help with quotes

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by tiger266, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. tiger266

    tiger266 New Member

    don't know where my last post went so I'll try again. Probably hit the wrong button.
    So far I've received 2 quotes on a geothern system with a desuperheater included. Both are for a 2 stage system. One contractor says I need a 4 ton (Water Furnace) and the other a 5 ton (GeoComfort). Both include a 10KW strip, the pad, drilling (1 says extra if rock is hit in drilling), digital thermostat and duct work alterations. The cheaper of the 2 does not include the high voltage wiring and says additional filters are $250/case of 12. The more expensive provides an "electrostatic air filter you apparently just wash and put back.
    The water furnace system is just over $4,000 more than the GeoComfort and includes the high voltage wiring.
    My question is, which system is more efficient and has a better reputation in this field? I know it would not cost $4,000 to wire in the high voltage. Is there really that much difference in manufacturers?
    I did not mention the total costs from each as I thought it might not be right to do that.
    Thanks for any help anyone can give me. Still waiting for the 3rd contractor to show up.
  2. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader



    We deal with WF, and yes, they are more expensive. An installer can go broke pretty quick with questionable support of their supplier, so I haven't shopped around too much. I just end up servicing a lot of different units. Enertech makes GeoComfort I believe and I used to work with Hydron that was bought by Enertech. I have no issues over the quality of the units I saw on the Hydron side. Just didn't have any local support for our business.

    Having someone else do the power wiring is pretty standard. Codes generally require a permit for this, and not many of us carry full-time electricians on staff. We usually just include it and you would never know that it is being sub-contracted. Or on new construction, we borrow whoever is already involved in the house construction for this.

    Permanent or disposable air filters. Both/either work. Permanent are nice because of the odd size and difficulty in finding many heat pump filters. Disposables are nice because we like throwing things away:).

    Get quotes. Get references. Generally let the qualified contractor pick the equipment and don't stress over that too much.
  3. tiger266

    tiger266 New Member

    thanks urthbuoy

    Thanks for the info. I was just slightly concerned that the 5 ton bid cost less than the 4 ton bid and most everything else was the same.
    The warranty for the GeoComfort is only 5 years I believe but you can purchase the extended warranty..I doubt the extended warranty, washable filter and the high voltage instal would justify a 4 grand difference. Maybe the quality would make some difference but that much?
    I do like the Water Furnace installer. They have maintained our heat pump (circa 1985) and I've always been happy with the people and their service. They do have a reputation for being the highest cost in the area though. Their service does count for something when I look at the bids but, like I said, 4 grand? I might give them a call and see what they might be able to work out but I also know, it is not really fair to the other guy to do that.
    I was not aware the filters are not readily available like the standard ones. Thanks for the heads up on that one.
    One more thing, the water furnace contractor is charging an extra 1100 for the desuperheater and install which is part of the 4,000 difference. Other company it is included.
    Thanks again.
  4. Bergy

    Bergy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Something in those numbers just does not add up to $4,000. A 5 ton system should be more expensive than a 4 ton system. The bigger heat pump should cost more and a larger loop field should cost more. (Assuming both loop fields are installed the same...Horizontal, Vertical or Open loop.) Are both contractors adding a buffer tank and it's required plumbing for the desuperheater?

    Find out what the heat loss/gain calculations for each contractor is. The size of the heat pump is based on those numbers. A GeoComfort GXT060 (5 ton) unit has a full load heating capacity of 47,400 Btu's/hr and a part load cooling capacity of 47,200 Btu's/ hr.
    A Water Furnace NDV049 (4 ton) unit has a full load heating capacity of 37,400 Btu's/hr and a part load cooling capacity of 38,700 Btu's/hr. In the heating world, that's a pretty big difference in capacity.

    I would recommend the 10 year parts and labor agreement for either unit. Make sure the contractor accepts the factory labor rates and if they do not what added rate is billed to you.

  5. tiger266

    tiger266 New Member

    Thanks for your input. I was confused by the same thing looking at the size vs. the proposal. The Water Furnace fellow (higher bid and smaller unit) told me they plan to insulate the duct work for 20 feet but that should not raise the cost much either.
    Neither company mentions anything about a buffer tank. The GeoComfort company also mentioned they might use a 9" drill and place 2 vertical lines in each. I had posted a question regarding that after he mentioned the idea while we were talking. He did say they could drill the standard holes if I preferred but the cost would increase somewhat. I wonder if that could be part of the reason why he is cheaper for a larger unit. But still, 4,000?

    Regarding the load information:
    My original drawings have the heat loss/gain computations from 1986. Total load is listed as 51,338 heat loss and 30695 heat gain. It also shows a 5 ton unit should be the equipment installed. We have a 4 ton heat pump right now. I showed these figured to both contractors. The lower cost/larger unit fellow went with these figures after doing his own calculations.
    The higher cost/smaller unit fellow told me the design temps used:
    outside winter 0 degrees inside winter 75
    outside summer 95 inside summer 75

    were unrealistic figures. He said no one keeps their inside temp at 75 degrees and the outside winter norm listed as 0 degrees has increased since '86. The heat/person figure used was for 6 people and we have 2, sometimes 4 total.
    This is getting a little complicated. All I wanted to do was replace an old heat pump with a more efficient heating/cooling system.
    I'm still waiting for the 3rd fellow to show up. He called last night and said he'd be by this morning. We shall see.
    Oh, as to the factory labor rates, I read a post about that and it's on my list.
    Thanks again.
  6. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I agree that the 5 ton costs more to install so there is a curious disparity.
    A third estimate is in order to get a better feel for the best fit for your home and the going rate in town.
  7. tiger266

    tiger266 New Member

    The third contractor came by this AM. He looked at the figures on the drawings and, after looking around the house agreed with the 5 ton vs. 4 ton system. Something to do with the heat not going to second stage as much, use of the heat strip would be very low if used at all except for real severe winter temps (non existent this year--so far) and during the summer the system would usually run in the first stage. Think I got that right.
    He did suggest I get a "holding tank" that would hold water heated by the desuperheater and then it would supply hot water to the electric water heater.
    He's also drilling down 200' per hole and using 4 holes.
    I'll be interested to see his figures next week.
  8. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Hard ti imagine that a 51 KBTU/heatloss in Missouri would be more than a 4 ton system. The art is to build it mean but lean.

    Don't worry about brands,both are high quality units. Worry about the installer.

    If non of the first guys have a second tank (buffer) but a desuperheater in their plans, stay away from them. A desuperheater is pretty much useless if you don't have a buffer tank. Installers who recommend a desuperheater without a buffer tank really don't understand how to build an efficient system.
  9. tiger266

    tiger266 New Member

    Thanks. Like I said, the third contractor who came by yesterday told me the same thing. It defeats the purpose of having a desuperheater if you don't install a holding tank. He said I would only need a 50 gallon one tied into our 75 but I could go higher if I wanted. I'll be curious to see what his bid is next week.
    Hope everyone has a good weekend and thanks again to all for your guidance.
  10. tstolze

    tstolze Member

    Not sure where you are located in MO? The installer that did my unit went smaller than several other contractors. Others wanted a 3 ton unit in our ~1200 sq/ft home, we installed a 2 ton unit that rarely hits 2nd stage. It takes temperatures staying in the single digits for 2nd stage to engage, summer it doesn't happen unless we crank the A/C down or our teenage son has an army over an it's 95°. I sent a PM with his info....
  11. tiger266

    tiger266 New Member

    Thanks for the PM's. I'll update everyone next week once the third bid shows up.
  12. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Why the he!/ do these guys keep trying to invent the single stage heat pump?:confused:

    The reason equipment is more efficient in first stage is because you have a smaller amp draw in bumper seasons when full load is not required. By oversizing equipment to avoid second stage you defeat the purpose (since you run a larger compressor all the time to avoid second stage on a smaller one).
    Comments that suggest it is efficient to oversize to avoid second gear are ignorant.

    At least he recommended a buffer tank so there is hope.

    Have him run op cost comparisons between 4 and 5 ton you might find it costs no more to run the less expensive unit.

    I wouldn't throw away the other 2 bidders yet, at least one understood the value of a 4 ton. We just might have to educate him on buffer tanks.
  13. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    50 gal buffer is plenty, it does not make any sense to go higher. Otherwise it will not become warm enough, defeating the purpose.
  14. tiger266

    tiger266 New Member

    Jim & docjenser,
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll stick with the 50 gallon tank he suggested and call him tomorrow to ask for figures for a 4 ton unit.
    I still do not understand why the first 2 did not indicate a holding tank on their bids if you need one for the desuperheater.
    I'll be in touch and again, thanks to everyone for all the help. I'm not sure what I would have ended up with without this forum and all your input.
  15. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Unfortunately, every manufacturer still suggests that a buffer is optional with a DSH. Some of us (like Doc) have measured performance of DSH with and without buffer via WEL or other devices, meanwhile I learned when a customers hotwater bill went up with the DSH installation and was cut in half once buffer was installed.
  16. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Very simple:

    1) Lack of understanding
    2) trying to cut a corner

    even the manufacturers endorse it for the sake of reducing the upfront cost of a system and selling more heatpumps. Although they admit that a buffer tank is a more efficient solution. But it is really a significant operating expense without a buffer tank. Plus it will contribute to less than 10% of hot water generation, rendering the entire desuperheater installation pretty much useless.
  17. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    In fairness their are companies out there that have had modest success in the past with single tank installations (particularly on R22 systems) and some don't take the same intrest as others in system monitoring or blogging on sites like this.
    I'm waiting for a manufacturer to step up and take single tank systems out of their installation options. After manufacturers' engineers stop endorsing poorly performing set-ups, then I'll be less forgiving of installers that continue the practice.
  18. tiger266

    tiger266 New Member

    Since the holding tank is nothing more than a hot water heater not connected to electric, I guess it would be wise to watch for ads for a hot water heater now since the decision on who I will have do the work and then when the work is completed is going to be a while off.

    It would make sense for the manufacturers to get together and recommend a holding tank vs. no tank. If you're spending the kind of money required for the system it seems to me the cost of the tank would not make much difference in the long run.
  19. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I don't think the DSH one tank option is around anymore for any other reason than inertia.
    "It's been ok forever, it's ok now".
  20. tiger266

    tiger266 New Member

    3rd bid is in!!!

    Well, the third bid has arrived and is right in the middle. His product is the Climate Master, either the TTV049 or TTV064 unit 30 EER & 5 COP per the quote. He suggests a 15KW strip for the 4 ton and a 20KW for the 5 ton unit. The low bid contractor told me there are two ideas on the extra holding tank issue. For a family like mine with just 2 retired folks he said it might make more sense to have a water circulating pipe system to take the water from the hot water heater, circulate it through the desuperheater and put it back into the tank rather than get an additional tank. Something about not using a lot of hot water would keep the hot water heater working to keep the water up to temp while the desuperheater heated the additional tank. Hope I got that right. The low bidder also did not include the high voltage wiring in his quote as he thought a friend who is an electrician and was here at the time would do it.
    I guess it comes down to which product is the best on the market right now. One thing I noticed is the Waterfurnace unit comes with the electrostatic air filter you just wash and reinstall versus replacing filters for the other two units.
    So, here's what I have:

    Waterfurnace 4 ton 2 stage NDV049A 10 KW strip all wiring but the desuperheater is quoted as an extra grand. No holding tank~~DSH piped to existing water heater. Highest bid by 1,900 for the 4 ton unit DSH included in this figure. Did not recommend a 5 ton unit. Said it was not necessary.

    Climate Master 4 ton or 5 ton unit TTV049 or TTV064 with a 15KW or 20KW strip desuperheater included in price. The 5 ton is 3 grand more than the 4 ton unit.

    Geocomfort 5 ton 2 stage GXT060 10 KW strip DSH included but also suggested running the pipe from the existing water heater to circulate the water and prevent the water heater from coming on. Does NOT include the high voltage wiring. Estimate is 4,500 less than the other 5 ton estimate.

    Right now, after re-reading everyone's comments I'm leaning towards the Waterfurnace 4 ton estimate.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks again to all for your input on this. Without your help I'm not sure where I'd be right now except maybe a little balder from scratching my head!

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