Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 3/20/2006 8:10:53 PM EDT
My central AC is old (25+ years!) and leaks some coolant (has to be recharged yearly). It must be pretty inefficient since my power bills are sky-high in the summer. I also have a very cramped mechanical closet so my AC tech wants to put one of the old SEER 10 units in there rather than a newer SEER 13 unit because the SEER 13 units are taller and may not fit. Should I go ahead and put in the SEER 10 unit? I also have the option of just waiting for the old AC to totally break down and then look for a more expensive (smaller) SEER 13 unit, or replace the AC and furnace together (the furnace is also old, inefficient, but works fine and it's a Carrier).

I think this will be a Goodman unit but I am not positive. Should be less than $2500 installed (includes new outdoor unit as well as the indoor coil). Again, I have a tight mechanical closet (dingbat who owned the house before me built wood-covered walls all around the AC/furnace).

GunLvr
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:40:34 PM EDT
At the risk of exposing my redneck side, I'd like to call your attention to the virtues of installing several window units instead:

• Being able to cool only the rooms you are using is just so much more energy-efficient than cooling your entire house. Some electric utilities offer rebates on the more efficient models, which can rival the EERs of central units.
• Unlike most central systems, window units have the ability to draw in outside air - better for your health than just constantly recirculating indoor air.
• The prices of window units have dropped drastically over the past few years (even more so when the big-box hardware chains close out their inventory at the end of the season).
• If a window unit ever crashes, you're only out of cooling for that room - not the entire house.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:45:35 PM EDT
Change them out, and the 10 SEER units are fine, and actually are less complex then the 13 seer units.

I am a master HVAC guy with 20 years in the trades. I have a pair of Goodman 10 seer units I installed in my own house.

I'd change out the furnace too, be a shame if it died in 2 years and you'll end up spending more.

Ops
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:51:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/20/2006 8:53:30 PM EDT by WildBoar]
Avoid Goodman aka Junkitrol I have had nothing but trouble with their units.

ETA I am not an AC person, just going by the experience I had.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:55:26 PM EDT
you'd be amazed at the efficiency of modern AC units. just buying any new one off the shelf will pay for itself quickly in comparison to your old system
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 9:15:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ops:
Change them out, and the 10 SEER units are fine, and actually are less complex then the 13 seer units.

I am a master HVAC guy with 20 years in the trades. I have a pair of Goodman 10 seer units I installed in my own house.

I'd change out the furnace too, be a shame if it died in 2 years and you'll end up spending more.

Ops



+1 As a HVAC business owner and 10 years in the trade I can say it's time. $2500 seems a bit steep IMHO but without looking at the job I don't know what you are up against.

The best advice I can give you is to make sure you have the new A/C installed with a filter line dryer. It could make the difference between 5 years and 25 years of longevity. I kid you not.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 8:18:23 AM EDT
Not to hijack the thread, but I'm in a similar situation. HVAC central air unit is old (25+ year old condo) and the service guy (who comes out 2x per year to do preventive and regular maint) says it's almost time.

Is there a particular brand/make that isn't so LOUD? Mine is seriously loud and it is a real issue for when I'm in the living room (next to the utility room) watching a movie.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 8:54:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/21/2006 8:56:10 AM EDT by GunLvrPHD]

Originally Posted By ZW17:
+1 As a HVAC business owner and 10 years in the trade I can say it's time. $2500 seems a bit steep IMHO but without looking at the job I don't know what you are up against.

The best advice I can give you is to make sure you have the new A/C installed with a filter line dryer. It could make the difference between 5 years and 25 years of longevity. I kid you not.



Thanks to everyone for the advice. I forgot to mention that this is for a 3-ton unit. The old one is a "Magic Chef" brand (apparently made by Maytag? at one point).

The tech did say that the cost should be "less than $2500". I think the cost for the AC + furnace was "less than $4500" (would include install of a gas high-efficiency furance and running the necessary PVC pipes to the outside--a bit of a job given the way my basement is set up). I just cannot quite afford to do both right now, but I'll think about it. I know I should shop around but I have been dealing with this guy for years now and have found him to be pretty good (plus he shows up when he says he'll be there, something many trades don't do).

BTW the furnace does kick off the Carbon Monoxide meter the first couple of cycles it runs in the Fall. Alarm will beep for a few minutes then go off, then we won't hear it until the following year. The alarm is about 2 feet from the front of the furnace.

I cannot see going with window units. My house had those metal casement window units and I have never seen a window unit which fits them right (around here people with window units end up cutting a hole in their wall). I also really need the humidity control that a central unit provides, especially to keep my basement moisture-free. (I need running AC + dehumidifier to keep dampness out of the basement)

GunLvr
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 11:29:13 AM EDT
#1 don't go with window shakers, central system will use waay less electricty. #2 go with the 85% furnance if you can, you can avoid the pvc pipe setup. #3 look for a scroll compressor in your outdoor unit. They are very tough and use less electricty. + 1 on the filter drier installed in your refrigerant lines, worth every penny. As for the noise issue that someone brought up, the new units are really quiet and use less power than older units.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 11:40:36 AM EDT
A 25 year old system is pretty old, you've gotten your money's worth out of it. I would replace it. There is also something else no one had mentioned, if you do it this year, you get some tax relief for doing it. Check out your 1040 book and it is in there in the changes for 2006.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 11:52:15 AM EDT
Spent 10 years in that business. What ever you decide to upgrade with it will be more efficient than what you are running right now no matter if you go 10 or 13 seer. If you are going to be there less than 5 years maybe a little more than that don't get suckered into the high efficiency stuff, just get construction grade and be done with it. If you like carrier get them to qoute you bryant, its the same stuff just different name and usualy cheaper. If you can make another summer I would try to and then get it replaced in the winter when the a/c business is slow. You will get a better price. And don't be affriad to get several qoutes. Where I used to work we were a carrier dealer but we also did a lot of Rheem and Ruud and they are not that bad either.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 12:00:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:
Is there a particular brand/make that isn't so LOUD? Mine is seriously loud and it is a real issue for when I'm in the living room (next to the utility room) watching a movie.



I just had a Payne variable speed installed and I cant tell if its on sometimes. Its that quiet. I have to hold my hand to the vent to make sure air is comming out even though the house is cool, being used to an old loud Goodman was hard to get used to.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 12:07:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/21/2006 12:09:50 PM EDT by echap]
EPACT 2005 provides for $150 Tax Credit on Furnaces that are not less that 95% AFUE, an extra $50 Tax Credit is allowed if the furnace blower is variable speed and uses no more than 2% of the total energy used, which the DC multi-speed blowers of today will meet. This is for systems that are put into service in 2006 or 2007.

It is also important to remember that a Tax credit is different than a deduction in the fact that it reduces your taxes due by that amount. i.e. if you owe $200 to the feds, with a system like this installed, you would not owe the feds.

Echap
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 12:24:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/21/2006 12:31:34 PM EDT by callgood]

Originally Posted By WildBoar:
Avoid Goodman aka Junkitrol I have had nothing but trouble with their units.

ETA I am not an AC person, just going by the experience I had.



+1 What he said......Also Napoleon, etc.

GunLvrPHD, you are in the exact situation I was in 2 years ago. One of my old '79 units crapped out and was going to cost 300 bucks to repair. Replaced it with a Carrier 12 Seer. Next year #2 died. Repeated the operation, and was able to downsize the second (larger) unit. My guy said I could go 2.5 ton but I'd just be wasting money.

I am saving BIG bucks. My elec. usage is down on average 30%. Only thing I would have done differently is to spring afor programable thermostats. Stay away from contractor brands. Buy once, cry once. Then laugh all the way to the bank.

ETA: it's a lot quieter than my old units- The AC cycle seems to be quieter than the heat cycle, but are both very quiet. My neighbor has an older Trane (one big unit) and his, 35-40 yards away is louder than my two.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 12:26:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:

Is there a particular brand/make that isn't so LOUD? Mine is seriously loud and it is a real issue for when I'm in the living room (next to the utility room) watching a movie.




Just about any unit with a scroll compressor will be much quieter.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 12:50:51 PM EDT
If you are hearing noise from the inside unit a scroll will not have much effect on that.

Replacing a 25 year old unit will pay back very quickly.

Link Posted: 3/22/2006 5:03:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By echap:
EPACT 2005 provides for $150 Tax Credit on Furnaces that are not less that 95% AFUE, an extra $50 Tax Credit is allowed if the furnace blower is variable speed and uses no more than 2% of the total energy used, which the DC multi-speed blowers of today will meet. This is for systems that are put into service in 2006 or 2007.

It is also important to remember that a Tax credit is different than a deduction in the fact that it reduces your taxes due by that amount. i.e. if you owe $200 to the feds, with a system like this installed, you would not owe the feds.

Echap



It looks like the tax credit won't help me much. You need to get something like a 13-15 SEER AC or a 95 percent furnance to get it, and it's only $150-200 (on a system which will be close to $5000 if I got both in high efficiency models).

Also whenever there are these sorts of tax credits the actual effect is to raise the price of the credited models by the amount of the tax credit. Which means no savings at all.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 5:36:44 AM EDT
Wild B. I've installed Goodman aka Janitrol for 15 years without any problems at all. The installation is the main factor in the number of problems you have in the future. Most folks that have a Janitrol don't want to pay for the extra cost of filter driers, start kits, or time delays. Janitrol is no better or worse than any other brand. Most units have basically the same parts,compressor,fan motor,contactor,coil.I'm sure others will disagree,but I'm only saying I think the make an acceptable unit.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 11:52:10 AM EDT
I am sure the installation is the main factore in any unit. The problems I had were where the relay didnt kick the fan back on when it was supposed to. Both units, same problem. I am glad the one was still under warranty when it happened, but it was still a pain in the neck.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 4:29:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/22/2006 5:37:09 PM EDT by aerod1]
I have been in the business since 1966. I have been installing Goodman / Janitrol for about twenty years. I have found they are no better or worse than any other unit. The key is the installation. If the installer cuts corners, you will have problems with any unit.
I have also installed and/or serviced all the other "major" brands. As mentioned before be sure driers are installed..... both liquid line and a suction line filter - drier. Make sure the tech "properly" evacuates (deep vacuum) the system. I recommend pulling a deep vacuum and breaking the vacuum back with nitrogen to one atmosphere three times. The last vacuum should be pressurized with refrigerant instead of nitrogen.
Also insure the tech "properly" charges the system. When changing to a high efficiency unit, the copper lines sometimes need to be increased in size.
MAKE SURE THE INSTALLER IS LICENSED!!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 5:02:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By aerod1:
I have been in the business since 1966. I have been installing Goodman / Janitrol for about twenty years. I have found they are no better or worse than any other unit. The key is the installation. If the installer cuts corners, you will have problems with any unit.
I have also installed and/or serviced all the other "major" brands. As mentioned before be sure driers are installed..... both liquid line and a suction line filter - drier. Make sure the tech "properly" evacuates (deep vacuum) the system. I recommend pulling a deep vacuum and breaking the vacuum back with nitrogen to one atmosphere three times. The last vacuum should be pressurized with refrigerant instead of nitrogen.
Also insure the tech "properly" charges the system. When changing to a high efficiency unit, the copper lines sometimes need to be increased in size.
MAKE SURE THE INSTALLER IS LICENSED!!



Thanks for the advice! The installer is licensed and he said he will use nitrogen to both purge and test the lines. I know my old system is leaking some and we need to make sure that the problem isn't in the lines (chances are good the leak is in the coil). Supposedly the Goodman unit has a line filter drier but I will check to see if they are on both lines.

GunLvr

Top Top