New Heater and Air Conditioner in Seattle Area

images 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11One of our regular readers, Q-Diddy, is looking for some advice on getting a new heating and air system. Sounds like he’s looking for 2 furnaces and 2 air units for 2-zone heating and air conditioning of a large space.

My questions to him are what is the total square footage to need two full systems, and what kind of system is in there now?

If anyone has had a new heater or air conditioner installed recently, we’d appreciate your input.

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

28 thoughts on “New Heater and Air Conditioner in Seattle Area

  1. Ardell-

    I currently have 2 Payne (owned by Carrier), 3 ton, gas furnaces that are heating a 4700 sqft home as one unit/zone. These are the original units that came with the house when it was built in 1989.

    A local company recommended me splitting up to 2 zones and I recieved a quote for 2 Carrier 96% AFUE, 3 ton, “Infinity” variable furnaces, 213 SEER 3 ton, “Comfort” A/C with pads, 2 thermostats, 2 coils, parts and labor for ~$25,900.

    Another company recommended only 1 (5 ton), furnace,1 (5 ton), A/C, etc. and the price was roughly half.

    Not sure why the conflicting recommendation.

    Any help would be appreciated. πŸ™‚

  2. The best heating decision we made was having cellulose blown into our walls. It enabled us to go with a smaller and more efficient furnace.

    There is a heat loss calculation that can be done to properly specify heating and cooling capacity, taking into effect the local climate, square footage, wall perimeter, windows, type of insulation, etc. But good luck finding a Seattle heating contractor who will do it! I wound up buying a program, calculating my needs myself, and specifying what I wanted. This was invariably less capacity than what all the contractors I contacted for bids wanted to sell. But what we chose heats our 3-story old house just fine. In fact, too much capacity shortens furnace life – the furnace doesn’t run long enough at heat to dry out the water vapor used by combustion.

    My advice is to insulate first, and do your own energy loss calc.

  3. Hi Ardell
    I’ll try to answer as best I can if I miss something feel free to shoot me an E-mail with more questions.
    Any company quoting new equipment should perform a manual j calculation. A manual j is the industry standard method for calculating the energy load of the house, trying to use square footage can lead to big mistakes. To perform one properly all rooms should be measured along with windows insulation and orientation. Unfortunately many estimators/salesman dont perform a man-j. It takes a fair amount of time to do correctly if your afraid the homeowner will make his choice strictly on dollars.

    After you have you the sizing of the equipment look at the options for new equipment.

    Is you current system “twinned” that is does one thermostat control both furnaces?

    If you have 2 stats your system is zoned, each stat controls one piece of equipment for section of the house. If that is the case switching to one unit will affect how your home is heated/cooled to the point i’m beyond certain you will notice the difference.

    I’m not a huge fan of one giant system for a large house. If budget dictates that as the only option then fine. I wont go into why I dont like it right now, would take to much techy talk.

    Second there are a lot of options between your 2 quotes. The carrier/bryant infinity systems are the absolute top of the line. The infinty controller manages the equipment staging, cooling, humidification, dehumidification, Indoor air quality euipment and ventilation. It is 2 stage equipment with a variable speed blower, your comfort rep should have satisfactorily explained how that affects you and your home.

    If the $25,000 is out of your comfort or budget range ask what the other choices are.

    I’m sure I missed something you asked, so please e-mail and I will help all I can.

  4. Thanks Aaron,

    That link isn’t working well and I’m the only one who can see your email address and Q-Diddy is the one with the question. So I’ll post your email address here for him. If you don’t want it showing publicly, let me know and I’ll pull it off.

  5. Q-Diddy,

    Before you spend $25,000 at least get 2 or 3 more quotes for the same job. No brainer for someone to charge half the cost for half the “stuff”. While Aaron said not to go by square footage, seems to me that 4,500 to 5,000 sf likely calls for the bigger job with the double equipment.

    I rarely run into people putting in new heating equipment except when we have that problem during an inspection, which is rare. The furnace replacements have been MUCH less expensive than what you are planning to spend. In fact I’ve never heard of anyone spending that much for a furnace job. But that could just be my experience.

    Not likely you could ever recoup that cost when you sell the house, so unless you are planning to stay there for 20 years I’d be checking out other options.

    I’ll give a heads up to my home inspector and see if he might come over and give his $.02. I’ll send him this link.

  6. Q-Diddy
    You can call several contractors and ask the salesman if he will perform a man-j. You should be able to tell by his response if he is eager to perform one. If he starts hemming and hawing about how they do it, then I’d move on. Ardell had some great points, that 25000 won’t come back in energy savings. I doubt you would get it back on sale but I would defer my opinion to Ardell’s.

    4500 sf should be 2 systems but I would still want the man-j to size both systems.

    The evolution system you were quoted is very exspensive we sell very few in a year. Some of the estimates were in the $20,000 range so it might be rasonable for that system in your area.

    Whether it’s worth it or not depends on your desire for all the extras the evolution provides. None of the extras significantly improve efficiency.

    What are your expectations from replacing your equipment?
    If you are looking to save big on utilities I’d start with an energy audit first. If the equipment is wearing out and needs replacing for piece of mind or to avoid repairs then see several more quotes.

  7. Q-Diddy
    I dont know your market but You should be able to get 2 high efficiency furnaces and 13 seer airs installed around $14000.
    Most contractors carry 2 lines of equipment a name brand and one not so well advertised. The “b” line will be less expensive, I would not be afraid of that. If you are familiar with the contractor and how long they have been in business you will be fine. How the equipment is installed and warranted is more important than the brand.

  8. Aaron-

    I have another company scheduled for today, so hopefully I’ll be able to triangulate pricing, needs, etc. soon.

    I’ll update you guys on the progress.

    grassy azz!

  9. Keep us posted…and let’s stick to the Italian version, multo grazie πŸ™‚ I actually bought 5 cards with a picture of grass growing on an unusual place. It was a blank card with no other words on it. I never found 5 people to send it to πŸ™‚ I think I sent it five times to the same person.

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