Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

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MGBGTV8
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by MGBGTV8 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:02 am

I have no problem using a HELOC for capital projects for the house. It's just like mortgage debt. Yes it's debt, but the least troublesome kind. You have plenty of equity.

Depending on the layout of your house, the minisplit system is a good option. I put one in my basement, as it is a big open area with walls just to separate the bathroom and laundry room. Works great, no ducts to run.

My house had a high velocity system retrofitted into it 20 years ago right before we bought it. It just failed, and I am replacing most of the system now. Just the equipment for a 36,000 BTU (3 Ton) unit will cost $12k so I am considering tapping the HELOC for at least some of the cost.

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

Post by goingup » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:19 am

Seattle area dweller here. The summers have gotten hotter in the 10+ years we've lived here. Got central air installed in March, after signing contract in the fall.

If you can wait until October or so, you'll be able to more easily schedule bids and review them "cooly". I got three and took the lowest at $7K (including 10% tax). By waiting for installation until Jan-March, the HVAC slow season, I saved 20%.

We had available cash to pay, but using a HELOC is a good solution.

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

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:20 am

MGBGTV8 wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:02 am
I have no problem using a HELOC for capital projects for the house. It's just like mortgage debt. Yes it's debt, but the least troublesome kind. You have plenty of equity.

Depending on the layout of your house, the minisplit system is a good option. I put one in my basement, as it is a big open area with walls just to separate the bathroom and laundry room. Works great, no ducts to run.

My house had a high velocity system retrofitted into it 20 years ago right before we bought it. It just failed, and I am replacing most of the system now. Just the equipment for a 36,000 BTU (3 Ton) unit will cost $12k so I am considering tapping the HELOC for at least some of the cost.
As long as one amortizes the home loan over a reasonably short period.

Otherwise you wind up paying more in interest than the equipment actually cost.

But a loan secured against home (home equity) should be the cheapest form of finance you can get. Certainly if the choice is not to use tax advantaged contributions then it should be used to maintain those.

I believe that in most parts of the USA, the presence of an AC system is either required OR would significantly detract from the value of the home if not present ?

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

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:22 am

Is it an alternative to rent portable AC for the current season?

As per other posters, I believe prices could be significantly lower in the winter months. If you can get an installation scheduled when the HVAC contractor is not busy, so they can plan ahead.

Also one does not want to make this decision in a hurry.

My "gut" would say go for SEER 15 if you can- in the long run, that improvement in efficiency over the minimum standard is worth it. Depends on electricity prices (low for Pacific NW) and usage, of course.

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

Post by criticalmass » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:24 am

Couple of notes based on experience:

1) Get quotes during early fall for substantially better pricing. A few more weeks and you’ll be there. Consider borrowing or buying a secondhand portable ac unit for August. The big manufacturers often have financing and cash incentives or rebates during fall too. Don’t rely on the installer to find your incentives. They may not bother, or they keep them.

2) The biggest factor in an installation is the competence of the installer. Small companies where the owner is involved will almost always get you better quality and better prices than MegaHVAC operations.

3) Ensure your bid is sized properly for your house. The wrong way to do this is for the installer to look around, take some measurements, and use his “experience.” The right way examines your local climate, sun load, windows and their direction, insulation, room sizes, etc. It is called Manual J in HVAC lingo. Search internet for examples.

Many (most?) installations are oversized. This means your compressor cycles on/off too often, and also means dehumidification will be substandard, reducing your comfort, because the system never runs very long. It also will increase system wear and you will feel the temperature constantly vary between chilly and getting warm. But the house will feel like it is getting cold quick, and it is easier to oversize, install, get paid and go.

4) Many utilities offer incentives for higher efficiency systems. Does your state offer a tax holiday for energy star equipment?

5) Consider variable speed ECM fan motors. This may yield its own manufacturer or utility incentives.

6) Don’t get the cheapest line. UTC makes Carrier and they make Payne. The latter is junk in the long run. Ask a technician about quality. That said, the mid range equipment is very similar. Mid range carrier is almost identical to their Bryant brand.

Likewise, American Standard and Trane have exactly the same equipment if you use comparable models. The equivalent model number will often start with T for Trane and A for American Standard. They use a different distribution network, and the Trane brand has more limitations on who can sell it, but often you can get the equivalent American Standard model for less (unless you want the Trane plastic top on the outside unit.)

7) Consider a housing for 6 inch filters which are superior to 1 inch filters and require less interaction.

8) Ensure they pour a level pad, install the outdoor unit away from any high efficiency gas furnace exhaust, and hopefully away from a window. They will need to install an outdoor disconnect and possibly a condensate pump, if a drain isn’t near the indoor unit.

9) If the indoor unit is upstairs, ensure they have a pan with a SEPARATE drain line. The pan should have a switch that turns off the unit if the pans fills with water. The main drain trap can have its own switch too. If the line clogs it will turn off the compressor before water disaster.

runner3081
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by runner3081 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:29 pm

limeyx wrote:
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
I left 6 years ago, Seattle summers were miserably cold and wet then.

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

Post by 2pedals » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:54 pm

Seattle area resident

Today will reach 82°F (currently my house 75°F outside 78°F, 47% relative humidity mostly sunny), with no more days above 80°F for all of August. Slightly warm day for Seattleites.

limeyx
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by limeyx » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:15 pm

baliktad wrote:
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.
Black Lion HVAC
They were reasonably priced and did a good job. They did NOT do a "Manual J" calc for the air conditioning which is the gold standard (but then none of the other vendors included it either)

I am pretty happy so far

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

Post by limeyx » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:17 pm

nestorius wrote:
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.
Yeah good point on the efficiency. We got a 95% furnace as it made sense but only a 13 seer AC because we only cool a few months of the year. The higher seer ratings just dont pay off here (unless global warming dooms us all I guess)

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

Post by limeyx » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:19 pm

2pedals wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:54 pm
Seattle area resident

Today will reach 82°F (currently my house 75°F outside 78°F, 47% relative humidity mostly sunny), with no more days above 80°F for all of August. Slightly warm day for Seattleites.
Yeah today was cold compared to the roaster of Sunday ... our AC struggles since we didnt turn it on until we got home later in the day (wife, despite being from LA dislikes having it on, and once it gets behind its hard to catch up!)

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

Post by pfrank » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:31 pm

Here in Massachusetts, we have a utility sponsored program called Mass Save which does energy audits and recommends home upgrades (air sealing, insulation, windows, heating, etc.). Once you have the energy audit (you can have one per year), you can apply for a HEAT loan - 0% - 7 year loan for the upgrades. I used it for my boiler and AC install. Great program.

Plus I got about $4,500 back in rebates from my utility.

Does your NW state have a similar program? For example, take a look at Energy Trust of Oregon....they offer incentives and financing options for Oregon and Washington.

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

Post by kaudrey » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:10 am

If it's less than $10K, I'd just use your emergency funds and then build them back up. I use mine for things like that as they come up (tomorrow it is surgery for my pup....).

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

Post by goingup » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:48 pm

2pedals wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:54 pm
Seattle area resident

Today will reach 82°F (currently my house 75°F outside 78°F, 47% relative humidity mostly sunny), with no more days above 80°F for all of August. Slightly warm day for Seattleites.
Hmmm. It's been a little hotter than that..

SUN 8/5
Actual Temp
84° /59°
Hist. Avg.
77°/59°

MON 8/6
Actual Temp
85° /61°
Hist. Avg.
77°/59°

TUE 8/7
Actual Temp
88° /63°
Hist. Avg.
77°/58°

YESTERDAY
Actual Temp
91° /63°
Hist. Avg.
77°/58°

TODAY 8/9
90° /62°
Mostly sunny; very warm
Hist. Avg.
77°/58°

Nate79
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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by Nate79 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:52 pm

Yes, another heat wave thru the PDX area. It's been a hot year.

limeyx
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by limeyx » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:38 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:29 pm
limeyx wrote:
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
I left 6 years ago, Seattle summers were miserably cold and wet then.
I came about 6 years ago and got lucky I guess !

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

Post by Nestegg_User » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:29 pm

eh, are you wimps in PDX? try coming over to the dry side of central OR where last two days were in the low 100’s :shock: !

we’d replaced our HVAC last year...good thing, it probably wouldn’t have made it another year (at that time, it was failing to heat)... but we’d only upgraded to a mid-level system (14 SEER) since cost wise it didn’t make sense to get better.

AFA, the poster that couldn’t have their A/C on all day, current programmable thermostats allow a full range of programs, including “vacation mode”, and ours even lets you remotely turn system on or off so as to cool (or heat up) to temp by the time you get home. you just have to remember to start it early enough; we set for “vacation mode” when traveling and when close we start the system to equilibrate by the time we should get home.

runner3081
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by runner3081 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:09 pm

limeyx wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:38 pm
runner3081 wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:29 pm
limeyx wrote:
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
I left 6 years ago, Seattle summers were miserably cold and wet then.
I came about 6 years ago and got lucky I guess !
Actually, the 6 summers since we left have been the warmest in a long time, I believe.

Still happy to leave, not worth the traffic congestion and home prices to us.

limeyx
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Re: Air Conditioning?

Post by limeyx » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:56 am

runner3081 wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:09 pm
limeyx wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:38 pm
runner3081 wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:29 pm
limeyx wrote:
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
I left 6 years ago, Seattle summers were miserably cold and wet then.
I came about 6 years ago and got lucky I guess !
Actually, the 6 summers since we left have been the warmest in a long time, I believe.

Still happy to leave, not worth the traffic congestion and home prices to us.
I hear you. We moved here *because* of the house prices and (lower) traffic congestion and the place has gone insane ever since
the 405 is now getting to Los Angeles proportions !

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

Post by Yinks » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:13 am

pfrank wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:31 pm
Here in Massachusetts, we have a utility sponsored program called Mass Save which does energy audits and recommends home upgrades (air sealing, insulation, windows, heating, etc.). Once you have the energy audit (you can have one per year), you can apply for a HEAT loan - 0% - 7 year loan for the upgrades. I used it for my boiler and AC install. Great program.

Plus I got about $4,500 back in rebates from my utility.

Does your NW state have a similar program? For example, take a look at Energy Trust of Oregon....they offer incentives and financing options for Oregon and Washington.
+1

I work in the energy efficieny industry. Ask your utility if they offer rebates or financing. Sometimes local governments offer "property assessed clean energy financing" where you can finance an AC at a low rate and payment is made via increased property tax.

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

Post by Leemiller » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:44 am

We used a HELOC, cash, TSP (401k) loan mix for some house improvements and paid it off quickly. We had the money but didn’t want to cash in investments or drop our emergency funds too much. My TSP loan was basically where I would pay myself interest, unlike some 401k loans I could also pay it off using smaller extra payments (vs one lump sum). But buying a few used widow units would also be an option as a stop gap.

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

Post by tennisplyr » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:56 am

I lived in a NY home for 35 years with no central A/C...thought to be too much of a luxury. A couple of well placed right-sized window units did the job. To me, if it's only a summer issue, central air is a bit much. It'll require regular maintenance and they don't last forever.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:36 am

tennisplyr wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:56 am
I lived in a NY home for 35 years with no central A/C...thought to be too much of a luxury. A couple of well placed right-sized window units did the job. To me, if it's only a summer issue, central air is a bit much. It'll require regular maintenance and they don't last forever.
I grew up not too far north of you (other side of the lake from NYS).

And indeed growing up we made do with a couple of upstairs window units. Heat waves only seemed to last a couple of weeks.

The last 25 years or so, since my Dad retired, have been too hot for that - retrofitted central AC with miniducts cut into the ceilings and through walls (1920s home) and now in almost constant use in July-August. Yes partly my parents are just older, but the summers have gotten hotter, especially the nights, and the heat waves longer. Or so it seems.

Praying that the system holds together without expensive replacement until my mother no longer needs it.

il0kin
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by il0kin » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:43 am

The company that I had install our new condenser last year partners with Wells Fargo for a 12 or 18 month 0% offer. I don’t normally finance things, but sure, might as well cash flow it in the 0% situation. If the cost is too much to pay off in a year, a HELOC might be the right answer.

il0kin
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Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Post by il0kin » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:53 am

An additional piece of advice given to me by a friend who is a city inspector - MAKE SURE the HVAC company pulls city inspection permits!! It is far too easy to get fleeced on a bad install and have no recourse. Call the city permitting department and ask which companies pull permits regularly.

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

Post by tibbitts » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:59 am

tennisplyr wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:56 am
I lived in a NY home for 35 years with no central A/C...thought to be too much of a luxury. A couple of well placed right-sized window units did the job. To me, if it's only a summer issue, central air is a bit much. It'll require regular maintenance and they don't last forever.
I lived in upstate NY too, without central air for a few decades. But I remember cars without seat belts, too - doesn't mean they were a good idea.

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

Post by rcjchicity » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:07 am

Timely post - I just brought up to my husband the idea of installing central air on our 1st floor.

We live in a 3-story 1890's Victorian cottage that was a duplex until about 20 years ago. The 2nd & 3rd floors have central air & heat, but the 1st floor (which is technically the basement since it's a little below grade) only has a furnace.

In July & August, the temperature on that level doesn't get much above the mid-70's, but it's humid. Central AC would be nice, especially as the kids get older and they have lots of friends over (it's the family room & rec room down there, so with lots of kids playing, it gets muggy gross)

Looks like a fall project for one of these years...

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

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:19 am

I'm a north Seattle suburb resident: Summer is more than halfway over. Wait until next year and save the money over winter.

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