Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

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chrischris
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Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by chrischris » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:29 pm

We live in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not warm year round, but in our region the summers are hot (for us). We have several weeks in the high 80s to low 90s and the rest of the summer is in the mid 80s.

We are both 32 with two small children. The wife stays at home and works a little. We are mostly home bodies so I’ve learned to hate the summer season. I spend free time in our room with the shades closed and the portable AC unit running on high. It’s really not the lifestyle I’d like to live. I spend most the weekend anticipating sunset, working hard to get the kids to bed when their rooms are 83 degrees. As soon as the outside temp is below the inside, I go to work opening windows and plcing fans. I’m tired of all this.

I haven’t gotten any quotes, but I expect central air to cost around $7k? Our house is only 4 years old so the current furnace is good to go.

Combined income: $120k
House is worth $460k and I owe around $260k at 3.5%
Savings rate: Around $35k over various retirement accounts
No other debt

I don’t exactly have the cash sitting around for AC. I don’t want to dig into emergency savings. With that said, I have never considered my house to be an ATM but I do have some equity. I don’t know much about HELOC but I’m so tired of being grumpy and my family being uncomfortable that I’m considering financing a cooling upgrade. I generally don’t buy into the theory of “getting the money back when I sell” but saving up $7k will take me a while.

I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

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willthrill81
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by willthrill81 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:32 pm

We live near Spokane, and AC is an absolute must for us. We'd reduce our grocery spending before we did without it in the summers. Despite our having central AC, I also have a window unit backup that I can set up in 20 minutes or fewer and can power it with a generator if we lose power. We will be cool if we possibly can.

HELOC rates are still very reasonable, so I'd consider going that route. The additional monthly payment can very likely be made up for in some other area of your spending. What might be a better alternative is to just spend a few hundred on a good window unit for one or two rooms in the house (works really well) and save up for a central unit in a year or two.

In our area, people get back at least most of what they spend on central AC units.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

T4REngineer
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by T4REngineer » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:38 pm

Well worth the cost for the comfort of you and your family!

FWIW I think your in the ball park, sounds like the ducting is all there and you only need the evaporator coil inside and the condenser unit outside

Previous owners of my home had a high velocity system installed for ~11k but opposite sides of the country so not worth much for comparison

I have limited knowledge is this area but is it common for homes in those parts of the US to not have AC? At 4 years old I am shocked the builders didn't install it.

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vineviz
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by vineviz » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:41 pm

I’d get a quote before the getting attached to the idea. I’ve never spent less than $11k on an A/C system.
"Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections than has been lost in corrections themselves." ~~ Peter Lynch

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willthrill81
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by willthrill81 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:42 pm

T4REngineer wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:38 pm
I have limited knowledge is this area but is it common for homes in those parts of the US to not have AC? At 4 years old I am shocked the builders didn't install it.
Despite it regularly being in the 90s and often exceeding 100 for at least a couple of months most summers, AC is not 'standard' for new houses or when bids are quoted. It is always an 'extra' for new residential construction. :oops:

Our neighbor had everything ready for AC except the unit itself, and I think she just spent about $6k on hers.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

chrischris
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by chrischris » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:45 pm

Our builder is DR Horton. They seem to cut as many corners as possible. If I could do it all over again, I’d for sure upgrade.

We do have a portable unit in our room and living room. One of them just died and I’m not excited about spending more money on one.

Do I contact local banks or lenders to look into a HELOC? Perhaps I should get some quotes first.

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vineviz
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by vineviz » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:46 pm

Also, one or two split units might get you all the way to comfort.

https://www.ecomfort.com/LG-LS120HXV/p56619.html

Theses are less obtrusive than window units and less expensive than central.
"Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections than has been lost in corrections themselves." ~~ Peter Lynch

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willthrill81
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by willthrill81 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:49 pm

chrischris wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:45 pm
Our builder is DR Horton. They seem to cut as many corners as possible. If I could do it all over again, I’d for sure upgrade.

We do have a portable unit in our room and living room. One of them just died and I’m not excited about spending more money on one.

Do I contact local banks or lenders to look into a HELOC? Perhaps I should get some quotes first.
If you really want a central AC right now, then I'd suggest talking to a local bank now and get quotes at the same time. Be prepared for it to take weeks for a contractor to get to you. The good ones are usually very busy right now; be wary of someone who says they can do it immediately.
Last edited by willthrill81 on Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

BruDude
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by BruDude » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:49 pm

Check Angieslist and yelp, hire someone reputable, get at least 3 bids. My furnace just went out and since the units are 30 years old, everyone suggested replacing both the furnace and the condenser, which was too small for the size of the house already. I had a 2-ton condenser for the upstairs and am upgrading that to 2.5 tons, 14 SEER, with 10-year parts and labor warranty plus 10 years of free tune-ups cost me $5840. The other bids with 10 year pats/1 year labor and no tune-ups were $6600, $7600, and $9000. The size of your house will determine how large the units need to be, larger units = higher cost obviously. I'm not sure how much cost is added for a house that doesn't have an existing central air setup though.
Last edited by BruDude on Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KyleAAA
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by KyleAAA » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:50 pm

$7k seems reasonable depending on your square footage if you already have ductwork installed. I spent less than that in Atlanta where it gets much hotter. I bet you’d get a deal if you waited until November.

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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by BruDude » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:52 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:50 pm
$7k seems reasonable depending on your square footage if you already have ductwork installed. I spent less than that in Atlanta where it gets much hotter.
Completely depends on the size of the house....my house is 2200 square feet with separate units for upstairs and downstairs. Replacing both condensers + furnaces + evaporators would have been $11.5k. I'm sure installing units in a house that don't already have them has some extra cost added too. $7k would probably be for a single story house under 2000 square feet.

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Kenkat
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by Kenkat » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:56 pm

i would go ahead and get the central air. It’s not worth being miserable in your own home.

When I replaced my ac unit a few years ago, it was $4k for a 2.5 ton 14 seer system - 2350 sq. ft. house. Even for $7k, I’d do it. If it feels better to pay it off over time, I don’t see a problem with opening a HELOC and paying it off over a few years - say 5. Some people are dead set over taking on debt but I see it as an option for longer term items if you don’t want to impact your savings rate.

Nissanzx1
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by Nissanzx1 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:00 pm

Paid $4.5K last year for all new central A/C and furnace for out rental. About 1000 sq foot home. 10 year warranty. Brand was Goodman (cheaper quality stuff) works well- tenant says huge improvement in energy cost vs the window unit...

I would suggest getting 3-4 bids and I only personally do business with small companies for HVAC. The big outfits are cash registers for their owners...

I'd save up for it and pay for it. It's not an emergency. It very well may be awfully warm and sweaty, but not anything worth borrowing $7000 on IMHO.

Good Luck

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:05 pm

I replaced my upstairs heat pump in 2015 with an American Standard (company also sells Trane) 2 ton heat pump and air-handler with 15 SEER for $5492 net after $275 rebate. They had to remove old air-handler after cutting in half and install new in attic. Came with 2 year labor and 10 year parts warrantee.

Of course in Florida I would think there is much more competition than places not as likely have AC, so local prices might be higher. I like my Trane and American Standard units, good reliability, good performance.

My first home was a villa in a building of 5 units, had a Carrier heat pump that was probably sized too small, and frequently needed repairs. Next home came with Trane units, haven't ever considered any other brand.

OP, AC is pretty much standard here, and it seems you would be far more comfortable with AC for your home. Your temperatures are way too warm for me. I would certainly favor a home with AC over one without, in Florida it would be pretty unusual not to expect AC. Might be a window banger or a heat pump, but lack of something would be a big negative for most buyers.

Broken Man 1999
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Rupert
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by Rupert » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:16 pm

I recently got bids to replace the HVAC system for the small second floor (600-700 sq ft) of my home. The bids ranged from $3400 for an AC + heat strips to $11,000 for dual-stage heat pumps. So $7000 for an entire house does not sound at all out of line to me, but do get at least 3 quotes. Note that I also asked for quotes for a ductless mini-split unit, and those quotes were actually higher than the quotes for a traditional unit. If you're trying to cool more than just one room with one of those ductless units, you'll need multiple heads (the wall-mounted parts). When you start buying multiple heads, the cost of a ductless unit increases substantially.

Scrapr
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by Scrapr » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:03 pm

IMO I would wait for the shoulder season for quotes. But...we had AC put in the first part of July 3 years go. 1500 SF home 14 SEER and $3660. So $7k sounds very high. I would go one SEER down from top of the line. For cost reasons. But also so you aren't on the bleeding edge

We are in Central Oregon. In our previous house (Portland area) we were the last ones on our block to get air. We would go hang out at the neighbors on the really hot days.

runner3081
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by runner3081 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:35 pm

Spent 30+ years in Seattle. Those hot weeks were not fun, but it ended up being significantly cheaper to just buy two of the stand-alone room units for the couple of weeks of real warm weather per year.

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Sasquatch
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by Sasquatch » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:14 pm

We just had a home built last year and the pricing /build sheet says $3800 for a 2 level 1750sf home.

I am in the PNW also and the thermometer says 91 in the shade right now. You might look to your power company as well. Sometimes they give incentives and free energy savings inspections of your home.

Nate79
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by Nate79 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:21 pm

It has been a very hot summer here in Portland as another weekend in the mid 90s closes out. If you could at all wait until the fall you might save some money. Any chance you could get some additional portable units to cool the house until the fall? I'm sure you could sell the portable units on craigslist to get some of your money back.

Dottie57
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:29 pm

chrischris wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:45 pm
Our builder is DR Horton. They seem to cut as many corners as possible. If I could do it all over again, I’d for sure upgrade.

We do have a portable unit in our room and living room. One of them just died and I’m not excited about spending more money on one.

Do I contact local banks or lenders to look into a HELOC? Perhaps I should get some quotes first.
Do you already have the ducts needed for cold air throughout the house? That would be a major cost if it isn’t there. Otherwise for a ranch house of about 1300 sq ft, an ac shouldn’t be more than 4000.

How big is the house. And what style?

ClassySDLivin
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by ClassySDLivin » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:33 pm

I had air conditioning put in twice and heat once (different places) in the last 5 years. Most of the installation companies that provided a quote also offered some form of financing. I usually passed because I could get a lower price paying out of pocket or financing a different way, but did take out one loan with a company called Service Finance - 0% for 18 months on a $12k loan. It was through a local installation company in San Diego. I suspect Service Finance would not deal directly with borrowers, but your installation company may be able to offer something that makes sense.

2pedals
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by 2pedals » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:42 pm

Only a few more days and back to cool weather (< 80°F), the heat wave is almost over, check into a hotel or drive to ocean shores where it 60°F today. Plan for next year, I would wait a few months before getting quotes in the middle of a heat wave.

28fe6
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by 28fe6 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:09 pm

One of the things to compare with your bids is the size of AC unit specified. There is an epidemic in my opinion of installers using units that are too big. They make more money that way, and they never have to be accused of under-cooling a job, so they have incentive to pitch larger systems than indicated by proper load calculations. Many of them are also just incompetent and use the same calculations they were using 30 years or more ago, and not taking into account how efficient modern houses are. If your installer uses any "rule of thumb" method based on square footage, they are guessing, and they are going to add 25% buffer to be safe because they don't know what they are doing. This costs you more money up front and more money over time since it is less efficient. AC should be sized based on "manual J" calculations which is a standard method and can be done using software or even by hand, but it's not based on square footage.

The previous owner of my house replaced the original unit with a unit 50% bigger. I installed an hour meter on it and found that even in the hottest summer it only runs maybe 60% of the time and mostly only 25% of the time. Ideally it would run 100% on the hottest days. This causes poor performance and worse efficiency.

I'm a big fan of split units. They are very efficient.

Regarding financing, I would float ot for a year on a 0% credit card, then transfer the balance to another zero interest card or pay it off from my HELOC.

Katietsu
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by Katietsu » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:22 pm

It seems unlikely that you would get the AC installed before the temperatures started to drop a bit. I would be making plans to have it in by next summer.

MSchleicher
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by MSchleicher » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:32 pm

My wife would consider a lack of proper AC an emergency.

chrischris
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by chrischris » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:43 pm

Thanks everyone for the responses.

I am unsure if our home has all the necessary ducts. I'm guessing it does since the home is fairly new with the furnace in the upstairs ceiling and all vents are mounted in the ceiling.

I am going to start getting some bids. Thanks again.

spammagnet
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by spammagnet » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:30 pm

T4REngineer wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:38 pm
... sounds like the ducting is all there and you only need the evaporator coil inside and the condenser unit outside ...
I live in Florida where every house has central AC, but is it save to assume that duct work designed only for central heat is adequate for central AC? I believe AC requires a lot more air movement than does heat.

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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:33 pm

You will probably get a wide variety of estimates and a good amount of cost might go into adapting space for the inside coil into your existing gas furnace installation. The difficulty might vary considerably depending on what you already have.

spammagnet
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by spammagnet » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:34 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:22 pm
It seems unlikely that you would get the AC installed before the temperatures started to drop a bit. ...
Prices should drop as demand drops, as well. Catch the contractors between summer AC demand and winter furnace demand. They're less busy then. Their bid may reflect their desire to win the job. AC manufacturers run sales in off-seasons, as well. Ask around to see if it's worth waiting for a manufacturer's rebate.

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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:36 pm

spammagnet wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:30 pm
T4REngineer wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:38 pm
... sounds like the ducting is all there and you only need the evaporator coil inside and the condenser unit outside ...
I live in Florida where every house has central AC, but is it save to assume that duct work designed only for central heat is adequate for central AC? I believe AC requires a lot more air movement than does heat.
That's an interesting thought I'd never considered. So, let's say you have 40,000 btu cooling and 80,000 btu heat, which seems to be a somewhat common combination. I take it the airflow doesn't correspond to the btu in each case?

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whodidntante
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by whodidntante » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:38 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:09 pm
Regarding financing, I would float ot for a year on a 0% credit card, then transfer the balance to another zero interest card or pay it off from my HELOC.
Ditto. Open a new card with a bonus, and 0% intro APR on purchases. Pile the money in the investment of your choice and pay it off a few days before the 0% period expires. I generally owe 15k or so on 0% credit cards. I wouldn't pay a balance transfer fee. Because money is fungible, I don't need to.

spammagnet
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by spammagnet » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:51 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:36 pm
That's an interesting thought I'd never considered. So, let's say you have 40,000 btu cooling and 80,000 btu heat, which seems to be a somewhat common combination. I take it the airflow doesn't correspond to the btu in each case?
I'm not even slightly an expert in the field but my impression is that it's easier to heat air to higher temperatures than it is to cool it to lower temperatures. The result being that it requires higher volumes of cooled air (say, 10 degree gradient) to cool a room than is required of heated air (20 degree gradient?) to heat a room to the desired level of comfort. Therefore, systems designed solely for forced heat can move a small amount of hotter air through smaller ducts than would be necessary for a system designed for year round heating and cooling.

chrischris
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by chrischris » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:19 am

whodidntante wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:38 pm
28fe6 wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:09 pm
Regarding financing, I would float ot for a year on a 0% credit card, then transfer the balance to another zero interest card or pay it off from my HELOC.
Ditto. Open a new card with a bonus, and 0% intro APR on purchases. Pile the money in the investment of your choice and pay it off a few days before the 0% period expires. I generally owe 15k or so on 0% credit cards. I wouldn't pay a balance transfer fee. Because money is fungible, I don't need to.

How long is the 0% APR offer on cards these days?

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whodidntante
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by whodidntante » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:32 am

chrischris wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:19 am
whodidntante wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:38 pm
28fe6 wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:09 pm
Regarding financing, I would float ot for a year on a 0% credit card, then transfer the balance to another zero interest card or pay it off from my HELOC.
Ditto. Open a new card with a bonus, and 0% intro APR on purchases. Pile the money in the investment of your choice and pay it off a few days before the 0% period expires. I generally owe 15k or so on 0% credit cards. I wouldn't pay a balance transfer fee. Because money is fungible, I don't need to.

How long is the 0% APR offer on cards these days?
Usually the cards that pay a bonus will go up to 12 months or sometimes 15 months for an intro purchase APR. E.g., the AmEx Cash Magnet is one I have floating 0% for 15 months, and I got a $300 bonus + the normal points for purchases.

spammagnet
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by spammagnet » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:33 am

chrischris wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:19 am
How long is the 0% APR offer on cards these days?
12-15 months, it seems:
https://www.bankrate.com/credit-cards/0 ... cards.aspx

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willthrill81
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by willthrill81 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:40 am

spammagnet wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:51 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:36 pm
That's an interesting thought I'd never considered. So, let's say you have 40,000 btu cooling and 80,000 btu heat, which seems to be a somewhat common combination. I take it the airflow doesn't correspond to the btu in each case?
I'm not even slightly an expert in the field but my impression is that it's easier to heat air to higher temperatures than it is to cool it to lower temperatures. The result being that it requires higher volumes of cooled air (say, 10 degree gradient) to cool a room than is required of heated air (20 degree gradient?) to heat a room to the desired level of comfort. Therefore, systems designed solely for forced heat can move a small amount of hotter air through smaller ducts than would be necessary for a system designed for year round heating and cooling.
Keep in mind that in many areas though, you're trying to change the temperature to a greater degree (no pun intended) when heating than cooling. Cooling down a space from 100 F to 70 requires the same energy (theoretically) as it does to heat from 40 to 70. But if you're starting from below 40 F, it will take more energy. So the greater volume of air needed for cooling could be easily offset by the fact that you aren't trying to change the temperature as much.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

Valuethinker
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:45 am

spammagnet wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:51 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:36 pm
That's an interesting thought I'd never considered. So, let's say you have 40,000 btu cooling and 80,000 btu heat, which seems to be a somewhat common combination. I take it the airflow doesn't correspond to the btu in each case?
I'm not even slightly an expert in the field but my impression is that it's easier to heat air to higher temperatures than it is to cool it to lower temperatures. The result being that it requires higher volumes of cooled air (say, 10 degree gradient) to cool a room than is required of heated air (20 degree gradient?) to heat a room to the desired level of comfort. Therefore, systems designed solely for forced heat can move a small amount of hotter air through smaller ducts than would be necessary for a system designed for year round heating and cooling.
The physics says the amount of energy is the same either way.

However, thinking intuitively:

- cooling the warm air means taking moisture out of that air and that may be more difficult. It's actually the dehumidifier aspect of AC that drives most of the comfort level (unless you live in a desert)?

- as per poster above, the change in temperature input air v. output matters?

- air has a lot lower heat capacity than furniture or walls etc. Thus you can quickly heat the air, and the walls etc. warm up more slowly. Compare that to cooling where you cool the air, but the walls etc are still giving off heat -- that might make it feel warmer?

Note that an Air Conditioner is essentially an Air Source Heat Pump, and thus its performance depends upon the difference between input and output temperatures.

With a gas furnace, that must also be true, but they produce much higher output temperatures when running at max efficiency (say the water comes in at 10 degrees C (55F) and goes out at 65 degrees C (c 130 F)). (max efficiency for a gas furnace is c 90%, for a HP it can be 300%).

gator15
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by gator15 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:05 am

Have Home Depot install the AC. They offer 0% interest for 24 months.

chevca
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by chevca » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:34 am

chrischris wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:43 pm
Thanks everyone for the responses.

I am unsure if our home has all the necessary ducts. I'm guessing it does since the home is fairly new with the furnace in the upstairs ceiling and all vents are mounted in the ceiling.

I am going to start getting some bids. Thanks again.
We had AC installed in a newer home with that type of set up. All duct work was fine and nothing needed to be added that way. It was about $5500 for our AC install.

We did it in the spring before it got too hot that year. They said we did it just in time because they get real busy when it gets hot out. You should expect it will be weeks out before you get AC installed just starting to call around at the end of July. We are in the PNW also.

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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by chevca » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:38 am

T4REngineer wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:38 pm
I have limited knowledge is this area but is it common for homes in those parts of the US to not have AC? At 4 years old I am shocked the builders didn't install it.
Yes, very common around the Seattle area. It's always an option/upgrade to get AC installed on a new build, but definitely not standard.

It's not much of the year that we get the real hot temps, but it can be miserable at those times without AC.

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4nursebee
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by 4nursebee » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:52 am

I've heard of some dealers financing so this can be discussed when getting estimates.

I love our minisplit ductless zoned effecient heat pump.
4nursebee

bob60014
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by bob60014 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:26 am

Dealers around here, Chicago, still offer financing @ 0% interest. 12, 24 are the norm and up to 36 months for high cost systems. Check when you get quotes about your financing options

lomarica01
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by lomarica01 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:53 am

Mabye a bit off topic but try a whole house fan, which you run at night when it is cooler outside and when you wake up the house is nice and cool. Even on hot days you might not even need ac. We also installed an attic fan which takes out the super heated air in the attic during the day. Both of these items reduced our ac usage by at least 50%.

I would wait it out as summer will be over soon and save up for the ac and pay cash in say next april, but plan early as it all can take a long time to get the project completed

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Pajamas
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by Pajamas » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:20 pm

You already have most of your assets tied up in your house, it would be better not to concentrate even more of your current assets into it.

Probably too late for this season, anyway. Figure out a way to pay cash for it next spring or wait for a sale with no interest financing. You could probably get a dealer to give you a good price and good financing if you are flexible about the timing. Otherwise, they have people on payroll doing nothing.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by unclescrooge » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:53 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:09 pm
One of the things to compare with your bids is the size of AC unit specified. There is an epidemic in my opinion of installers using units that are too big. They make more money that way, and they never have to be accused of under-cooling a job, so they have incentive to pitch larger systems than indicated by proper load calculations. Many of them are also just incompetent and use the same calculations they were using 30 years or more ago, and not taking into account how efficient modern houses are. If your installer uses any "rule of thumb" method based on square footage, they are guessing, and they are going to add 25% buffer to be safe because they don't know what they are doing. This costs you more money up front and more money over time since it is less efficient. AC should be sized based on "manual J" calculations which is a standard method and can be done using software or even by hand, but it's not based on square footage.

The previous owner of my house replaced the original unit with a unit 50% bigger. I installed an hour meter on it and found that even in the hottest summer it only runs maybe 60% of the time and mostly only 25% of the time. Ideally it would run 100% on the hottest days. This causes poor performance and worse efficiency.

I'm a big fan of split units. They are very efficient.

Regarding financing, I would float ot for a year on a 0% credit card, then transfer the balance to another zero interest card or pay it off from my HELOC.
How do you gauge installers competency before he does any work?

limeyx
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by limeyx » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:41 pm

vineviz wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:41 pm
I’d get a quote before the getting attached to the idea. I’ve never spent less than $11k on an A/C system.
We installed a new 95% furnace and 2.5Ton Bryant AC for around $10,500 in the Pacific Northwest a couple of years ago.
So beyond worth it, especially yesterday when the heat was way over 90F !

I thought that was expensive but I got multiple quotes and most were $11K-$13K for either Furnace/AC or Heat Pump

Given the cost of materials it feels like a rip off but I cannot do it myself and I went through almost every company I could before installing

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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by limeyx » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:44 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:35 pm
Spent 30+ years in Seattle. Those hot weeks were not fun, but it ended up being significantly cheaper to just buy two of the stand-alone room units for the couple of weeks of real warm weather per year.
It used to be a couple of weeks but since we've been here (past 6 years) its been all or half of June, all of July and all of August

One year I think it was all of April too! A lifesaver (for us) with two young kids. This is Eastside so it may be warmer than closer to the water I guess

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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by limeyx » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:46 pm

Ceiling fans in the upstairs rooms helped us tremendously too although if your AC inlet would already be upstairs then might not make so much of a difference

baliktad
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by baliktad » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:52 am

limeyx wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:41 pm
We installed a new 95% furnace and 2.5Ton Bryant AC for around $10,500 in the Pacific Northwest a couple of years ago.
So beyond worth it, especially yesterday when the heat was way over 90F !

I thought that was expensive but I got multiple quotes and most were $11K-$13K for either Furnace/AC or Heat Pump

Given the cost of materials it feels like a rip off but I cannot do it myself and I went through almost every company I could before installing
What vendor did you use for this work? Also in PNW and looking to replace my furnace and add A/C. This last week has finally broken me.

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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by nestorius » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:20 am

I just replaced two HVAC systems (ACs and furnaces) that were nearly 30 years old. My best advice is:

1. Do your homework or you'll be taken to the cleaners. I found the following blog to be extremely informative (https://asm-air.com/asm-air-conditioning-blog/) and would have hired ASM to do the job, but they only work in the Los Angeles area. Poke around and you will be glad you did. I even signed up for the web estimator/calculator which was extremely useful when I had to take to HVAC salespeople.

2. This is NOT a transparent business. There's a lot of up-sales and hard sell. I talked to seven HVAC companies (including Home Depot, Costco and Lowes) and got prices as high as $45,000. In the end, a company recommended by PG&E did the job for $16,000.

3. The ASM blog gives a lot of useful data on EER and SEER and furnace efficiencies. What I learned was that the high-end equipment would pay for itself in 20-25 years...maybe, depending on our usage. Even 14 SEER ACs and 80% efficiency one-stage furnaces are way better than the equipment I replaced. The old units were still working, but it was not worth the risk and the bother to wait until they failed.

Good luck! You will be glad you did the research.

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