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Questions about New HVAC quotes

I am out for quotes to intall new residential HVAC system, ducts and all.  Is it unreasonable for me to ask for hard duct trunk to be split and ran down both sides of the house and then have flex duct run to the registers?  So far, I have met with resistance.  The want to use a single trunk down length of house and run flex across the floor.  This is in the attic.  I kind of want the floor free of obstuctions.

Also, I have a slight feeling that the estimator massged the heat load numbers in his program to stay at three tons.  Does this happen?  Or is my gut wrong.  900sqft of the house is 1930's with no insulation and 900 sq ft 2000 and to code.  All windows double paned.  Appreciate any feedback



  • John Mills_5John Mills_5 Posts: 916Member
    You're the customer

    They should do as you want as long as it isn't hindering performance. Seems that what you want would add time & material to the job but as long as you are paying, they should do that. I understand you don't want to lose floor space. 
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    thought so

    He explained how expensive it would be then told me the old stuff would be pulled and new stuff in in a day. Oh well, on to the next contractor.
  • TechmanTechman Posts: 2,144Member
    edited February 2011
    1 or 2 main trunks

    Hi Joe.What is the dimentions of the attic ? 900 sq ft usually makes it a little bit more difficult to install two supply trunks. It also depends  on where the return register is in relation to the AHU . We always consider storage space in attic units. Can the one supply trunk be run close to the outter walls of the attic and the flex be run under the attic floor or up towards the roof peak and then down to the other side of the attic?Where does the attic acess hatch enter into the attic? Our attic sensitive customers are suprised at the storage space we provide for them! It is a piece of cake as far as we are concerned.
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    great idea

    50' x 22' roughly. I would be fine with up and over! great idea, thank you . more cushion for head. but, would heat from sun on roof heat the flex duct? I have seen 140*f up there.

    return registers and Ahu are at opposite ends of the house. I suspect the extra ductwork would require larger fan and a/c. But I'm ok with that. It is currently a mess up there. I'd like to clean it up once and for all with well planned ductwork so I,or future owners never have to redo....Kind of like my steam system.
  • TechmanTechman Posts: 2,144Member
    edited February 2011

    The attic should not be allowed to get that hot, vent it. Having a larger fan for the extra ductwork is not correct. The proper size unit for the house ,the proper size duct for the proper size unit. Try very hard to not size the flexducts from the REGULAR Ductalator, use the flexduct Ductalator. Support the flex going up to the peak to prevent kinks. Make sure they use Mastic Duct Sealing Tape.Take-off's w/dampers sure making fine tuning easy.Also ,use 3-4 90*  turns in the return duck,if possible.Size the return duct for .06" w.c.
  • Brad WhiteBrad White Posts: 2,392Member
    To add to that

    If the attic gets that hot and you do vent it, you are relegating the AC unit and ductwork to the outside. There are more energy loss, moisture and condensation issues with such installations than I care to recount. If you insist on installing the AC system in your attic like that, insulate the pitched roof and gable ends properly and make that volume part of the conditioned space. Not actually conditioned per se, but make the thermal boundary outside of the equipment and ductwork. Even sealed and insulated, it is a hostile place to put in good systems.

    My $0.02

    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • TechmanTechman Posts: 2,144Member
    Hi Brad,

    and what a good $ 0.02  it is!
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member

    I plan on leaving all design work to the conractor.  I use the attic storage regularly and as I get older, do not wish to lift trunks and Christmas decorations over a half dozen ducts.  The attic IS vented with ridge vents, gable vents and attic fan.  When it hits 100 down here it is hot up there.  

    I'll post later to let you know what the next guy says can be done.
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    two down, no dice

    I'm not getting anywhere. second guy asked me how well the three ton works and I say it is weak. he asks ME what size I want to put in! I was honest. I told him I want the size that will keep me from bi&@/ing in the middle of summer. haven't heard back. Which is fine because he wasn't impressive. On to number three.

    by the way, where can I find code information? I was told that edge of compressor has to be six ft away from property line to pass inspection. second guy said that was wrong. I'd like to know what " the book " says.
  • Brad WhiteBrad White Posts: 2,392Member
    "The Book"

    Codes vary widely by area, starting at the state level then local ordinances. Your "distance to abutters" could be part of a noise ordinance or zoning local you you or even in some designated historic or other defined districts.  Not that six feet will help much with some noise.

    Most states these days subscribe to the IBC/IMC (International Building/Mechanical Codes),  or reference these as applicable standards. You may find these codes to be a bit thin on detail and distance to property lines tends to fall into local zoning.

    I would suggest you contact a local and independent general contractor, architect or engineer who practices in your area and ask them.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    well I was hoping

    estimators would know. I didn't think it would be this difficult. there are literally hundreds of conTractors to choose from. so far I went with large and small companies. The internet comments are not holding up.
  • tim smithtim smith Posts: 2,282Member
    Re: quotes, sound issues etc

    1st, I like the guy who stated it had to be 6 feet from property line as this at least says he is thinking of the ordinances/codes. Does not mean that it covers the ordinance although. Here in Seattle, we have to have a night time of 45db at the propery line from equipment and 55db day time. Of course almost none of the mfrs of condensors can meet this, but with the most quiet of the units, with credit for distance to line, some will.  So many are rated close to 65db standard ari ratings. That means with no sound barrier, you would need 10 ft to line just to meet daytime and then lock off at night time with timer per the code. This is becoming more and more enforced now even though it has been on the books for years but only addressed on a complaint basis up until now.

      2nd, you definately should get what you want as far as duct routing as long as you are willing to pay for the extra work and material. Sounds very feasible but more time consuming. Keep searching, you are building up an arsenal of questions to discuss with the people. You might do yourself and the estimators a favor and discuss over the phone your concerns and questions and weed out that way to save time.  Good luck, Tim 

  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    I appreciate

    that bit of info myself but I have a 3ton unit that remained after we doubled the size of the house.  He was on the fence between installing a 2.5 or 3 ton and that sounds too small for me.

    Ultimately, I think it had to do with the width of the attic stairs.  The second guy, clammed up and went silent after I asked for proof of insurance.  On to number three.
  • rlaggrenrlaggren Posts: 159Member
    Doing things right


    I'm not in this field; I'm a plumber. But we have to do estimates quotes, whatever, just like everybody else. I was on the other end when I ended up generaling a house restore after a fire.

    You're doing the right stuff and I know from personal experience it can take a bunch of time and reveal stuff about human practice that will leave you a slightly less optimistic person. However. That's the way it is and I found that there _are_ excellent tradesmen around. The telephone preview was an excellent idea. Pick a few non-contraversial questions like the insurance one.

    My point in posting, though was this small reminder which maybe you don't need anyway: Try to make sure you are at least neutral when dealing with the guy. Don't bring up previous disappointments or let any negative attitude creep into your talk; don't let the past degrade a new relationship. Quiet interested courtesy all the way. The reason is that (beside being the Right Thing to Do ) any intelligent tradesman knows that if you're acting dissatisfied or doubtful or pushy now it will only go down hill; and if they have a grain of sense they walk quietly away from that. Gotta be yourself, look out for your honest interest, but keep a gentle quiet demeanor so you don't cut yourself off needlessly from good people.

    Cheers, Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    Thanks Rufus

    I know.  I greet each one with hope and courtesy and we part that way.

    An update, the independent guy who I thought didn't have insurance said he will apply for higher  insurance for this particular job if he get's it. He laid off his install crew during hard times and does mostly service work. He delayed responding to me because I gave him the wrong e-mail address.  He is the only one willing to work with me to hammer out a good looking install.  Even asked if I would be present to ensure they deliver what I want.    I will still meet with third contractor but the second is looking strong.  Any opinion on how this second guy is responding?
  • TechmanTechman Posts: 2,144Member
    No offence

    meant or intended;But, are you interested in getting the right equipment or should the contractor be the ONE who is interested in ordering/recieving /installing the proper units.Now if you want to be involved thats different.Your Honor,the homeowner recieved AND signed for the equipment so he is partially at fault.There have been several wrong deliveries made in the past[ for my customers] so we simply call the supply house and problem solved. But it is OUR problem not yours.
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    None Taken

    I will definately be involved because it was when I wasn't involved, that contractors came in and made a mess of the existing ductwork.  And, yes I want the contractor to take responsiility for what they size because that's what I am paying him for.

      But when I read reviews of contractors who virtually force their clients to seek litigation before responding to incorrect sizing, and other problems,  I have to decide if the contractor quotingme  is going to do the right thing.  Quoting a  2.5 ton to replace a three ton that is barely cutting it to cool 1180-2000 sq ft in the south where the duct work is in an attic that reaches 140 deg is not doing the right thing.  I don't care how much technology has improved.  A BTU is a BTU.

      The guy who quoted a 4 ton without any heat load calcultions is not doing the right thing either. However, I believe he is in the ballpark.  The third guy comes today.
  • TechmanTechman Posts: 2,144Member
    Right on

    Mr.Joe V.You sound like a customer we would get along with very well. So , abiding by the rules of our host I cannot /will not  work for you .Besides ,we charge by the hour ,plus gas!!Please keep us updated.
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member

    what rules are you referring to friend? And, why should I care how you charge?
  • TechmanTechman Posts: 2,144Member
    edited March 2011
    Hi Joe V,

    The rules of the house are I would have to in the "Find A Contractor"  section and as of now I am not registered. I like our host and I like coming here and flapping my jaw about different things so I obey the rules.Besides I live on Long Island N.Y.  and you are down south ,my truck gets 6mpg,so thats alot of gas.There are GOOD guys down there,I just know it!Sincerly.
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member

    now I understand!LoL! Third guy cameand is potentially the charm. I gave him a list of questions and concerns over the phone. He showed up with all the answers and solutions. He understands my needs and had the answer to my code question ready. I suspect he will be higher in price but i really dont want to babysit anyone through a job. He collected his data and took home to crunch numbers. Dont know why, but i like that better than an on the spot quote.

    It is a real pain to get three quotes but in the end, it is worth it. If I were in the contrCting business, I would never want to be the first bidder.
  • TechmanTechman Posts: 2,144Member
    I don't want to say

    ,I knew it! Good Luck!First ,Last doesn't count .It should be the one that impresses you.And he is #3.
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    Picked a contractor

    Picked a contractor that was 40% higher than other two bids.


    1) He had has the personnel, certifications, experience, insurance and reputation

    2) He warranties work and heat load calculations. Others wouldn't.

    3) Equipment specified was carrier 16 SEER  others Goodman 13 and Trane 13.

    4) He was willing to design duct work so it wouldn't interfere with storage.

    5) He called 2 to 2-1/2 days to install, others claimed one day. 

    He had everything I was looking for and thought I wouldn't find.  It is worth the premium to me.
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    Before Photo

    Keep in mind, the original installation done in 1992 was ok until we added on and the GC's sub did this.  It work ok considering but looks awful!
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Posts: 234Member
    After photo

    Looks great and I thank all for their feed back to my questions. 
This discussion has been closed.


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