Cheapest way to purchase a new central A/C unit?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Daniel Swartz, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    0
    So my parents' central A/C unit finally died last night after about 20 years. The repairman came out and told us that the cost of repairing the unit is high enough to justify purchasing an entirely new one given the age of the existing one. Makes sense...

    But where do we purchase a good one inexpensively? Is there any place we can find reviews, energy rebates, etc.? This is all for a home in Virginia btw.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
    you can't really [​IMG]
    it's not like you can go to home depot and buy one. And honestly, the cost of the equipment isn't that much, the labor will probably run more, and how carefully it's installed is pretty important (more so than the brand of equpment IMO) you can shop contractors to install it, some will be cheaper but probably will charge in the ballpark as the others for the same equipment, some will have more time estimated in for labor than others. (at least these are my observatins from getting dragged along on sales calls)
    call your local power co. Ask if they have any high eff. incentives currently. Consumer reports probably has reviews, how useful are they? not very [​IMG]
    I'm partial to the carrier brands (carrier, bryant, day night) and despise trane equipment, but that's just me
    I guess that's my .02
     
  3. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Messages:
    1,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh yeah, I love my Carrier A/C. [​IMG] My old central air unit crapped out three years ago and I decided to scrap the ancient furnace at the same time as the A/C (they were offering a 20% discount if I replaced both at the same time.) What a change in the gas and electric bills! [​IMG] The new units are much more energy efficient.
    Any good HVAC contractor worth his salt can help your parents figure out what's the best unit for them. Probably the main question is, how long do they intend to live there? If they're going to be moving in four or five years, it probably doesn't pay to get the most energy efficient model because they won't recoup the energy savings by the time they move. I got one rated for a mid-range energy efficiency (plan on moving in 5-6 years, tops) and it still made a huge dent in my heating and cooling costs.
     
  4. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  5. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 15, 2001
    Messages:
    1,429
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  6. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  7. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2000
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  8. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  9. Larry Carlson

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dan;
    I'm a HVAC contractor -sorry, not in your area - The best units out there are Carrier, Amana, & Lennox. The problem with the condensers with the spine coil are, as already pointed out, the ease of damage, and hard to clean - if a coil is dirty, it can't shed the heat fast enough.

    If you are looking for a dealer, let me suggest checking with your local Chamber of Commerce. The reason for that is that the "bad guys" tend not to belong to local organizations like that and if they do join, they get kicked out when the other local merchants find out what kind of people they are. It's the best resource I've found.


    DO NOT use the guys who work for the home improvement warehouse companies. These are guys who can't make it on their own. You want someone who knows what they are doing. There is a lot of technical knowledge required in designing the right system for your parents. It is not like buying a toaster oven. Getting someone who does not understand these systems can be a real disaster. They can give you a cheap price, but this is something that has to be done right.

    If I can answer any questions for you, feel free to ask.

    Larry Carlson
     
  10. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the wealth of info guys! I love the HTF.

    Gordon: We used Checkbook to get a contractor to look at the broken A/C unit and were very disappointed with the results. The guy was rude and unprofessional. Normally though, Checkbook is a solid resource!

    Larry: Thanks for the recommendations. I might forward you some additional questions as we move forward. =)
     
  11. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Messages:
    1,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh yeah, the best part of getting the new furnace and A/C unit...a kickass setback thermostat. It's changed my life! :b Love to have the house toasty warm when I wake up in the winter and warm when I return from work. There isn't as much of a temperature range in the summer, since I have to keep the place comfortably cool and free of humidity for the dogs.
     
  12. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  13. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 1999
    Messages:
    2,312
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've had no real issues with my Trane (8+ years old). I can't say that I'm partial to that brand, though. No issues with the coil- there is no dirt here in FL.[​IMG]
    But, I have seen the compressors on three different Carrier units seize in the past two weeks (just friends/acquaintances- I'm no professional)-all around 10 years old. So, that has left a strong impression on me.
    How about Amana? I like their top mount fridges.[​IMG]
     
  14. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
    trane, carrier, goodman, they all buy the compressors from one of 2 or three companies [​IMG] Besides, it's all in the installation [​IMG]
     

Share This Page