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frankleibo 07-25-2012 07:26 PM

HVAC advice - entire replacement system including ductwork
Well, I was in my crawlspace tonight addressing an unrelated problem when I took the opportunity to assess my ductwork as I had a suspicion that it was a major contributor to poor system performance. So, here's the scoop on my situation:

I live in southern NJ, just outside Atlantic City, zip code 08234.
My home was built in 1978, I purchased it 2 years ago.
I have a 30 year old (yes 30) GE AC (R22) unit mated to an approximately 8 year old Carrier Furnace.
While under the house I learned that all of the ductwork is ductboard and I believe it is original to the house. The runs to the floor registers are 6" flex but most are run with more flex than necessary. In certain lines I can actually feel that they are saturated with water internally. The ductwork in the attic is also ductboard and flex combo.

Like most crawlspaces this isn't the most work friendly environment but I can tell from the debris under the house that people def. have worked under there. Cooling and heating in the home is reasonably good with the current system and my bills aren't totally outrageous.

If you were in my shoes what would you do:

1. Wait for the furnace to need replacing and then start from scratch with an entirely new system ductwork and all.
2. Go to a ductless system with heat pump (given where I live I think heating might be OK)
3. Replace the AC and ductwork immediately and then worry about the furnace when it is time to replace that.

Also, I know prices can vary significantly but what would each of these options cost. This definitely is too big of a DIY job for me but I am also expecting outrageous quotes because no one wants to work in a crawl. Thoughts....

turnermech 07-25-2012 08:27 PM

Crawl space work should be no problem. In most cases it would be better than an attic right now. If you can afford it there are cost savings in replacing the furnace while the A/C and ductwork. There are so many options that it is hard to say a price, and I am new to the form and don't know all the rules on such. Best bet would get at least 3 estimates. Be skeptical of any estimate extreemly low or high. Make sure all proposals are for comparable equipment and same work. Ask for references, proof of insurance and state lic. Don't be afraid to check the lic with your state board of contractors if you have one.

As far as a brand find a contractor you trust and take his recomendation.

As far as ductless IMO I treat them as supplimental systems not stand alone. most ductless have no backup restiance heat. you live too far north for this to be your main heat source. Just my opinion. They do work well, but I use them more for sun room applications and other speciality jobs.

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