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Old 10-06-2009, 01:36 PM   #1
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Central AC advice and quick rundown please.


Hi everyone. I am new to the forum and have a situation that I am hoping someone can help me with.

I am purchasing a home and we just had the inspection completed. It was found that all (3) of the AC units are original (15yrs old) and they are not performing as they should. I am not at all familiar with HVAC but am trying to learn quickly.

The home is not huge. It is a 2-story 2,400sqft home that has cathedral ceilings over the living room onto the 2nd floor. The units are situated as follows:

1st unit – top floor - two bedrooms
2nd unit – lower floor - master bed and 2nd bedroom
3rd unit – lower floor - kitchen and living areas

Obviously I could just leave them as they are and replace them as they fail, but I would like to upgrade to new more efficient units. Another option we have is requesting the sellers have the units serviced and repaired, but I don’t know what that really buys me if anything and could be just a waste of money (or is it a good idea?) .

Is it an option to replace the lower 2 units with 1 larger one? Would this gain me anything performance and/or cost wise?

In short, how much will buying this house potentially cost me in the near future?

Also, what would be a recommended SEER rating for a situation like this? The home will be in a warm/wet climate, and we plan to stay in it for a very long time. Government tax credits are for units 16+ SEER, but is there much savings to be had by going with 18-20 SEER over 16?

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Old 10-06-2009, 02:07 PM   #2
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Central AC advice and quick rundown please.


First thing in my mind is who inspected these units? If it was a whole house inspector I would highly recommend that you have a licenced HVAC contractor come and inspect thim properly. They will be able to tell you exactly what is wrong and how much it will be for repairs and or upgrades.

Whole house inspectors really shouldn't be inspecting HVAC as they know nothing about it, at least in our area.

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Old 10-06-2009, 02:10 PM   #3
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Central AC advice and quick rundown please.


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Originally Posted by hvac122 View Post
First thing in my mind is who inspected these units? If it was a whole house inspector I would highly recommend that you have a licenced HVAC contractor come and inspect thim properly. They will be able to tell you exactly what is wrong and how much it will be for repairs and or upgrades.

Whole house inspectors really shouldn't be inspecting HVAC as they know nothing about it, at least in our area.
It was a general inspector. I think he measured a 10 degree difference between inlet temp and outlet temp and said it should be 12 minimum?
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:30 PM   #4
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Central AC advice and quick rundown please.


I would call a pro to inspect the system properly and let you know exactly what is wrong and cost of repair before I bought the house. The repairs may be excessive and you want the seller involved with that.
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Old 10-06-2009, 04:24 PM   #5
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Central AC advice and quick rundown please.


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the AC units are original (15yrs old)
1/3 of HVAC stuff dies this soon. If you fix it you've got a 50-50 chance of getting to 22 yrs.

I've heard of one guy who doubled his SEER and saw no difference in his utilities, but in principle your heating/cooling bills should be ~16/18 or ~16/20 of what they were.

For energy content and economics tradeoffs 0.71 gal of fuel oil = 100 cubic feet of natural gas = 1.1 gal of propane = 29 kwh of elec heat = 8.4 kwh of heat pump heat (COP = 3.5).

Last edited by Yoyizit; 10-06-2009 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:12 PM   #6
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Central AC advice and quick rundown please.


I would not recommend that you have the sellers service the equipment. They don't care what condition it is in, and want the guy to do the least amount of work. If you are seriously considering purchasing the home, you get a hvac guy to represent your interest. It's pennies on the dollar. The Temp difference does sound low, and that could be due to a variety of reasons.

As for super high efficiency equipment, beware. Not only do they cost more up-front, the repair bills can cost more. Frequently, the replacement parts are oem specific. When things break, the last thing one wants to hear is that the part wont be available for a few days, and it's going to cost a lot.
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Old 10-07-2009, 05:19 PM   #7
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Central AC advice and quick rundown please.


Are you taking about window shakers ?? If so don't worry about it run them till they die then worry about SEER when you purchase new ones.
Flashheatingand said it the owner just wants out as long as there is a delta T.

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