anyone ever buy new HVAC?

 

It's certainly interesting. The current system was installed 3 years after I bought the house, and the central AC lasted 17 years under my use. It broke last year (took off the humidfier and the evaporator was a block of ice), and since R22, it cost $200 to recharge, and it only lasted 8 days. So I knew it was coming.

I knew it was expensive, but didn't know it costs as much as a used car lol

We're planning on getting a really nice condenser (such as real life it's always nearly impossible to get the best), but variable and SEER 18.

On the furnace pretty sure we're going for the 80% AFUE....doh. I think it takes 10 years to break even, which is not the issue in itself, but it also requires more installation i.e. drilling through the foundation for the intake and exhaust.

The condenser and furnace still have a "data line" to communicate with each other, and supposedly the thermostat is connected to the internet. Could we have ever envisioned such a thing 20 years ago?

It would not surprise me if it's the first and last time in my life ouch!

new hVAC system installed last august

We had a new HVAC system installed last August as part of a home renovation. Ducts were installed while the walls and ceilings were open.

I am an HVAC pro but only work on large systems so I have little knowledge about house-sized equipment. We have an outside condenser and an air handler/evaporator in a walk-in attic.

The discussion with the contractor was about, "How to get the best high quality and efficient system." I wanted a variable-speed compressor but the contractor shot that down. He says every variable-speed compressor is connected to a board that controls the motor speed, which is very expensive, with a short guarantee, and all brands are known to fail repeatedly. When it fails, no air conditioning.

The contractor recommended "the best" that he has in his own house: an Amana condenser with a two-speed compressor. Instead of a board, it just has an additional contactor (that is inexpensive) to call for stage 2. The Amana condenser case is guaranteed forever.

The good news about the evaporator unit is that the air handler is not only quiet, it cannot be heard whatsoever, and you cannot hear any sound at all from the supply air diffusers!

The system runs mint!

dobs108 cool

Interesting!

Now that is interesting because you know how thanks to the web we are all experts in everything?! Well, I basically may as well be a Trane salesman after doing my research, and then my buddy who has had some nice homes said Trane was his favorite, he's had like 5 brands, 1 was very problematic.

I learned that Trane has 750 zones of comfort to some others' 5. 750 > 5, right? lol

I get the feeling they make less money on the higher models because 2 vendors seemed to steer me to 2 stage not variable, and I heard the term Amana used with Goodman.

All contractors steered me away from the 96% AFUE models which are closed systems with an intake and exahust, and into the 80%. The only reason I am agreeing is the other needs to be drilled through the foundation but 96 > 80. Oh well. There seems to be support online implying 10 years to break even. That's a long time.

In a way I am excited to be cool again I hope next week, and think it's fascinating that the condenser and furnace blower will be communicating, let's see how that pans out with comfort!

Glad to hear your new system is nice...hoping to join the club next week. And get this, with Trane, the ultimate status is having the plastic top. That means you are the king. Mine won't have it. They actually make a plastic top that can screw on and it costs $500! And it is not the same actually as the ones that have it from the factory. the contractor was telling me he installed one like what I'm getting and the customer was upset there wasn't the plastic top. We're funny creatures, are we not?!

no package unit

Do not get a package unit with the compressor inside the house. It is noisy. The split unit with the condenser and compressor outside is quiet.

the board

johnnatash4 wrote:

...2 vendors seemed to steer me to 2 stage not variable...

They were steering you away from the unreliable variable-speed board. They want a satisfied customer even in the future.

Give serious consideration to variable speed systems

You should give serious consideration to variable speed units. I had a Trane system installed about two years ago and feel the system is working fine. I can't do a direct comparison because the Trane replaced a 20+ year old Carrier which gave flawless service. It is significantly more efficient! However, when I was doing my "homework" (as a mechanical engineer) I found that these systems are quite reliable and accordingly have decent warranties.

One thing I found with the dealings of various contractors is that the ones that badmouth a product usually don't understand it, or perhaps may not be certified to install it. Mitsubishi for instance has what they call "Diamond" Installers; "yes" some marketing hype but if you require a quote from some dealer that can't install some units, in the opinion of Mitsubishi, do you expect that dealer to say "sorry" and walk away?

There is a good write up on these units at https://www.builderonline.com/products/hvac/seven-new-ac-uni.... It is from July 2018 so although it is two years old, the content is still applicable today. Something to keep in mind as well as you do your shopping; some units share a sister brand name. Trane for instance is the same as American Standard; Carrier is the same as Bryant.

One last thing, any unit one purchases should have a surge protector installed on the unit. These things, whether variable speed or not are full of electronics. My surge protector was installed at no charge (I paid for the part) since an electrician had to do the wiring and the surge protector involved a few extra wire nuts and a few minutes of time.

--
John from PA

me

dobs108 wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:

...2 vendors seemed to steer me to 2 stage not variable...

They were steering you away from the unreliable variable-speed board. They want a satisfied customer even in the future.

Of course I look at marginal cost v. marginal benefit by training. If one analyzes furnaces and condensers, the deltas are not that huge, seriously. to go from a single stage mid level,, to a high end variable same tonnage is less than $2k.

Someone can probably say nope, that's wrong, too bad you didn't get the variable, but the 2/3 said, the variable is going to make your 1st floor wonderful. It's gonna try to run at 30% as long as it can, satisfying the criteria based on the thermostat being on the 1st floor. When it's doing this, the upstairs will get much hotter than you would like. I said how hot, we're used to a 4F spread. Yesterday, the person said, "Exponentially. Then, you'll call me up unhappy, and we'll come out and basically program your variable or 2 stage, to be single stage."

Now, I saw a YouTube where a nice home in Houston had 3 Trane XV20is. 3 variable speed condensers, 2 were 4 ton, 1 was 5 ton. This is how yesterday's contractor said variable is put to use. when one has multiple units.

Maybe I'm an idiot, I've been called worse, I let them talk me into single stage 17 SEER. But here's the good news. I did go with a 96% AFUE furnace, so they tell me the PECO rebate will be $550 and then the tax credit $300. And I was able to get the one with the fancy plastic top. Apparently the "i" models have it and it's not just the Weatherguard II top, the inside has extra insulation around the compressor etc. That top can be bought and attached to any unit and wow it costs over $500?

I slipped here, the thermostat in the system is over $500, I don't need that as my furnace and condenser are not communicating. Oh well.

All I can say is this--I got 3 quotes so for my area I have an idea on what certain models cost. What I did was the guy I went with gave me a price, you know they have a coupon online for "up to $1850 off" and he said I already gave you $3000, which was on the paper. So I said can you give me another $2000 off, he cringed, and said I would have to make a call. He did so in front of me. He said what the number was, that he took $3,000 off, and customer says he's ready if $2000 more, can I do it. I heard the voice saying ok but he has to sign now. So it wasn't like a fake phone call. And by law we have 3 business days to rescind, anyway.

See he already put things in like 10 year labor warranty, that fancy thermostat, chimney liner, condensation pump, etc. etc. it's not all broken out but checked off. A guy with a very high price that was doing the variable mentioned none of that and didn't even verify the returns and vents, like the other 2.

It's like buying a car. It cost more than the used car I bought in 2016. So I guess we make the deal, then sort of don't look back.

when people tell me oh you're dumb you shoulda gotten it last fall or in the off season it's cheaper. I wonder--how is it cheaper? Let's make up numbers. Say it shows $15,000, take off $3,000, net $12,000. I say I'd do it for $10,000. If it weren't peak season, which number moves down. Does the starting number go down to $13,000, he takes $3,000 off, I ask for another $2,000, and it's $8,000? I could be wrong but I just don't see that happening. Not only that, but this is likely the first and last HVAC I will ever buy in my lifetime, so it doesn't really matter. But you know parents, my mom said I'm an idiot for buying central AC right now at the peak season. lol Mom's are like that.

btw to throw some real numbers at you which give me hope, like say you plan on moving and your HVAC breaks.

There was a quote for a really low end inefficient condenser only, $5700. Really low end heat and AC, $6800. It's still a lot, but what I mean is it's not the end of the world. The one I went with was more than 2X that price....lucky me lol

I

John from PA wrote:

You should give serious consideration to variable speed units. I had a Trane system installed about two years ago and feel the system is working fine. I can't do a direct comparison because the Trane replaced a 20+ year old Carrier which gave flawless service. It is significantly more efficient! However, when I was doing my "homework" (as a mechanical engineer) I found that these systems are quite reliable and accordingly have decent warranties.

One thing I found with the dealings of various contractors is that the ones that badmouth a product usually don't understand it, or perhaps may not be certified to install it. Mitsubishi for instance has what they call "Diamond" Installers; "yes" some marketing hype but if you require a quote from some dealer that can't install some units, in the opinion of Mitsubishi, do you expect that dealer to say "sorry" and walk away?

There is a good write up on these units at https://www.builderonline.com/products/hvac/seven-new-ac-uni.... It is from July 2018 so although it is two years old, the content is still applicable today. Something to keep in mind as well as you do your shopping; some units share a sister brand name. Trane for instance is the same as American Standard; Carrier is the same as Bryant.

One last thing, any unit one purchases should have a surge protector installed on the unit. These things, whether variable speed or not are full of electronics. My surge protector was installed at no charge (I paid for the part) since an electrician had to do the wiring and the surge protector involved a few extra wire nuts and a few minutes of time.

I really wanted variable. I was going to go with a Trane XV18, and a 80% XC80 furnace. This sounds good to me--they are communicating and it has 750 stages or something.

To shed some more light, my house is a 1952 construction, and it would not have had central AC when built, but apparently it would have had forced hot air for heating.

I never knew this for 10 years, but the spaces between the joists are used for returns. Obviously that's not efficient, I mean think about how far intakes have come on cars to use composite materials to be very slippery for the airflow, and here we're pulling air through the space in joists.....

I have to feel 2/3 contractors knew what they were talking about, they didn't want a customer who spent more and was unhappy, so they say.

One said variable is perfect for ranch homes in our area. And then, the other said it's great when you have more than one condenser for different zones.

What they said, when combined with that they're actually recommending something slightly less expensive, told me they're trying to say the type best suited depends on the application.

Anyway, I'm glad I ended up with the 96% AFUE furnace instead of the 80%. I don't know exactly how long it will take to payback but likely 10 years. It's only a 77,600 BTU unit to give you an idea. The old one said 88,000 and effectively 69,000. the new one will be 74,496 effectively. It's all good. I like to learn new things...

I bought a top of the line Trane system about 11 years ago

Ten year warranty, variable speed on both furnace and AC, 93 % efficiency on the furnace, SEER 15 or 16 on the AC (can't remember which), nice system. Guess what? 3 months after the warranty expired, the fan motor on the AC went kaput. Called my son who is a Trane technician and he came over and checked it out. Over $800.00 for a new variable speed motor. I asked him if there was an alternative. He said yep, put a single stage motor on it. He said that it would be a little noisier but I would save $300.00. I put a single stage on the outside unit. I am not sure that when the whole thing goes to see Dorothy and Toto if I will put a variable unit back in. It may be a little noisier but the house stays cool and I don't notice the noise unless I an outside standing right next to the unit. (And, according to him, the average life-span of an AC unit is 15-17 years.) I will say that the higher efficiency units do save money over time. My flue temperature went from about 300 degrees with my old furnace to about 85 degrees with the new one. That's a savings of 215 degrees that is being funneled into the house instead of going out the top of the chimney.

--
It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible. ----George Washington

New HVAC

Our system is 22 years old and still working well.

But I know we are on borrowed time.

Out of curiosity, I priced a new system install about 5 years ago, and it was running around $7K for a complete system.

Of course, it was high efficiency with rebates to lower the costs a little.

What's the story about the $500 plastic top?

What's the story about the $500 plastic top? Is that in lieu of a metal top? I'm presuming that it is visible on the outside unit.

they

minke wrote:

What's the story about the $500 plastic top? Is that in lieu of a metal top? I'm presuming that it is visible on the outside unit.

call it Weatherguard II. If you have one that doesn't come with it, and you pay $500 and screw it on top, the idea is to protect the condenser from debris, etc.

If you have one that does come with it, apparently the insides are different where there is sound insulation around the compressor and fan placement and blah blah blah. It comes on the higher models ending in "i" The salesperson said it's for status mainly. I have noticed them in the past and never gave it any second thought, figured it's just how newer units look....it is amazing how physically large the condenser coils are today, with the R410a refrigerant. It's maybe 3X physically the size of the R22 ones...

I just went to the website and the one you buy for $500, is not the same as the one that comes from the factory.

Accessory

https://www.trane.com/residential/en/products/air-conditione...

Factory

https://www.trane.com/residential/en/products/air-conditione...

I just don't understand

I guess that this is yet another example of marketing that I just don't understand. It just makes me think of the Monte Python Confuse-A-Cat episode.

If you are interested (and don't know the sketch) the URL for the script is below. Don't expect it to make sense.

http://www.montypython.net/scripts/confuse.php

but

minke wrote:

I guess that this is yet another example of marketing that I just don't understand. It just makes me think of the Monte Python Confuse-A-Cat episode.

If you are interested (and don't know the sketch) the URL for the script is below. Don't expect it to make sense.

http://www.montypython.net/scripts/confuse.php

how about all the trends with cars. 4 spoke steering wheel. 3 spoke. 4 spoke. 3 spoke. door handles--they stick out,they're flush, no they stick out, no....

Yellow turn signal lenses, white, no yellow, no white.

The best was when cars had fake vents in the fenders, and people would go to an auto parts store and glue 3 holes on the side. I remember my grand dad tellling me about Buicks--they were portholes, 4 meant top of the line.

I think with Trane, to have the normal plastic top lets everyone know, you have arrived, that's a top of the line condenser on the side of your house! hahaha and I'm getting it too....

You also incited my geriatric mind...

I hope that wandering way off topic doesn’t distress anyone. I’ll be glad to stop if asked.

Focusing on trivialities, I’m under the impression that amber turn signals have been demonstrated to be more effective, hence safer, than red. I wish I knew where to look that up.

You also incited my geriatric mind with the reference to steering wheel spokes. I remembered that the Citroën DS series which came out in 1955 had a one spoke steering wheel. So,,, I had a good time reading the Wiki entry for those cars. Trying to be concise the DS was very innovative and was in many ways a safety car. Focusing on the steering wheel the one spoke pointed away from the driver when driving straight ahead and the wheel was somewhat flexible so that in an accident the driver wouldn’t be impaled on the spoke and the wheel would give way some. I don’t know when seat belts became common in Europe.

no worries

because the plastic top of the Tranes seem to get us to discuss human nature. Only because I'm shopping for a new system, do I know that if you see that plastic top, and the rake of the grille isn't much, that the color is the same as the body of the condenser, and that the Trane name is on the plastic, not on the metal, that this indicates top of the line in its series.

If the plastic is black, has a steep rake, the name badge is on the metal grille, and the plastic grille says WeatherGuard, this was a $500 add on. (say what)

It kind of makes me wonder, one unit was designed to have the airflow work with the plastic, the other was not. Interesting that anyone would pay $500 for a plastic hood. I just use cars as an analogy because people absolutely add things to a car to make it look like another potentially higher end model. Just never thought it would transfer to air conditioning condensers lol

Oh, and anyone remember when fog lamps were yellow/amber as that's what they did in Europe? Now, every single American car has fog lamps, and they are useless, nothing but ornamental. turn them on and no difference. And even European cars have rear fogs which imho the DOT should ban. So annoying. Ever have an Audi in front of you and it looks like they're driving on the highway with brake lights? Those are the rear fogs--should be a summons if they are on and the weather is clear!

Variable Speed is Very Reliable

dobs108 wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:

...2 vendors seemed to steer me to 2 stage not variable...

They were steering you away from the unreliable variable-speed board. They want a satisfied customer even in the future.

I would seek a new tech immediately if that is their advice.

What is unreliable about variable speed fans? I've been using mine since 2004. Uses about 40 watts of electricity. It's so much more reliable than our previous fan motors and the ECM has no no capacitors to go bad.

Energy savings are even better

maddog67 wrote:

Ten year warranty, variable speed on both furnace and AC, 93 % efficiency on the furnace, SEER 15 or 16 on the AC (can't remember which), nice system. Guess what? 3 months after the warranty expired, the fan motor on the AC went kaput. Called my son who is a Trane technician and he came over and checked it out. Over $800.00 for a new variable speed motor. I asked him if there was an alternative. He said yep, put a single stage motor on it. He said that it would be a little noisier but I would save $300.00. I put a single stage on the outside unit. I am not sure that when the whole thing goes to see Dorothy and Toto if I will put a variable unit back in. It may be a little noisier but the house stays cool and I don't notice the noise unless I an outside standing right next to the unit. (And, according to him, the average life-span of an AC unit is 15-17 years.) I will say that the higher efficiency units do save money over time. My flue temperature went from about 300 degrees with my old furnace to about 85 degrees with the new one. That's a savings of 215 degrees that is being funneled into the house instead of going out the top of the chimney.

The energy savings is even more great than just sensible temperature. You are really saving on the total heat loss, which would also include the total amount of gas volume escaping via the chimney/flue in addition to the higher temperature. When the tax law changed to require 96 AFUE for tax credit qualification, a lot of manufacturers (American Standard / Trane included) scrambled to raise their 93 AFUE to 96.

American Standard is Trane is American Standard

johnnatash4 wrote:

Now that is interesting because you know how thanks to the web we are all experts in everything?! Well, I basically may as well be a Trane salesman after doing my research, and then my buddy who has had some nice homes said Trane was his favorite, he's had like 5 brands, 1 was very problematic.

I learned that Trane has 750 zones of comfort to some others' 5. 750 > 5, right? lol

Keep in mind that American Standard and Trane are the same company with the same products made on the same assembly lines. The only difference between equivalent models is the first letter of the model number (not the marketing name e.g. XV__ which is very different) and a snap on plastic name panel that says either Am Standard or Trane. E.g. AUY080 is the exact same furnace as TUY080. You'll also notice that the manuals never refer to either brand name for products so they don't have to print two versions.

Previously Trane was a subsidiary of the American Standard corporation but after the Ingersoll Rand merger and than spin-off, the company is now called Trane, and uses both brand names.

Because American Standard name is usually lower priced than Trane name, you can save quite a bit. The main difference is the distributor and dealer network.

Many American Express / Trane gas furnaces are built in Trenton, NJ and many American Express / Trane air conditioning/heat pump units are built in Tyler Texas. Same assembly lines, two different snap on name labels before it leaves the building. Only Trane model numbers get the little hat on the outdoor unit, for marketing reasons.

interesting

telecomdigest2 wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:

Now that is interesting because you know how thanks to the web we are all experts in everything?! Well, I basically may as well be a Trane salesman after doing my research, and then my buddy who has had some nice homes said Trane was his favorite, he's had like 5 brands, 1 was very problematic.

I learned that Trane has 750 zones of comfort to some others' 5. 750 > 5, right? lol

Keep in mind that American Standard and Trane are the same company with the same products made on the same assembly lines. The only difference between equivalent models is the first letter of the model number (not the marketing name e.g. XV__ which is very different) and a snap on plastic name panel that says either Am Standard or Trane. E.g. AUY080 is the exact same furnace as TUY080. You'll also notice that the manuals never refer to either brand name for products so they don't have to print two versions.

Previously Trane was a subsidiary of the American Standard corporation but after the Ingersoll Rand merger and than spin-off, the company is now called Trane, and uses both brand names.

Because American Standard name is usually lower priced than Trane name, you can save quite a bit. The main difference is the distributor and dealer network.

Many American Express / Trane gas furnaces are built in Trenton, NJ and many American Express / Trane air conditioning/heat pump units are built in Tyler Texas. Same assembly lines, two different snap on name labels before it leaves the building. Only Trane model numbers get the little hat on the outdoor unit, for marketing reasons.

Interesting stuff. All my friends and relatives are beating me up, why would you of all times get new AC now, when "it's expensive." But I can't help but smile and think about armchair quarterbacking.

I totally get the concept of things being cheaper in the off season, but my question is where is this savings reflected? the list prices of the components is not seasonal, right?

So again to just use very round numbers.

Say a contractor says this system is $20,000 (of course we're going to get 3 contractors selling the same gear to quote it to make sure). I'm taking off $4,000, which includes all available discounts. Sign here.

I say, well, take another $2,000 off and we have a deal. At this point he said, **** gave you a quote, yep, did they print it out, yep, can I see it, nope. call his boss ok we'll do it.

Which of the numbers would have been different if I did this job in the fall?

$20,000
$4,000
take of another $2,000

Would he have presented a lower price?
Would the "all discounts" have been larger?
Would I have asked for much more off?

lol man I've taken a beating from friends and relatives which I may add, only one of whom actually bought a system in 2009 when there was an add'l $1000 IRS rebate. I am expecting $450 IRS credit, and $450 PECO rebate--salesman wrote $550 but I generated my own AAHR certificate and I believe I would only qualify for $450. This doesn't factor in to my decision, other than if unit A has a rebate, and unit B a lower model does not, to me the rebate closes the delta.

p.s. the other thing I read online was the durability of the equipment does in fact have to do with the quality of the install. So getting the cheapest quote of the same equipment isn't necessarily the best way to go. I'd rather choose the best or perceived best installer, and get them down in price. Don't be shy not only is it the price of a used car, but it has the same wiggle room.

by

the way I found a YouTube of a dual condenser XV20i variable unit install in Maryland (top of the line 22 SEER).

The fact that one was for downstairs, one was for upstairs, and the installer was saying the upstairs doesn't seem to reach the desired temp, whereas the downstairs was exact, implies what 2/3 people who came to my house said, that the variable unit alone, will make your upstairs uncomfortable. After all there's some sort of algorithm, and then the equipment has to deliver what it's supposed to. I don't know where the evaporator is on the 2nd floor in the video, maybe it's different than the one on the first floor which may be in the furnace, so in practice, the results are different.

2/3 pushed me to single stage--I hate the idea! Starting, stopping, starting, stopping. Staying on all the time at a variable capacity sounds good. But they said in practice variable doesn't tend to hit the SEER rating advertised, but single stage does.

When the installer showed the condensers, they were always running at a low speed.

Would have been nice to have been able to get variable, I love the theory behind it. Run all the time, low capacity, takes away more humidity.

My buddy has a modern 3000 sq. ft house and he told me his utility for summer is as high as $130 (2 variable condensers).

Mine with the 1999 system, tiny house, was like $230!!!!

At the same time probably leaky returns and poor insulation for me, and 1951 house.

Just based on the efficiency alone, though, I do expect AC bills to drop significantly, and heating to drop noticeably (96 v. 80 AFUE)

You can count on....

You can count on your electricity rate going up. Just like California water rates. The cities were screaming conservation and when people did, you guessed it, their rates went up & up. Water departments claimed they were no longer selling enough water & had to raise rates to compensate.

--
Nuvi 2460LMT

here

mmullins98 wrote:

You can count on your electricity rate going up. Just like California water rates. The cities were screaming conservation and when people did, you guessed it, their rates went up & up. Water departments claimed they were no longer selling enough water & had to raise rates to compensate.

in PA we can choose our supplier. I really don't know what's behind it. But say PECO is 7 cents per kwh, why would I not go online, and get someone else for 5.3 cents per kwh, when it's say 8 mos. fixed, no fee to cancel no monthly. But why must it be a game like that?

That's the variable part. There is a fixed part that the local utility charges for delivery, about 6.55 cents/kwh.

All that effort and things to keep track of, to save $3 to $8/mo.

It isn’t difficult and you can do some long term

johnnatash4 wrote:
mmullins98 wrote:

You can count on your electricity rate going up. Just like California water rates. The cities were screaming conservation and when people did, you guessed it, their rates went up & up. Water departments claimed they were no longer selling enough water & had to raise rates to compensate.

in PA we can choose our supplier. I really don't know what's behind it. But say PECO is 7 cents per kwh, why would I not go online, and get someone else for 5.3 cents per kwh, when it's say 8 mos. fixed, no fee to cancel no monthly. But why must it be a game like that?

That's the variable part. There is a fixed part that the local utility charges for delivery, about 6.55 cents/kwh.

All that effort and things to keep track of, to save $3 to $8/mo.

As you are likely aware there is a website where you can do your shopping based on zip code You can then select some long term alternatives. I had Constellation Power for three years and just renewed with them for another long period.

--
John from PA

this

mmullins98 wrote:

You can count on your electricity rate going up. Just like California water rates. The cities were screaming conservation and when people did, you guessed it, their rates went up & up. Water departments claimed they were no longer selling enough water & had to raise rates to compensate.

is not an exaggeration. When I moved in to my house in 2002, the water bill was $30-$40 for 3 months. Today, it's $80/month. Yes, there are two more people, but that does not mean 3X consumption. Maybe 2X. So the rate likely tripled.

Another fun and wonderful fact is our assessment doubled, literally, so it will be interesting to see the tax bill for 2021.

$$$

johnnatash4 wrote:

is not an exaggeration. When I moved in to my house in 2002, the water bill was $30-$40 for 3 months. Today, it's $80/month. Yes, there are two more people, but that does not mean 3X consumption. Maybe 2X. So the rate likely tripled.

Another fun and wonderful fact is our assessment doubled, literally, so it will be interesting to see the tax bill for 2021.

From an article dated May 9, 2019 ...

Quote:

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved a settlement allowing the Bryn Mawr company to boost revenue from water customers by 9.8 percent, and from wastewater customers by 34.6 percent. The increase, the first in seven years, will go into effect on May 24.

I've been a customer at my current location since 1998, Aqua is the one utility that doesn't seem to go up very often. You might have a different supplier where you are, Maybe DELCORA or Chester Water Authority.

Tax Bill.

I live in Delaware County, PA, I think you might as well, but at the opposite end. Anyway, I too have been hit with a huge reassessment. Now I'm a fan of less government and less taxes, but to be fair, my assessed amount hasn't gone up once in the 22 years I've owned (well the bank still does) my house, until now. The new assessed amount is in line with what the house could be sold for at a minimum.

Quote:

In March 2017 Delaware County was ordered by the Court to conduct a countywide property tax reassessment, effective for the 2021 tax year. Delaware County Council contracted with Tyler Technologies, Inc. in 2017 to provide real property appraisal services for the County’s 2020 general reassessment.

Fairness, Equity, and Transparency.
These three words do not typically come to mind when thinking of property taxes in the counties of Pennsylvania that have not reassessed in many years, in some cases, even decades. The goal is to bring a fairer property tax to their taxpayers through the reassessment of all property.

Fairness will come as each property owner will be asked to pay only his fair share of the property tax burden. When all properties are appraised at market value at the same time, and the values meet statistical standards for accuracy, Equity will result. And to help make the process more understandable, Tyler has reached out to all property owners to provide education and information to enhance the Transparency of the process.

We hope you find this website helpful. Check back often as we will be adding features to the site throughout this two-plus year project. These additional features will include press releases, data collector locations, public information meeting schedules, frequently asked questions, and more. Links to helpful related sites will also be available.
**IMPORTANT - NEW, TENTATIVE VALUE NOTICES WILL BE MAILED IN SPRING OF 2020**

Delaware County has conducted a court-ordered reassessment of all the real estate within the county. Tentative property assessment values will begin arriving in Delaware County property owners mail boxes beginning in mid-February 2020. The purpose of this notice is to identify a tentative, new value that has been determined for your property, effective tax year 2021.

The purpose of the reassessment is to distribute the property tax burden among properties based on current fair market values. The reassessment cannot legally be used by the county or by any school district or municipality to generate more tax revenue. As you review this value, your primary question should be “Is this the price for which I could sell my property?” Your assessment should represent 100% of July 1, 2019 market value.
Do not apply the current tax rate to your new assessment, the result will be inaccurate. The new millage rate will be determined by your Municipality, County, and School District for the 2021 tax year.

http://delcorealestate.co.delaware.pa.us/delcoreassessment/

--
. 2 Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S, Nuvi 2689, 2 Nuvi 2460, Zumo 550, Zumo 450, Uniden R3 radar detector with GPS built in, includes RLC info. Uconnect 430N Garmin based, built into my Jeep. .

Aqua / Essential Utilities

soberbyker wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:

I've been a customer at my current location since 1998, Aqua is the one utility that doesn't seem to go up very often. You might have a different supplier where you are, Maybe DELCORA or Chester Water Authority.

Not sure how we went from HVAC to tax and water systems. Aqua America, formerly Philadelphia Suburban Company, and recently renamed to Essential Utilities after buying a Pittsburgh gas company, has been an excellent company to invest in. They pay decent dividends which have steadily increased and offer a discounted reinvestment program. Most of their growth is by purchasing municipal water and sewer companies, and then gradually increasing rates through regulated rate increases. They operate water/sewer authorities in seven states, plus Pennsylvania.

HVAC Brand Names

johnnatash4 wrote:
telecomdigest2 wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:

Now that is interesting because you know how thanks to the web we are all experts in everything?! Well, I basically may as well be a Trane salesman after doing my research, and then my buddy who has had some nice homes said Trane was his favorite, he's had like 5 brands, 1 was very problematic.

I learned that Trane has 750 zones of comfort to some others' 5. 750 > 5, right? lol

Keep in mind that American Standard and Trane are the same company with the same products made on the same assembly lines. The only difference between equivalent models is the first letter of the model number (not the marketing name e.g. XV__ which is very different) and a snap on plastic name panel that says either Am Standard or Trane. E.g. AUY080 is the exact same furnace as TUY080. You'll also notice that the manuals never refer to either brand name for products so they don't have to print two versions.

Previously Trane was a subsidiary of the American Standard corporation but after the Ingersoll Rand merger and than spin-off, the company is now called Trane, and uses both brand names.

Because American Standard name is usually lower priced than Trane name, you can save quite a bit. The main difference is the distributor and dealer network.

Many American Express / Trane gas furnaces are built in Trenton, NJ and many American Express / Trane air conditioning/heat pump units are built in Tyler Texas. Same assembly lines, two different snap on name labels before it leaves the building. Only Trane model numbers get the little hat on the outdoor unit, for marketing reasons.

Interesting stuff. All my friends and relatives are beating me up, why would you of all times get new AC now, when "it's expensive." But I can't help but smile and think about armchair quarterbacking.

I totally get the concept of things being cheaper in the off season, but my question is where is this savings reflected? the list prices of the components is not seasonal, right?

So again to just use very round numbers.

Say a contractor says this system is $20,000 (of course we're going to get 3 contractors selling the same gear to quote it to make sure). I'm taking off $4,000, which includes all available discounts. Sign here.

I say, well, take another $2,000 off and we have a deal. At this point he said, **** gave you a quote, yep, did they print it out, yep, can I see it, nope. call his boss ok we'll do it.

Which of the numbers would have been different if I did this job in the fall?

$20,000
$4,000
take of another $2,000

Would he have presented a lower price?
Would the "all discounts" have been larger?
Would I have asked for much more off?

lol man I've taken a beating from friends and relatives which I may add, only one of whom actually bought a system in 2009 when there was an add'l $1000 IRS rebate. I am expecting $450 IRS credit, and $450 PECO rebate--salesman wrote $550 but I generated my own AAHR certificate and I believe I would only qualify for $450. This doesn't factor in to my decision, other than if unit A has a rebate, and unit B a lower model does not, to me the rebate closes the delta.

p.s. the other thing I read online was the durability of the equipment does in fact have to do with the quality of the install. So getting the cheapest quote of the same equipment isn't necessarily the best way to go. I'd rather choose the best or perceived best installer, and get them down in price. Don't be shy not only is it the price of a used car, but it has the same wiggle room.

It is very true that the most important aspect is installation quality. And the most difficult part to know is who actually does the installation after you sign the contract with a company who seems to have a very competent reputation.

But don't pay extra for Trane name over the equivalent American Standard brand (for same model), or likewise Carrier brand over Bryant (comparable model). Do avoid their low end Payne brand though, which is owned by a newly independent Carrier company. United Technologies Co. spun off Carrier and Otis Elevators before Raytheon acquired UTC.

sidebars

telecomdigest2 wrote:

Not sure how we went from HVAC to tax and water systems

The author of the original post also mentioned the other topics.

--
. 2 Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S, Nuvi 2689, 2 Nuvi 2460, Zumo 550, Zumo 450, Uniden R3 radar detector with GPS built in, includes RLC info. Uconnect 430N Garmin based, built into my Jeep. .

Water

telecomdigest2 wrote:

~snip~ Aqua America, formerly Philadelphia Suburban Company,~snip~

Formerly the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company. Many moons ago when they were the PSWC I used to deliver stone to one of their locations, in Springfield Delaware County, PA They used the stone for backfill when replacing water mains.

--
. 2 Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S, Nuvi 2689, 2 Nuvi 2460, Zumo 550, Zumo 450, Uniden R3 radar detector with GPS built in, includes RLC info. Uconnect 430N Garmin based, built into my Jeep. .

Replaced my a/c/furnace

Replaced my a/c/furnace system in 2015 with a Trane. The air handler is a DC motor and it went out once. The part was covered under warranty but not the labor - the part was around $1500 so I am happy it was covered. The labor which wasn't was around $150. The installer recommend a whole house surge suppressor as it was thought that an electrical storm took out the motor, so I installed one.
IMO the installer is way more important than the brand. The best system in the world will not perform if not installed correctly and it is easy to install sub-optimally with the high tech equipment used today. Just my 2 cents.

nice

sunsetrunner wrote:

Replaced my a/c/furnace system in 2015 with a Trane. The air handler is a DC motor and it went out once. The part was covered under warranty but not the labor - the part was around $1500 so I am happy it was covered. The labor which wasn't was around $150. The installer recommend a whole house surge suppressor as it was thought that an electrical storm took out the motor, so I installed one.
IMO the installer is way more important than the brand. The best system in the world will not perform if not installed correctly and it is easy to install sub-optimally with the high tech equipment used today. Just my 2 cents.

I have seen exactly what you said quite a few times online--where the mfg. "claims" the performance of their equipment is dependent on the installation.

I can't help but feel I went with in my judgment, the best installer. Thorough and pointing everything out, and when I told him I have 2 quotes already, he asked who and said I want to tell you up front we are not generally as inexpensive as those two companies. Net net is I got his high quote to about the same as the cheap guy. The cheap guy did not even look at the rooms! And he was perfectly fine selling me a variable condenser, whereas #1 and #3 strongly advised against.

And factored in already without my saying was a 10 year labor and the expensive thermostat.

Since I saw the YouTube with the Trane XV20i variable condesers side by side for each floor, with the 2nd floor always being 1-2F higher than what was set, to me, it's not anything wrong with the hardware, but it must be the algorithm handling the variable part.

So I guess the only thing I can go by is online reviews, and my general impression of who was sent out to do the estimate. Again, can you imagine, the second person did not even look in any rooms, to see the returns and supplies?

Looking forward to the install this Thu. A fringe benefit is I've cleaned up the basement and tons of stuff has been thrown out. To think I moved into this house as a single person, got a dog 3 mos. later, and played fetch with my dog in the basement as nothing was there. I also moved in with a 12' box truck lol (travel light)

well

telecomdigest2 wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:
telecomdigest2 wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:

Now that is interesting because you know how thanks to the web we are all experts in everything?! Well, I basically may as well be a Trane salesman after doing my research, and then my buddy who has had some nice homes said Trane was his favorite, he's had like 5 brands, 1 was very problematic.

I learned that Trane has 750 zones of comfort to some others' 5. 750 > 5, right? lol

Keep in mind that American Standard and Trane are the same company with the same products made on the same assembly lines. The only difference between equivalent models is the first letter of the model number (not the marketing name e.g. XV__ which is very different) and a snap on plastic name panel that says either Am Standard or Trane. E.g. AUY080 is the exact same furnace as TUY080. You'll also notice that the manuals never refer to either brand name for products so they don't have to print two versions.

Previously Trane was a subsidiary of the American Standard corporation but after the Ingersoll Rand merger and than spin-off, the company is now called Trane, and uses both brand names.

Because American Standard name is usually lower priced than Trane name, you can save quite a bit. The main difference is the distributor and dealer network.

Many American Express / Trane gas furnaces are built in Trenton, NJ and many American Express / Trane air conditioning/heat pump units are built in Tyler Texas. Same assembly lines, two different snap on name labels before it leaves the building. Only Trane model numbers get the little hat on the outdoor unit, for marketing reasons.

Interesting stuff. All my friends and relatives are beating me up, why would you of all times get new AC now, when "it's expensive." But I can't help but smile and think about armchair quarterbacking.

I totally get the concept of things being cheaper in the off season, but my question is where is this savings reflected? the list prices of the components is not seasonal, right?

So again to just use very round numbers.

Say a contractor says this system is $20,000 (of course we're going to get 3 contractors selling the same gear to quote it to make sure). I'm taking off $4,000, which includes all available discounts. Sign here.

I say, well, take another $2,000 off and we have a deal. At this point he said, **** gave you a quote, yep, did they print it out, yep, can I see it, nope. call his boss ok we'll do it.

Which of the numbers would have been different if I did this job in the fall?

$20,000
$4,000
take of another $2,000

Would he have presented a lower price?
Would the "all discounts" have been larger?
Would I have asked for much more off?

lol man I've taken a beating from friends and relatives which I may add, only one of whom actually bought a system in 2009 when there was an add'l $1000 IRS rebate. I am expecting $450 IRS credit, and $450 PECO rebate--salesman wrote $550 but I generated my own AAHR certificate and I believe I would only qualify for $450. This doesn't factor in to my decision, other than if unit A has a rebate, and unit B a lower model does not, to me the rebate closes the delta.

p.s. the other thing I read online was the durability of the equipment does in fact have to do with the quality of the install. So getting the cheapest quote of the same equipment isn't necessarily the best way to go. I'd rather choose the best or perceived best installer, and get them down in price. Don't be shy not only is it the price of a used car, but it has the same wiggle room.

It is very true that the most important aspect is installation quality. And the most difficult part to know is who actually does the installation after you sign the contract with a company who seems to have a very competent reputation.

But don't pay extra for Trane name over the equivalent American Standard brand (for same model), or likewise Carrier brand over Bryant (comparable model). Do avoid their low end Payne brand though, which is owned by a newly independent Carrier company. United Technologies Co. spun off Carrier and Otis Elevators before Raytheon acquired UTC.

I did go with Trane, and I do believe I became aware of American Standard as it was all unfolding. I would also see identical P/Ns for Trane and American Standard.

Funny, too, in the brochure which the people doing the install left, everything is Lennox!

Costco sells Lennox through local dealers. Again, I cannot envision that you get the same price, then they give you a 15% Costco gift card on top of that. If I'm wrong, shame on me for canceling the estimate. But I think it has to be like a pair of eyeglasses. $100 cash, $150 is the starting price with insurance, $80 after insurance....know what I mean? You can't apply insurance to the $100 price. That's how I see the 15% Costco gift card....

I never knew Bryant was related to Carrier--the 1999 system is in fact Bryant. I pulled all the numbers off the back and it is 10 SEER, which I wonder, was that relatively efficient in 1999? The neighbor got a Carrier maybe 8 years ago, and the guy last week told me it's a 17 SEER--I bet it's top of the line as that still qualifies for rebates today. I remember at the time thinking that is massive. A buddy who does HVAC said yeah that uses Puron (Carrier's name for R410a) and it has a very large condenser coil.

Funny Goodman was very low priced. I went to their website, and there were over 3,000 5 star reviews for their bottom of the line unit where I was quoted $5700 for AC only and $8600 for AC and 80% furnace. How is Goodman?

Ductless

When I built my home back in 1979, I was young & foolish and didn't install ducts for central A/C. Here in the Pocono Mountains, summers weren't that hot then and A/C didn't seem necessary. A central fan cooled the house just fine.

The climate has warmed up since then and now that I'm older, I'm less tolerant of the heat. To make things worse, my wife has allergies and we can no longer use the fan.

My retirement gift to myself in 2003 was to put in a central A/C system. Contractor quotes ranged from $8000 to $12000 with major interior work required. Instead, I opted for a dual split ductless system which I was able to install myself for under $3800 with minimal home alterations. The Fujitsu units I bought were pre-charged with refrigerant so no A/C technicians license was required. I had to buy a vacuum pump and gauge set to do the install which took about 10 days. The system has been working perfectly now for 17 years.

awesome

bdhsfz6 wrote:

When I built my home back in 1979, I was young & foolish and didn't install ducts for central A/C. Here in the Pocono Mountains, summers weren't that hot then and A/C didn't seem necessary. A central fan cooled the house just fine.

The climate has warmed up since then and now that I'm older, I'm less tolerant of the heat. To make things worse, my wife has allergies and we can no longer use the fan.

My retirement gift to myself in 2003 was to put in a central A/C system. Contractor quotes ranged from $8000 to $12000 with major interior work required. Instead, I opted for a dual split ductless system which I was able to install myself for under $3800 with minimal home alterations. The Fujitsu units I bought were pre-charged with refrigerant so no A/C technicians license was required. I had to buy a vacuum pump and gauge set to do the install which took about 10 days. The system has been working perfectly now for 17 years.

There's a certain satisfaction in knowing we DIY'd. Today, with YouTube, our capabilities are vastly expanded. I fixed ABS issues on both one of our cars and my wife's. On my car it was a $4,200 dealer repair, I did it for just under $500, as I needed software and some tools. A 57 minute YouTube was key. then on my wife's it turned out to be a $7 part that attaches to the brake pedal that causes a "service Stabilitrak" warning on the dash. Her water pump went and a guy named self sustaining dad had a very detailed YouTube, did it last Labor Day.

My uncle actually recommended exactly what you installed. Does it, or does it not, still have a condenser outside? I think the answer is yes, because it's called "split," correct?

Yes

The compressor and condenser are located outside so the only noise you hear indoors is the whisper quiet fan in the wall mounted units.

For our house, two outdoor cabinets were necessary each containing a compressor and condenser. Each cabinet controls two indoor units.

Two pieces of copper tubing and an electrical cable run from the outdoor cabinet to each indoor unit. These were easy to snake through walls and above drop ceilings without major disruption to the homes interior.

I

bdhsfz6 wrote:

The compressor and condenser are located outside so the only noise you hear indoors is the whisper quiet fan in the wall mounted units.

For our house, two outdoor cabinets were necessary each containing a compressor and condenser. Each cabinet controls two indoor units.

Two pieces of copper tubing and an electrical cable run from the outdoor cabinet to each indoor unit. These were easy to snake through walls and above drop ceilings without major disruption to the homes interior.

would love to do something like that, just to do it.

Call me a weirdo but I've been watching HVAC YouTubes lately. And it's interesting what they come up upon, obviously, nobody truly just wants to replace everything, so they do fix old stuff. And there does seem to be a lot of jerry rigging which may be along the lines of what was said here, the quality of the install may have bearing on how long the equipment lasts.

I just know from the 2 portable AC units we've owned for a year. Despite filters, the evaporator does get dust, the condenser coil not so much (stands on floor). I decided to take one apart for fun to see how it worked. I had a oh **** moment when there seemed to be an extra wire, but I had in fact disconnected it, just that it fell and went from back to front so I didn't immediately realize what it was upon reassembly...

They are so inefficient. It's like dollars grow wings and go out the hose and fly away. For example, if it's rated 12,000 BTU? Effectively it's 7,000. The rest is waste. UGH.

the

new system is in and I hope nothing is wrong. when the 1st floor is at 75F, and the system turns on (single stage), I measure the vents blowing at 43F. That seems crazy.

Now it ran about 5 hours straight to get the temp from 82F to 76F yesterday afternoon. So just think that's at 100%, where would a variable or 2 stage even come into play. One tech told me variable is more to break, I suppose he would know from going on calls.

On the old system, when I felt it was running great, same scenario, I'd see 54F coming from the vents--that seems more as I had always thought, about a 20F drop.

Sorta anticlimactic until the bill comes. Like I said, more than a used car! lol

p.s. drilling through the foundation for the new furnace's intake and exhaust plus a condensate drain, even scared my 6 y.o. who was sleeping and didn't know what was going on

p.p.s. to put in a system, one guy showed up 658 AM, 2 more by 9 AM, and they worked until 2 PM, with about 1/2 hour for lunch. Two vehicles, a third came with the condenser and furnace, parts, came back later with more parts, and a 3rd party came to install a chimney liner. this is probably the first and only time I will ever have a HVAC system installed. also hear that when a new home is purchased, the HVAC is contractor grade, not like the stuff I got. My buddy says after 7 years one of his AC systems for upstairs is giving him trouble, and the service tech said it's contractor grade really don't expect too much more than 10 years out of it, and he got a $20,000+ quote to replace just the upstairs lol

see what happens

The way it ran, working against a heavy load at 100%, is not the way it will run after it reaches a steady state at a good room temp, especially because it had to cool down the whole infrastructure of the house.

Make sure the thermometer is accurate. Check by sticking it in a bowl of ice water. It should read 32 degrees F. If not, remember the temp offset to calculate an accurate reading.

After the system reaches a steady state at a good room temp, check the supply air temp again. It should be around 55 degrees when the compressor is running, or higher if the variable speed compressor is running at a partial setting.

If the temp is still in the forties at all times, that is unacceptable because condensation will be happening bigtime on the outside of all the supply ducts, insulated or not. The cause of a very low temp has to be diagnosed by the installer as part of the guarantee.

Possible causes for the low temp include an improper refrigerant charge or low air flow across the evaporator coil. Make sure there are no registers or hand dampers closed. Remember that the installer did not install the entire duct system and finding an obstruction to air flow will be extra.

Remember to take my advice with a grain of salt. I don't work on small systems. The last air handler and cooling coil I worked on is twice as big as my house. Big or small, 43 degrees is too cold.

dobs108 smile

SEER Requirements, Goodman

johnnatash4 wrote:

I never knew Bryant was related to Carrier--the 1999 system is in fact Bryant. I pulled all the numbers off the back and it is 10 SEER, which I wonder, was that relatively efficient in 1999? The neighbor got a Carrier maybe 8 years ago, and the guy last week told me it's a 17 SEER--I bet it's top of the line as that still qualifies for rebates today. I remember at the time thinking that is massive. A buddy who does HVAC said yeah that uses Puron (Carrier's name for R410a) and it has a very large condenser coil.
....
How is Goodman?

10 SEER was the legal central air/split minimum in that era, 1992 up to 2006. 13 SEER qualified for Energy Star, when that standard went into effect. Beginning ~2006-7, the minimum SEER rose to 13 and Energy Star qualification rose to 14.5. You could get a really good deal on 10 SEER around the change period. In 2015, southeastern states forming a triangle roughly Texas to Virginia to Florida had their split minimum increase even higher, to 14. I think Energy Star remains 14.5 the same as the rest of USA, 14.5.

Goodman (subsidiary of a Japanese company today) used to be pretty poor, but then improved. Their more expensive systems are decent. They purchased Amana from Raytheon years ago, so Goodman/Amana systems have equivalent models.

it's interesting

my buddy went to his buddy's housewarming party/July 4 cookout.

It's florida so I guess...

He took a pic of the HVAC. This is a over half a million dollar new McMansion, the two condensers looked like something from 1995, i.e. contractor grade. I was saying what if a new home buyer wanted consumer grade?? My buddy here has contractor grade Goodman and he just paid to fix it, 7 years in, and said don't ask how much, so I am assuming thousands.

It's kind of weird to me, that brand new "mcmansions" have hardware all throughout that isn't what anybody would ever buy, meaning it's below grade for consumers. I heard when you want to delete something the builders say that's fine, but $0 credit lol so why delete unless it means less labor for installing what you really wanted...seems like builders have captive audiences. Personally I hate being in that position for anything.

I went online and a contractor grade AC and furnace is < $2000, and that's retail. Imagine what a contractor gets it for...

Interesting Indeed

johnnatash4 wrote:

I went online and a contractor grade AC and furnace is < $2000, and that's retail. Imagine what a contractor gets it for...

As an example, in 2003, I bought a ductless A/C system and installed it myself for $3800. The lowest contractor bid to install the same system was over $10,000.

yeah that's

bdhsfz6 wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:

I went online and a contractor grade AC and furnace is < $2000, and that's retail. Imagine what a contractor gets it for...

As an example, in 2003, I bought a ductless A/C system and installed it myself for $3800. The lowest contractor bid to install the same system was over $10,000.

excellent. For people like us, I think it's not just the cost savings, but we like to do things and get some satisfaction in tackling jobs. For example, I did the spark plugs on my car and it cost me $13x6 for the plugs. I had to buy some locking extensions (I love excuses to buy a new tool). The dealer gets $450 for the job. My cousin and my aunt said I'd rather pay $450, my time is worth much more than that. I never understood that thinking. How about when the ABS failed, cost me just under $500 when a dealer gets $4,200. Then I did my other car last year, and I pulled out the plugs and said huh, they are NGK? I thought they are Denso from the factory. Then the forum said they are NGK from 2001-2006, yours are factory. And get this. It is very routine for a dealer to change only 7/8 plugs, because 1/8 is difficult to get to. How sad is that where the customer will never know, 7/8 is good enough?

With the HVAC I haven't really found any corners cut...knock on wood. So even though I paid a lot, oh well, the timing was great, we're getting all 90's now for temps....

That system you put in intrigues me. I hear the SEER is way higher too, like beyond 22.....

If I calculated properly, the AC will cost about 29 cents per hour to run, not bad at all. I bet the portable units actually cost over half that, EACH, with capacity less than a third. They don't even really do a great job, at 90F and above it's a losing battle. To give everyone an idea, a 12,000 BTU unit effectively does 7,000 because it blows cold air out the window (these are the units which sit on the floor and have a hose out the window)....

You know another thought I had but tried to deflect...I had the downstairs window held shut by 1x2's. So no way to force it up. But I honestly think that panel where the hose goes could be punched inward, then the window pulled down, 1x2's drop, and now window opened. Knock on wood never a break-in in over 17 years, but it doesn't seem like a safe thing to have a window AC. I hear there are screws that can be drilled or even a cage around the whole unit....but I bet most just have it sitting in the window if they have window units....maybe I could have put a L bracket in so even if punched in, gap is too small for a person....