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Old 07-22-2013, 05:44 PM   #16
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


If the tech knows what they are doing, they will know what their measurements should be. If the make & model is a common one that they have dealt with, either they will know off their head what the standard should be, or have the info available on a tablet or notebook, that they can pull up to see what the manufacturer info states.

Still look at the Armstrong Air line. I have measured our outdoor unit at around 36db, it is a 13Seer unit that we got in 2010, which was one of the last of the R-22 units. A-Coil, outdoor unit, lineset, labor & charging, cost around $2700 all together. Majority of the cost was labor & R-22 charge, to get it down where we wanted it to get cold enough, that you could bring it down to 66-68 on a 96 degree day with 76% rh.

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Old 07-22-2013, 05:46 PM   #17
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


The other lesson from this about home warranties is that if you had just saved the $ for the premiums since 1986 you'd have more than enough for a new system and total control over the process.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:52 PM   #18
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


depending on where you live and the nearby fuel costs looking into a heat pump may be a good option too. I would talk to your elec company as they have Engineers on staff and could tell you whether a heat pump is a good or really good idea. has to do with the local cost of electricity vs the cost of gas and your climate etc. not something you want done over the internet.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:55 PM   #19
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


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The other lesson from this about home warranties is that if you had just saved the $ for the premiums since 1986 you'd have more than enough for a new system and total control over the process.
Or if you had bought a Lennox Pulse furnace in the mid 80's it paid for itself in 5-10 yrs and saved people $200-500 a yr in fuel after that where I am. unbelievably efficient furnace and some hit 96% efficient even back then. some of them still running too.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:26 PM   #20
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


Or save similar by moving somewhere warmer! ;-) My entire heating bill here in MD is maybe $350/year.

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Or if you had bought a Lennox Pulse furnace in the mid 80's it paid for itself in 5-10 yrs and saved people $200-500 a yr in fuel after that where I am. unbelievably efficient furnace and some hit 96% efficient even back then. some of them still running too.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:30 PM   #21
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


Yeah but I don't got snakes or allygaters running around or Hurrycanes, just the odd wandering Polar Bear.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:07 PM   #22
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


What a cute little guy! Learn how to say: Nice bear... NICE BEAR!!

Here's a little bit of what one of them hurrycanes did to my parents' house once upon a time. That's what happens when the wind strips the shingles and tar paper off the roof and about 10 inches of rain come in. Note the HVAC duct looks basically intact.... and one of the local denizens down there in FL:




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Old 07-23-2013, 07:38 AM   #23
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


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The other lesson from this about home warranties is that if you had just saved the $ for the premiums since 1986 you'd have more than enough for a new system and total control over the process.
OK, OK. Back on task people!

I should have one written quote today and I have scheduled two more visits for bids over the next few days.

I have thought about the home warranty a bunch and I am torn. It's basically extra insurance. With the repeated visits for the HVAC I think I am close to even with the premiums. I will reevaluate that. They also bought me a sump pump last year.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:26 AM   #24
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


Not sure what the cost of natural gas is in Northern VA, or what your winter heating requirement is, but don't let someone talk you into a high effeciecy furnace if the return on investment will never pay for itself.

I live in the Southern California desert, and while it can get cold, it doesn't stay cold. Our natural gas prices are also low, so my winter heating bills are only about $25 more a month for 3-4 months. I am looking at replacing my whole 32 year old system soon, and a high effeciency furnace costs several hundred more, plus the extra installation costs of not being able to reuse the old flue. It would never come close to paying for itself. When the time comes, I will get a basic 80% furnace that can simply go where the old one is.

The AC on the other hand, here the high effecency unit pays for itself quickly because of the number of cooling hours and sky high cost of electricity. (last month I used 2400KWh - $645)
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:34 AM   #25
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The AC on the other hand, here the high effecency unit pays for itself quickly because of the number of cooling hours and sky high cost of electricity. (last month I used 2400KWh - $645)
If you're using 2 MW a month, a sprayed foam insulation retrofit could have a rapid payback.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:34 AM   #26
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HOLY SCHNIKEES, that's a serious electric bill!

We have four REAL seasons here so there's no doubt in my mind that I want to stick with gas (vs a heat pump) but I will do the math to see what the return is regarding the different options.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:40 AM   #27
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


Home is where you hang your hat.

Yikes, we have 3-4 months of AC were I am and my cooling costs are about $25 a month and the rest of my elec bill for the hot water heater and stove and dryer. Heating costs are not too bad at around $100/month for 5-6 months but I have R40 in the attic and 2x6 walls with R20 and low E argon windows. Adding insulation and better windows is very good $$ bang for your buck. Talking to the Engineers at the elec company and gas co is helpful as they have lots of useful (info/links for other agencies) as some of them want less load (saves them costs on new power plants) and are encouraging making homes more NRG efficient.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:53 AM   #28
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


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We have four REAL seasons here so there's no doubt in my mind that I want to stick with gas (vs a heat pump) but I will do the math to see what the return is regarding the different options.
I've got both in a dual fuel arrangement. When it gets below 25F it starts burning propane.
The difference in equipment between a 13 SEER AC and a 13 SEER HP was about $70, and I already had a dual fuel compatible thermostat. Straight AC with Propane heat makes no sense with $2 a gallon propane, but straight AC/NG might depending on your electric and NG rates (but it still might be worth having the HP if NG prices go up in the future).
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:58 AM   #29
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Is NOW a good time to replace my 1986 AC?


only thing I don't like about heat pumps is the added complexity and repair costs. I did some 20 yrs ago and reversing valves were always a problem. hopefully they got better. KISS is my motto, keep it simple stewpid.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:15 PM   #30
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I did some 20 yrs ago and reversing valves were always a problem. hopefully they got better.

The defrost board and RV are about the only complexity I can think of on mine. I'm with you on the complexity standpoint, I could have put a TXV on my system but it might only save me $15-20 a year on A/C. If the TXV failed in ten years it would be a money loser.
OTOH, have you ever jump-started a stuck heat pump compressor with a couple of hard start capacitors? I'm guessing they don't get stuck if they don't sit idle all winter.

With propane, my economic balance point (where a BTU from the heat pump costs about the same as a BTU from the furnace) is down around 0F, and my thermal balance point (where HP output matches the house's heating needs) is about 25F.
So I set my auxiliary heat changeover at 20F, and it turns the heat pump back on when outdoor temps rise to 25F. Between 20 and 25, emergency heat (furnace) kicks in occasionally if indoor temp drops too much.

OP's economic balance point is going to be a lot warmer than mine unless he uses an inefficient furnace with a high end heat pump.

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