NFR FINAL UPDATE: THANKS All of y’all!! Is anyone here an HVAC or air conditioning expert? Can you help me?

Jamie Wilson

Active Member
If its R-22 refrigerant on the rating plate, shitcan it!

We no longer make R-22 on planet earth and its a super high on the "nono" ozone depletion substances. The price per pound is going thru the roof, as we must live out the existing systems lives with the refrigerant already produced. Steelhead and salmon (all 6 of them in WA) will thank you.

The furnace and the A/C need to go.

-The buyback on the differential amount of energy that the newer furnace would use, averages 6-9 years in BC. I do not have numbers that support that kind of statement in WA, but i'd guess it is close. The gas side changing to a High Efficiency uses about 1/3 to 1/2 the gas, assuming that the existing one isn't. If the existing one is HE then this is negligible, and ignore it.

-Get the cheapest two-stage furnace. Get a (top 5) brand, and extend that warranty. More parts = break more often, so don't get the fancy shit unless you are the kind who likes to brag about all the amazing shit that furnace does..

-It's prob time to do both, and then have another two decades of serviceability and reliability. Those older ones are not far from no longer being supported by parts.

**I rarely slum around this place anymore, but the PM email that I was sent got me here**
Style points
 

Jojo

Trout Thank Me
WFF Supporter
Find the company you trust the most, and go with their recommendations. The guy who shows up makes or breaks your experience, more than brand.
I like Mercurio’s so i am not sure i will get other bids though i won’t tell them that tomorrow. They did right by me before and i like being loyal and the original owner is the still there. They’ve been around since 1992.
 

Jeremy Floyd

Veðrfölnir
Jojo...not in HVAC specifically but here's some advice if you decide to go with new. Get the highest efficiency unit you can. It will payoff in the long run.
Sorry I cannot let this go. This is not true.

The buyback on the newer kinds, which use inverter technology, means that the buyback is a lot farther off than you think for more efficient heat pumps and A/Cs.

Prior to them being the lowest common denominator by law, only the top-end shit was inverter technology.

I never recommend the top end stuff unless the customer blurts out something like "I only pay way too much for my shit!"

Love ya Wayne! Say hi to the Mrs for me plz!
 

Jojo

Trout Thank Me
WFF Supporter
Hey JoJo, I don't have any great advice for you but we just had a company out today to give us a quote on adding A/C to our heating system. We have an American Standard Freedom 90 (yes, just like the George Michael song) furnace that was installed in 2007 and it's going strong...at the time, it was a higher end unit in terms of efficiency and we also opted for the electronic air cleaner.

Anyhow, the scope of work to add the A/C unit includes the outdoor compressor, the pad it sits on, running the lines into the house to connect it to the heater, some modifications to the ducting where it exits the heater and electrical work to add a 220 circuit for the compressor. Total cost is approx $7k....that's just to add A/C to an existing system. I'm in Seattle so I'm sure there's a premium price assigned just to the location. We only need to "cool" about 1000 sq feet and the two different options he quoted were for single stage compressors; one with a 16 SEER rating and one with a 17 SEER rating. They are in American Standard's "silver" line which is their lower end product. 10 year warranty. If you are in Eastern Washington and have a higher dependency on A/C, you might want to look at a higher end 2-stage model.

So while I have no real advice for you, I thought I'd at least provide the info since its so fresh in my head.
Thank you @majpreal, this is helpful for the cost. I’m going with American Silver series too if i go that route and only need a 14 seer, 1.5 ton, single stage compressor (I like how quickly it cools the house) . My current unit is 10 seer so this is going to be good upgrade for us.
 
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Jojo

Trout Thank Me
WFF Supporter
Im out! have a wonderful day Jojo
Thank you so much Jeremy!

And once more.... Thank you all! I feel like i have my ducks in a row to at least understand a bit better tomorrow when they come over to give me a quote. I really was expecting maybe two or three people responding. This helped me so much.
 

Brian in OR.

Active Member
Why not get a second opinion..... our heat pump had a leak at the indoor coil and the company said it was not fixable and the replacement coil was $2300.... We got a second opinion and the tech said hey i think i can weld the leak which he'd did and 3 other joints for safe measure... Cost was $600
 

Bruce Baker

Active Member
Sorry for the non-fishing related thread and i promise I will delete this shortly. But i trust y’all here and wondered if anyone who understands this industry or who recently had a system installed can help me prepare for a quote I’m getting tomorrow.

Our American Standard air conditioning unit and forced air (electric) furnace was installed in 1999. Both have worked great for all these years, without any major malfunction or repairs. Because the air no longer blew cold I had the company who installed it come out.

Here is what was found:

“Diagnosed the weak cooling issue as a lack of refrigerant in the AC system. This indicates that there is a leak in the refrigeration circuit.
I will build estimates to repair existing system but i do not recommend any repairs.
Due to age (typically HVAC systems last around 15 years, this one 21), inefficiency, condition, use of an outdated refrigerant type, and increasing unreliability I recommend replacing the system over any repairs.”

The cost for repair of the refrigerant, etc. was $1100. Also I could see the ice freezing up on the inside furnace when we were running it. I also did like the guy who came out. So because the furnace and air conditioner are older we are getting a quote tomorrow on a new furnace and air unit, (probably sticking with American Standard). But i want to be prepared about the size needed. I can’t find it on the books and original paperwork.

We live in a 1000 square foot unit and i believe the seers of our current unit is 10 but I’m still researching that.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what i should be looking for and asking about in replacing our HVAC and air?

I do like this company and hired them because my brother knows the owner. In 1999 we paid $3000 for the furnace and air unit. I have no idea what our quote will be tomorrow but assume it would be starting around $6000. (Damn i hate spending money when you have nothing to show for it. )

Thanks in advance for any insight. I’ll delete this in a couple of days. — jo
I will look through my paperwork and get back to you. The gas furnace that came with my house needed to be replaced. The heat exchanger cracked. I ended not only buying a new furnace, but also a heat pump. I also went with a high efficiency furnace (95%) and I am glad I did. I like that is also has a variable speed fan and it is not always blowing air into the house at high speed. This was done in 2013. The heat pump is SEER Rated at 15.25. My house is 1350 square feet. My heating bill during the winter with the old furnace got as high as $160 to a little over $200. With the new system I occasionally go over $100 in the winter and I keep the house hotter than I did with the old furnace as well. I paid about $9159 for the furnace and heat pump.
Oh my gosh, y’all are so awesome. Thank you so much. I hope Jeremy weighs in.


Yes, thanks @jakesmylab that is what he said. We could fix it but he said there is a leak, however small, somewhere and they would have to find that and do the refrigerant and coils etc. The total cost was $1100 which if the unit was ten years old instead of 21 i would consider.

That is good advice on our utility company! I will do that! The two units were installed at the same time by Mercurios In 1999 and are American Standard. They have been in the business since 1992 and the owner Chris is still involved with the company. So i do feel good about that. Our old warranty was five years and i will check to make sure that i get that again. Thanks for that reminder @Rock Creek!

I called them and they told me our old unit is indeed a 1.5 ton, 10 seer. Over the phone Chris is recommending a 14 seer, 1.5 ton for our 1,000 sq ft place. He is also recommending we consider a heat pump but I am a bit wary. I understand the savings but feel that heat pumps have more issues. We’ve not had problems with our air conditioner/furnace. (And we never had it routinely maintained either, though i was religiously prompt about changing the filter.) The cost of the heat pump is probably going to be more than i want to spend now. I am getting a bid for both.

@Bruce Baker, THAT is great information about your place and the cost. Like your old unit, our total electric bill (programmed 69 degrees day; 65 at night) is around $160-$200 too ($200 being during Christmas with the lights or extremely cold month) and about half that In summer with the air conditioner.

I’m happy if a new furnace/air conditioning unit is more efficient (and quieter when sitting outside) and drops that bill. I’m hoping to get by with a good system for around $6500-$7000 installed. Not sure if i’m being realistic.

Wow @jwg! You got 30 years on your heat pump? That Snow thread was good info from Jeremy. I had heard that heat pumps don’t do as well in really cold weather (JUST WHEN YOU NEED THEM) but Jeremy is talking about a system that is better now. Also i heard getting the exact size for your home is important and that a larger one than you need is a problem.

Also, I’m hoping American Standard is still a good system. I know sometimes you find out things that were great 20 years ago have been bought by different companies and are sub standard as a result.

Thanks y’all! I feel a little more prepared for tomorrow. I tend to get myself into analysis paralysis research mode and y’all helped me not do that! I really appreciate the input. @jwg, i won’t delete but maybe i can have Billy move it somewhere.
When it is really cold out, my gas furnace kicks in. I went with a local Olympia company and they installed units made by Trane. I also got an rebate from PSE for the units being energy efficient, so I would check into that. It was around $250. I also got a 6 year zero percent financing from the company. So I would also check into that with your company.
 

Jojo

Trout Thank Me
WFF Supporter
I will look through my paperwork and get back to you. The gas furnace that came with my house needed to be replaced. The heat exchanger cracked. I ended not only buying a new furnace, but also a heat pump. I also went with a high efficiency furnace (95%) and I am glad I did. I like that is also has a variable speed fan and it is not always blowing air into the house at high speed. This was done in 2013. The heat pump is SEER Rated at 15.25. My house is 1350 square feet. My heating bill during the winter with the old furnace got as high as $160 to a little over $200. With the new system I occasionally go over $100 in the winter and I keep the house hotter than I did with the old furnace as well. I paid about $9159 for the furnace and heat pump.

When it is really cold out, my gas furnace kicks in. I went with a local Olympia company and they installed units made by Trane. I also got an rebate from PSE for the units being energy efficient, so I would check into that. It was around $250. I also got a 6 year zero percent financing from the company. So I would also check into that with your company.
Thanks again @Bruce Baker ! I have an electric furnace i wonder if there is a big difference?

I did check today with my utility company after @Rock Creek Fan mentioned and since I am in a condo building I do not qualify for any rebate.
@Brian in OR. , thank you for your input too! Rock Creek and Jeremy (and my research online today) all talked about the R22 refrigerant being unavailable and no longer used. Rock Creek mentioned that it would need to be recycled if repaired and i thought how do they do that? So that bothers me.

If the unit was ten years old i would be going for repair for sure. But at 21 years i just don’t want to put a bandaid on something that might break at a terrible time, like a cold snap in winter or a heat wave in summer. This was a great week for it to not be working!
 

kmudgn

Active Member
I have the exact same issue. My A/C unit dates to 1996 and worked fine through last summer. A/C unit is 10 SEER, but uses old style R22 freon. To spend almost $ 1500 for repair seemed foolish to me. I am getting 3 estimates and will pick one. In addition to compressor, coolant line, and heat exchanger in plenum have to be replaced due to refrigerant change out. Going to be expensive, but I got 24 years out of it so I can't complain.
 

Jojo

Trout Thank Me
WFF Supporter
I have the exact same issue. My A/C unit dates to 1996 and worked fine through last summer. A/C unit is 10 SEER, but uses old style R22 freon. To spend almost $ 1500 for repair seemed foolish to me. I am getting 3 estimates and will pick one. In addition to compressor, coolant line, and heat exchanger in plenum have to be replaced due to refrigerant change out. Going to be expensive, but I got 24 years out of it so I can't complain.
I’ll be interested @kmudgn in how this turns out for you. This was helpful information. I believe i read they don’t even use 10 Seer A/C units anymore like ours. And after hearing about R22 refrigerant i became more ok with buying a whole new system after i got over the initial shock that it wasn’t going to be a minor repair and this was going to be expensive.

We got so spoiled with air conditioning that i just can’t live without it anymore (especially with a flat roof over the bedroom).
 

Rock Creek Fan

Active Member
When a HVAC company de-installs your old unit they have to reclaim your old refrigerant without any escapement into the atmosphere. It is accomplished by a closed loop system where they extract the old stuff (R22) and under high pressure fill up empty propane bottles. They then sell it to a company that recycles it under strict regulations to other HVAC companies that maintain older systems. At some point, maybe already, it can no longer be used at all.

It seems that the regulations for refrigerant keep changing. Somewhere in this thread someone indicated that the current refrigerant will no longer be made after 2025. If you upgrade your system and go with current refrigerant that will be made more than a few years in the future, or the same high prices for maintenance will be incurred. If you have a choice, go with a refrigerant that will not be out of production in a few years but rather longer than that. It will save money in the long run since you should maintain your system every couple of years to make sure it runs at peak efficiency...
 
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Not that this is that helpful to you but we just bought a place built in 1912 and are replacing our OIL furnace with a variable speed heat pump on Friday. 2 ton 20 SEER (almost 2k rebate made going with 20 vs 18 a no brainer). Total cost is almost $15k.

We had three HVAC companies out to bid and had swings of several thousands of dollar for similar equipment grades. Bids ranged from 11k to 19k.
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
Sorry I cannot let this go. This is not true.

The buyback on the newer kinds, which use inverter technology, means that the buyback is a lot farther off than you think for more efficient heat pumps and A/Cs.

Prior to them being the lowest common denominator by law, only the top-end shit was inverter technology.

I never recommend the top end stuff unless the customer blurts out something like "I only pay way too much for my shit!"

Love ya Wayne! Say hi to the Mrs for me plz!
:) I stand corrected! :)
I would like you to use your considerable pull to get me across the border...
 

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