Replacing HVAC

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Topic Author
nydoc
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Replacing HVAC

Post by nydoc »

Hi,
We will need to replace one of the four AC units in our home in Long Island. This unit is 28 years old and furnace is connected to its air handler unit. Other three units are running well and we do not need this particular unit replaced urgently. My question is-
1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
3. How to find reputable HVAC companies?
4. Is Costco good in this regard?

Thank you.
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snackdog
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by snackdog »

nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am Hi,
We will need to replace one of the four AC units in our home in Long Island. This unit is 28 years old and furnace is connected to its air handler unit. Other three units are running well and we do not need this particular unit replaced urgently. My question is-
1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
3. How to find reputable HVAC companies?
4. Is Costco good in this regard?

Thank you.
0. Are you sure it needs replacing? Mostly they can be repaired with parts, even 28 years old.
1. Best time is late summer before furnace busy season starts.
2. Lennox, Carrier, Trane.
3. Yelp.
4. Costco is good for making sure you don't get totally ripped off.
Topic Author
nydoc
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by nydoc »

Thanks.
Furnace is gas fired and it looks like there are hot water heating coils and AC cooling coils in the air handler unit. From there both uses the same duct system.
Will I have to replace the furnace also?
manuvns
Posts: 1241
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by manuvns »

nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am Hi,
We will need to replace one of the four AC units in our home in Long Island. This unit is 28 years old and furnace is connected to its air handler unit. Other three units are running well and we do not need this particular unit replaced urgently. My question is-
1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
3. How to find reputable HVAC companies?
4. Is Costco good in this regard?

Thank you.
You can buy goodman system from hvac direct and find a technician on https://www.angi.com/ who can install it for 2-2.5K , get quote from 2-3 guys befoe you select one .
Thanks!
Topic Author
nydoc
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by nydoc »

snackdog wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:33 am
nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am Hi,
We will need to replace one of the four AC units in our home in Long Island. This unit is 28 years old and furnace is connected to its air handler unit. Other three units are running well and we do not need this particular unit replaced urgently. My question is-
1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
3. How to find reputable HVAC companies?
4. Is Costco good in this regard?

Thank you.
0. Are you sure it needs replacing? Mostly they can be repaired with parts, even 28 years old.
1. Best time is late summer before furnace busy season starts.
2. Lennox, Carrier, Trane.
3. Yelp.
4. Costco is good for making sure you don't get totally ripped off.
Repair person said compressor is gone and there may be coolant leakage also. They will give us an estimate for repair and replacement both.
jebmke
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by jebmke »

The general consensus is that the installing company is as important or more important than the brand. Bryant is made by Carrier and is likely mostly the same parts so the number of brands available is a bit deceiving.

When we had our system replaced I looked for a local company that didn't have a high emphasis on new construction but focused on replacement and service.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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lthenderson
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by lthenderson »

nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am 2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
The best AC to buy is the one who has great service for those times it breaks down at 5 pm on a Friday of a 3 day holiday weekend with sweltering heat in the forecast. Honestly, just about all manufacturers of those things buy their parts from the same few companies that make them and just get their proprietary part number stamped on them. Really the differences are mostly cosmetic and have no impact on reliability. FWIW, I bought Trane simple because the dealer lives about a mile away, has three sons in his business and an emergency hotline for those 5 pm Friday issues. That was 10 years ago and it has yet to break down to test out the service aspect.
carolinaman
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by carolinaman »

nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:41 am
snackdog wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:33 am
nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am Hi,
We will need to replace one of the four AC units in our home in Long Island. This unit is 28 years old and furnace is connected to its air handler unit. Other three units are running well and we do not need this particular unit replaced urgently. My question is-
1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
3. How to find reputable HVAC companies?
4. Is Costco good in this regard?

Thank you.
0. Are you sure it needs replacing? Mostly they can be repaired with parts, even 28 years old.
1. Best time is late summer before furnace busy season starts.
2. Lennox, Carrier, Trane.
3. Yelp.
4. Costco is good for making sure you don't get totally ripped off.
Repair person said compressor is gone and there may be coolant leakage also. They will give us an estimate for repair and replacement both.
With compressor gone on a 28 year old HVAC, IMO it is time to replace it. You have got good life out of system. Most do not last 20 years.
tibbitts
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by tibbitts »

nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:42 am Thanks.
Furnace is gas fired and it looks like there are hot water heating coils and AC cooling coils in the air handler unit. From there both uses the same duct system.
Will I have to replace the furnace also?
I had a furnace that also provided hot water once, but it was oil-burning hot water heating (without a hot water storage tank) and didn't integrate with the air conditioning. Are you sure those coils are your hot-water heating system? The oil-burning boiler lasted forever, although it did need significant repairs from time to time; it lasted longer than the gas furnaces I've had.
Topic Author
nydoc
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by nydoc »

Should we replace it now or in next spring?
Topic Author
nydoc
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by nydoc »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:14 am
nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:42 am Thanks.
Furnace is gas fired and it looks like there are hot water heating coils and AC cooling coils in the air handler unit. From there both uses the same duct system.
Will I have to replace the furnace also?
I had a furnace that also provided hot water once, but it was oil-burning hot water heating (without a hot water storage tank) and didn't integrate with the air conditioning. Are you sure those coils are your hot-water heating system? The oil-burning boiler lasted forever, although it did need significant repairs from time to time; it lasted longer than the gas furnaces I've had.
Furnace heats up the water which travels via piping to the heating coils in the air handler unit.
Hot water from furnace also goes to an indirect water heater for home.
It looks like house had hot water radiant heating system before which was converted to forced air heating using hot water coils in air handler unit.
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bertilak
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by bertilak »

At 28 years, it will require Freon (R-22). This is becoming expensive. New systems will use a more modern refrigerant, most likely Puron (R401A?).

I would replace rather than repair a unit this old. As a matter of fact, I did just that a couple of years ago. Find a local HVAC contractor with a good, long, reputation. There should be many of them.
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet
tibbitts
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by tibbitts »

nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am Hi,
We will need to replace one of the four AC units in our home in Long Island. This unit is 28 years old and furnace is connected to its air handler unit. Other three units are running well and we do not need this particular unit replaced urgently. My question is-
1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
3. How to find reputable HVAC companies?
4. Is Costco good in this regard?

Thank you.
1. I haven't gotten significantly different quotes at different times of the year. This year availability has been an issue and prices have risen through what would normally be the off-season, so the theory of waiting until the off-season for my area at least hasn't worked out. While it might be different if you "have a guy" that's just in business alone, I'm not convinced that quotes for labor from more established multi-employee businesses are going to vary much from time to time.

2. I don't think manufacturer matters for what you mean by "good." In two of my installations I either wanted or needed a very specific physical configuration that was only available from one or two manufacturers, so in that sense it can matter. Other configurations could have been adapted but that would have involved other changes to the equipment location that I didn't want to make.

3. I think most companies are reputable, but for Bogleheads reputable translates to "amazing value", and that's harder to find. In two cases I've gotten dramatically lower quotes from one provider than five or more other providers. In one case they were a mid-sized (for the local hvac business) enterprise that was well-established at the time but went out of business a few years later. In another case the low-bid came from one of the larger providers in the area and they have provided excellent service since. Most recently (this year) however I've not had quotes vary more than a small percentage. Of course that was with getting six quotes so maybe the seventh would have been that magic one. At some point you have to stop getting quotes and actually choose one.

4. I don't think anyone can answer about Costco or HD or Lowes because it probably varies by location and by who actually does the work.
Big Dog
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by Big Dog »

1. IMO, the best time is spring and fall when high quality HVAC contractors aren't as busy (on emergency calls) and while your equipment still works. (so you have time for #3.

2. Any top national brand. (would not go with Goodman.) More important than the label is the quality of the installer. (A good contractor is worth paying more, IMO.) Require a Manual J.

3. Ask neighbors. Check Yelp. Obtain 6-8 quotes.

4. Costco is ok and a good place to start for pricing. Pick up a business card from teh rep (usually on weekends) adn then check out their reviews online.
tibbitts
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by tibbitts »

nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:18 am
tibbitts wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:14 am
nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:42 am Thanks.
Furnace is gas fired and it looks like there are hot water heating coils and AC cooling coils in the air handler unit. From there both uses the same duct system.
Will I have to replace the furnace also?
I had a furnace that also provided hot water once, but it was oil-burning hot water heating (without a hot water storage tank) and didn't integrate with the air conditioning. Are you sure those coils are your hot-water heating system? The oil-burning boiler lasted forever, although it did need significant repairs from time to time; it lasted longer than the gas furnaces I've had.
Furnace heats up the water which travels via piping to the heating coils in the air handler unit.
Hot water from furnace also goes to an indirect water heater for home.
It looks like house had hot water radiant heating system before which was converted to forced air heating using hot water coils in air handler unit.
Interesting. I'll guess not everybody in the business will be familiar with that configuration so you might get more varied quotes (for different types of solutions) than most of us have. Or maybe such conversions are common in your area?
MGBMartin
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by MGBMartin »

It is my understanding that if you replace the condenser that old you will need to replace the evaporator coil in the attic also, or wherever it is, as an evaporator coil that old cannot handle the higher pressures the newer refrigerant requires.
I think it would be nigh on impossible to find a complete condenser unit that uses the old style Freon.

So, you really need a complete system change out of matched condenser and evaporator.
Bad spellers of the world untie | Autocorrect is my worst enema
Supergrover
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by Supergrover »

Big Dog wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:36 am 1. IMO, the best time is spring and fall when high quality HVAC contractors aren't as busy (on emergency calls) and while your equipment still works. (so you have time for #3.

2. Any top national brand. (would not go with Goodman.) More important than the label is the quality of the installer. (A good contractor is worth paying more, IMO.) Require a Manual J.

3. Ask neighbors. Check Yelp. Obtain 6-8 quotes.

4. Costco is ok and a good place to start for pricing. Pick up a business card from teh rep (usually on weekends) adn then check out their reviews online.

I think this is all solid advice. Another point is to mention to the contractors is that you are not in a hurry.
Supergrover
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by Supergrover »

manuvns wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:43 am
nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am Hi,
We will need to replace one of the four AC units in our home in Long Island. This unit is 28 years old and furnace is connected to its air handler unit. Other three units are running well and we do not need this particular unit replaced urgently. My question is-
1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
3. How to find reputable HVAC companies?
4. Is Costco good in this regard?

Thank you.
You can buy goodman system from hvac direct and find a technician on https://www.angi.com/ who can install it for 2-2.5K , get quote from 2-3 guys befoe you select one .

Do you really save this way, though? How much of a savings? I’d worry that I don’t know all the different things a specialist knows and it would wind up costing me more.
Topic Author
nydoc
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by nydoc »

Set up appointment with Costco Lenox system dealer, Homeserve, and an independent Trane dealer for estimates. I definitely want them to see the furnace air handler interface to decide about the cost.
When we were buying the house earlier this year inspection person commented about the furnace conversion that it was the ideal set up for efficiency and maintenance. Furnace doesn’t need to be replaced with AC.
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Watty
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by Watty »

nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am 1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
I have good luck in September because it is between the heating and AC season here.

All the manufactures have different tiers of AC units so you cannot just say that one manufacture is better since a low tier unit of a good brand may not be as good as a higher tier unit of a brand that you do not like so much.
tibbitts
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by tibbitts »

Supergrover wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:02 am
manuvns wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:43 am
nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am Hi,
We will need to replace one of the four AC units in our home in Long Island. This unit is 28 years old and furnace is connected to its air handler unit. Other three units are running well and we do not need this particular unit replaced urgently. My question is-
1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
3. How to find reputable HVAC companies?
4. Is Costco good in this regard?

Thank you.
You can buy goodman system from hvac direct and find a technician on https://www.angi.com/ who can install it for 2-2.5K , get quote from 2-3 guys befoe you select one .

Do you really save this way, though? How much of a savings? I’d worry that I don’t know all the different things a specialist knows and it would wind up costing me more.
I think on average you'd potentially save considerably doing that, with somewhat more risk in not having one person/business (other than you) being responsible for the final result. Most Bogleheads of course will think you're crazy if you don't do the entire installation yourself.

You can choose to purchase some (not all) brands other brands directly if you'd prefer; ordering yourself is not a Goodman-only thing.
Johny Fever
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by Johny Fever »

Son is in the business...He sells Carrier and also has said that honestly Trane, Lennox, Goodman,York, are all decent IF installed and sized correctly. If a rep doesnt measure your house and all the openings, windows, etc...try another company. Just for grins one of my daughters needed new HVAC in their home and as a favor to my son they have the Costco recommended company come out and give them a quote...Lennox and the rep was there MAYBE 15 minutes total Emailed them back an estimate of 14K for basic HVAC. Son said it was undersized and not a great plan. Retail on the same system from Trane was 12K. Carrier 13.2K. Both Trane and Carrier big upgrades Seer wise, etc...so...shop around for the best tech, then the brand. IMHO.
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Harry Livermore
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by Harry Livermore »

Single, anecdotal data point here.
Both systems AC only (heat is baseboard hot water, oil-fired)
Our rental property (former residence) refurbished in 2001-2002, including a new install of central air, has a Lennox system, old school air handler, probably low SEER, can't remember, don't care. Never serviced other than me changing filters, cleaning coils, and flushing drain line. Blows ice cubes.
Our residence, never refurbished but with a new central AC install in 2012, has a Carrier system with a high SEER and variable speed air handler. Numerous failures over the (short number of) years, including air handler fan (variable speed controller is part of the fan so it's a $1K repair instead of a $100 repair) and both start-up and run capacitors. NOT IMPRESSED with Carrier.
Next install will be the simplest, most robust system I can get. Efficiency and SEER ratings can take a hike. Fire up the coal plant.
Cheers
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tennisplyr
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by tennisplyr »

For neighbors’ opinions of AC suppliers in your area, you may want to join/try the next door website.
“Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.” -Retired 11 years 😀
manuvns
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Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by manuvns »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:33 am
Supergrover wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:02 am
manuvns wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:43 am
nydoc wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:25 am Hi,
We will need to replace one of the four AC units in our home in Long Island. This unit is 28 years old and furnace is connected to its air handler unit. Other three units are running well and we do not need this particular unit replaced urgently. My question is-
1. What is the best time in year to replace?
2. What are the good AC manufacturers?
3. How to find reputable HVAC companies?
4. Is Costco good in this regard?

Thank you.
You can buy goodman system from hvac direct and find a technician on https://www.angi.com/ who can install it for 2-2.5K , get quote from 2-3 guys befoe you select one .

Do you really save this way, though? How much of a savings? I’d worry that I don’t know all the different things a specialist knows and it would wind up costing me more.
I think on average you'd potentially save considerably doing that, with somewhat more risk in not having one person/business (other than you) being responsible for the final result. Most Bogleheads of course will think you're crazy if you don't do the entire installation yourself.

You can choose to purchase some (not all) brands other brands directly if you'd prefer; ordering yourself is not a Goodman-only thing.
I spent 2300 for the system and 1500 for install roughly 4800$ , i think i save couple of grand , also my furnace stays the same . if it last 15 years i should be good to go . I will not be in this house another 15+ years i thnk .
Thanks!
chazas
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Location: NoVa

Re: Replacing HVAC

Post by chazas »

tennisplyr wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 6:40 am For neighbors’ opinions of AC suppliers in your area, you may want to join/try the next door website.
Similarly my area has an extremely active local FB group. Local recommendations are invaluable, and people also will often give negative opinions as well. You have to sort through the chaff like with Yelp, but when people are giving you “live” responses it’s easier.

I also recommend my favorite service folks there all the time with a link. I know they see it - they will often like or thank me, and I think (hope) this makes me more valuable to them as a steady customer. I recommend my HVAC guy all the time.
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