The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

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clutchied
Posts: 872
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:11 am

Re: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

Post by clutchied »

clutchied wrote: Thu Jan 04, 2024 9:08 am
sureshoe wrote: Wed Jan 03, 2024 1:21 pm

OK - so thanks for reading if you got this far. Questions for this group: Do you have a recommendation for a durable, real fix - either A, B, C, D above or option E?

I'm looking for a real fix, not half measures. If $20k is what it will take, I'll pay it - but I don't' want to just cut that check without being more informed.

I'm in a similar circumstance 4900 sq. ft. 3 beds upstairs. I have a solid 15 degree differential b/w the basement and upstairs. We have BIG West facing windows that just suck up heat in the summer. Single zone 5 ton unit from 1989.


We've done 2 things so far. 1. We put R60 in the attic. The effect was that the A/C could actually keep up during the heat of the day and we didn't lose ground. 2. We tested a new window in the hottest part of the house and it appears that there was very little insulation in there and we were getting tons of heat penetration through the wall.... weird. I wish I was there during install b/c the wall heat dropped 15+ degrees around the window so they did something and the window works better now...

Our 3rd step will be to install a mini split in upstairs hallway to take some of the load off.


So we have concrete wins currently but the problem persists but we are on the right path. I also considered the ceiling cassette in each room but I put in the insulation first and I don't want to mess with it anymore...


Quoting myself here.

Mini-split self install was SUCCESSFUL. It's made a shocking difference in our house comfort and ESPECIALLY the upstairs is now the same temp as the rest of the house. 18k (1.5ton) BTU Mr. Cool unit. We are now a 6.5 ton house with 1 zone for the 5 ton (whole house) and the a minisplit in our upstairs hallway with two adjacent bedrooms and a full bath.

I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Super cheap elegant custom cooling/heating solution that completely ameliorated our issue.

I don't think I could be any happier with the outcome. The unit is quiet and super efficient. Sometimes the cooling upstairs is enough for the whole house to keep the big 5ton from cranking up.

I'm still in shock at how effective it is.


We added R60 into the ceiling about 5 years ago and our house is now a thermal resistant monster. Just last night it was 73 inside went down to 55outside for an extended timeframe and we awoke to a 71F house...


Forgot to add cost: Minisplit $1700. Install materials $500 and my time.

R60 from 5 years ago was $3200. Says he installed baffles but didn't have photos and I've never gone to look.
ekid
Posts: 1014
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: central Indiana

Re: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

Post by ekid »

clutchied wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 12:26 pm
clutchied wrote: Thu Jan 04, 2024 9:08 am
sureshoe wrote: Wed Jan 03, 2024 1:21 pm

OK - so thanks for reading if you got this far. Questions for this group: Do you have a recommendation for a durable, real fix - either A, B, C, D above or option E?

I'm looking for a real fix, not half measures. If $20k is what it will take, I'll pay it - but I don't' want to just cut that check without being more informed.

I'm in a similar circumstance 4900 sq. ft. 3 beds upstairs. I have a solid 15 degree differential b/w the basement and upstairs. We have BIG West facing windows that just suck up heat in the summer. Single zone 5 ton unit from 1989.


We've done 2 things so far. 1. We put R60 in the attic. The effect was that the A/C could actually keep up during the heat of the day and we didn't lose ground. 2. We tested a new window in the hottest part of the house and it appears that there was very little insulation in there and we were getting tons of heat penetration through the wall.... weird. I wish I was there during install b/c the wall heat dropped 15+ degrees around the window so they did something and the window works better now...

Our 3rd step will be to install a mini split in upstairs hallway to take some of the load off.


So we have concrete wins currently but the problem persists but we are on the right path. I also considered the ceiling cassette in each room but I put in the insulation first and I don't want to mess with it anymore...


Quoting myself here.

Mini-split self install was SUCCESSFUL. It's made a shocking difference in our house comfort and ESPECIALLY the upstairs is now the same temp as the rest of the house. 18k (1.5ton) BTU Mr. Cool unit. We are now a 6.5 ton house with 1 zone for the 5 ton (whole house) and the a minisplit in our upstairs hallway with two adjacent bedrooms and a full bath.

I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Super cheap elegant custom cooling/heating solution that completely ameliorated our issue.

I don't think I could be any happier with the outcome. The unit is quiet and super efficient. Sometimes the cooling upstairs is enough for the whole house to keep the big 5ton from cranking up.

I'm still in shock at how effective it is.


We added R60 into the ceiling about 5 years ago and our house is now a thermal resistant monster. Just last night it was 73 inside went down to 55outside for an extended timeframe and we awoke to a 71F house...


Forgot to add cost: Minisplit $1700. Install materials $500 and my time.

R60 from 5 years ago was $3200. Says he installed baffles but didn't have photos and I've never gone to look.
Yeah $15000 burns me when $2500 might about do it. I was always taught construction is 50% materials and 50% labor. I could afford 5000$
talzara
Posts: 4901
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:40 pm

Re: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

Post by talzara »

clutchied wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 12:26 pm Forgot to add cost: Minisplit $1700. Install materials $500 and my time.
ekid wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 3:02 pmYeah $15000 burns me when $2500 might about do it. I was always taught construction is 50% materials and 50% labor. I could afford 5000$
Residential HVAC has some of the highest mark-ups of the skilled trades. Higher than electricians, higher than plumbers, and much higher than car mechanics.

Buying a mini-split in Japan is like buying a refrigerator. The store will arrange for delivery and installation. You can buy a 5.6 kW (19,000 BTU/h) mini-split for ¥179,600 ($1,140) including installation: https://www.biccamera.com/bc/item/12802809

The United States is much richer than Japan, so we should be paying about $2,500. However, we're paying a lot more than that.

To pay reasonable prices for residential HVAC in the United States, you have to avoid the HVAC sales pipeline. You can DIY, get a handyman to install it, or pay an HVAC technician to moonlight. If you get a quote from an HVAC contractor, it will be marked up by 200% or more.
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vnatale
Posts: 3887
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: Montague, MA

Re: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

Post by vnatale »

talzara wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:36 pm
clutchied wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 12:26 pm Forgot to add cost: Minisplit $1700. Install materials $500 and my time.
ekid wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 3:02 pmYeah $15000 burns me when $2500 might about do it. I was always taught construction is 50% materials and 50% labor. I could afford 5000$
Residential HVAC has some of the highest mark-ups of the skilled trades. Higher than electricians, higher than plumbers, and much higher than car mechanics.

Buying a mini-split in Japan is like buying a refrigerator. The store will arrange for delivery and installation. You can buy a 5.6 kW (19,000 BTU/h) mini-split for ¥179,600 ($1,140) including installation: https://www.biccamera.com/bc/item/12802809

The United States is much richer than Japan, so we should be paying about $2,500. However, we're paying a lot more than that.

To pay reasonable prices for residential HVAC in the United States, you have to avoid the HVAC sales pipeline. You can DIY, get a handyman to install it, or pay an HVAC technician to moonlight. If you get a quote from an HVAC contractor, it will be marked up by 200% or more.
I think I had a total of at least 12 different quotes for mini-splits. That told me that they all were looking for business. If there was such a mark-up would one of them get a lot more business by pricing significantly lower than everyone else?

However, part of it could be that my state (Massachusetts) offers quite generous rebates for whole house mini-split systems.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
talzara
Posts: 4901
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:40 pm

Re: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

Post by talzara »

vnatale wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:53 pm I think I had a total of at least 12 different quotes for mini-splits. That told me that they all were looking for business. If there was such a mark-up would one of them get a lot more business by pricing significantly lower than everyone else?

However, part of it could be that my state (Massachusetts) offers quite generous rebates for whole house mini-split systems.
There's a shortage of HVAC technicians in the United States. An HVAC contractor that charged less would be serving the same number of customers at a lower price, so they would make less money.
ekid
Posts: 1014
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: central Indiana

Re: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

Post by ekid »

talzara wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:57 pm
vnatale wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:53 pm I think I had a total of at least 12 different quotes for mini-splits. That told me that they all were looking for business. If there was such a mark-up would one of them get a lot more business by pricing significantly lower than everyone else?

However, part of it could be that my state (Massachusetts) offers quite generous rebates for whole house mini-split systems.
There's a shortage of HVAC technicians in the United States. An HVAC contractor that charged less would be serving the same number of customers at a lower price, so they would make less money.
Indeed. They're not looking for work here, they are not able to take care of the business they have.

Can hardly answer the phone! (in a businesslike way)
Topic Author
sureshoe
Posts: 2173
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:26 pm

Re: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

Post by sureshoe »

ekid wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 3:02 pm Yeah $15000 burns me when $2500 might about do it. I was always taught construction is 50% materials and 50% labor. I could afford 5000$
I had 3 separate quotes, ranging from $15k to $20k. So while there may be cheaper options, this was on the low end of the quotes.

Also bear in mind, this is a 3 zone system, not a single zone, so $2500 is not the price. Also, there is electrical work. When I started this adventure, I was expecting something in the $8-$12k range, so there was sticker shock, but the pricing was consistent.
ekid
Posts: 1014
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: central Indiana

Re: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

Post by ekid »

sureshoe wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 11:38 am
ekid wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 3:02 pm Yeah $15000 burns me when $2500 might about do it. I was always taught construction is 50% materials and 50% labor. I could afford 5000$
I had 3 separate quotes, ranging from $15k to $20k. So while there may be cheaper options, this was on the low end of the quotes.

Also bear in mind, this is a 3 zone system, not a single zone, so $2500 is not the price. Also, there is electrical work. When I started this adventure, I was expecting something in the $8-$12k range, so there was sticker shock, but the pricing was consistent.
You did very well. Can I hire you?! Travel expense covered (within reason) and room and board!
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