Author Topic: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.  (Read 16912 times)

tooqk4u22

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Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« on: December 13, 2012, 07:24:54 AM »
Murphy's law
- of course heatr breaks in December
- DW and I were looking at the accounts, one of which is a "home repair" account that had a pretty good balance and I said I don't count that in our net worth.  She said, you should because if needed we could use it for other things if we had to.   Within minutes of saying this the heater broke. 

Good news is that when I bought the house last year I set aside money to replace the heater because it was 25 years old - nice to be a planner.

No sense having a repair guy come out to fix because that will be at least $300, not to mention something had to be fixed last year that would have cost $450 in total but because the seller provided a home warranty it cost us $75  - anyway it is starting to seem recurring so might as well replace it.

First I might replace the thermostat (its programmable but old, and DW says it has been acting up), I already tried replacing the batteries but nothing. 

Anyway, I think the best way to go would be the high efficiency route.  The questions I have are:

- what brand to go with.
- what do you think the cost is (its december so negotiating leverage is pretty much out the window)
- should i do the A/C at the same time because it is 15+ years old and there may be labor savings.
- any tax credits available.

thoghts/comments

thanks

shadowmoss

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2012, 07:38:12 AM »
What are your general temperatures?  I am partial to heat pumps but I live(d) in the Nashville, TN area and so the heat pump worked well.  Not too cold mostly and the air conditioning part worked well in the summer.  Further north the savings aren't so great with them from what I hear.  Get several estimates of different technologies is the best I've got other than that.

Blackbomber

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2012, 07:44:27 AM »
MURPHY SUCKS!!!

I'm not too knowledgeable in these things, but I think those who are would benefit from more info, such as type of heat source, fuel, delivery, square footage, age of home, etc.

As far as AC goes, if you use it regularly, updating will pay off eventually, as there are more efficient options. From the fact that you specify AC and heat in the same job, I'm presuming you have forced hot air. If you are using oil, and natural gas is available, switching would be something I would do. Also, consider some of the dual fuel furnaces, that can burn wood (and some will do wood and/or pellets) and oil or gas/LPG. That way you can offset some of your heating with wood, but still have the convenience of a thermostat controlled central heat source. If my newly purchased home didn't already have a 5 year old Williams oil furnace, I'd certainly do this myself.

Another Reader

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2012, 07:55:48 AM »
Gas or electric?

I just went through the shopping process for a gas furnace, but was able to fix mine.  A high efficiency, multi-stage gas furnace makes the most sense in cold climates.  The payback period is much shorter.  Supposedly the heat is more even.  The reviews seemed to favor Trane gas furnaces and a couple of other name brands. 

Heat pumps can replace both units in mild climates. 

The furnace companies offered a discount to replace my 20 year-old A/C unit at the same time.  The SEER on the current models is much higher than 15 to 20 years ago.  I don't use the A/C that much, so I had pretty much decided not to do that.  I was debating the furnace model when mine was repaired.  The problem was the fan limitor switch, which seems to be a common and very fixable problem.

Utility rebates vary by state.  We have a small rebate for high efficiency furnaces in California, if I recall.  Check your utility company's website.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2012, 08:01:38 AM »
Type - Gas - forced air
House - 60 YO, two story, approximately 1800 sf
A/C - use it but not all the time so not sure the payback would be great but if it means $1000 in extra labor next year or later then I was think it would makes sense to do it now.


I also thought about the ductless mini-split units that are out there to better control the temperatures upstairs vs. down (not as much of an issue since adding insulation to the attic but still a big gap) and while the individual units may not be as efficient per the numbers I was thinking that overall efficiency might be better because you are only heating/cooling rooms that you are in - this especially true for the A/C because we really only need it on those hot humid nights so why cool the whole house.  Of course this assume that we will be disciplined enough to turn it off/down when we leave the room.  Although it might hurt resale because people won't understand it.  Also not sure if HVAC companies have much experience with them.


Norman Johnson

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2012, 08:16:52 AM »
Well, you could always go with a window unit for the rooms you want cooling in and put fans in all the rest. It really depends on the climate though. Where I live the winters are very cold and the summers are usually hot and humid. If you are looking at resale in my area, you want to put in something good for both.

My house is about the same age, but it is a story and a half and we have all sorts of problems with the temperature upstairs, even with brand new insulation. My husband does HVAC and wants to put in a ductless split up there, but we were trying to figure out how to get away without doing it. A good company should have some experience with those units.

I would think tax credits would depend on where you live.

Are you looking at gas or electric? Electric are really simple and cheap, but if your panel can't handle it, it can cost a lot to get that upgraded. As for what brand in gas furnaces, my husband tells me Lennox tend to be more of a pain to fix because they require special tools and training, so you generally have to go with a Lennox dealer to get them fixed.

If you have the time, get multiple quotes, and standard sales tactics apply. I find buying a furnace is a lot like buying a car... it's expensive and you don't do it often, so you get the hire pressure sales or bullshit about "comfort" along with brochures with smiling families and graphs that have no legends showing you effectively nothing.

Blackbomber

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2012, 08:17:35 AM »
I'm a big fan of space heating. I had my 330 gal oil tank filled last month, and haven't touched it (live in CT). I'm heating the bulk of my 2400sq/ft split level with an LPG ventless fake log stove in my living room. On the level below, I have my 20' x 20' family room, the laundry room, a half bath, and my garage. I heat that living space with the fireplace in the family room. If I'm not going to be there long, I'll get it warmed up with an 8000BTU radiant kerosene heater (or two) and let the open fire maintain the temp. The stove costs about $60/month (although we aren't really in winter yet), which should be a lot cheaper than my oil furnace, although I can't really quantify that, since I moved in October.

Norman Johnson

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2012, 08:20:22 AM »
I would also like to say DON'T PANIC. Go and buy yourself some electric heaters if you need to just to keep the pipes from freezing. Your house won't freeze overnight. I can't tell you the number of calls my husband gets at 3 am where people are convinced they will die by 7 am if they don't get him to come out!

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2012, 08:26:14 AM »
I would also like to say DON'T PANIC. Go and buy yourself some electric heaters if you need to just to keep the pipes from freezing. Your house won't freeze overnight. I can't tell you the number of calls my husband gets at 3 am where people are convinced they will die by 7 am if they don't get him to come out!

You're right, we are Not panicking - we have two of those oil filled radiator type electric heaters - honestly they are f'in awesome for $30 years ago, but not at all efficient and not big enough to heat the house but good so far as a backup plan.

But still need to figure out and get through all the info in short order.


James

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2012, 08:48:54 AM »
I would probably start by getting estimates from a few HVAC companies in your area.  Ask friends and family in the area for recommendations.  Your negotiating power is in choosing between companies, not in choosing the timing at this point.  Get their recommendations for your house based on their knowledge of your house and current setup, and then compare that with what you read in your research and what you hear from other companies.  Ask each of them about the A/C and other questions.

If you bring that information back here I think we can offer a much better idea of whether we think they are reasonable in what they are recommending, and whether the costs seems appropriate.

Another Reader

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 08:52:41 AM »
I found this website to be helpful.

http://www.hvac-for-beginners.com/furnace.html

This page has manufacturer ratings from the above site.

http://www.hvac-for-beginners.com/furnace-ratings.html

This page has some troubleshooting help.

http://www.hvac-for-beginners.com/furnace-troubleshooting.html

This page has the details on limit switch issues, which are very common and this was my problem.

http://www.hvac-for-beginners.com/limit-control-replacement.html

I'm interested in how this turns out and if you end up replacing your furnace, what you select.  Please let us know.

velocistar237

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2012, 08:57:27 AM »
We just replaced our furnace. It was installed wrong and was threatening to rust through between the combustion and fan chambers. It was also 4x over-sized and had no place for a filter.

I looked into ductless mini-splits, but our walls are only insulated to about R-13, so we would have needed supplemental ventilation to get the conditioned air from the air handler into other rooms. It also isn't the standard solution, so we worried about resale. In the end, we went with a new furnace. It ended up costing us $5K, being in a high-cost area and wanting a competently done installation.

We thought about putting in A/C at the same time, but I found out that even the most quiet A/C compressor would violate the city's noise ordinance. We have only 20 feet between us and our neighbor, and I want to be a good neighbor. I decided to stick with window units, which are more efficient than central air because they're for smaller spaces and also because they're louder so you turn them off more often.

If I ever live in a well-insulated house, I'd like to have just one or two mini-splits for heating and cooling. Hopefully, the multi-head and ducted versions will catch up with the single-head versions in efficiency.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2012, 09:37:34 AM »
Thanks for the replies.

Another Reader - good links, thanks.  Some of the troubleshooting that is in there is beyond my skill - although in the OP I forgot that it broke over the summer and I opened it up and fixed it on my own (further proof its time to replace).

Sounds like a lot of people were interested in the mini-split systems but the concerns are the same - not proven,widely accepted.  On the surface they seem to make a lot of sense, I wish there was more experience/history with these, but that's the problem.

Another Reader

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2012, 09:51:09 AM »
I believe you mentioned in another thread you are in New Jersey.  With that climate, I would probably opt for the 95/96 percent efficient furnace with the multi-speed blower.  Payback for the higher efficiency furnace here was around 15 years, but should be much shorter in your climate.  I can't locate the bid right now, but for a 2,500 sf ranch house in a mild California climate, I think it came in around $4,000.  The 80 percent efficient single speed blower furnace was around $2,600.  Both prices were for Trane products and included installation and the $250 City permit fee.  Multi-stage furnaces are apparently not common here.

Furnaces are said to have a life of around 20 years.  Mine is 23, and I'm hoping to squeeze another couple of years out of it.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2012, 10:28:34 AM »
I believe you mentioned in another thread you are in New Jersey.  With that climate, I would probably opt for the 95/96 percent efficient furnace with the multi-speed blower.  Payback for the higher efficiency furnace here was around 15 years, but should be much shorter in your climate.  I can't locate the bid right now, but for a 2,500 sf ranch house in a mild California climate, I think it came in around $4,000.  The 80 percent efficient single speed blower furnace was around $2,600.  Both prices were for Trane products and included installation and the $250 City permit fee.  Multi-stage furnaces are apparently not common here.

Furnaces are said to have a life of around 20 years.  Mine is 23, and I'm hoping to squeeze another couple of years out of it.

That is right - I am in NJ.  I do want to go with a HE.  DW just had one estimate done and it was $3800 for a 85% by Bryant they told her that was considered HE - not sure I will be going in this direction if that can't even give a straight up quote.  Also said that if we didn't want to do the AC right now that we could replace the evaporator coil now and the AC unit later so - this would ONLY be an extra $1200 - you are taking out the heater anyway and there are no mechanical parts in an evaporator coil the cost of which is probably only $300 or so - so clearly trying to save me money on the whole thing.

Apparently already experiencing the BS, except I think this is far worse than buying a car.   

If you have the time, get multiple quotes, and standard sales tactics apply. I find buying a furnace is a lot like buying a car... it's expensive and you don't do it often, so you get the hire pressure sales or bullshit about "comfort" along with brochures with smiling families and graphs that have no legends showing you effectively nothing.

Another Reader

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2012, 10:49:35 AM »
http://www.trane.com/Residential/products/Gas-Furnaces

The Trane models, as an example of what's available.  The basic 80 percent efficient model is the XB 80.  That was $2,600 installed.  If you have 1,800 sf in two stories, your tonnage/BTU's should be in the low-midrange, although you are in a colder climate.  I think I was quoted on 3.5 tons and 85,000/100,000 BTU's (depends on efficiency), but I'm not 100 percent sure and I can't dig up the quote right now.  I will hunt it up this afternoon and fill in the rest of the info.

The high efficiency furnaces are more expensive to install because they need to be vented separately through plastic piping.  The efficiency means the combustion vapors condense after leaving the furnace box and will rust out standard sheet metal venting.  That may be more expensive on a two-story house.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2012, 11:14:31 AM »
I don't think the thermostat itself is the issue. Do you have any reason to believe the thermostat itself broke- Is it digital and then it the display went out? If it did, it might be worth replacing. I replaced mine, just unscrew the back and take a picture of the wiring configuration with your camera before completely removing it. Then go buy a thermostat that has the same hookups. You could also try flipping your circuit breakers for whatever the A/C, heat uses and see if that works.

AlexK

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2012, 11:26:06 AM »
If your heat exchanger is rusted through you definitely need a need furnace. If not you can probably fix it.

Mine "broke" back in November but it turned out the batteries in the thermostat needed replacing. It was not obvious because the display worked fine but it didn't have enough power to actually close the relay contacts to turn on the furnace.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2012, 11:56:38 AM »
If your heat exchanger is rusted through you definitely need a need furnace. If not you can probably fix it.

Mine "broke" back in November but it turned out the batteries in the thermostat needed replacing. It was not obvious because the display worked fine but it didn't have enough power to actually close the relay contacts to turn on the furnace.

When it boils down to it the heat exchanger is really the only thing that is not fixable....

The tech that came out this morning told DW that it was the circuit board in heater and would be $900 - no way to tell if it is BS or price is right but even if it is fixable I think it is time to just replace it - like I said this is the third issue in a little more than a year.


tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2012, 12:00:06 PM »
So if I am set on replacing it, now I need to figure out:

- if I do the whole system
- whether or not the a high efficiency furnance justifies the increased cost (which seem to be pretty high) based on my usage it is like a 15-20 year pay back.

PJ

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2012, 12:33:58 PM »
Hey, just wanted to say that in my experience, the companies that do installation are usually pretty well versed in any gov't rebates that are going on, and with the end of the year approaching, you might find this is a good time to get this done just in time to qualify for one.  If so, that will affect your payback period.

Norman Johnson

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2012, 01:23:38 PM »
$900 wouldn't be more than double the quotes I hear my husband giving over the phone and could be more like just a couple hundred dollars more. So it could be a bit high or it could be that your furnace's board is a PITA to get to requiring more labour or it's an old part and therefore harder to find and more expensive.

Where I live you have to get a HE furnace. You can't buy mid's anymore.

velocistar237

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2012, 02:24:19 PM »
Sounds like a lot of people were interested in the mini-split systems but the concerns are the same - not proven,widely accepted.  On the surface they seem to make a lot of sense, I wish there was more experience/history with these, but that's the problem.

I wouldn't say "not proven," considering their long-term and widespread adoption in some Asian countries, but you're right about them not being widely accepted in the US. Their popularity is rapidly growing, though.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2012, 02:37:14 PM »
$900 wouldn't be more than double the quotes I hear my husband giving over the phone and could be more like just a couple hundred dollars more. So it could be a bit high or it could be that your furnace's board is a PITA to get to requiring more labour or it's an old part and therefore harder to find and more expensive.

Where I live you have to get a HE furnace. You can't buy mid's anymore.

Thanks, at 25 years old that is probably the issue for the cost.  And if I could only by an HE furnace that would make the decision easier and probably make it cheaper too - oh well.  I think the minimum allowed here is 80%


Sounds like a lot of people were interested in the mini-split systems but the concerns are the same - not proven,widely accepted.  On the surface they seem to make a lot of sense, I wish there was more experience/history with these, but that's the problem.

I wouldn't say "not proven," considering their long-term and widespread adoption in some Asian countries, but you're right about them not being widely accepted in the US. Their popularity is rapidly growing, though.

Your right - I guess what I meant was not proven experience here.  Too bad...I really like the idea of being able to heat or cool only the room I am in....not only that but there is no energy lost to duct work transfer.  How can these not be more efficient (overall, not per factory specs) if used appropriately.

Another Reader

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2012, 02:39:07 PM »
New Jersey offers a $400 rebate to customers of the listed gas companies for high efficiency gas furnaces.  There's a list of eligible units on the site as well. 

http://www.njcleanenergy.com/residential/programs/warmadvantage/furnaces-and-boilers

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2012, 03:01:57 PM »
New Jersey offers a $400 rebate to customers of the listed gas companies for high efficiency gas furnaces.  There's a list of eligible units on the site as well. 

http://www.njcleanenergy.com/residential/programs/warmadvantage/furnaces-and-boilers

Thanks, hadn't gotten that far....not as good as a couple of year ago but it is better than nothing.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2012, 06:19:43 PM »
So another HVAC company came out and gave an estimate which basically was an energy star program in NJ where you get $4-5k rebate and 0% financing for 10 years but you need to pretty much improve everything (97% Carrier  HE heater, Carrier 16, 17, or 21 SEER ac and evaporator coil, HE water heater). Nevermind that I really don't need a water heater.

After the $4k rebate it would ONLY be $13.9k (16 SEER), $15.5k (17 SEER), or $16.8k (21 SEER).

The rebate and financing is legit per NJ sites and the firm is reputable but known for being a bit high, but they do provide exellent service and are far more professional than other local firms, but in this case this seems rediculously high. I am ok with paying a little more for better service but not this much.
 
For all of this I would have thought it would have ranged from $10k to $13k.

Why is this so difficult - oh because there really is no way to compare. If anybody has any numbers let me know.



Another Reader

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2012, 07:09:22 PM »
We have a similar program in California.  Every residential HVAC contractor wants to get on that gravy train.  Here they want to add solar and charge $35k.  "But you get a tax credit and a huge rebate AND we have financing..."

I haven't used used Angie's List myself, but that might be a place to start if you can't get a referral from someone you know.  I look at Yelp to weed out the really bad candidates when I don't know who to call.  Although I had a couple of people in mind when I started dialing, I did think the two Trane people I talked to were a little better than the others.  I found I had more "effective" conversations once I understood the options and could discuss them intelligently.

If you like the more expensive contractor, why not hire them to install the furnace that you were thinking about - the lower cost basic model?  If the payback period is 15 to 20 years for the HE model, why bother?

velocistar237

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2012, 06:26:11 AM »
That sounds pretty expensive to me. Our cost was $5K for a 96% Carrier furnace and an extra $3K for a 2 ton A/C compressor and evaporator coil, all by a very competent installer. The rebate on the furnace was about $900.

There are some online calculators that let you compare HVAC options, so you'd know whether an extra 2-3% or 1-2 SEER change in efficiency is worth the cost. Try this one: http://www.hvacopcost.com/

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2012, 06:45:01 AM »
That sounds pretty expensive to me. Our cost was $5K for a 96% Carrier furnace and an extra $3K for a 2 ton A/C compressor and evaporator coil, all by a very competent installer. The rebate on the furnace was about $900.

There are some online calculators that let you compare HVAC options, so you'd know whether an extra 2-3% or 1-2 SEER change in efficiency is worth the cost. Try this one: http://www.hvacopcost.com/

That is what I was figuring - $8k-10k for new heater, A/C, coil.  So far I have three companies that have only given a straight quote on an 80% heater, only the one above provided me a quote on the high efficiency above and the other two wouldn't provide hard quotes.

This is far worse than car sales, this is exactly why I do all the home repairs myself - problem is that I can't do this myself.

Another Reader

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2012, 07:12:25 AM »
In the high cost Silicon Valley:

Trane XR 80 80% 100,000 BTU's was $2,593 + $295 permit

Trane XV 95 96% 85,000 BTU's was $4,557 + $295 permit

The high efficiency unit required separate plastic ducting, which was included.  Tax was also included.

The HVAC op cost calculator was very misleading for my area.  After verifying all the inputs, it thinks I spend around $2,100 for operating the heater.  My cost is closer to $800 or $900 a year.  The HE unit, using San Diego costs (much closer to the real costs) would save $139 a year.  The unit's payback would be longer than its life.

The increase in market value is bogus.  Nobody pays more for an HE furnace and A/C unit.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2012, 07:47:12 AM »
In the high cost Silicon Valley:

Trane XR 80 80% 100,000 BTU's was $2,593 + $295 permit

Trane XV 95 96% 85,000 BTU's was $4,557 + $295 permit

The high efficiency unit required separate plastic ducting, which was included.  Tax was also included.

The HVAC op cost calculator was very misleading for my area.  After verifying all the inputs, it thinks I spend around $2,100 for operating the heater.  My cost is closer to $800 or $900 a year.  The HE unit, using San Diego costs (much closer to the real costs) would save $139 a year.  The unit's payback would be longer than its life.

The increase in market value is bogus.  Nobody pays more for an HE furnace and A/C unit.

Those are amazing prices - that won't happen in NJ but the prices above are ridiculous. 

Our gas/electric averages about $200/month for the year so I said to the guy there is no way this will save me $100/month - if we used the heat and ac like most people then maybe but we don't.  Also agree with the resale.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2012, 07:53:38 AM »
So another HVAC company came out and gave an estimate which basically was an energy star program in NJ where you get $4-5k rebate and 0% financing for 10 years but you need to pretty much improve everything (97% Carrier  HE heater, Carrier 16, 17, or 21 SEER ac and evaporator coil, HE water heater). Nevermind that I really don't need a water heater.

After the $4k rebate it would ONLY be $13.9k (16 SEER), $15.5k (17 SEER), or $16.8k (21 SEER).

The rebate and financing is legit per NJ sites and the firm is reputable but known for being a bit high, but they do provide exellent service and are far more professional than other local firms, but in this case this seems rediculously high. I am ok with paying a little more for better service but not this much.
 
For all of this I would have thought it would have ranged from $10k to $13k.

Why is this so difficult - oh because there really is no way to compare. If anybody has any numbers let me know.

So I talked to the guy who gave DW the quote - also includes some special cotroller (code for fancy thermostat) at $600, duct cleaning at $350, insulation and air sealing of house at $3000. 

Heater portion was about $9500 and AC portion was about $8500 - "because it is the latest and best technology", water heater was about $1500.

Because of the package deal price will give $2800 discount and I would qualify for $4000.

Of course they said all of it is necessary and the prices are what they are. 

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2012, 08:18:05 AM »
Velocistar in Boston installed an HE furnace for about $5k.  That's about the same as here.

From what you have said, I think you have the wrong contractors.  In your shoes, I would take the unit specs (BTU's, efficiency, single stage) from the cheapest furnace proposal and call around the Trane and Carrier dealers.  Find the best prices and start checking references.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2012, 08:58:32 AM »
Got another quote finally for a HE heater and a/c - $8200 for Goodman/Amana or $9300 for Bryant - this is after $900 rebate.  So getting better and more in line - need to make sure it includes everything though, which they said it does, but I need to see it in writing.

Bryant is same as Carrier and I don't know anything about Goodman/Amana, I hate to pay more for just a brand name but sometimes with a brand you actually get better materials and warranty service if needed.

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2012, 09:40:37 AM »
Goodman/Amana are both made by Goodman per the website I cited previously.  Both brands are rated 4 in all furnace lines by that individual.  Goodman has been around a long time, but does not advertise as heavily as Carrier and Trane.  He rates Carrier as 4 in all lines, but not the Bryant basic unit.  Both brands are owned by United Technologies.

I installed a Goodman furnace in an Arizona rental.  No problems in 10 years.  The roof mounted A/C units used there are less expensive as well.

Sounds like you are making progress.  Where does the additional $500 rebate come in?

tooqk4u22

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2012, 09:54:23 AM »
Goodman/Amana are both made by Goodman per the website I cited previously.  Both brands are rated 4 in all furnace lines by that individual.  Goodman has been around a long time, but does not advertise as heavily as Carrier and Trane.  He rates Carrier as 4 in all lines, but not the Bryant basic unit.  Both brands are owned by United Technologies.

I installed a Goodman furnace in an Arizona rental.  No problems in 10 years.  The roof mounted A/C units used there are less expensive as well.

Sounds like you are making progress.  Where does the additional $500 rebate come in?

Thanks again....I have been searching the internet because I couldn't remember how I got to that link...duh right here.

The extra $500 is for the AC. 

I am waiting on a couple more quotes but I am gettin closer.  The quote above for the Amana can get installed on Monday and the firm is long standing/reputable so if they put in writing and it is what they say then I will probably go with it...having heat sooner rather than later will trump trying to save a a couple more bucks that at best is probably limited to couple hundred.


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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2012, 10:05:31 AM »
Yep, it's the law of diminishing returns.  Let us know how it turns out.  I'm especially interested in how much the HE furnace saves you and if the unit heats the house more evenly.  I know my furnace is on borrowed time and your experience will help me decide when the time comes.

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2012, 11:40:21 AM »
Unless you are offered some super-phenomenal deal for a HE unit vs. a regular HVAC system, I would avoid the HE units in your situation unless you are almost certain you will live all the rest of your days in that house. You use such a low amount of energy already (good for you!) it's doubtful you'll ever recapture the additional cost to buy HE equipment. I believe the average length of time to recapture costs is approximately 7 years for "normal" usage, so you're likely to be way beyond that. And regular HVAC systems sold today are already very efficient compared to their ancestors just a decade ago.

Having the HE units will also translate into $0 extra sale price when you do sell, if that matters.

I've had to replace several units in various homes I've owned, I've gone through the numbers and have never been able to justify the additional cost, even when they were offering lucrative government rebates.

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2012, 07:07:35 PM »
Alas, the free fix on my unit did not hold.  I shopped around for price and service quality, and I'm having a 4 ton Trane XR 80 installed tomorrow.  That's the 80 percent series, one model up from the base builder unit.  The total price, including the permit and tax, is $2,000.  The estimator from this company said the high efficiency furnaces are a waste of money here.  You will never recover the cost difference.  It should be done by 3 PM, which is great, because it's supposed to get down to the (gasp) 30's here tonight. 


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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2012, 08:36:14 AM »
Sounds like a good choice.

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2012, 10:42:17 AM »
Alas, the free fix on my unit did not hold.  I shopped around for price and service quality, and I'm having a 4 ton Trane XR 80 installed tomorrow.  That's the 80 percent series, one model up from the base builder unit.  The total price, including the permit and tax, is $2,000.  The estimator from this company said the high efficiency furnaces are a waste of money here.  You will never recover the cost difference.  It should be done by 3 PM, which is great, because it's supposed to get down to the (gasp) 30's here tonight.

That is amazing - the lowest quote I got for an 80% furnace was $3800, I think we had seven quotes.  Did they get the furnace off the back of truck.

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2012, 11:09:13 AM »
This is a smaller, local company that does both residential and commercial work.  They had the best reviews on Yelp and they have done work in this subdivision.  For an additional $850 negotiated this morning, they are running a new duct in an area that does not have one, repairing, resealing and rehanging some of the existing ducts (the house sits on uninsulated 18 inches of crawl space where the distribution duct work is located) and installing dampers throughout the duct system to even the air flow.  Since the house has never heated or cooled evenly, this will supposedly cure the uneven distribution.  We will see if this turns out to be a good investment.

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2012, 11:43:56 AM »
Just what I needed - another reason to hate living in New Jersey, not only are our property taxes double than everywhere else apparently so is our HVAC.


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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #44 on: December 19, 2012, 12:26:12 PM »
If it's any comfort, I never have known anyone from New Jersey that did not hate living there. 

I live in the very expensive Silicon Valley.  Prices here on most things match or exceed prices in other high cost suburban areas across the country.  I'm really surprised at the difference in furnace replacement costs between New Jersey and here.  Part of it may be the union pay scale out there, but that's a guess.  Here everyone uses low wage immigrants in all of the construction trades.

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Re: Heater Broke - What Do I do? Need help fast.
« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2013, 07:18:58 PM »
I'm from New Jersey, and I like it here.