people dont realize this, and HVAC contractors dont want you to know this, but you can buy heat pumps and other HVAC systems directly from companies like goodman from some distributors and then contract out your install locally. I've bought complete units on ebay before and then had a local contractor do the actual install. I saved about 2500 on the last one that way. There is a huge markup on HVAC equipment.
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:58 PM
 
Location: A voice of truth, shouted down by fools.
1,086 posts, read 2,222,089 times
Reputation: 893
I figure that's where this guy makes a lot of his money. Well, he did break out the prices. The installation labor (which was 2 days and included swapping out a defective heat pump not once but twice) was $1600 and the heat pump itself was $3700. I got the impression that he would install someone else's equipment for that same price, but I'd be on my own if there was a problem with the unit that came in.

Question - where would you buy a complete "mini split" heat pump system? I mean the type of system with an air handler that mounts on the wall and an outdoor compressor unit that looks like a big box fan.
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Old 01-17-2010, 07:55 PM
 
13,710 posts, read 22,821,151 times
Reputation: 18521
Quote:
Originally Posted by restorationconsultant View Post
Most people dont realize this, and HVAC contractors dont want you to know this, but you can buy heat pumps and other HVAC systems directly from companies like goodman from some distributors and then contract out your install locally. I've bought complete units on ebay before and then had a local contractor do the actual install. I saved about 2500 on the last one that way. There is a huge markup on HVAC equipment.
I also purchase water heaters and furnaces on my own and contract with the local contractors to install. It is not that hard to do, although some have refused as it cuts into their profits.

As for Goodman, it would be one brand that would be at the bottom of the list. It is a cheap product, usually put in by the builders that will fail quicker than most other brands.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
1,410 posts, read 3,484,039 times
Reputation: 385
If anyone needs a furnace replaced, i know a guy who is a class act and will give you a fair deal. Got a new 95% efficient installed for $2200. Already seeing saving on the gas bills and along with the tax rebate ill make the money back in two years.

G Man
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis and Cincinnati
682 posts, read 1,387,611 times
Reputation: 609
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
I also purchase water heaters and furnaces on my own and contract with the local contractors to install. It is not that hard to do, although some have refused as it cuts into their profits.

As for Goodman, it would be one brand that would be at the bottom of the list. It is a cheap product, usually put in by the builders that will fail quicker than most other brands.
I"ve not had any problems with Goodman and Ive used them for about 10 years. FYI Trane PTAC units are made by Amana, which is (indeed) owned by Goodman.

As for ohioan 58 question on mini splits. you can find them on Ebay or just doa goodle search and you acn buy them direct. Just be sure they are installed by a licsened contractor so the warranty is not voided. I use those in carriage houses that have rooms above it where you might have workshop.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:05 AM
 
Location: A voice of truth, shouted down by fools.
1,086 posts, read 2,222,089 times
Reputation: 893
Restorationconsultant, thanks. However, the units I find on Ebay are usually brands I've never seen, which makes me a bit nervous.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
1,410 posts, read 3,484,039 times
Reputation: 385
Quote:
Originally Posted by restorationconsultant View Post
I"ve not had any problems with Goodman and Ive used them for about 10 years. FYI Trane PTAC units are made by Amana, which is (indeed) owned by Goodman.

As for ohioan 58 question on mini splits. you can find them on Ebay or just doa goodle search and you acn buy them direct. Just be sure they are installed by a licsened contractor so the warranty is not voided. I use those in carriage houses that have rooms above it where you might have workshop.
I've had good experiences with Goodman as well.

G Man
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:50 PM
 
13,710 posts, read 22,821,151 times
Reputation: 18521
Quote:
Originally Posted by restorationconsultant View Post
I"ve not had any problems with Goodman and Ive used them for about 10 years. FYI Trane PTAC units are made by Amana, which is (indeed) owned by Goodman.
We have replaced eight out of 28 within the first ten years with a variety of issues. Over on the HVAC forums, there are a lot of quality complaints. It is NOT a brand that I would put in a house that I planned to live in.
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