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Central Air Conditioners

Old 06-04-2010, 02:20 PM
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Default Central Air Conditioners

My parents need to replace their central A/C. They live in Central Florida and I believe they need a 4-Ton unit. When we replaced our system about 8 years ago we went with a Trane and it has been flawless.

Any suggestions on what brands to avoid or what to buy? Any advice an add-ons such as the UV mold lights or whole house filters would be appreciated too.

They are pushing 80 and the choices are a bit overwhelming. They've received 3 estimates and each bad-mouthed one brand or another.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:40 PM
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Changed out my old 4 ton system (Condensing unit, air handler) and replaced it with a Carrier Infinity unit in Nov 2007. We also added the UV light sanitizer. We are now using 50% less energy and couldn't be happier. The Carrier warrenty coverage is tremendous. Get the system serviced every six months and change the filter monthy or so and they will be set for many years. Good Luck!
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:01 PM
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Mac is right, buy a qualilty unit, get it serviced regularly and it will outlast your parents.
I live in SW FL and have 3 units ranging up to 5 tons.
Two are Puron and one is R22 gas.
One is SEER 14 (new minimum efficiency in FL) and other two are SEER 13.
They are 7-4 years old.
Only get Puron gas as R22 is no longer made after 2010 and will get increasingly expensive to add Freon.
Only get a SEER 14-16. Higher ones are not worth extra cost and might require new ductwork too.
The UV light is nice if they have allergies to mold. Otherwise, forget it.
All brands have problems with reliability, Trane has least, then Rheem/Carrier and worst is Goodman.
Get a 10 yr parts and labor warranty on the compressor and condenser coil.
Get a filter that they can easily change monthly or get the big V shaped filter that is good for 4 months of use. It is more expensive to install ductwork for it and to replace it though.
They could get a service contract and have someone come out and install a new filter between 6-12 month service inspections.
Check around for best installer's reputation. You are buying that as much as you are buying the parts.
Best of luck to you.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:08 PM
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Trane or American Standard,I'm not a big fan of all the fancy model's for 2 reason's.The savings almost never justify the cost,and the parts are way more costly when they do break.I have the latest and greatest Carrier at the time and a fan motor went out.the cost of the motor was just under $400 my brother's cost,the same motor for the regular one was less than $100.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:10 PM
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They've had 3 companies come out. Products suggested were Lennow, York and Bryant. It may be that they told the guys they wanted the lowest cost, but I'm not sure. The company suggesting Bryant is a member of another fishing forum.
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:09 PM
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Just remeber- when you start looking at brands all the majors Carrier, Trane, York, Lennox are going to be your best bet in terms of reliablity. But the contractor that installs is more impotant than brand. Also make sure that the warranty will transfer owernship, I know Carrier warrantys do. A name brand unit will not make up for shody installation by the contractor. I would steer towards a variable speed air handler for increased humidity control with a mid range outdoor unit. For instance a Carrier Comfort 15 outdoor unit with a FV series air handler will give you the best SEER for dollar spent. You may also want to consider a two stage Comfort Series because of location, moderate nights and hot days. If you have any specific q's pm me.

LC
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tommyr904 View Post
Trane or American Standard,I'm not a big fan of all the fancy model's for 2 reason's.The savings almost never justify the cost,and the parts are way more costly when they do break.I have the latest and greatest Carrier at the time and a fan motor went out.the cost of the motor was just under $400 my brother's cost,the same motor for the regular one was less than $100.

This is a very good point few consider until it breaks. It's nice to have variable speed that ramps up so slowly you never realize the unit came on. Or the ultra high efficiency 16 seer heat pumps and 97% furnaces that saves you $5-$10 per month (for those 4-5 months you use it) yet takes 20 years to offset the upfront cost. As mentioned these high efficiency/high tech units are nice when they work but they are more complex and if/when they break are far more expensive to repair.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:58 PM
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I actually put in a 14 seer whirlpool unit (thought they just made kitchen appliances eh?) inside and outside last summer for right over 5 grand. My a/c bills have dropped dramatically and I have had no problems with it at all. It came with a five year compressor warranty.
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Old 06-04-2010, 06:26 PM
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Had 10 Bryant units installed with PURON 2 years ago on Cape Cod. Quiet and much better cooling results than the units that were then 10 years old. I'm not sold on the remote access t'stats but at that age I doubt they care.

I'm not sure you can go wrong with any of the larger companies but if you can get the units to interface with the Honeywell IQ line of controls you have a winner. I love the Honeywell system that was installed up north. Remote phone, alarm contacts, dehumid, fresh air, everything all in one simple unit.
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Old 06-04-2010, 06:57 PM
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I'm not sure it the tax credits are still available, but last year you could take a federal tax credit upto $1500 for installing energy effecient HVACs. I had to replace my home's system, and I was able to upgrade to a more effecient variable speed two stage unit for basically the same cost as a direct replacement. I just had to come out of pocket with the money, but I got a tax credit on my federal income taxes. You might want to see if this program is still available.
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:11 PM
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I would recommend Bryant. All of the above post have good information in them. The higher the SEER rating the more it cost up front and the more it cost to repair them. I would recommend a 14 or 15 SEER.
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:46 AM
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Thanks for all the great info. I also hooked them up with a local Trane dealer.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:07 AM
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i moved into my house almost 18 years ago it looks like the unit outside was brand new as compared to the rest of the neighbors who had the rheem units. im in a subdivision so builder used the same for all the houses.mine is a carrier super high efficiency unit 4 ton i think and have not had any problems at all with it . the outside is starting to rust and didnt help to be one of the dogs favorite pissing spots but its still going strong
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:59 AM
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There are pretty much two ways to go.

You can buy a Goodman, and change it (on average) every 10 years... or you can buy a Trane and keep it for double that amount of time.

Keep in mind that a Trane will cost MORE than double, but less hassle and less labor.

I do the work myself and buy Goodman. I've learned that when I hire a "pro" to do the work, it has to be done twice. Better I do it "twice" and learn something from it, and save the money.

That is IMHO only.
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Old 06-06-2010, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by OldPete View Post
There are pretty much two ways to go.

You can buy a Goodman, and change it (on average) every 10 years... or you can buy a Trane and keep it for double that amount of time.

Keep in mind that a Trane will cost MORE than double, but less hassle and less labor.

I do the work myself and buy Goodman. I've learned that when I hire a "pro" to do the work, it has to be done twice. Better I do it "twice" and learn something from it, and save the money.

That is IMHO only.
Wow, that has to be the worst advise in this thread. Technically, your not allowed to buy condensors without an EPA liscense, or freon for that matter. Luckily most people don't have the access to a vacuum pump, freon, or any other tool to do it properly.
Sounds like you need to do a little more research when you hire "professionals" to do work for you Pete instead of finding the lowest price hillbilly to hack something in.
Regardless, I don't install Goodman's (never liked them), however, even a Goodman should last more than 10 years if properly installed and maintained.
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:03 PM
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Where in Central FL? My friend is a licensed AC guy, he just did a new unit for me. Some companies are offering rebates on certain models and the gov still has the tax credit rebate.
Trane does have rebates, I believe my unit is an Arcoair which is a middle of the road unit, we did a 15 seer 5 ton and there was a rebate from the company and it qualified for the gov. rebate. My friend is out of the Tampa area, PM me if they are within 25 miles of Tampa and I can give you his #
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by tinmarine View Post
Wow, that has to be the worst advise in this thread. Technically, your not allowed to buy condensors without an EPA liscense, or freon for that matter. Luckily most people don't have the access to a vacuum pump, freon, or any other tool to do it properly.
Sounds like you need to do a little more research when you hire "professionals" to do work for you Pete instead of finding the lowest price hillbilly to hack something in.
Regardless, I don't install Goodman's (never liked them), however, even a Goodman should last more than 10 years if properly installed and maintained.
Hahahaha. I LOVE it when a "pro" chimes in to protect his "turf"...

1) Up until only about a year or two ago, there was no "license" for HVAC in NJ, anyone with a dollar could buy the condenser, compressor, and line set. (The Yellow Jacket and such are even easier to get).

2) When my old condenser and compressor needed to be changed I got quotes (from local "pros") on the SAME EXACT materials ranging from $5300 to $7100. The total cost from a distributor for all the materials was $1472 - DELIVERED to my door. And with that I paid about $150 MORE than a "pro" would have paid. I also bought an encased coil (to avoid the "pan" issue in comment #3 below)

3) Since my old unit was devoid of any refrigerant there were no environmental issues to deal with. I removed condenser and compressor as well as the line set. Upon removing the condenser from the air handler, I found that the unit was installed on a pan incorrectly, and likely attributed to the early demise of the system. The "pro" that installed it for the previous owner was the HIGHEST bid that I received (and I had NO intention of using them again)...

4) The ONLY part I didn't do was the line set connection, and pump-down (superheat, etc.) -- I hired a "pro" that was willing to do it all after he inspected what I did, he was remarkably impressed by my work and my tin knocking skills. I was happy with his work until... I noticed that he didn't remove the shrader valves before doing the work, and he didn't braze, like he said he would (he soldered). Still, I wanted to "trust the pro" and the system worked fine for two years.

5) Turns out "Mr. Pro" did in fact toast the Shraders, but the caps (screw-ons w/oring gaskets) held things (refrigerant) "in" for as long as possible. At the start of the this season the system was 100% empty. Both Shraders had to be pulled, and replaced, as well as all his "pro" work checked, as well as my work. My work was 100% perfect, and he said I could knock tin for him anytime... the joints "should" be ok, but I should check things with the Yellow Jacket from time to time just in case. The leak was caused by the failed shrader as the valve did not reseat after pushing it.

Moral of this long reply?

BE VERY CAREFUL of posts by "pros" that are quick to piss on their turf and tell you why you're too stupid to do the work -- or imply such. I've found that 90% of the pros out there are horrible... and any good trade journal (for anything from carpenters, plumbers, etc.) will say how difficult it is to find people in the trades that take ANY pride in their work. Especially today, when it is VERY competitive and they are working for half of what they were doing the boom.

IMHO and my 2 Cents.

Will the Goodman last longer? Maybe... but statistically, a Trane WILL last longer.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:43 PM
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Well Pete, you did not in fact hire a pro. You hired a hack. Any professional would braze the lines and use a nitrogen purge while brazing. After the brazing is done, you look for leaks by pressurizing the system with nitrogen.
If this guy says he'd use you for tinknocking, I wouldn't go bragging.
HVAC license and an EPA license is two totally seperate things. Still illegal a few years ago to purchase equipment without said EPA license.
I will say this again...... You need to do better reasearch when you hire your so called "pro". Sounds like you had quotes from some, but you don't trust anyone unless they're willing to come behind you and do the bare minimum clean up and final start ups. That is not professional.
Fact of the matter is, IF you had hired a true professional, you wouldn't have a system that failed early and you wouldn't have had to replace and spend the extra money on another system.
The fault in your issues and problems are yours alone and could have been avoided if you did hire someone that knows what they're doing. Which clearly you don't.
But, hey, I applaud guys like you. It's because of guys like you and your hired "professional" that I'm having a banner year for my business fixing hacked in systems. Keep up the good work and quality standards.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:35 PM
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^^ Guffaw... you just had to prove my point, aye?

Only a "pro" like you would blame the victim when you don't do your job well. Sort of the problem with lots of things in this country lately...
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by OldPete View Post
^^ Guffaw... you just had to prove my point, aye?

Only a "pro" like you would blame the victim when you don't do your job well. Sort of the problem with lots of things in this country lately...


Blame the victim, that's great.


Fact of the matter is, YOU bought the equipment, YOU hacked it in, and YOU hired some other hack to finish it off. Your the victim of your own doing hoss.
Blame the victim, that's rich.
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