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Old 10-08-2010, 10:03 AM   #1
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On my last post, a number of you were extremely helpful in diagnosing my system. I decided to go out and get some estimates for a new system. The first one is in and I was a tad bit shocked at the sticker price. I have no idea how much systems are but from what my friends paid to have systems installed, this seemed out of control. But, maybe I'm missing something so that's why I ask.

My house is ~2,100 + basement, 2 stories. Current system is about 20 years old (original to the house), gas burning furnace forced air system with central air(forgive me if I left anything important out).

I checked my gas / electric bills for the past 2 years, and they have averaged around $200, which I think is pretty decent. I don't think I need something super high efficiency because 1. our bills aren't that hight and 2. we don't plan on living here for 10+ years.

So after consulting some friends in the area (Southeastern PA), they were being charged anywhere from $6K to $9K for a pimp system. I figured mine would be on the lower end as I don't need a pimp system.

First estimate is in. Here is what was recommended:
95% efficiency dual stage heat with variable air speed blower, installation, etc etc.. its hard to read the writing but I think that's what it says.

Total cost: $12,750... which was about double of what I was hoping.

I asked.. why 95% eff? I was told I couldn't do 90% because I don't have a chimney only pvc piping and that the rebates only kick in with that efficiency, which I think is wrong... well sort of.. the higher the efficiency the higher the rebate in PA.

So, how much am I getting ripped off? Of course I'm getting more estimates but I hate having a feeling that I'm getting completely ripped off like I'm an f'en moron.

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Old 10-08-2010, 01:17 PM   #2
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They are corrrect, both about the PVC and the rebates.

You could switch to a heat pump system if you've got the space in your electrical box. (since you already have central air it can probably be done.) This may or may not be cheaper.

The reason your bills are so low is because someone installed an efficient system when your house was built. If you go to a less efficient system, your bills will go up.

The federal tax credit on this furnace is 30% (capped at $1,500) in addition to your PA rebate.
(efficiency must be 90% or higher) http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...edits.tx_index

Are there any other gas appliances in your home? If not, your utility may give you a rebate/credit/lower rate for being an all-electric home.


Last edited by moondawg; 10-08-2010 at 01:20 PM. Reason: fixed tax credit info. I was remembering geothermal numbers.
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:24 PM   #3
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I just wanted to add that it seems like HVAC prices are much higher out east than they are here in the midwest.

I paid around $17,000 for a 4ton geothermal system, including ductwork and ground loops, installed in new construction here in Indiana.

That makes $12k for just a furnace seem a little high to me. But, if it's what the market will bear in PA..... oh well.

Seems like the price doubles when you hit the OH/PA state line for some reason. (just from observation on the geothermal forum thta I haunt)
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:35 PM   #4
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Uggghhh... thanks for the response. If getting the $2K in rebates means getting a system that costs $6K more, I don't see how its worth it? Especially since my bills aren't that high.

Yes, I believe it was a high efficiency system but it was from 1990... how efficient were they? . We have a gas range and gas dryer.. The dryer is really old as well. Its just me and my wife so we don't run the dryer as much as a family of 4.

I'm basing my prices on friends who recently got new HVAC installed in their homes. Their costs were between $6,500 to $8,500 depending on if they got a heat pumped installed. Mine seems to have variable speed which theirs didn't, which is suppose to be more efficient but I don't care if its that much more.

Well, after I had this company out, my friend said this company quoted him $5K more than competition as well so I'm hoping I have the same luck!

Also, I didn't even recognize the brand name they were installing... it wasn't Lennox, Ruud, Train, etc etc. I've read this doesn't make as much a difference as the quality of installation.. but still seemed odd.

Next quotes aren't coming in until after the holiday weekend. I'll guess I'll have to sweat it out for a few days.
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shwank View Post
Uggghhh... thanks for the response. If getting the $2K in rebates means getting a system that costs $6K more, I don't see how its worth it? Especially since my bills aren't that high.

Yes, I believe it was a high efficiency system but it was from 1990... how efficient were they? . We have a gas range and gas dryer.. The dryer is really old as well. Its just me and my wife so we don't run the dryer as much as a family of 4.

I'm basing my prices on friends who recently got new HVAC installed in their homes. Their costs were between $6,500 to $8,500 depending on if they got a heat pumped installed. Mine seems to have variable speed which theirs didn't, which is suppose to be more efficient but I don't care if its that much more.

Well, after I had this company out, my friend said this company quoted him $5K more than competition as well so I'm hoping I have the same luck!

Also, I didn't even recognize the brand name they were installing... it wasn't Lennox, Ruud, Train, etc etc. I've read this doesn't make as much a difference as the quality of installation.. but still seemed odd.

Next quotes aren't coming in until after the holiday weekend. I'll guess I'll have to sweat it out for a few days.
I'm guessing that the other quotes will follow what your friend got.... unless you just look like a sucker! :^)

They did make high-efficiency furnaces in the '90s. Yours HAS to be at least that efficient because of the use of PVC. If the furnace was less efficient, that would mean that more heat would be carried away into the exhaust, which would melt the PVC.

Good luck with your estimates, I'm sure you'll find something more reasonable.
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:51 PM   #6
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Without knowing the brand and its model numbers. No way to know anything about the price you got.

Thats not a bad price, for a top of the line communicating Trane system.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:09 PM   #7
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Yeah, I wasn't given that although I'm sure I can ask. I was told the name after I asked but it wasn't a name I recognized... like Trane, Carrier, Lennox.. And I'm definitely not looking for top of the line!
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:15 PM   #8
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Good, better, best. A top notch salesperson always starts with his best model as he gets the most commission on it. Does not always mention he has 2 other models. Get more quotes and ask them for 3 models in their lineup. The major brands have 3 or 4 ascending models. 1 stage with regular motor like you have, 2 stage with regular motor, 2 stage with variable speed ECM motor, and some have 3 stage /modulating units with ECM motor.
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Last edited by yuri; 10-08-2010 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:08 PM   #9
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OK quote #2 came in and this was more of what I expected. I was a little more upfront and said that I'm not looking for a mack daddy system .

This salesman was much nicer and provided us with actual model numbers and brochures!

The furnace is a carrier comfort series 95% AFUE (which does qualify for the tax credits as well) warm air furnace. He gave two options for the condenser, one a performance series 3.5 ton up to 15 SEER and the other a carrier base 3.5 ton. The difference in price between the two is about $1,500. Both come with a new programmable thermostat. Total with the better AC is about $8K and about $6.5K for the base AC.

So this doesn't have the variable speed motor like the first $12.5K quote did but for $6K less I think I can do without it.

One more appointment tomorrow but I think this one is a winner, especially with their 2 year interest free option!
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:12 PM   #10
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[quote=shwank;513407

So, how much am I getting ripped off? Of course I'm getting more estimates but I hate having a feeling that I'm getting completely ripped off like I'm an f'en moron.[/quote]


Well... why are they ripping you off?

You are getting estimates to find out what your own comfort zone is on price. That's why people get estimates.

By your own admission the pros here have helped you.But don't forget when you call the pros who came to your home a rip-off you also have to consider that by proxy you are calling the the pros here rip offs too.
From here 12k seems high to me but don't forget like Beenthere said its a communicating system which is top of the line. . They are expensive because they are the highest technology available

We all want you to get the best furnace you feel confident in buying.
But there are guys here who are giving you free and very helpful professional guidance and I just don't think it's fair words like "rip off" should be used when you post here.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:38 PM   #11
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Understand your point of view and maybe rip-off was a little rough. I was a little heated after getting the quote.

I'm a salesman and so is my wife. Lets say I'm selling my product to someone where they have to buy something in the next few days as its absolutely necessary. This product isn't something people know much about other than they need it. So, I give them the most expensive option available even though a much cheaper option would fit them just fine... because I make the most commission off of it. The person I'm selling to has no clue because I don't tell them much about the product, just that it will do the job. Am I now taking advantage of the client? Its sort of like all those mortgage brokers who 'ripped off' the homeowners by putting them in bad loans because the broker made $$$ off of it.

I guess if I only have that high end expensive product available, then there's nothing I can do. But, as a salesman, I probably would let them know that I'm going to be an expensive option as my product is better because of XYZ. I'd rather not make the sale and be honest that my product is better and a more expensive option than make a big sale and have that client find out he paid double what he could have.. and then have that person tell everyone he can how he got ripped off.

And if you had a bad experience with someone in my industry, it doesn't mean you've had a bad experience with me. I wouldn't take any offense you to having issues with someone in my industry. Its just the facts of life. I didn't mean to offend you or anyone else in the industry. Just was venting and trying to get some opinions.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:50 PM   #12
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On the other hand.

Maybe the salesman from the company that gave you the 12 grand quote.
Didn't really want your business. And decided it would only be worthwhile if you bought the most expensive system.

maybe they are so busy, they don't want to do any low end sales.

Point is. All customers have the option of saying no.
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:07 PM   #13
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Research is the key. Not sure how we got by w/o the internet or the Lemonade car books.
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:52 PM   #14
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Well as a pro salesman I'd have to say that by my own measurement of what makes a salesman a pro and not just a pitch-throwing-order-taker is how he conducts himself in the job and in public. That means we as pro salespeople are held to a higher standard then the guy or gal who just punches a clock and goes home at the end of the top. My point in I would never call a competitor anything derogatory during a presentation to a client or in public or in the company of other hvac contractors. It's just the way the more successful contractors conduct themselves.

Ok on the net I will admit that we can be much freer and unconventional than our public selves.

But this site is a little bit of an exception cause we are here to give advice as well as blow off steam. So we pros would be grateful when someone give us a grateful nod if we've been helpful, but I surely would not want to receive scorn even if it's second hand.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
On the other hand.

Maybe the salesman from the company that gave you the 12 grand quote.
Didn't really want your business. And decided it would only be worthwhile if you bought the most expensive system.

maybe they are so busy, they don't want to do any low end sales.

Point is. All customers have the option of saying no.

Been brings up a very good point.

I have been on sales call where the prospect has wanted to put so little into a new system it was impossible to be of any help to them.
So as Been says to disengage from the presentation politely and professionally, I would quote my best and highest featured system.
If the prospect takes the bid the he wins and I win. But if he is shocked by the cost you can then depart with having caused a no win situation.

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