Drop in replacement - why so expensive

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by dirtmover, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. dirtmover

    dirtmover New Member

    I guess my 23yo WF is reaching EOL so I've been getting some quotes for replacement. Since it's replacing an existing system it's a simple drop in with possibly some minor duct work. The electrical circuits and water loop (open loop) are all in place so why are the quotes I'm getting so high? So far I'm getting quotes in the $15-17K to replace my existing system with a 4 ton unit. Heck I could buy a nice car for that sort of money.

    Hooking up a couple of water lines, electrical circuits and replacing ductwork is not exactly rocket science. I've done this sort of work many many times. Would it be worth trying to purchase a unit from a distributor and install it myself? I was hoping to be able to cut down the cost significantly by avoiding dealer markup and install costs.
  2. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    It first blush it sounds high but you offer little info.
    Can you share a detailed quote?
    Some units are available via internet or otc. PM me for specifics.
  3. dirtmover

    dirtmover New Member

    Here are a couple of typical quotes. Now, I can understand that the price of the furnace may be a premium but $400 for a thermostat - w.t.f.

    Supply and install the following:
    Envision 4 Ton Duel Stage Geothermal Heat Pump with R4lOa refrigerant and a Variable Speed ECM Motor and De super heater. Model # NDVO49 Warranty: 10 Year Parts and Labour
    Cupronickel coaxial heat exchanger designed for open loop systems
    Electrical hook up with new 40amp breaker and 8/2 wire to furnace.
    Electrical permit
    Electrostaic washable air filter with a lifetime warranty
    Well water kit complete with solenoid valve and flow restrictor
    15 KW electric resistance plenum heater
    Honeywell 8000 2 Heat 2 Cool Programmable Thermostat
    AP32 noise elimination pad
    Connector kit with P/T ports
    Re connect supply piping from existing supply inlet water connection on water furnace New return air elbow, all acoustically insulated and supply air plenum transition.
    Re connect wiring from existing back up heat breaker to new electric heat section and T-stat
    Removal and disposal of old equipment
    Complete start up and overall check of operation

    Total Installed = $16,500.00

    TTV049 ( 4-TON) $11,944.00
    2-STAGE WELL KIT $500.00

    VIBRATION PAD $100.00





    DUCTWORK $500.00
    Basic installed furnace and ducting subtotal $15,644.00

  4. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    I'll start by saying that this is not an apples to apples comparison.

    For insurance coverage purposes, (in the event our sump pump failed/could not keep up) I asked our installer to tell us how much he would charge us to replace our Envision 3-ton packaged unit and the compressor section of our Envision 2-ton split unit, flow center, etc. He told me about $17,000 earlier this year (parts and labor). Of course, our installer's overhead, margin, etc., in SW Virginia would most certainly be different from your installer.

    You had great life from your WF. You may want to contact other WF dealers in your area to get additional quotes since pricing is set by the installers, not WF. Prices for our system, varied by $14,000 between dealers. Not the fault of WF. You need to check references, etc., if you go with any installer you have not previously dealt with.
  5. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Seems like you are getting slightly more from the second bidder (dual solenoid and flow controls).
    You are also getting more than you had before i.e. desuper heater installed with buffer is more than a thousand dollar feature with us. CUNI heat exchanger adds as well.
    I don't offer the ala cart pricing for thermostats (as they have to be changed they are simply in my base price) but a Honeywell 8000 would be 3 to 4 hundred from us (depending on the PITA factor of new thermostat wire to handle additional stage). By and large anything you buy from a dealer is going to be sold to you for twice his price, so while it seems remarkable, it is an expensive thermostat. You could inquire about the Honeywell 5000 which can do most of the same things for less money (it just doesn't have the cool touch screen). They are less than 1/2 the price (though PITA may be same).
    They also may be adding things as a matter of course you are unaware of. Soft-start kits (called intelli-start by WF) for instance are required by one of our electric companies now and add $100 to the price but are often forgotten in the quote details.

    You mentioned to me that things run more in your town than here in the states. I can tell you that my price would likely be 30 to 40% less, but that's here. I do not know the cost of doing business in your neighborhood.

    I do not think there is more than a negligable difference between the 2 products, but bidder number 2 is giving you more for less (based on information provided). Bidder 1's system will pump 100-200kgal/year more from your well and likely cost more to operate because of that (as your electricity cost is generally higher than mine).

    There are easily thousands in misc. features here. If you are able to do this job yourself, product can be shipped to you, but you could easily have 8-10k US + tax/shipping into it (depending on desired features) and much less support if system fails. Custom sheet metal will add as well.
    Labor to install an open loop system with DSH might be as much as 4 man days (2 installer and 2 helper days) depending on plumbing involved. If tax credits are involved your savings might be well under 5K to do it yourself.

    We have GT pumps that we can ship, but don't know what it would cost you across international borders nor part availability there.

    Keep looking and good luck,
  6. dirtmover

    dirtmover New Member

    Thanks again for your comments Joe. Can you clarify what the premise behind the above statement is.

    Maybe my understanding is too basic but from a simplistic point of view if the furnace needs to generate Xbtu if energy in a given period of time this will require the heat pump to process a certain amount of water. I would not expect this amount to change based on the furnace. Sure a higher capacity pump will be able to process it faster and a more efficient pump will be able to do it using less electrical energy but at the end of the day the amount of water that holds Xbtu of energy does not change.

    This, of course, assumes that we are targeting a fixed discharge temperature.
  7. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Bidder 1 mentions 1 solenoid. That means he will pump enough water for second stage even if you are in first stage with 40% less required.
  8. dirtmover

    dirtmover New Member

    Ah, of course, got ya! I wasn't even thinking along these lines.
  9. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    here for ya
  10. Colin

    Colin New Member

    Retrofit open loop geothemal heat pump

    I too am in the Ottawa, Canada area and getting quotes to replace a 20 year old Climatemaster that has been relatively trouble free. I am told it is a two day job for 2 men. Where can I find the wholesale cost of all the components so I know what I am paying for? I have two wells and all the electrical and plumbing is good, but 15K sounds too much to me too!
  11. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Wholesale costs

    You can find the wholesale costs by becoming an installer and securing suppliers. Somewhat like finding the wholesale costs on a vehicle.
  12. Reiner

    Reiner New Member

    What industry goes around quoting wholesale prices to anyone that wants to know?

    If you feel the quotes are too high, I would suggest getting some more quotes. Make sure you understand what the quotes are for though. Quotes can vary quite a bit, in price and service/products.
  13. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The biggest problem I have with throwing wholesale numbers around is that people don't honestly evaluate costs to a company. To say "the heat pump and accessories cost 8K so throw in a little labor and gas and there you go". Contractors cost of doing business varies wildly from state to state or province...
    I mentioned recently a new neighbor from Indiana (2 hours from mid MI) mentioned that everything was cheaper there: fuel, real estate, insurance, groceries etc. Do you think any of that impacts someone's cost of doing business?
    With each sale or call, I have to pay for health, liability, auto and comp insurance then there are landlines and Blackberrys (people want immediate communication with us), high speed internet, vehicles, gas, don't forget my facility and the utilities that go with, wages for everybody, misc. tools and materials for each job, maintenence on vehicles building etc.
    I can't tell you what all this costs in your town, so I don't know what it would cost to install a geo there.

    If you find that every company charges about the same then that is what it costs there for a heat pump. If someone is grossly cheaper, they won't be in business long.
    There are of course DIY possibilities.
    Good Luck,
  14. Colin

    Colin New Member

    open loop heat pump replacementcost

    Thanks for the feedback. It reminds me of how hard it used to be to get dealer cost info. on new cars a few years ago. Since the investment is almost equal to that in a new car, I think the consumer deserves better. I do understand dealers' costs to do business in Canada are a fair bit higher than in USA, but I don't want to subsidize inefficiency or greed..
  15. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Then get multiple quotes.
  16. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The car analogy might apply better to this industry if the dealer received the engine, seats, transmission and much of the connecting plumbing and wiring in several different boxes from several different companies.

    There are a hundred little things that come off the truck to complete an install that aren't listed in the quote (fittings, insulation, electrical, cable, fasteners, etc.

    Canada's dollars are smaller (not much smaller, lately) than ours, and taxes and regulation higher / more onerous.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  17. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I don't know about greed but inefficiency is common. Your perception of it costing you thousands is way off however.
    Good mechanics are not necessarily good business men and that will often work to the consumer's advantage in that they are more likely undercharged than overcharged.
    Large company's are generally run by good business persons often with marketing strategies driving them. Again not greed, but bigger overheads with more realistic price structures.
    I tell folks that I can charge less than some of the big companies (because I have far less to pay for) and make more money. I also employ folks with 30+ years in their craft, who do not work for apprentice wages, so many companies are able to undercut me with cheap (less experienced) labor.
    Many cynics suggest contractors must be greedy or inefficient when they see the price tag as so much greater than the sum of all parts. It is a sabatoged math problem from the get, however, as numbers assigned are arbitrary and folks tend to undervalue things.
    As always, if you get more than 2 bids, you will have a pretty good idea of what a fair price for stuff is in your area. Anything else is hapahazard speculation.
  18. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    well said Joe
  19. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Joe describes a sweet spot somewhere between having to do everything yourself as a one man show (inefficient) and having a back office full of admins, salesfolks, etc driving costs way up.
  20. ClarkT

    ClarkT Member

    Wow, that was really well stated, Joe. Good Job.

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