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Question DetailsAsked on 9/27/2015

What should I pay for an Hvac unit in a 1368 sq ft condo?

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5 Answers


What type of HVAC unit - furnace, hydronic or steam heating boiler, air conditioner, whole house fan/circulation unit , etc ?

Depending on your locale's tempearature regime, how energy efficient your construction is, and how many exterior walls you have (affects heating/cooling load due to heat transfer through exterior hot-to-cold versus interior essentially same-temperature rooms), you might be looking at from as little as about $2000-3000 for a minimal legal efficiency furnace or boiler (say 80% efficient) or for a small air conditioner (probably SEER 16) sized to fit the existing unit location and ducts or piping, on up to $5000-8000 range for a higher-end or high-efficiency unit, or $10,000 range for a very high-end all bells and whistles electronic unit (which does NOT mean it is necessarily "better) 98-99% efficiency or SEER 22+ A/C or heat pump - as a VERY rough ballpark.

This assumes relatively easy access, no modifications to piping or ductwork other than for unit fitup, same type of energy as existing unit (gas, oil, electric, etc), and no asbestos issues with the old unit.

There are so many variables - do some homework on the web on brand reliability and warranty coverage and efficiency and such - also you can see discussions and some ballpark numbers and thoughts on specific brands in the Home > HVAC link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

Then once you have an idea on minimal acceptable brands and efficiencies for you, get several Heating and A/C (your Search the List category) contractors to come and look at your system and do their measurements and calculations and then give you preliminary thoughts and estimates. My recommendation is to get just their thoughts on type and efficiency and rough estimated cost and such initially, and possibly on furnace/AC versus Heat Pump systems if in an area without severe winters - THEN once you settle on a type of system and minimum rated efficiency you want, ask for formal firm BIDS for that type of system. The bid request might or might not allow an option for heat pump or to quoter both minimal efficiency and high-efficiency units for instance, or provide an option for any of several brands/models between the different vendors so each can come in with the best price for the brands HE regularly installs and prefers. But be sure you are talking apples to apples on the bids, so you are not comparing low-efficiency, bottom of the line poor warranty brands or models with high-efficiency, long-warranty, top brand name products.

And of course, once you specify a minimally efficient and reliable brand, far more than half the quality of the end result depends on your installer rather than the brand/model. A good contractor can get you a fair result with a merely mediocre to fair unit, but a bad contractor can make a mess of even the best unit, leading to operational or maintenance issues down the line, and may not stand by (or be technically competent to peform) under his warranty.

Prime example - a few weeks ago my go-to HVAC guy was talking about a competing new furnace installer who figured since it was a moist basement location install, it would be a good idea to fog the entire inside of the new furnace and nearby ducting with a whole can of WD-40 to inhibit corrosion. Of course, in addition to a highly objectionable smell coming out of the air ducts, the electronics got the solvent and oil in them and failed (translated- FRIED) and then the WD-40 caught fire scorching the interior of the furnace and leaving both an oily and a burnt smell in the ducts, and indeed the entire house. The manufacturer rightly refused warranty coverage, and of course the vendor did not have bonding and has negligable assets - so the homeowner as of right now is out about $7000 with a brand new scorched boat anchor furnace, his insurer will not cover it because it was caused directly by the installer during installation, and the homeowner is stuck at the start of heating season without a functioning furnace unless he pays ANOTHER $7000 or so to have another contractor put another one in - PLUS probably several thousand or more additional for duct and house/drapery cleaning to remove the smells if possible, or possibly duct liner spraying or replacement and drapery/carpet replacement and house repainting to solve the odor issue !

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Readers digest version;

Need more info.

your location

size,type,and fuel of system

multi story condo, outdoor unit on roof

location of indoor unit


Answered 4 years ago by BayAreaAC


So Dave - guess that makes my responses the Webster's Unabridged version ? :)

I guess I do carry on at times, but most of the questioners have only the barest knowledge of building issues, so I try to explain enough to answer logical "what if" and "but ..." follow-on quesations I can see them asking. Also, some of my response is keyed to what other questioners or viewers might be interested in hearing about closely related matters on the subject.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


LCD, No offense meant, but as you point out,our are very different, and that's okay with me, hope it is for you too.


Answered 4 years ago by BayAreaAC


Oh - I was joking - no offense - like you say, different and the more different comments to a given question the better the chance the questioner will comprehend what the possible solution or causes or whatever are. I wish every technical question had several responses so the questioners got several opinions, but the field of responders seems to be might thin for a nationwide site.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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