Air conditioner heat pump quote.?
Question:Hi, I just had a guy come out for an estimate on my AC, it stopped working a couple weeks ago. It is old, about 20 years old, and he said it needs to be replaced. I know it is a heat pump and there is also a unit in the basement. The house is about 2500 sq ft. The quote seemed really high, about $7300, is that about right? I saw 4.0 units online for about $2000-$3000, but Im not sure if that is what I need or not. What do you guys think?
A/C Maintenance and repair done right and by EPA standards is now very expensive as the freon is to be recovered from the old unit then it has to be taken to a recycle dealer that will take a (say 30 lb. drum) from the technicain give him $6.00 for the freon and the drum then sell him another drum for $60.00 so in reality the tech is having to pay $54.00 to the recovery dealer each time he brings in the cylinder. On top of this He must pay around $4.00 for each pound of new R22 refrigerant he buys (this is wholesale) and He must use new refrigerant in new installation (he cannot use the refrigerant taken from the old unit). He must keep up with the paperwork of how much freon He removes from each unit etc. Along with the cost of silver solder (used in making connections on the copper lines of the new unit) which is around $4.00 (wholesale) per 15" stick. He must have very expensive equiptment for finding leaks, repairing leaks, vacuuming systems etc. etc. This is why the estimate is $7300.00. On the other hand I would call other dealers and get quotes from them, make sure they have the same quality units (most all are close to the same quality anymore) many times there are add ons such as multi speed fans etc. that you will probably never know about (You just want a cool house) and many times the add ons are just more to give problems. I would go with a Higher SEER rating as it will only cost you a coulple of hundred dollars more for a 15 SEER than it would a 13 SEER and you will save enough money in a year to pay the difference. The main thing about all of the units is the installation. If you have friends that have bought new units lately go to them and find out what they think of the people who installed the unit. Where they professional, did they do the recovery as they should did they check the unit out completely when they had completed installation. There are many checks that should be made after the unit is installed such as superheat, air flow, will the heat pump work next winter. etc. If they only come in open the valves into the atmosphere and dump the freon into the air. Then install the unit, turn it on and see if the suction line is cool then you had a bad installation and you have been ripped off no matter what the cost.
When you get the estimate. Ask: Do you recover the freon from the old unit?, If the compressor on the old unit is burn't up do you replace the copper lines from the condenser to the evaporator or do you clean up the lines (best to replace although if cleaned correctly would be ok). When finished with the installation How long do you hold vacuum on evacuated systems to check for leaks. Do you check superheat after system has equalized? Do you check for proper air flow throughout the house and if possible do you throttle the registers. If they answer all questions as they should would then look at lowest bid. But would take at least 5 to 6 bids before making selection. THEN WATCH THE INSTALLATION AND MAKE SURE IT IS DONE AS SPECIFIED. It is federal law that the old unit R22 freon should be recovered but many times it is not. I do not know what area you live in but believe a 4 ton unit in most areas of TN where I live, this includes the condenser (outdoor unit) and evaporator (indoor unit with aux. heaters and multispeed blower) 15 SEER, GOODMAN Mfg. with up to 30 feet of lineset. Would probably run in the range of $4500.00-$5,000.00 done correctly. Some Mfg. unit itself would be higher but if installed correctly I believe GOODMAN or AMANA either would be satisfactory.
Yes, I agree it's HIGH as I have had HVAC contractors on two different houses do major HVAC jobs and neither has approached $7,300. The first was a rambler where we replaced the heat pump with Trane gas furnace, Trane outside AC, special gas water heater that had fan on top to blow exhaust horizontally, top of line Honey electronic air cleaner and programmable thermostat and top of the line Aprilaire humidifier. Our kids were young and we thought we would stay there forever but maybe 5 years later we moved into a large high ceiling colonial with monster master bedroom on upper level behind double car garage. We paid a lot so my wife and neighbors complained why builder did not put in 2 zone HVAC in these large homes. Long story short, we had a large Trane top-of-line heat pump lying on its back in one of our two attics and the accompanying AC air handler? <= maybe wrong term for outside unit with top of the line Honeywell programmable thermostat.
On neither HVAC upgrade did the total price reach $7,300 and we live in an expensive Metripolitan area but there are about 3 sources that rate service repair contractors for quality and price. Where you live, they should at least have ANGIE's LIST where consumers rate contractors doing work in their home. I had a free charter Membership the first year when we remodeled our large kitchen with granite countertops and stainless fancy double bowl sink,.German faucet and stainless appliances and Angies List did help me select several sources to obtain competiive quotes (should at least get 3 in writing). Note that joining Angie's might cost you $50 but the savings in finding good technicians at a reasonable price should be well worth it!
Best of Luck!
I do heating and air condition service. Depending on where you live, sounds like a 3-ton unit would be perfect for your house. I would expect to pay no more than $4,000. Unless there is something very unusual that needs to be done. About $5,500 if they are changing out your furnace too. I would shop around if I where you. Don't let the next guy know what your previous bids are don't go with the lowest bidder.
More Related Questions & Answers...