Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

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Tjb
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:17 pm

Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by Tjb » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:57 pm

We have 2 HVAC systems in our house, upstairs and downstairs systems. Last year we replaced our upstairs unit total cost was $6,000 for a 2 ton 14 SEER Goodman AC and 92% Gas Furnace. We also got the same price quote for the first floor system, but it was working fine, still using R22, so we decided not to replace it at that time, but told the contractor we would certainly use then when the time came.

Well, sure enough the time has come, so I contacted the same contractor and spoke to the same person we dealt with a year ago, and I was notified they were bought by another company, but they would be happy to re-quote the system. The new quote came back at $10,900 WOW

When I questioned them about the huge difference they gave me a sales pitch on quality, and at the end of the conversation, they came down to $10,400 but that was it. I informed them that the difference was too high and I will proceed in getting 2 more competitive quotes. I also told them that I could understand a price increase from a year ago, but not an 80% increase. They left the conversation saying they would like an opportunity to match any competitive quotes, so basically, they are willing to take another look at this.

I then contacted 3 reputable contractors and got the following prices for a like 2 Ton 14 SEER AC with 92-96% gas furnaces.

Trane 2 Ton unit - $9,900
Ameristar 2 ton unit - $8,770
Rheem 2 Ton unit - $6,690 Also a 16 and 17 SEER Rheem for $8,170 and $9,288 respectively

The Rheem prices are obviously much lower. I know least about Rheem compared to the other brands. I preferred the Goodman unit since it would be the same as the upstairs unit and the whole house would have the same components, easier for parts and labor.

I plan to go back to the original contractor and see what he can do, but I doubt he can drop this low. The Ameristar is the mid point and perhaps if he could get somewhere around that, I would be willing to go for it to have like systems, but these prices are so much higher than the Rheem components. I only know Rheem units are a bit different use an Aluminum "A" coil, which makes it all the more different than my upstairs system, but it may not matter for the cost.

My questions are....

Anyone have any experience with Rheem ?
Can anyone offer their opinion on these prices for a 2 tom 14 SEER AC and 95% Gas Furnace ?

The location is Greensboro, NC, the system is over 20 yrs old and has R22, so no reason to consider fixing or piecemealing it.

Thanks

Kagord
Posts: 319
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:28 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by Kagord » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:50 am

Don't really know much about those units, but my general observation is that, over the last 20-30 years, HVAC units are more complex and don't last.

Instead of lasting 30-50 years with simplistic and durable parts, they now have a lot of electronics, complex systems, and cheaper parts that only last 10-15 years, and require service calls more frequently (like all appliances for that matter, it's really sad what's happened with quality). This being said, I'm just not sure the higher price Trane, Bryant...etc really provides value. Installation quality, at this point, to me, is a more important factor. You just have to hope the crew you get on the install is the A crew. So on my next one, I may go with a mid tier one.

I'd be interested to hear what others think.

MarkBarb
Posts: 444
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:59 am

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by MarkBarb » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:00 am

I'll echo that. My BIL has an HVAC business. He used to encourage customers to pay extra for a top quality unit because it paid for itself in longevity. He said that is no longer the case.

tibbitts
Posts: 10560
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by tibbitts » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:05 am

Tjb wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:57 pm
We have 2 HVAC systems in our house, upstairs and downstairs systems. Last year we replaced our upstairs unit total cost was $6,000 for a 2 ton 14 SEER Goodman AC and 92% Gas Furnace. We also got the same price quote for the first floor system, but it was working fine, still using R22, so we decided not to replace it at that time, but told the contractor we would certainly use then when the time came.

Well, sure enough the time has come, so I contacted the same contractor and spoke to the same person we dealt with a year ago, and I was notified they were bought by another company, but they would be happy to re-quote the system. The new quote came back at $10,900 WOW

When I questioned them about the huge difference they gave me a sales pitch on quality, and at the end of the conversation, they came down to $10,400 but that was it. I informed them that the difference was too high and I will proceed in getting 2 more competitive quotes. I also told them that I could understand a price increase from a year ago, but not an 80% increase. They left the conversation saying they would like an opportunity to match any competitive quotes, so basically, they are willing to take another look at this.

I then contacted 3 reputable contractors and got the following prices for a like 2 Ton 14 SEER AC with 92-96% gas furnaces.

Trane 2 Ton unit - $9,900
Ameristar 2 ton unit - $8,770
Rheem 2 Ton unit - $6,690 Also a 16 and 17 SEER Rheem for $8,170 and $9,288 respectively

The Rheem prices are obviously much lower. I know least about Rheem compared to the other brands. I preferred the Goodman unit since it would be the same as the upstairs unit and the whole house would have the same components, easier for parts and labor.

I plan to go back to the original contractor and see what he can do, but I doubt he can drop this low. The Ameristar is the mid point and perhaps if he could get somewhere around that, I would be willing to go for it to have like systems, but these prices are so much higher than the Rheem components. I only know Rheem units are a bit different use an Aluminum "A" coil, which makes it all the more different than my upstairs system, but it may not matter for the cost.

My questions are....

Anyone have any experience with Rheem ?
Can anyone offer their opinion on these prices for a 2 tom 14 SEER AC and 95% Gas Furnace ?

The location is Greensboro, NC, the system is over 20 yrs old and has R22, so no reason to consider fixing or piecemealing it.

Thanks
I'm not an expert but the $10k seems closer to typical than the $6k. I think you got a deal. I have one Rheem; it's been fine. Regarding the coil I went through three mixed-metal coils in twelve years on my other hvac before the contractor replaced it with a different-brand all-aluminum coil. The others all failed due to corrosion where the metals met each other. What is the warranty on the different choices?

nepats
Posts: 319
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:56 am

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by nepats » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:12 am

We replaced both units with Rheem and they were fine. I think one of the other big companies owns Rheem. One of them needed some repairs around 5-6th year mark. I don’t remember exactly what it was. The prices were similar to yours about 6 years ago.

alfaspider
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Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by alfaspider » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:14 am

If you an find a decent installer willing to work with you, you can buy the equipment itself pretty cheap at sites like hvacdirect. Typically, you lose warranty coverage, but given the fact that labor seems to account for majority of the cost, I'm not sure how much warranty even matters these days.

You would also likely get better pricing in fall/winter.

corysold
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Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by corysold » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:25 am

The installer/contractor is the biggest factor in this. There are 3 or so main equipment makers, which own the majority of the brands. They use a lot of the same parts, which they don't make, but outsource. So there isn't much difference between equipment, withing some standard of acceptance.

The install though is the part that matters. It's hard for the typical homeowner to know how to differentiate that, but if you ask some questions such as:

Will you use nitrogen in the system as you braze? (Yes is the correct answer)
What micron level will you pull a vacuum too? (500 or lower)
Will you flush the lineset? (Since you'll be switching from R-22, you'll want them to flush or do a new lineset).
What PSI will you pressure test at and for how long? (Each manufacturer has their own specs, but somewhere around 150-200 PSI for 15-20 minutes or more is good).

If they answer these questions like they do it all the time, that is a good start. If they look at you funny, run, no matter how low the quote is.

Also, Trane uses aluminum coils also. But to further the point, some companies might put in an "X" brand compressor with a generic coil. If you want to ensure they are the same brand, you need to specify. Lastly, the SEER of your system is dependent upon the outdoor compressor AND the coil. Don't let them put in a 16 SEER compressor and a low grade coil, you won't get 16 SEER. The Trane's I work on are actually labeled 14.5 SEER on the condenser energystar label, only when paired with the proper coil do they go to 16 SEER.
Last edited by corysold on Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

tibbitts
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Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by tibbitts » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:28 am

alfaspider wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:14 am
If you an find a decent installer willing to work with you, you can buy the equipment itself pretty cheap at sites like hvacdirect. Typically, you lose warranty coverage, but given the fact that labor seems to account for majority of the cost, I'm not sure how much warranty even matters these days.

You would also likely get better pricing in fall/winter.
Warranty is a big deal. When I got my hvac 13 years ago it was $6k (with furnace) and the 10-year factory warranty paid parts and labor for the 3 replacement coils. But at the time even back then the other quotes (6 of them) with a 10-year warranty were $12k or more.

oko
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 5:01 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by oko » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:39 am

Consumer reports asks thousands (millions?) people for their A/C problems and then publishes the results. Goodman is almost always at the bottom.

I have personally experienced this: Goodman's evaporator coil failed and replaced 3 times in 9 years. We also had other issues like failing blower motor, failing relay, even failing plastic condensing water trey which flooded our ceiling.

I would say stay away from Goodman.

2 years ago, I got quotes from local A/C companies to install a $2500 dehumidifier. The quotes ranged from $4,000 to $10,000. So majority of the quote is pure profit for A/C companies. I prefer 1-man companies since they charge less, and unlike big companies, the work is done by someone with years of experience rather than technicians with high turnover and 3 months training.

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galawdawg
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Location: Georgia

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by galawdawg » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:41 am

I have had both Trane and Ruud heat pumps (Ruud and Rheem are generally identical systems made by the same company). The Trane systems were a typical builder grade installed in a spec home we purchased in 1995. When we sold the home in 2015, both Trane units were still working well. I think we had two service calls over the twenty years, one to replace an outdoor fan motor and once for a capacitor. They did require very frequent cleaning of the outdoor condenser coils, but that was because the builder put the outdoor units next to the dryer vent. I was able to do the coil cleaning myself.

The Ruud systems are in our current home that was built in 2007 but purchased by us in 2011. Both Ruud heat pumps have required regular service calls. We've had a leak in one outdoor condenser coil, a persistent leak in an indoor evaporator coil, an outdoor fan motor went bad, a compressor went bad, we've needed at least four capacitor replacements between the two units and recently had to replace a control board in one of the units.

Since the Trane heat pumps were installed in 1995 and the Ruud heat pumps were installed in 2007, I don't know if Trane is a more reliable brand or if the quality of all systems decreased between 1995 and 2007. I do know that when our current systems need replacement (so far it has still been more cost-effective to repair than replace), we will be very circumspect about considering Ruud or Rheem.

alfaspider
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Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by alfaspider » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:49 am

tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:28 am
alfaspider wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:14 am
If you an find a decent installer willing to work with you, you can buy the equipment itself pretty cheap at sites like hvacdirect. Typically, you lose warranty coverage, but given the fact that labor seems to account for majority of the cost, I'm not sure how much warranty even matters these days.

You would also likely get better pricing in fall/winter.
Warranty is a big deal. When I got my hvac 13 years ago it was $6k (with furnace) and the 10-year factory warranty paid parts and labor for the 3 replacement coils. But at the time even back then the other quotes (6 of them) with a 10-year warranty were $12k or more.
Perhaps, but you are looking at less than half the cost with a direct HVAC. You might end up saving money EVEN IF you have to do it twice.

Galaxy8
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Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:47 am

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by Galaxy8 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:57 am

For reference,

I paid $10,400 for Bryant: 3 ton, 18 SEER 2-stage plus a 96% 2-stage gas furnace.

tibbitts
Posts: 10560
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by tibbitts » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:59 am

alfaspider wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:49 am
tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:28 am
alfaspider wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:14 am
If you an find a decent installer willing to work with you, you can buy the equipment itself pretty cheap at sites like hvacdirect. Typically, you lose warranty coverage, but given the fact that labor seems to account for majority of the cost, I'm not sure how much warranty even matters these days.

You would also likely get better pricing in fall/winter.
Warranty is a big deal. When I got my hvac 13 years ago it was $6k (with furnace) and the 10-year factory warranty paid parts and labor for the 3 replacement coils. But at the time even back then the other quotes (6 of them) with a 10-year warranty were $12k or more.
Perhaps, but you are looking at less than half the cost with a direct HVAC. You might end up saving money EVEN IF you have to do it twice.
Just for labor you will get dozens of quotes for $5,000 before you find somebody who'll do it for $1000. It all comes down to who you know. So 90% of those of us who go the direct route will pay as much as from a dealer. The other 10% will save big because they lucked into finding the right person.

ncbill
Posts: 762
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:03 pm
Location: Western NC

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by ncbill » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:11 am

Electric rates are too low here for the OP to bother with anything more efficient than the lowest SEER currently required.

And natural gas rates are so cheap (even using my 80% efficient furnace) I now use only the furnace in the winter to save wear & tear on the compressor since my Trane 15 SEER heat pump is over a decade old & out-of-warranty.

I'd definitely pick a variable-speed fan...wish I had with the above.

Topic Author
Tjb
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:17 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by Tjb » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:29 pm

Thank for the input this is all very helpful. I’ll post how it ends up.

Nyarlathotep
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:24 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by Nyarlathotep » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:18 pm

Tjb wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:57 pm
I then contacted 3 reputable contractors and got the following prices for a like 2 Ton 14 SEER AC with 92-96% gas furnaces.

Trane 2 Ton unit - $9,900
Ameristar 2 ton unit - $8,770
Rheem 2 Ton unit - $6,690
Also a 16 and 17 SEER Rheem for $8,170 and $9,288 respectively
Wow! I feel very fortunate by comparison. Here in metro Atlanta, I was quoted $4,200 for a 2 ton 14 SEER Lennox A/C + Furnace system about a year ago. I can't imagine spending nearly $10k on an HVAC system, regardless of the quality/capacity, unless I lived in a very, very HCOL area like Silicon Valley. If I were you, I'd go with the 14 SEER Rheem and just make sure you get a good, no-loopholes, 10 year warranty from the installer.

tibbitts
Posts: 10560
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by tibbitts » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:42 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:18 pm
Tjb wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:57 pm
I then contacted 3 reputable contractors and got the following prices for a like 2 Ton 14 SEER AC with 92-96% gas furnaces.

Trane 2 Ton unit - $9,900
Ameristar 2 ton unit - $8,770
Rheem 2 Ton unit - $6,690
Also a 16 and 17 SEER Rheem for $8,170 and $9,288 respectively
Wow! I feel very fortunate by comparison. Here in metro Atlanta, I was quoted $4,200 for a 2 ton 14 SEER Lennox A/C + Furnace system about a year ago. I can't imagine spending nearly $10k on an HVAC system, regardless of the quality/capacity, unless I lived in a very, very HCOL area like Silicon Valley. If I were you, I'd go with the 14 SEER Rheem and just make sure you get a good, no-loopholes, 10 year warranty from the installer.
And if you lived in a lcol area, got ten quotes for $10,000, then what would you do?

Topic Author
Tjb
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:17 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by Tjb » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:09 pm

Update on AC quotes....

I went back to two of the contractors and offered them an opportunity to lower their price to get the order. If you recall I had the following low prices:
2 Ton 14 Seer Rheem AC and 96% Gas Furnace $6,690
2 Ton 16 SEER Rheem AC and 96% Gas Furnace $8,180

I've never had Rheem equipment before and am more familiar with the other two, American Standard (Trane) and Amana (Goodman) The closest price to the Rheem was American Standard 14 SEER at $8,880

Surprisingly, Neither of the other contractors would lower their price even after I said,they did not have to meet the price, just get closer. No Deal..

So, The last 2 questions I have
1. Given that installation is the most important factor, is there any reason to be leery of Rheem products ?
2. If I can get pas the unfamiliarity with the Rheem brand, should I go with the 14 SEER Rheem or 16 SEER Rheem?

The difference between 14 and 16 SEER is $1,480 and the savings is roughly projected at 13% on Electrical which is not a timely payback, 12 years at best. That being said, I've read there are some intangible pluses of the higher SEER. The compressor is 2 stage, so it is quieter and the air handler fan is ECM which is also quieter and variable speed which is supposed to be better for humidity control. Of course, both could cost more to replace or repair, but both have a 10 year warranty.

I've never sprung for a higher SEER on past houses, so not sure if I should do it now. As for the house, maybe we'll be in it another 5-7 years.

Let me know if I anyone has any experience with Rheem and if it's worth going for the 16 SEER ECM and 2 stage compressor, or just take the lower cost and be done with it.

Thanks

teCh0010
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:20 am

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by teCh0010 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:32 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:05 am
Tjb wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:57 pm
We have 2 HVAC systems in our house, upstairs and downstairs systems. Last year we replaced our upstairs unit total cost was $6,000 for a 2 ton 14 SEER Goodman AC and 92% Gas Furnace. We also got the same price quote for the first floor system, but it was working fine, still using R22, so we decided not to replace it at that time, but told the contractor we would certainly use then when the time came.

Well, sure enough the time has come, so I contacted the same contractor and spoke to the same person we dealt with a year ago, and I was notified they were bought by another company, but they would be happy to re-quote the system. The new quote came back at $10,900 WOW

When I questioned them about the huge difference they gave me a sales pitch on quality, and at the end of the conversation, they came down to $10,400 but that was it. I informed them that the difference was too high and I will proceed in getting 2 more competitive quotes. I also told them that I could understand a price increase from a year ago, but not an 80% increase. They left the conversation saying they would like an opportunity to match any competitive quotes, so basically, they are willing to take another look at this.

I then contacted 3 reputable contractors and got the following prices for a like 2 Ton 14 SEER AC with 92-96% gas furnaces.

Trane 2 Ton unit - $9,900
Ameristar 2 ton unit - $8,770
Rheem 2 Ton unit - $6,690 Also a 16 and 17 SEER Rheem for $8,170 and $9,288 respectively

The Rheem prices are obviously much lower. I know least about Rheem compared to the other brands. I preferred the Goodman unit since it would be the same as the upstairs unit and the whole house would have the same components, easier for parts and labor.

I plan to go back to the original contractor and see what he can do, but I doubt he can drop this low. The Ameristar is the mid point and perhaps if he could get somewhere around that, I would be willing to go for it to have like systems, but these prices are so much higher than the Rheem components. I only know Rheem units are a bit different use an Aluminum "A" coil, which makes it all the more different than my upstairs system, but it may not matter for the cost.

My questions are....

Anyone have any experience with Rheem ?
Can anyone offer their opinion on these prices for a 2 tom 14 SEER AC and 95% Gas Furnace ?

The location is Greensboro, NC, the system is over 20 yrs old and has R22, so no reason to consider fixing or piecemealing it.

Thanks
I'm not an expert but the $10k seems closer to typical than the $6k. I think you got a deal. I have one Rheem; it's been fine. Regarding the coil I went through three mixed-metal coils in twelve years on my other hvac before the contractor replaced it with a different-brand all-aluminum coil. The others all failed due to corrosion where the metals met each other. What is the warranty on the different choices?
I had a 4 ton dual fuel Trane 18 seer two stage heat pump with an 80% two stage variable speed furnace installed for $7600.

Topic Author
Tjb
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:17 pm

Re: Update on my current HVAC quotes

Post by Tjb » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:43 pm

Update on AC quotes....

I went back to two of the contractors and offered them an opportunity to lower their price to get the order. If you recall I had the following low prices:
2 Ton 14 Seer Rheem AC and 96% Gas Furnace $6,690
2 Ton 16 SEER Rheem AC and 96% Gas Furnace $8,180

I've never had Rheem equipment before and am more familiar with the other two, American Standard (Trane) and Amana (Goodman) The closest price to the Rheem was American Standard 14 SEER at $8,880

Surprisingly, Neither of the other contractors would lower their price even after I said,they did not have to meet the price, just get closer. No Deal..

So, The last 2 questions I have
1. Given that installation is the most important factor, is there any reason to be leery of Rheem products ?
2. If I can get pas the unfamiliarity with the Rheem brand, should I go with the 14 SEER Rheem or 16 SEER Rheem?

The difference between 14 and 16 SEER is $1,480 and the savings is roughly projected at 13% on Electrical which is not a timely payback, 12 years at best. That being said, I've read there are some intangible pluses of the higher SEER. The compressor is 2 stage, so it is quieter and the air handler fan is ECM which is also quieter and variable speed which is supposed to be better for humidity control. Of course, both could cost more to replace or repair, but both have a 10 year warranty.

I've never sprung for a higher SEER on past houses, so not sure if I should do it now. As for the house, maybe we'll be in it another 5-7 years.

Let me know if I anyone has any experience with Rheem and if it's worth going for the 16 SEER ECM and 2 stage compressor, or just take the lower cost and be done with it.

Thanks

breakfixit
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:48 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by breakfixit » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:01 pm

I had a big HVAC install (5 ton) 2 years ago. My installer was highly regarded - he did another install for me previously - and said he didn't think the 2 stage or variable compressors were worth the extra $. So I went single stage compressor on a new 16 seer system. I don't remember the cost difference. I have no regrets. Supposedly all the manufacturers obtain parts from the same source and wear out quick. My old system was over 20 years. I don't think they last that long anymore. Get the longest manufacturer warranty you can. Also I've learned the hard way to watch out for the "seasonal maintenance" plan when they come out to "clean and inspect" the system. Last spring my "technician" told me he could do x,y,and z to my 5 yo system for $3000. I nearly kicked him out the door.

illumination
Posts: 666
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:13 pm

Re: Opinion on my current HVAC quotes

Post by illumination » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:59 pm

Al of the ones except the Rheem sound a bit on the high side, especially since those are lower end models

My brother went through this and went through a high end installer that does heavy marketing (so not going to be a great price) the Trane XR17 and XV18 model in similar ton range that was in that $9-$10k range installed with WiFi thermostats, etc, but just heat pump, not furnace. But that's a higher end model than the 14 seer you were being quoted.

I do think Trane is a better manufacturer, Goodman is actually the cheapest so $6,000 for an installed Goodman 2 ton is plenty of profit, so the "new" prices are more just a new owner. If those are the best quotes you could get, I would probably do the Rheem.

The markup in HVAC is maddening to say the least, a new Goodman heatpump with air handler is like $1,500, so they're making like $4,500 for one day of labor.

https://www.acwholesalers.com/Goodman-G ... PDEALw_wcB

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