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Old 05-29-2009, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Cheshire, Conn.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WriterPerson View Post
We didn't have to rip up baseboards. We use separate ducts in the ceiling. Granted, our house is a single-story ranch, circa 1961, so some of the AC equipment is in the attic, as are the ducts. We had it done about 11 years ago for about $5,000. It was one of the best investments we ever made.
Same here (see my post #3 above) except my house was a Split level built in 1967.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Fairfield
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Lee View Post
Same here (see my post #3 above) except my house was a Split level built in 1967.
I would most likely keep the baseboards, even if I went with central air - they are pretty efficient and not as dry as the cooked heat through the central system, and with 2 zones in my 2 story house we seem to be working ok. Yeah, they are kind of ugly, but not terrible.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:01 AM
 
Location: W Simsbury
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Figured I'd revive this old thread rather than start up a new one. We have a contemporary post and beam house with baseboard hot water (propane furnace). We're in the woods and the house has a whole house fan, but we've had mixed results with that. When it's hot and humid outside, it doesn't do any good to suck in hot air from the outside. And sometimes it pulls in gnats and other small insects that make their way through our window screens (or around them), which is an added bother.

Right now the master bedroom has an in-wall air conditioner. The two guest bedrooms are located in the lower level (partially below grade), and they seem to stay quite cool as-is. During last summer's excessively hot/humid stretch, they may have been a bit warmer than desired, but they were still OK. The big problem was with the main living area (kitchen, living room, dining area) which was horribly uncomfortable during that stretch.

So I got a guy out to give us an estimate. My plan was to not bother trying to run ductwork to the lower level which kept fairly cool on its own, but just run it through the attic. Since the house has an open floor plan, I figured this would keep ductwork out of sight and still hit the key areas. He seemed to agree that it should work perfectly fine. Note that the main area plus master bedroom is probably about 2000 sq ft. Well I got the estimate back and they're saying about $12k - 15k. Yikes. I have trouble believing that the cost of the equipment and hours of labor would really justify such a high expense, but I can't find any information online as to what these central air units actually cost, so it's hard for me to figure out what they're anticipating making on the labor side.

Anyways, if anyone has done anything similar in the last year and has any recommendations, please let me know. I was really hoping to get away with spending $6k or less, but that's looking highly unlikely. So, if not, I may go with the backup plan of adding a huge honkin' wall unit in the living room area (or replacing one of our crank windows with a window that can accommodate a huge honkin' window unit).
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:22 AM
 
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As far as I know central air units can cost up to 5k for lage residential units. They can cost even more depending on brand. The heavy cost is always labor. 10-15k doesent seem outrageous although its hard to tell without being able to see exactly what labor would be needed. Ive seen the price anywhere from 8k to 20k. If you have central heat than its likely it can be converted to both heat and cool. If you have baseboard heat it will cost more because of the ductwork.

It cant hurt to get 2 or 3 more estimates from different companies.
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
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I would definitely get more quotes. It seems a bit high to me but not knowing the particulars it is hard to judge.

What brand are they quoting you on? We have to replace our current unit and am considering Trane, Carrier and Bryant. Any thoughts on these? Jay
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
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The quote seems a bit high - we had a quote done some years back for 2000 square feet and that was about $12,000. The difference is that ours was on 2 floors so the ductwork would have been trickier. I think $12,000 for ductwork through the attic seems a bit high.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:46 PM
 
Location: W Simsbury
147 posts, read 143,076 times
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Thanks for the replies. I'll probably get a couple more quotes, but I'm guessing that they'll all come in a good deal higher than I'm wanting to spend.

I'm thinking now that I'll probably go with plan B and just buy the biggest window/wall air conditioner I can find (which is looking like 25,000-28,500 BTUs), or possibly even two. I'm seeing a 25,000 Energy Star rated unit out there, so maybe the newer models don't drain electricity as badly as they used to. But even if they do, for the number of days that we really need air conditioning, this is probably the most cost effective option anyway.
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:58 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,815 posts, read 1,958,319 times
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Another alternative I've heard of - for houses without existing air ducts - is an air conditioning system that uses relatively small pipes that move air faster to deliver the same amount of cool air. I was in a house that had it, and it seemed to work well. I believe it is supposed to be less expensive than running conventional duct work.

If anyone knows anything - good or bad - about this kind of system, I'd be interested in hearing about it.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
14,587 posts, read 23,233,629 times
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I have seen that type of system on This Old House but thought it was more expensive. The pipes used are not flexible like conventional AC ducts so I think it is more difficult and therefore more expensive to install. Jay
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Fairfield
588 posts, read 1,139,255 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadedWest View Post
Another alternative I've heard of - for houses without existing air ducts - is an air conditioning system that uses relatively small pipes that move air faster to deliver the same amount of cool air. I was in a house that had it, and it seemed to work well. I believe it is supposed to be less expensive than running conventional duct work.

If anyone knows anything - good or bad - about this kind of system, I'd be interested in hearing about it.
I think they call this duct-less AC. From what I've heard, it's basically a very inflexible narrow tube (maybe 1-2" in diameter) that can be run through the walls or through existing closets to reach from an attic to 1st floor. A guy I used to work with had this put into his house so he didn't have to lose a huge amount of closet space with new ducts, and he said it basically forces a huge amount of air through a narrow hole - strong enough to float a ping-pong ball. He said it worked very well, but you had to have it positioned properly or else you have a ton of focused air flying at your head when you're trying to sleep. I think the cost is a little higher, but the trade-off is saving closet space, and possibly less labor with those large ducts.
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