Newbie help with quote

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by kas141, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. kas141

    kas141 New Member

    My husband and I are currently in the process of getting quotes to replace our current heating system with geothermal. Our home is 1 year old new construction on a third of an acre, about 3800 sq ft (1000 of which is finished basement), and we currently have propane forced hot air as well as a propane hot water heater.

    The first company that came out about a week ago was really nice to deal with, very thorough, spent about an hour and a half answering our questions, taking measurements, and checking out our current system. We are still waiting to hear back from him as he has had a delay in getting quotes back from the drilling companies he deals with.

    The second company came out this Monday and spent about 20 minutes sitting at our kitchen table answering our questions. When we asked if he needed to take any measurements or anything, he said he only needed to look at our circuit breaker box and air conditioner condensers, and could estimate the square footage of our house. ??? Anyways, we just got his quote back and it seems INSANE. Here are the details:

    1st Floor –
    • Water Furnace Envision unit, R410A, variable speed, dual capacity, 4 ton, model NDV049A111L
    2nd Floor –
    • Water Furnace Envision split unit, variable speed, dual capacity, 3 ton unit, model NDZ038A
    • Envision variable speed air handler, model NAH042-A
    • 2- Air pads
    • Condensate pan for 2nd floor unit
    • 2- Programmable thermostats
    • 2- 10KW heat packages
    • Removal of old units
    • Well driller allowance - $23,400.00
    • Wiring
    • All necessary ductwork
    • Desuper heater for hot water
    • 2- Hot water storage tanks
    • Permit fees for township and county
    • 10 year parts and labor warranty
    • Labor and material
    1. Carpentry.
    2. Patching.
    3. Rock.
    4. Lanscaping.

    Total estimate: $53,860

    I would expect a price like this if we were starting from scratch (i.e. just starting to build and had NO ductwork or any existing system), but not for replacement of a practically brand new system. Does anyone have any feedback on a number like this? DH and I were expecting/hoping for around 30 - 35K. We are in the Philadelphia suburbs if that makes any difference. Thanks for any help you can provide.
  2. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Depending on where in the 'burbs you are, Looby might be able to give you contact information about his installer.

    Is your duct work currently shared between floors? I wonder if one geothermal unit would work for you instead of two...
  3. kas141

    kas141 New Member

    We are in upper Bucks County. I would love to hear from anyone in the area that has installed geo!!!

    Not sure about the ductwork. Our house is a pretty basic cookie-cutter mass produced colonial, nothing fancy going on in here. I got a message from the other heating company and apparently we will be getting our estimate from him tomorrow. Really nervous that this one is going to be sky-high as well bc he mentioned that there are a lot of "details he would like to go over with us."
  4. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    If you have a 1400 sqf per floor, 2 floors and a 1000 sqf conditioned basement in SE PA, and a new house built to code, it is hard to imagine that this is more than 55-60 KBTU/h, 4 tons, or worst case scenario a 5 ton system. Unless there is something special, like huge glass fronts etc, or anything else, around 30 K (+/-) should be a fair price. This is ball park what a similar system would run around here, without knowing any specifics. Would not understand the proposal for a 7 ton system. The contractor might not have experience and know how for geo sizing. If unhappy with the next contractor, get more quotes.
  5. kas141

    kas141 New Member

    Nope, nothing special going on in the house at all. Very traditional, farmhouse-style colonial, no fancy windows or anything like that. It seems pretty tight with the exception of our attached 2-car garage.

    I will post more info when I get the second quote, hopefully later today. I'm also still digging around for more contractors in the area who have done a lot of geo work - at this point, we're not in a rush to do things. We'd ideally like to have the project completed by November at the latest.
  6. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Looby is the resident expert for the "philly burbs". He has a real handle on what goes on there and how it is done. He also has a geothermal system. Send him a PM if he does not chime in.
  7. Looby

    Looby Member Forum Leader

    I agree, totally INSANE! Ignore the price, you'd have to be insane to
    accept any estimate based on a 20 min chat with no measurements.

    I'm not entirely comfortable naming names on this forum, but if you
    send me a PM or email (thelooby at gmail dot com) I'd be happy to
    tell you who did my install -- and what it cost (in late '08 - early '09).

    I'm not sure you'd be in my guy's op area, (he's in Kennett Square),
    but it never hurts to ask. In the meantime, you should check installer
    credentials on IGSHPA, as well as the Find A Pro list on this site.

    There are also customer testimonials on

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  8. kas141

    kas141 New Member

    Thanks so much Looby, I PM'ed you. :)
  9. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Do you have 1 or two furnaces?
  10. kas141

    kas141 New Member

    We currently have 2 propane furnaces - one in the basement and one in the attic.
  11. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    that 'splains the 2 heat pump suggestion.
  12. kas141

    kas141 New Member

    I just got back my 2nd quote - $49K for another Waterfurnace Envision 3T in the basement, 2T on the second floor system. DH and I feel like the installers in our area have jacked up the prices 30%+ because of the tax credit. We can't figure out why our estimates are $15-20K more than what other people in our area with similar houses have paid....I guess we'll just have to keep shopping. Very, very frustrating.
  13. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Did the other people in the area have similar houses and similar geothermal systems to your quote? Are your quotes from the same installers that they used? How many years ago were their systems installed?
  14. kas141

    kas141 New Member

    Yes, yes, and yes. The one installer hung up on me when I told him I knew that his company installed a similar system 1.5 years ago for $32K.
  15. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    "similar" does not mean same.
    hard to compare when we don't know what we don't know.
    tax credits have attracted new contractors to the field (in my AO) who charge less than we do.
  16. Looby

    Looby Member Forum Leader

    I agree, 7-tons sounds very high -- and even if the house is leaky/poorly insulated,
    I'd want to look at the possibility of using a single unit (up to 6-tons). Not only are
    multiple units expensive, but they take up extra space and complicate things.
  17. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Lobby as Joe noted there are two duct systems in the home.

    I am not sure why the split for upstairs, (too heavy to carry to the attic?). I would need to "see" the job to make a call on the costs as described.

    ^^^goes off to Google Philly burbs from the land of Cleve.
  18. Looby

    Looby Member Forum Leader

    Yep, I understand that -- but it might save heaps of $$$ and some
    operational complexity if they could merge two systems into one.

    The ducting for two scorched air systems might need some mods,
    in any case. That could be an opportunity to re-visit & re-evaluate
    earlier design decisions

    Sometimes dual heat pumps make sense, sometimes not.
  19. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The trouble with combining a typical up stairs/downstairs system is getting trunk lines to the basement from the attic in a finished home.
    I am always a fan of 1 vs 2 units, but sometimes circumstances take the option away from us.

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