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New Air conditioner / furnace for home

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I am considering replacing my air conditioner and furnace.  I have a 4 ton downstairs and a 2 ton for upstairs.  I have 24" ceilings in the downstairs and the 4 ton just doesn't do the job in the summertime. 

I am looking for tips, suggestions, recommendations, and generally wanting to know how to not get ripped off.

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I don't have 24' ceilings, but have replaced (have had replaced) two a/c units (upstairs and downstairs) and one furnace (upstairs).  I had a guy we used to repair and service the old units for around 10 years before the first one necessitated replacement.  We would have a once per year conversation about how much it was going to cost to recharge with the old kind of refrigerant versus the cost to replace. 

I'm still rocking the 30 year old furnace downstairs.  But both a/c units (comparably sized to what I had before) are far more efficient as far as cooling goes (bills cut in half in the summer months).  The only thing my guy said is whatever brand he recommended was something for which he could get parts locally from several sources without issue.  Due to the length of our business relationship and due to the fact that he was a mom & pop outfit (minus mom as far as I can tell), I took his advice and am typing this with cool air blowing across my forehead.

Edited by dcbc

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1 minute ago, dcbc said:

I don't have 24' ceilings, but have replaced (have had replaced) two a/c units (upstairs and downstairs) and one furnace (upstairs).  I had a guy we used to repair and service the old units for around 10 years before the first one necessitated replacement.  We would have a once per year conversation about how much it was going to cost to recharge with the old kind of refrigerant versus the cost to replace. 

I'm still rocking the 30 year old furnace downstairs.  But both a/c units (comparably sized to what I had before) are far more efficient as far as cooling goes (bills cut in half in the summer months).  The only thing my guy said is whatever brand he recommended was something for which he could get parts locally from several sources without issue.  Due to the length of our business relationship and due to the fact that he was a mom & pop outfit (minus mom as far as I can tell), I took his advice and am typing this with cool air blowing across my forehead.

So your furnace man is queer? (NTTAWWT)

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17 minutes ago, Gil Bang said:

So your furnace man is queer? (NTTAWWT)

Didn't strike me as such.  But didn't bring the old lady out on the job either.  Didn't offer me the bruised knee discount.  Didn't describe things as fabulous.  Didn't wear tight shorts.  Didn't make out with any dudes during the install or other service calls.  NTTAWWT.

 

He is a retired now.

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Edited by dcbc

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$6350 for a Goodman 14 SER (I believe have to check) not sure of tonnage for my mom last week......outdoor unit and evaporator/exchange in attic and I believe new furnace as well

above that 14/15 SER you really start to pay for it....much more quiet than old unit took them about 5 hours total and that was fucking with the old shitty thermostat and replacing it too

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I paid about $6500 for Lennox system about two years ago.   My electric bills which used to run close to $400 this time of year are now down under $250, so yes the newer system do deliever the energy savings.

One thing you might consider if you can stretch  it is trying to get the system installed when some of these A/C companies are looking for work in the cooler months.  Right now  if you are anywhere where A/C is a neccessity, they got you by the nuts if you need a new system.  

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7 hours ago, ButtFumble said:

$6350 for a Goodman 14 SER (I believe have to check) not sure of tonnage for my mom last week......outdoor unit and evaporator/exchange in attic and I believe new furnace as well

above that 14/15 SER you really start to pay for it....much more quiet than old unit took them about 5 hours total and that was fucking with the old shitty thermostat and replacing it too

Something, something, tonnage for your mom . . . 

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Just replaced ours. $9400 for a 4 ton 17 seer carrier. Should have done last winter but I rolled the dice one too many times and it finally crapped out. It was old as shit though, some of it was 1996

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And it was 2 stage which I wanted. Ecobee thermostat and 4in filter by the blower

Wanted a Trane or American standard but they were pricey.

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Loved the two Goodman units I had at the last home; never had an issue and I ran them hard. New build has a 5 ton Lennox 2 stage 16 SEER.  I have always heard bad things about Lennox and repairs, but I don't really have a choice in the matter.  Is a 5 ton right for 3500 sqft 1 story?

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On 7/31/2020 at 4:55 PM, Enchubben said:

Loved the two Goodman units I had at the last home; never had an issue and I ran them hard. New build has a 5 ton Lennox 2 stage 16 SEER.  I have always heard bad things about Lennox and repairs, but I don't really have a choice in the matter.  Is a 5 ton right for 3500 sqft 1 story?

One unit for 3500 sq feet?  

I have a Lennox going on it's third year.   No issues yet at least with the A/C.  When we had it installed, it immediately had issues with the heat for which was due to a recall where the parts that were sent for the recall were crap which they replaced during the system install.   Lennox acknowledged the issue with the recall parts and the A/C company got it turned around quickly and it's worked well without issues.   My home is 2300 sf and my utility bills have been cut by 40%

Edited by Nueces River Rat

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1 hour ago, Nueces River Rat said:

One unit for 3500 sq feet?  

I have a Lennox going on it's third year.   No issues yet at least with the A/C.  When we had it installed, it immediately had issues with the heat for which was due to a recall where the parts that were sent for the recall were crap which they replaced during the system install.   Lennox acknowledged the issue with the recall parts and the A/C company got it turned around quickly and it's worked well without issues.   My home is 2300 sf and my utility bills have been cut by 40%

Yea one unit for the 3500 sqft home. Maybe that is typical for new builds, or maybe the newer units are just more powerful?

How big is your unit (no homo)?

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I was skeptical of Lennox, but our builder said he had had very good luck with them and that they were very quiet.

So far so good (9 years on one of them).

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1 hour ago, Catpfish said:

Are you spray foam insulation?  That'll make huge difference in the sizing of the unit.

You will have to be patient with me because I am still learning but the contract lists the following:

  • exterior walls - R-13 fiberglass batts (excluding garage)
  • sloped ceilings R-22 fiberglass batts
  • flat ceilings below attic R30 blown insulation

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Loved the two Goodman units I had at the last home; never had an issue and I ran them hard. New build has a 5 ton Lennox 2 stage 16 SEER.  I have always heard bad things about Lennox and repairs, but I don't really have a choice in the matter.  Is a 5 ton right for 3500 sqft 1 story?

Depends. If you have foam insulation maybe. Too many factors to just go solely based off square footage. If conventional insulation you will need two units.


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6 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

I was skeptical of Lennox, but our builder said he had had very good luck with them and that they were very quiet.

So far so good (9 years on one of them).

I should add that the builder has been in business for 30-plus years and is regarded as one of the best in Dallas.

He did say he had trouble finding good HVAC contractors that would do build subcontracts and this particular one is kind of a Lennox-type.  But the contractor is also longstanding and fairly well known.

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On 7/31/2020 at 5:55 PM, Enchubben said:

Loved the two Goodman units I had at the last home; never had an issue and I ran them hard. New build has a 5 ton Lennox 2 stage 16 SEER.  I have always heard bad things about Lennox and repairs, but I don't really have a choice in the matter.  Is a 5 ton right for 3500 sqft 1 story?

5 tons for 3,500 sq. ft. ?  Seems on the low side. We have a 5 ton unit for our first floor, and our house is just under 4k.  

Is this a new house ?  R15 is min. code in Va. R38 for roofs, and R30 for sloped ceilings. Every region is different of course.

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17 hours ago, Enchubben said:

You will have to be patient with me because I am still learning but the contract lists the following:

  • exterior walls - R-13 fiberglass batts (excluding garage)
  • sloped ceilings R-22 fiberglass batts
  • flat ceilings below attic R30 blown insulation

Just for your understanding, your house is traditional insulation.  The batts are the rolled type insulation that is stuffed into the walls and between the joists for the sloped ceilings.  The flat ceilings will be covered by some type of cellulose (most likely recycled paper and cardboard) that is blown in from a truck parked outside. 

The spray foam insulation is an expanding (can be open cell or closed cell) product that is sprayed on the outside walls and directly underneath the roof.  It expands and fills the cavity.  They leave it "rough" looking under the roof, but will come in with a long saw blade and cut it level with the wall studs on the outside walls.  It is superior to traditional insulation but costs quite a bit more.

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A timely topic.  We are not the original owners of our 3 story TH.  It was built in 1993.  The previous owners in 2017 replaced downstairs (3 1/2 ton Trane) and second floor (3 ton Trane) but not the heaters.  No issues.  The third floor (actually a nicely refinished attic with bath and a pool table :) ) is a 20 year old Goodman A/C (1 1/2 ton) with electric heat.  We have a home warranty with Super Home.  The problem is getting the Goodman to cooperate when the service tech arrived.  For several months on occasion the Goodman stops cooling, infrequent.  The Nest thermostat is set on 78 and it can reach 92 up there.  Then overnight it catches up and cools to Nest setting.  Rainy, cool days like we've had recently in Houston allow it to work normal.  A few 95 degree days and it can't cool.  The original tech told me it was probably a capacitor issue and the Warranty company fine print will not replace those.  When the compressor is running and the fan is blowing it will not blow hot air like the other two units.  

I'm ready to pull the plug and buy an entirely new unit.  I'm also told Goodman isn't a good unit.  But hey, if the current one is 20 years plus can the current crop be that bad?

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Yea one unit for the 3500 sqft home. Maybe that is typical for new builds, or maybe the newer units are just more powerful?
How big is your unit (no homo)?

Lmao!

As far as the unit. 4 ton and 15 SEER.

We did get some of duct work rerouted to move more air to far end of the house. Three years later seems to be working well.

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That Goodman was a cheapo when it was new. I’d replace it. I find it hard to believe it’s a capacitor issue. Those things normally work or don’t. Did they check to see if it was dirty, had enough refrigerant, didn’t have loose duct work or anything

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@Jkwellborn

The issue began 6 months ago when the compressor made a singing noise you could hear much clearer inside the house than standing outside by the compressor.  Since it cools sometimes, more than not, and the fan is not blowing hot air out the original guy who came and couldn't find anything wrong said probably capacitor.  He did check refrigerant.  The loose duct part is interesting.  The fan blows hard out the first vent but a trickle out the second furthest away from unit.

Edited by BevoSwag

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1 minute ago, BevoSwag said:

@Jkwellborn

The issue began 6 months ago when the compressor made a singing noise you could hear much clearer inside the house than standing outside by the compressor.  Since it cools sometimes, more than not, and the fan is not blowing hot air out the original guy who came and couldn't find anything wrong said probably capacitor.  He did check refrigerant.  The loose duct part is interesting.  The fan blows hard out the first vent but a trickle out the second furthest away from unit.

Strange.  AC doesn't usually have intermittent problems.  I suppose it could be a bearing (singing noise sounds like a bearing failure) in the compressor that is maybe locking up or making it turn too slow to compress adequately, but even that seems far fetched.

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Which fan are we talking about blowing hot air? The fan on the condenser (outdoor unit) or the air handler (indoor unit)? Because the air handler shouldn’t be blowing hot air unless the heat is on. The condenser fan should be blowing hot air any time the ac is running.

Is this a heat pump? It might not be reversing properly. I’ve seen control boards short out and have the heat strips kick in with the air as well.

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@Jkwellborn  The fan outside on the condenser is not blowing hot air.  The two bigger units outside are exhausting hot air when fan is circulating.  Not so on bad AC.

Not a heat pump.  Electric heat.

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@TwiceHorn  Agreed.  Perplexing.  Right now the AC therm is set on 78 and the inside room temp is 92.  Outside temp in Houston now is 94.  I just hope the damn thing doesn't start cooling by the time the repair arrives tomorrow.

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I'm certain I'm headed towards a new AC unit.  Back to original question, is Goodman good enough.  At my age I probably only have ten years at most left in this house.

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[mention=234]Jkwellborn[/mention]  The fan outside on the condenser is not blowing hot air.  The two bigger units outside are exhausting hot air when fan is circulating.  Not so on bad AC.
Not a heat pump.  Electric heat.

Heat pumps still have back up heat.

Try a different thermostat like recommended. Or have the tech bypass it all together and force it to run.

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It's a Nest thermostat which goes off line a lot but according to Nest info on web the schedule is not affected.  Nevertheless, great suggestions and I will ask the tech to bypass.  Thanks to all.  Much appreciated.

 

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I asked for the manual j calculation from the builder to confirm they sized this properly - if its appropriate then so be it. Will be interesting to see if they provide it or not. Just don't want to move in and immediately notice that the AC has to run constantly to keep the house cool because they undersized it.

FWIW - I asked my realtor to ask a couple other CM's and they all thought it seemed low and one of them remarked that it may have been low, and they plan to use dampers in some of the smaller rooms to divert more air to the areas of the house with higher ceilings.   (which is of course 75% of the home)

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