Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo
Extremeskins

Buying A/C in the fall vs summer?


da#1skinsfan

Recommended Posts

Our upstairs A/C unit isnt kickin like it used to and we want to take advantage of the $1500/30% tax credit before the end of the year.

We can wait until fall/winter unless it breaks, it's not bad it just doesnt maintain a super cold temp (76/77 is about as cool as it will go, about 78 during the day)- 13 years old and one of the last in the neighborhood (most people have replaced their stock units which tells me it probably IS on its last legs).

Question - common sense would tell you that in the fall and winter, it will be cheaper to replace the A/C unit, but in reality for you folks who work in the industry, is that REALLY the case, and if so, how much of a difference are we talking?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, I can honestly say there is no seasonal discount when buying an AC unit. The heat makes it a demand in the summertime, and its just not as important in tht winter time. The real reason you want to get this done before the unit dies, is because you want to save that copper line set, connecting your indoor unit to your outdoor unit. Its about a thousand dollars in savings.

If the compressor dies, whats called a reverse vaccumed is created by that last pump of the piston in the compressor, or thatlast twist, if its a scroll compressor. That reverse vaccum sucks oil into your copper line set, and contaminates your lines. Then your lines have to be pulled from your walls, and reset with new copper. Besides the thousand dollars you will pay for that copper, the HVAC company more then likely will not cover the holes in the drywall that are made to remove the copper lines. If you know the system will break, and you are uncomfortable in that area due to the temp, then just do it now, get that tax credit, and regain your comfort. Its will also save your line sets. Also, if you are running an older unit, you will want to get this done as soon as possible. They are going to stop making R22 units soon, and because there is more efficient units that run on 410 A refrigerants. if your system is old, replace it now, get another R22 heat pump if you can, and you will be set for another 8 to ten years, longer if you take care of the unit and get it cleaned once a season. If you have any questions, just put them here or in the other AC thread, and Ill help you out. It sounds like you have two zones, and im thinking at least one is a heat pump... the one upstairs more then likely. yeah, shoot me your questions and Ill give you the best advice i can give.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Basically, when you are getting a discount on a unit, the discount is coming out of the labor. Most HVAC companies buy systems to order, or whenever they need to replace one. Most manufacturers discounts are on units sold in bulk, other then that, they sell at a flat rate, and the independant contractors or companies mark it up a tad and then include labor costs. if you are going through a larger company, they may come down off their mark up price just a bit, if you are lucky, and have a horse shoe in your pocket... while standing in a field of four leaf clovers... eating a bowl of lucky charms.

Smaller companies may come down on the labor a little bit, but instead of having two techs they may send you a tech and an apprentice to do the install.

Both scenario's are if you are lucky. I would ask once, but then on top of that get multiple quotes. Check and see if you have a United Air Temp in your area, Company has been around since 1931. They also have a good working relationship with the Goodman branch of Amana, and probably have some of the better deals on higher grade equipment. Avoid builders grade units at all cost's. get something better.

Also, to be eligable for the tax credit, i believe you have to purchase a unit that is over 90% efficient i beleive. Double check that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks man! I will double check the credit stuff.

Yes dual zone - the downstairs unit was replaced a couple years back with a big Trane unit (xB13c if that tells you anything) - now the upstairs unit is the one thats starting to go. Interesting point about the copper lines, really good to know.

We are not uncomfortable...its just it doesnt get much cooler than 77 degrees upstairs (which is fine for us) and when it's super hot outside, maybe 78. Not a problem really but the A/C guys came out to the house before we owned it and told the original owner that the system was on its last legs and may last another year or two if theyre lucky. This is going on year 2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our upstairs A/C unit isnt kickin like it used to and we want to take advantage of the $1500/30% tax credit before the end of the year.

Is that one of the tax credits that are going away at the end of the year? I live in the desert and have been thinking about adding an AC to the house (currently get by with the swamp cooler - FY it's a desert thing). I was thinking about getting the new AC ($8K) in the spring but will move up my plans if the credit is going away.

edit found the answer - Yep it is one of the Tax credits going away after 31 Dec 2010.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks man! I will double check the credit stuff.

Yes dual zone - the downstairs unit was replaced a couple years back with a big Trane unit (xB13c if that tells you anything) - now the upstairs unit is the one thats starting to go. Interesting point about the copper lines, really good to know.

We are not uncomfortable...its just it doesnt get much cooler than 77 degrees upstairs (which is fine for us) and when it's super hot outside, maybe 78. Not a problem really but the A/C guys came out to the house before we owned it and told the original owner that the system was on its last legs and may last another year or two if theyre lucky. This is going on year 2.

Sounds like the compressor is near locked rotor. If that is the case you areliving on borrowed time. Do you have a digital Multi Meter? Heck, do you have an analog Multi Meter? I can walk you through the steps to see what kind of condition your compressor is in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do have a digital multimeter in fact...the A/C guys are coming at 4PM today so I should get a better beat on their thoughts as well.

It is an older (1997) Carrier unit that is tiny...like 1/3rd the size of the Trane unit for the downstairs.

If you go around back, take the back panal off of your unit while it is running.

You will more then likely see a black cyclender and its probably making some good noise. You will see a big black line coming off of the compressor. You will also see a couple of smaller wires coming off as well. Maybe a smaller black, or a red, or a white and brown, leave those alone... for now. If your multi meter has a clamp on it, clamp the big black compressor wire with your multi meter on AC 20~. if no clamp, then use your probes at either the compressor itself or the contactor. Amp the compressor and let me know what you get. When you get that number, look on the data plate of the unit. Usually on the bottom back of the unit or on the panal you took off. Look up the compressor amperage. There should be a couple different numbers, and some letters, look for RLA, and let me know what that number is. The number you should be getting from your multi meter should be somewhere between 9-13. Thats optimal. Actually, it varies, Ive seen units that run at 9 RLA, and optimum amperage should be at like 6 or 7 amps. Basically, whatever number is on the data plate, your compressor should be amping at about 2/3 of that number. In this situation, Im betting its either going to be around 13 or above, or on the very low end like 3, and possibly something crazy like in the 60's. Let me know what you find.

While you are back there, I can help you trouble shoot the problem if you are interested. How do your outdoor coils look? Dirty? Also look at a cylender looking object, kinda like a coke can. Is it bubbled up, puffy, rusted or oozing gel?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome man, I will take a look when I have some free time and post back.

AC guy just left (ARS) - basically $6800 - $1500 tax credit - $300 elec company credit = $5k for a new unit (ac/coil/furnace), new thermostat and to relocate the thermostat in a different spot upstairs. 2.5 ton 16 SEER Trane unit. Keeping the copper lines.

The downstairs was replaced with a 2.5 ton Trane unit 3 years back for $4300 - I asked why such a dramatic price difference and he said the price of copper has gone way up, raising HVAC prices because there is so much copper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well its a nice unit, do you know if its R22 or 410A? I also want to make sure you are recieving both a new indoor and outdoor unit for that price. Did the company also include a warranty on top of the manufacturers warranty?

If he is replacing with an R22 unit then everything should be fine. (Im guessing by the age of your failing unit that its an R22 unit.) If your previous unit is R22 and your new unit is 410a (these numbers are the type of refrigerants each system uses) then you have to make sure he will be blowing out the copper lines with nitrogen. Just something to make sure of.

Either way congrats. he is throwing in new T-stat and relocation... very nice.

Question, independant contractor or larger company. They both have their good and bad techs, im just wondering.

EDIT: NM, I just saw you wrote ARS is doing your work. They have a decent reputation. Nice large company that offers a pretty good yearly maint/24 hour service package. Look into signing up for one if they do. Some manufacturers warraty's void if you dont do the regular maint twice a year, (once a season) it varies. Ask about it. They usually end up being cheaper then paying for cleanings every season, and they may include 24 hour support with that agreement. Its worth having, especially if the price on those packages raises yearly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not an A/C guy but my dad purchased a new A/C unit in the winter last year and got a very good deal because of the season. I think they operate much like other devices: my boss bought a lawnmower for 70% of the original price last winter, and he bought two 800 dollar snow blowers for the price of one a couple of years ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not an A/C guy but my dad purchased a new A/C unit in the winter last year and got a very good deal because of the season. I think they operate much like other devices: my boss bought a lawnmower for 70% of the original price last winter, and he bought two 800 dollar snow blowers for the price of one a couple of years ago.

If you told me what he got and what he paid, Id be able to tell you exactly how good of a deal he got. I doubt it was for the season... see my last earlier post.

You get a good deal on a lawn mower in the winter because Sears bought 300 in June and never sold them all. They got a good deal on the mowers because they bought in bulk. Now its October, and they still have 75 mowers left. They cut their mark up in half, and give you a "good deal". Most HVAC companies, even huge companies ddon'tbuy units in bulk, they buy them specifically to order of the home they are working at. Not buying in bulk means they can only get so much of a discount. Then they still have to charge installation and labor cost's, unlike at Sears where the lawn mower sits in a box on a shelf in the back. If your dad got a good deal, the price cut more then likely came out of labor costs. When a unit is sold, not only is the tech who sold the unit getting a commission, but so is the branch manager. Just sayin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well its a nice unit, do you know if its R22 or 410A? I also want to make sure you are recieving both a new indoor and outdoor unit for that price. Did the company also include a warranty on top of the manufacturers warranty?

So I got him down to $6600 and, along with the 10yr/20yr manufacturer warranty, he bumped the 1yr "bumper to bumper" warranty to 2yrs. It is 410a - thats the newer type right? He said you cant get R22 anymore which is probably bull****. New indoor & outdoor.

If he is replacing with an R22 unit then everything should be fine. (Im guessing by the age of your failing unit that its an R22 unit.) If your previous unit is R22 and your new unit is 410a (these numbers are the type of refrigerants each system uses) then you have to make sure he will be blowing out the copper lines with nitrogen. Just something to make sure of.

He did confirm they will keep the copper lines and will be blowing them out with nitrogen.

Either way congrats. he is throwing in new T-stat and relocation... very nice.

Is it a good deal? When trying to close me he kept saying "dude youre not gonna find a better deal unless its some illegals in a pickup truck" type thing. Still I need to see some other estimates but curious to hear your thoughts. I will find out about the svc plan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I got him down to $6600 and, along with the 10yr/20yr manufacturer warranty, he bumped the 1yr "bumper to bumper" warranty to 2yrs. It is 410a - thats the newer type right? He said you cant get R22 anymore which is probably bull****. New indoor & outdoor.

He did confirm they will keep the copper lines and will be blowing them out with nitrogen.

Is it a good deal? When trying to close me he kept saying "dude youre not gonna find a better deal unless its some illegals in a pickup truck" type thing. Still I need to see some other estimates but curious to hear your thoughts. I will find out about the svc plan.

If you got him to throw in a service plan, yeah, you got a very good deal. 410A is the new type of refrigerant. Your HVAC tech wasn't lying in that

they will stop making and selling R22 systems and equipment. You can still get R22 Heat pumps new... as of right now. Selling you a 410A system was the right thing to do though. They will actually stop making R22 in a couple years.Once they stop selling R22 equipment all together, the only way to repair those systems will be to look at refurbished units (I dont recommend) or looking at junked units for parts as they wont make the parts anymore.

So you are getting a 2.5 ton 16 seer unit (Its more then you need upstairs, especially with a second zone, but the benefit is it wont be working very hard at all, and you will stay cold upstair.. not cool, cold., 2.5 ton 16 seer, manf warranty, plus service/protection plan, and new T-stat and T-stat relocation.... as long as he is replacing both indoor and outdoor unit, you really cant go wrong with this deal, and you are getting the tax credit and elec credit. Digital Thermostats alone cost over hundred fifty bucks and up installed from a company, not including relocation. Life is pretty good for you here. You also just raised the value of your home... especially with a 410A system.

As I said before, if he was to go lower, the guy would have had to bring in an apprentice or if he didn't have one, yeah a day laborer and that would have compromised the integrity of the install. You are going to get two techs that no what to look for and who should do a quality job on the install. Very nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Stew

I have a 21 year old tempstar, it ran good thrugh the july heat wave. Turned it off 3 days ago now no coll and air handler coils all frozen. Seems to be out of freon IMHO.

It is time to replace it anyway

What do you think of these 2 and what is the major difference. What is the best air handler to match these

http://www.goodmanmfg.com/Home/Products/HeatPumpSystems/16SEERSSZ16/tabid/217/Default.aspx

http://www.goodmanmfg.com/Home/Products/HeatPumpSystems/16SEERDSZC16/tabid/1002/Default.aspx

I do not see much difference between amana and goodman specs

http://www.amana-hac.com/Home/Products/HeatPumpSystems/ASZC1616SEER/tabid/856/Default.aspx

any idea ball park what it should cost installed BEFORE rebates

again Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Stew

I have a 21 year old tempstar, it ran good thrugh the july heat wave. Turned it off 3 days ago now no coll and air handler coils all frozen. Seems to be out of freon IMHO.

It is time to replace it anyway

What do you think of these 2 and what is the major difference. What is the best air handler to match these

http://www.goodmanmfg.com/Home/Products/HeatPumpSystems/16SEERSSZ16/tabid/217/Default.aspx

http://www.goodmanmfg.com/Home/Products/HeatPumpSystems/16SEERDSZC16/tabid/1002/Default.aspx

I do not see much difference between amana and goodman specs

http://www.amana-hac.com/Home/Products/HeatPumpSystems/ASZC1616SEER/tabid/856/Default.aspx

any idea ball park what it should cost installed BEFORE rebates

again Thanks

Turn your heat pump on to heat mode, as high as it goes. That will melt the ice off your coils. The reversal of the refrigerant through the lines will melth the ice off your lines. There is a good chance that your system still has refrigerant. More then likely you have a restriction somewhere. However a 21 year old system is running on borrowed time, so who knows. it will take aboutforty five minutes to defrost your coils in this situation. This also only works with heat pumps. You can go outside and gently chip away the ice as well, though it may entail you opening up the system a little bit. Chances are the inside coils prolly frozen as well. When the ice melts, look at your coils and see how dirty they are. Give me about an hour, Ill look over the units for you, and Ill weigh in. it could be low on refrigerant though...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There isn't much different between Amana and Goodman specs, because Goodman is part of the Amana company. Very quality equipment.

Question, will this unit heat and cool your whole house or just an upstairs or downstairs unit? Do you have two zones?

Whats the square footage of your hme... roughly.

You know why I like amana? Lifetime warranty on compressor, and ten year warranty on parts. It says it in big bold letters right on the page, and a lot of other companies don't even offer comperable warranties.

I also dig the fact that Goodmans come with a bulit in crank case heater. Some companies offer that as an accessory (money maker)

still reading.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Without knowing how big your house is and and if you have another zone, I cant give you a definitive answer to your question. The units you have linked are beautiful pieces. I would be happy with any of them. Personally, Id go with a 16 seer, 18 seer would be nice, but not necessary. I really like the comfortnet communications option though. if its in your budget Id get one with the comfortnet technology. The frickin Thermostat basically does evaluations of your system constantly, and you are the first person to know when your system needs attention. The system tells you before things start to go wrong. That is actually invaluable information. That T-stat alone is about a 350.00 T-stat.

Im estimating for any of these units plus installation you are looking in the 6-7K range. You have to make them throw in a yearly serivice plan. If you want him to come down on cost some, ask about the 14 seer instead of the 16 and make sure whatever unit you decide on is elegible for the enrgy efficiency tax credit. Really nice units though.

Also, your current unit is 21 years old. It ran on R22 if not an older refrigerant, and because of this you need to know if installation includes new line sets or if he will just be blowing out your old lines with nitrogen. If he is going to install new lines and you have np problem paying for that, then you need to make sure they will not be punching holes in your drywall to remove or install the lines, and if so, does the company cover the repair or replacement of the drywall. Most companies don't, and i don't say it to scare you, just to better inform you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My house is 1100 sq feet

with full basement

old unit was 2 ton tempstar. It kept us comfortable this past july but the winter hating has been gong down hill the past few years. not unusal to get up and find it is 62 with thermostat set on 68

It froze yesterday and it was only on the inside air exchange that froze. The small line was iced up and cold but most of the coil was iced also. It has melted this morning. Should i still run the heat pump and give it a go

I just want some air till i replace in in the next few weeks

This is much appreciated

D

PS

I ran the heat pump and large line is hot and small line is warm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My house is 1100 sq feet

with full basement

old unit was 2 ton tempstar. It kept us comfortable this past july but the winter hating has been gong down hill the past few years. not unusal to get up and find it is 62 with thermostat set on 68

It froze yesterday and it was only on the inside air exchange that froze. The small line was iced up and cold but most of the coil was iced also. It has melted this morning. Should i still run the heat pump and give it a go

I just want some air till i replace in in the next few weeks

This is much appreciated

D

If all the ice is melted off of the coil inside, then check to make sure no outside ice. Inspect the coil inside. Is it dirty? Any pet hair or anything on it? If your indoor coil is dirty, do not take a brush to it. get a spray bottle with some water on it, and maybe a toothbrush. be VERY gentle if you need to clean your indoor coil. do not bend those baffles, bc that is where the air is passing through and cooling off. they are very flimsey and will bend easily. Treat em like a lady.

If not, go outside, and hose down the outdoor coil. When it rains, mud splashes onto the coil, preventing propor flow. Also, clear any high grass away from the unit. hose down the outside coil good, even through the cracks in the panels you havent taken off. When you think its clean, do it one more time to make sure. Then go around your house and make sure ALL your vents are open. Also, now would be a good time to clean or replace your filter. I recommend a permanent filter for your new unit. Paper or disposable filters are only about 20% efficient, and once they are full of debris, it drops to about 4-6% efficiency. (efficiency in trapping dust and pet hair, mold, spores, viruses, etc) A permanent filter is much more efficient. Metal screen filters are about 60% and electrostatic polypropeline filters are about 92% efficient. An Electronic air cleaner (much much more expensive) is 98-99% efficient. I recommend the EZ Flow brand filter, and the Dust Eater model. If you spend ten dollars a month on disposable fileters, you will spend about 120 bucks a year. This is a permanent filter for roughly the same price, and you can find them online much cheaper. Its worth the investment and pays itself off within a year.

Once you have done those things, turn your ac on, and check and see if you are getting cool air. If you do, but later the coils freeze up again, just melt the ice how I told you before (switch your heat pump into heat mode, the reversal of refrigerant through the coils will melt your ice, should take about a half hour/forty five minutes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My house is 1100 sq feet

with full basement

old unit was 2 ton tempstar. It kept us comfortable this past july but the winter hating has been gong down hill the past few years. not unusal to get up and find it is 62 with thermostat set on 68

It froze yesterday and it was only on the inside air exchange that froze. The small line was iced up and cold but most of the coil was iced also. It has melted this morning. Should i still run the heat pump and give it a go

I just want some air till i replace in in the next few weeks

This is much appreciated

D

PS

I ran the heat pump and large line is hot and small line is warm

A sixteen seer unit will be fine. You are looking at some very nice units. You should be excited about this investment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...