New York Is this quote reasonable? $38k for 3ton WF

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by Douglas Nathe, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Douglas Nathe

    Douglas Nathe New Member

    Hi everyone.
    I just received my first quote for a new system and I feel it is a bit higher that it should be.

    Installer quoted:
    $38,400(Before rebates)
    System is a 3Ton 5 Series Water Furnace
    10kw Aux heat
    Communicating Stat
    1 Vertical 450ft well.

    My first question is why they quoted a vertical system. Our lot is 2 acres in a rural area, plenty of room for a horizontal system. Would it not be cheaper to use a horizontal system?

    House details:
    Upstate NY
    2000sqft Colonial home.
    26 years old
    Has a forced air LPG furnace
    Unfinished/unheated basement.

    Thanks for your inputs.
  2. flywilson02

    flywilson02 New Member

    I recently committed to a quote for a 4 ton 7 series WaterFurnace, with an intellizone 3 zone system, 2 300 foot vertical wells, and some additional duct work to add 2 additional vents in a garage conversion for $37,500. I'm in Tennessee so I'm sure its not an apples to apples comparison.
  3. Douglas Nathe

    Douglas Nathe New Member

    Thanks flywilson02. Your reference puts this in pretty good perspective. They also quoted me an extra $3500 for the Intellizone system and $2000 more to go to a 7 series. To make my quote more similar to yours it would be $43,900 and your install was still bigger project than my estimate.

    I got a quick quote from another installer and they provided a rough estimate of $20k.
  4. moey

    moey Member

    Call other installers and have one give you a quote for a horizontal system. My experience was it was much cheaper. Others on here have said the same. Some installers dont do them or claim they wont work in your climate they do though. Its colder where I live in Maine and it works excellent. The estimate sounds a little high to me but not completely unreasonable.
  5. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Where are you located in NYS?

    Check out if you are in Western New York.

    Go with the 7 series, it is well worth it.

    Usually horizontal systems are cheaper, but it depends on your ground conditions.
  6. Jamie V.

    Jamie V. New Member

    Three years ago I had a 3 ton series 7 installed for $34,000 in Maryland before rrbates:
    • Programmable thermostat
    • Two 450' vertical wells
    • 10kW Aux heater (has never turned on except for PM)
    • Desuperheater
    • Whole house humidifier
    • Aprilaire filter
    I agree with the others... Go with the Series 7.
  7. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Sigh. All of you got ripped off. Price gouging but who can blame the contractors. Educate yourself and stop getting ripped off. DIY if you have to, it's not that hard. I am DIYing my system, and I'm even getting a pond in the deal for 11k, before tax credits. I could've done horizontal for 8k, but why when for a bit more I get a pond. 15k should be the max for a pro, up to 4 tons.
  8. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Hmmm..the systems we are putting in we spend more than $15K on material at cost....excluding labor and overhead. Not sure what you are putting in.
  9. Jason Artis

    Jason Artis New Member

    It seems like in the past year the price for geothermal has skyrocketed. $38,400 for such a small system seems close to quotes I have gotten. I have received two quotes for my house, Two story 1300 square feet with R-30 spray foam encapsulated roof, i'm just north of Boston so vertical is my only option.
    One contractor quoted me
    $34900 for just the 1 vertical well(250') he uses a twister from agreenability so he doesn't have to go down so far. a single 2-ton hyrdon module heat pump, 1 duct run from first to second floor including wiring, disposal of old steam system,which I want to sell the radiators myself.
    If I wanted the extras that I had asked for. On demand water heat, 30 gallon tank with desuperheater, 10kw heatpack, which I am pretty sure is necessary, and an ERV the price comes to $50,900

    second quote
    was a complete system, he didn't say how man wells, i imagine 2 vertical wells because he quoted me 2x 2-ton hydron(1-basement,1-attic) modules to avoid running duct work from first to second floor and he didn't think 2-ton was enough along with the hot water on demand with desuperheater and ERV and filtration system: $69,998

    both quotes are before rebates where in mass currently there are two departments that give rebates on top of the Fed 30%, MassCEC he told me was about $8000 and MassDoer was about $4000.

    I feel like they are pulling a document out of their ass that says, "sucker please sign here"

    My question is about the manual J, they quote these systems before they do the manual J. Once they perform the manual J, how do you know they did it correctly? I attempted to do a manual J myself using coolcal and came up with about 36,000 BTU which is 3 tons. This is right smack in the middle of the two systems quoted to me. But I don't know if I did it right. Are there 3rd party services that will take what was quoted to you and perform a manual J and come and do the blower test on your house?
  10. Brad

    Brad New Member

    You can definitely get an independent Manual J performed. I'm in the Boston area as well. These guys can do one for you:

    FWIW, I had a couple quotes of $65k and $92k (this one included a propane tankless water heater fed from preheat tank off the desuperheater) for a retrofit of a 3500sqft colonial converting over from baseboard heat (also currently has central AC but ductwork isn't great, lots of flex) to all new ductwork. I've held off for now but expect to eventually go w/ a hydronic system along w/ some minor improvement to the duct work to improve AC.
  11. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Variable speed technology has changed everything, although your quotes were not variable speed like a Waterfurnace 7 series. If I would do a manual J for every job we quote, my overhead would be so high and you as a customer would have to pay for it, one way or the other.

    Let say your house is between 30-40KBTU. So what unit do you put in? I'd put in a 4 ton 7 series variable speed unit and move on. If it is 30 KBTU, the heat pump will run at stage 9 on the coldest day of the year, if it is 40 KBTU, it will run at stage 12.
    Manual J does not matter, I would put in the same 4 ton 7 series whether it is 30 or 40 KBTU heat loss. Sometimes we fall for the illusion of precision. Plus we base that exact precision on a lot of guesses and assumptions. What is, for example, the exact R-value of the insulation in your wall? Something no blower test will reveal to you. So you do an educated guess.

    Once you order a system and the manual J heatloss reveals that it is 45KBTU heatloss, we put a 5 ton 7 series unit in, and move on. This practice is cheaper and ultimately serves our customers better by getting them the highest performing systems, and significantly reduces our overhead.

    win-win for everybody.
  12. Anjou

    Anjou New Member

    ACCA Manual J does not matter? Without Manual J, you have no idea what the heat loss is! You are guessing that it is 30-40 kBtu. If you oversize the unit, the customer gets shafted for a higher cost system they don't need. If undersized, the variable speed unit can't do the job or is running full out, which for all mechanical things, causes them to wear out more quickly (reduced service life). If you are not willing to do Manual J, you are also prolly not going to do Manual T or D (and Manual S will be flawed). In the end, the customer gets a "cheaper" system, but at what cost? The most important aspect of any geothermal job is the DESIGN, using Manuals J, S, T, and D... plus the wellfield design work, based on subsurface geology. IMO, you are unwilling to do $500 in design work on a system that will cost $25,000+ and you claim that is best for the customer? How can you do an educated guess without knowing the R-value of the walls/ceiling? Once I order the system and you magically arrive at the heatloss without any knowledge of the insulation levels, are you going to sell me the 3 ton system that matches Manual J @ $15,000 or do you just install the 5-ton system @ $25,000, based on your erroneous estimate, because I agreed to the price? Who wins when you incorrectly quote me a price of $15,000 and then upscale the cost, after I hire you, because I really need the 5-ton system, which I could have gotten for a better price... from your competitor? I fully understand your position - you want to maximize your profit - but there is a more ethical solution. You stop giving free estimates and charge for the proper design work BEFORE providing the price quote so that your proposal is accurate, not a BS guess. The customer is only out, if they don't order from you, but at least they know up front that you are going to do the job correctly. The illusion here is that most people in the industry are professionals that will gather data and make sound engineering decisions, rather than guessing and assuming.
  13. Anjou

    Anjou New Member

    There is an increased demand, due, in part, to the 30% IRS tax break, and there is also an increased supply of funding, meaning people are willing to pay more. Take away the tax credit and the prices would drop.

    Incidentally, you don't actually save 30% with the tax break. It reduces your taxable income (your AGI) by 30% of the cost of the system, which means that if you are in a 10% tax bracket, for example, you really save 10% of 30% of the cost of the system.
  14. arkie6

    arkie6 Active Member Forum Leader

    Yes you do save the 30% tax credit on your taxes, assuming you have to pay that much in taxes to begin with. That is how a tax credit works. It directly reduces the amount of taxes due dollar-for-dollar by the amount of the credit. You are thinking of a tax deduction.
  15. Douglas Nathe

    Douglas Nathe New Member

    Yes, the 30% credit is active once again. As of now 30% only applies though 2019. Then it drops a few points for 2020 and a few more for 2021.

    I couldn't pull the trigger on a $40k install. We just bought the house and I simply count afford it. Neither did I want to heat the house on a 26yr old propane furnace that had a design AFUE of 78%.

    So I did it myself, mostly. I spent well over a hundred hours researching the proper way to design and install a system. Took some online self pace courses. General contracted some parts of the install and then DIYed everything else that I could.

    I installed a Carrier GT series 3 ton system with closed ground loop design. The system works great considering it was a DIY job. Aux electric heat isn't needed until about -2F outside. Here in NY that is only a few times a year. Loop return temp at that point was 36F. MY electric bills are considerably lower than the 1,250gal of propane we would be using per year.

    Total system : $9,130 after 30% credit. Yes, the total install was just over $13k. Heatpump, 3600' SDR11 HDPE pipe, Excavating, flow center, manifold, electrical and misc parts.

    Some points of advice to anyone wanting to GC or DIY your own job.
    1 Get a manual J done. Either hire someone or download a spreadsheet and try one yourself at least.
    2 Research installs done in your region. Every region varies. This gives you a rough idea of what your system should look like.
    3 Take a couple online courses. Heatspring has some courses to get you on the right track. They are cheap and self paced.
    4 Shop around for for parts. My Carrier HP was a scratch and dent model. Got a huge discount for some minor damage. Shop around for HDPE pipe!!! Some suppliers were literally quoting me double of others.
    5 Get multiple quotes when hiring for any job.
    6 Read and participate in the forums. Learn from everyone else here.
    7!! Budget for help if needed. Understand that this is a major job and it may not go as planned. Ground conditions are not what you expected, wiring to too complicated ect. You may have to hire a professional installer. I was confident that I could do it but I was also prepared to hire help if needed.
  16. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You don't seem to understand anything what I have said, nor do you understand how variable speed geo systems work.

    1) I gave an example with the 30-40 KBTU/H
    2) We have standardized pricing for most of our single family houses, charging the same for a 3, 4 or 5 ton system. We include a dedicated 2 ton for domestic hot water too, so 100% of your hot water is done with the geo system too.
    3) I never said we are not doing a manual J. I said that I don't do a manual J to quote a job. I also said that after we have the job, we put in whatever manual J reveals.
    4) You accused me of shafting my customers for higher costs....not true. Again, costs are the same. Transparent upfront.
    5) Sure, design is important, but what if one came up with a standardized design which works superior and is cheaper.
    6) Indeed, I cannot know the R-Value of most retrofits. How can I know the R-Value of every roof and every wall in an older existing house? I am the first to listen!
    7) You accuse me to want to maximize my profit. If you don't understand our business model, that is OK. Just never accuse someone of something without knowing all the facts. The worst thing in that context is that you accuse me of lesser ethics, without knowing the facts.
    8) Everyone of our system is us, by the customer, and by a 3rd party. We know how they function, we also know what matters to get the ultimate in comfort or efficiency.
    9) The illusion sometimes is that people come up with precise design solution, that those are precision engineered systems, but they are still based on certain variables which are guesses. If you have the data on the performance of different sized systems for different load profiles, you can very quickly figure our on how the best standardize the systems. If you cannot do that and don't have the feedback data, that is ok, but don't accuse me of wrongdoing just because we deviate from the old fashion way of doing it.

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