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Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 08:37AM
My home's gas furnaces (2) are 15 yrs old and approaching end of life so I thought I would replace them before the cold weather hits here in NJ. I've learned that the contractor that installed them (before I moved in) put over sized units in so the heating was never optimum and the short cycling of the furnaces (Goodman) caused parts to go from time to time.

I've had two estimates and both seem high but I think that might be the norm from qualified HVAC guys for the area where I live. Estimate #1 wants to replace the two 90,000BTU Goodmans with one Trane single stage S8X1 80,000 AFUE 80% unit and another of the same S8X1 @ 60,000BTU. He charges $13K, $6,500 for furnace and with a discount included final cost would be $12,800.

Estimate #2 wants to replace the Goodmans with two Carrier 70,000 BTU single stage AFUE 80% units but says my duct work was poorly designed and is too small for the existing system with no dampers. (First guy said nothing about the duct work). He says the system would run poorly without correcting the duct work. (I tend to believe him as he is a neighborhood business and highly recommended in town with a good reputation) He wants $22K for the 2 Carrier units and new duct work with a discount which would make the final price $20K.

Both units are in attics, not really easy to reach, so I know they will charge extra for the inconvenience involved. I'd like to be able to find the actual cost of the furnaces but can't seem to find any resources online that show actual dealer cost.

Does anyone know if it's possible to get those prices and where I might find them? With the cost to dealer I could rough estimate what this job should probably cost, using a typical per hour charge of $75-$90 for the contractor and roughly $40-$50 hour for a helper, with the job taking about 2 to 3 days from what I've been told.

Any advice on a fair pricing for this type of work is greatly appreciated.

TIA



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: tortoise
Date: October 09, 2019 08:46AM
Google is your friend, I am sure the answers are somewhere in the many results:

[www.google.com]
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: 3d
Date: October 09, 2019 08:49AM
Is it possible to get another Estimate #2 with no duct work? So you're comparing apples to apples?
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: October 09, 2019 08:50AM
How can you tell when a furnace is approaching end of life?



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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 09:56AM
Quote
tortoise
Google is your friend, I am sure the answers are somewhere in the many results:

[www.google.com]

I actually spent 2 days googling all kinds of searches. The information there while helpful does not provide the actual cost of the furnaces in estimate #1. That is because the furnaces just came into production 1 year ago and any prices listed are for discontinued units. Estimate # 2 has not provided me with a written estimate with model number as of yet.

Google will get you some ball park figures but I think they are relative to your location. For instance, Google says the "average cost of standard efficiency furnaces installed is about $3,100. Doesn't really help when I'm getting quotes of $6,500 or so.



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 09:58AM
Quote
3d
Is it possible to get another Estimate #2 with no duct work? So you're comparing apples to apples?

That's what I'm trying to do. I've asked for an itemized estimate with Carrier model numbers included but so far the guy has not provided it. He did say that he had a load of unexpected work come in so that might explain his delay.



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 10:08AM
Quote
mattkime
How can you tell when a furnace is approaching end of life?

I've read (on Google) and also been told a typical furnace can last from 15 to 20 yrs. I'm at 15 now but since my units where oversized, they have always run more than they optimally should since they are short cycling. Given the fact that I've needed service about 6 times on one and several service calls on the other, mostly for parts wearing out, I suspect I might be getting close to the point where something major might fail. Since these were cheaper units to begin with, I thought I might as well get them replaces.

Signs of nearing end of life can be a jump in your energy bill, constant repairs needed and lack of parts available, uneven heating, strange noises coming from the furnace, blowing cold air and a burner flame being yellow instead of blue.



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: October 09, 2019 11:34AM
Look at this:

Carrier prices

Why only 80% efficiency? If they're going in the attic, it shouldn't be difficult to go to a higher efficiency. You may also get an energy rebate from your utility company.
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: Fred_Also
Date: October 09, 2019 11:51AM
Here's a link I found that might give you some idea of the pricing.
Give furnace costs and installed costs.


Furnace Price Guide

Fred
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 11:54AM
Quote
macphanatic
Look at this:

Carrier prices

Why only 80% efficiency? If they're going in the attic, it shouldn't be difficult to go to a higher efficiency. You may also get an energy rebate from your utility company.

Lol! Thank you, I just read that article this morning. I was told because it was going into the attic that it shouldn’t be high efficiency but, honestly I forget exactly why the guy that gave me estimate #2 told me that. Guy that gave me estimate #1 recommended 80% as well.



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 12:07PM
Quote
Fred_Also
Here's a link I found that might give you some idea of the pricing.
Give furnace costs and installed costs.


Furnace Price Guide

Fred

Thanks Fred, I’ve read that one as well. If you notice, they are saying typical cost of a furnace by Carrier and Trane, installed is $3k to $3,500. I’m getting installed prices of $6,500 to $10,000 with the duct work.

I’m figuring the price of one of these single stage, 80% units will probably be around $3k. If I figure installer price for labor to be $150. Per hour for the main guy and helper and install time of 1 1/2 day (12hours) I calculate a rough estimate of $1,800 labor and total price of $4,800. Even if I round it up with another $1k I still don’t see where these guys get their prices from.

I have another estimate coming tonight so maybe I’ll get more info then.



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: October 09, 2019 12:51PM
IMO, the HVAC industry puts the car sales industry to shame with pricing tactics.

Labor costs to put units in attics may be higher as the work can be more challenging.

High efficiency units vent using PVC pipe and need condensate lines. They can't be vented thru a traditional chimney. The condensate line should be able to be run through an outside wall and down to grade. Or it may be possible to drain into a waste line (not sure on the code restrictions for that). Several of my neighbors have high efficiency heaters in their attics (SE PA area).

Have you reached out to your public utility to see if they have any guidance?
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: btfc
Date: October 09, 2019 01:23PM
"short cycling of the furnaces"

There are several possible causes for short cycling and it might be worth your time to investigate. Quality thermostats properly configured can help a lot.
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: Acer
Date: October 09, 2019 02:09PM
IIRC from my furnace shopping days, furnaces over-matched for the space can yield short cycles. They heat too quickly and shut off. Properly matched ones will run longer on a cycle, heat more evenly and wear better.
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: October 09, 2019 03:10PM
HVAC equipment and parts pricing is very similar to appliance parts, where the actual wholesale volume price from the manufacturer is likely 20% -25% of what you get quoted as the retail price.

Back in 1992 (essentially pre-internet), a friend with an electrical/electronics resale license showed me the nearly top secret price book for a part I was looking for. When I went to the nearest retail store to buy it, I damn near coughed up a lung when they rang up the "retail price." Bulk wholesale was ~$4.90, retail was $21.50.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: Ammo
Date: October 09, 2019 03:12PM
In the past, I’ve been strongly warned against Goodman. YMMV.



Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. —Wendy Mass
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 03:18PM
Quote
macphanatic
IMO, the HVAC industry puts the car sales industry to shame with pricing tactics.

Labor costs to put units in attics may be higher as the work can be more challenging.

High efficiency units vent using PVC pipe and need condensate lines. They can't be vented thru a traditional chimney. The condensate line should be able to be run through an outside wall and down to grade. Or it may be possible to drain into a waste line (not sure on the code restrictions for that). Several of my neighbors have high efficiency heaters in their attics (SE PA area).

Have you reached out to your public utility to see if they have any guidance?

We have condensation lines and spillover pvc there on the existing units. Charts Ive seen suggest high efficiency furnaces for our zone 4 so I think you make a good point. That’s a great idea to reach out to our public utility. I will do so, thanks!



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 03:22PM
Quote
btfc
"short cycling of the furnaces"

There are several possible causes for short cycling and it might be worth your time to investigate. Quality thermostats properly configured can help a lot.

I was told by a couple of heating guys that it’s because the units are too big for our space. The house is 1400 sq feet and we have two 90,000 BTU units. I was told this is a common practice for installers to save time so that no matter what you will not be cold.



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 03:23PM
Quote
Acer
IIRC from my furnace shopping days, furnaces over-matched for the space can yield short cycles. They heat too quickly and shut off. Properly matched ones will run longer on a cycle, heat more evenly and wear better.

Acre, that’s what Ive read and what I’ve been told too.



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 03:27PM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
HVAC equipment and parts pricing is very similar to appliance parts, where the actual wholesale volume price from the manufacturer is likely 20% -25% of what you get quoted as the retail price.

Back in 1992 (essentially pre-internet), a friend with an electrical/electronics resale license showed me the nearly top secret price book for a part I was looking for. When I went to the nearest retail store to buy it, I damn near coughed up a lung when they rang up the "retail price." Bulk wholesale was ~$4.90, retail was $21.50.

I’m sure the mark up is excessive. What I’m trying to determine is do the installers in my part of NJ normally gouge customers, which I have a feeling is probably the case and if it is the case, how do I keep the gouging from becoming ridiculous.



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: October 09, 2019 04:20PM
My guess is your price is closely tied to how busy they have been on a recent basis. Trying to find a competent company that isn't too busy can be a challenge in itself. The only way to be sure is to do a whole lot of local neighborhood networking and find someone who works as a tech for a company.

Consumers Checkbook (https://www.Checkbook.org) has been around a long time but it looks like they don't have much of a presence around Union, NJ. When I pull the site up, my location overrides the search function when I try to search for Air-Conditioning & Heating Contractors near you.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 09, 2019 04:38PM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
My guess is your price is closely tied to how busy they have been on a recent basis. Trying to find a competent company that isn't too busy can be a challenge in itself. The only way to be sure is to do a whole lot of local neighborhood networking and find someone who works as a tech for a company.

Consumers Checkbook (https://www.Checkbook.org) has been around a long time but it looks like they don't have much of a presence around Union, NJ. When I pull the site up, my location overrides the search function when I try to search for Air-Conditioning & Heating Contractors near you.

I think you are right. These guys are all well established in the area and they are all busy nonstop. Everything is expensive in Union and I imagine I’m going to have to bite the bullet on cost and just suck it up. Estimate #2 guy suggested putting the second furnace on 0 % financing giving me a year to pay it so that would spread things out.



JoeM
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: October 12, 2019 11:49AM
Quote
JoeM
... What I’m trying to determine is do the installers in my part of NJ normally gouge customers, which I have a feeling is probably the case and if it is the case, how do I keep the gouging from becoming ridiculous.

You get competing quotes, that's how. If it's collusion, a cabal, you have no real options. If a company wants to charge a fair(er) price, it'll be revealed in the quote IF the bad guys are all overcharging. Don't overthink it or second guess people you're giving thousands of dollars too. They're either plain in their description of what they'll do or they are not.

The cost of the hardware remains irrelevant unless you're going to put it in yourself. This isn't like buying a new car and checking "invoice price." I suppose some people might be tempted to inform the installers they're charging too much for labor, which strikes me as weird and impractical when homeowners aren't experts.

I remain a big advocate of systems that use a variable-speed (DC) blower fan, so that you never get a full blast of air huffing through the registers unless it just really needs to max out its heating/cooling of the house. Usually they're up-sold on the hardware side as "better" or "best" alternatives to whatever the lowest-price quote was. Worth it IMO for comfort, less noise etc.
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Re: Replacing heating system - any way to get actual furnace prices?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 13, 2019 10:49AM
Quote
deckeda
Quote
JoeM
... What I’m trying to determine is do the installers in my part of NJ normally gouge customers, which I have a feeling is probably the case and if it is the case, how do I keep the gouging from becoming ridiculous.

You get competing quotes, that's how. If it's collusion, a cabal, you have no real options. If a company wants to charge a fair(er) price, it'll be revealed in the quote IF the bad guys are all overcharging. Don't overthink it or second guess people you're giving thousands of dollars too. They're either plain in their description of what they'll do or they are not.

The cost of the hardware remains irrelevant unless you're going to put it in yourself. This isn't like buying a new car and checking "invoice price." I suppose some people might be tempted to inform the installers they're charging too much for labor, which strikes me as weird and impractical when homeowners aren't experts.

I remain a big advocate of systems that use a variable-speed (DC) blower fan, so that you never get a full blast of air huffing through the registers unless it just really needs to max out its heating/cooling of the house. Usually they're up-sold on the hardware side as "better" or "best" alternatives to whatever the lowest-price quote was. Worth it IMO for comfort, less noise etc.

Good points, thanks. The issue for me is that the quotes themselves have been lacking from what I was told I would receive. I’m from that old school in business that believes it’s better to promise nothing rather than promise something and not deliver. I have to wonder about the work and service I can expect from a contractor that can’t deliver a written estimate that includes the various systems they want me to consider.



JoeM
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