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HVAC system recommendations


John Dirks Jr
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My house is a brick veneer rancher with 1200 sq ft on the ground floor and a full basement. The HVAC equipment in my house is working fine but very old.

I want to start looking around at for a replacement furnace and central AC unit so that when the time comes I'll be ready to pounce. I'll probably install the stuff myself, or at least do as much of the work as I can.

I have a natural gas fired furnace so that will be the fuel source for the new furnace. Can any of you give me some recommendations on BTU and tonnage ratings for furnace and ac units? What are some good brand names to focus on and where does the Harry home owner go to get the stuff? Home Depot? What should I expect to spend for the units?

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John,

I would check around and find out who is the best HVAC contractors in the area. See what brands they use. Talk to them. They can tell you what works the best and how you should size it for your area.

Find the HVAC supply houses in your area, see what they carry. Some may sell to you. Most of them require you to have a license before they will sell to you.

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Look for a wholesale distributor. We have one about 30 miles north of Indianapolis that sales to the general public. As far as the sizing goes, unless your present equipment was not sized correctly you shouldn't go wrong with duplicating what you already have. If you have an old low efficiency, you may be able to downsize slightly if you go with a higher efficiency furnace.

As far as the a/c goes, resist the urge to go large thinking that it will cool better. A unit too large will reduce the temperature to satisfy the thermostat fairly quickly and shut off (short cycle). This reduces the amount of moisture laden air that flows across the evaporator coil and will not remove the humidity from the home that is needed to make it feel comfortable. You can step up the evaporator coil one size to further improve the efficiency of the system, but you can not step it down ( a 2 ton coil can be used on a 1-1/2 ton condensor, but a 1-1/2 ton coil can not be used with a 2 ton condensor).

Installation is fairly simple provided that you have the equipment and ability to either braze or silver solder (make sure that you keep the valves cool). DO NOT try to use soft solder, you will blow the lines off. The condensing unit comes charged with enough freon for a 25' line set. You can buy a cheap set of guages and rent a vacuum pump.

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John,

I just went through this a few weeks ago. I went with Trane. Can't really go wrong with Trane, Carrier or Lennox. Lennox is more expensive, at least around me.

The new Buzz Phrase is:"The Higher the SEER Number the lower the utility bills." That is true however, with the cost of a higher SEER it probably won't pay for itself like a lot of people claim it does. Unless of course the utility companies quadruple their rates. Which is possible also. I would keep that in mind.

I ended up going with a 15 SEER configuration, and if I went 16 SEER it would have been at least $800 more, and I bought my equipment wholesale.

Frank

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Originally posted by John Dirks Jr

Thanks for the help everyone. I am trying to imagine what my energy savings might be with new equipment. My gas furnace is the original and it's 40+ years old. The AC unit is about 30+ years old. Both still work fine but I'm sure they're not the most efficient ones in town.

Based on my own experience; when I replaced my old system in my old home I had about a 50% savings in my gas and electric bills. The most noticeable was the electric savings. Our summer cooling cost would average around $225 before the replacement and after they dropped down to about $125 or less. The gas bill dropped about 40% and that was with an 85% efficient unit.

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When I see old HVAC equipment I tell people that their going to spend the money in one of two ways: Either keep the old equipment and pay the utility company or pay a contractor for new equipment.

When a realtor or home owner says “well it still worksâ€

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