Please help with any advice regarding proposals

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by hoinoy, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. hoinoy

    hoinoy New Member

    Hi everyone, thank you for all your helpful questions and advices so far. Currently, we will be building a custom home this year and are really serious about putting in a GSHP HVAC system. Received 2 proposals so far with similar specs but different prices. Please help.

    House Details: located in SE PA
    Basement ~1500-2000 sq ft unfinished, but will be finishing it in few years. Want to plan our HVAC now for future basement load
    1st Floor: 2000 sq ft living space, no bedrooms
    2nd Floor: 2600 sq ft with 2 bedrooms above attached garage
    "GeoDesigner" Calculations estimates annual heating load of 125 million BTUs, cooling load 54 million BTUs, hot water load 20 million BTU

    Proposals so far:
    #1: from my reputable builder's HVAC subcontractor, in business since 2008, installs ~35-40 systems per year
    -two 3 ton ClimateMaster Tranquility 30s with 2 zones each: basement unit for basement and 1st floor, while the 2nd floor unit for the 2nd floor
    -Honeywell thermostats
    -all ductwork, including all baths and kitchen ducting
    -price $52,000, plus a driller that they use that will charge ~$18,000 to drill 3 x 300ft bores = total $70,000!

    #2: from a large local company that has geo and solar and "over 200 service trucks" in greater PA
    -one 4-ton ClimateMaster Tranquility 30 with 2 zones for the downstairs unit (basement and 1st floor)
    -one 3-ton ClimateMaster Tranquility 30 with 2 zones for the upstairs (2nd floor)
    -Honeywell thermostats
    -desuperheater and buffer tank included
    -all ductwork for HVAC, not including bath and kitchen ducting
    -price $45,000, plus a driller that they recommend with approx charge of ~13,000 to drill same configuration = $58,000

    Do you think that the 1st company is trying to rip me off? Why is there such a large discrepancy between the quotes for similar specs?

    Big problem is that my builder is a very well known and honest person, but he really wants to work with the 1st company b/c he knows them and he feels comfortable that if something goes wrong, he can use his company's reputation to make them have it properly installed. On the other hand, I feel that the larger company is more stable and is obviously providing a much better price with more features.

    Should I force my builder to change HVAC guy for my house?

    Thank you for any helpful advice
  2. MrEnte

    MrEnte Member

    I am not a professional by any means. I am a consumer just like you. I recently signed a contract to have my Maryland home retrofitted with a 4 ton Waterfurnace Series 7 geothermal unit. I would say that company one is definitely ripping you off on the drilling. He is charging $20 per foot. I had multiple quotes done and the most expensive was $18 per foot. I would say that the price range was $11 - $18 per foot with most coming in around $15 per foot.
    Next I would look at the Waterfurnace system. It has much higher efficiencies. The best climate master has an EER rating (Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 29.6. Waterfurnace has a whopping 41 EER the highest in the industry. (See company links here: Digital Geothermal Heating Cooling Systems & WaterFurnace Residential Product Line : 700A11...... Water furnace has a higher COP (The Coefficient of Performance - COP - is the ratio of heat output to the amount of energy input of a heat pump) also. While I'm sure Climate Master is a good unit, I would get a quote from a local waterfurnace certified installer in your area WaterFurnace : Dealer Locator. Check referrals & installation experience.
    I would guess that at $58K for the 2 units install plus duct work you are getting overcharged there too. I'm paying about $24K to install a 4 ton Waterfurnace Series 7 geothermal unit installed and having the duct work for 2 returns replaced. Also they have to get rid of the old 40 year old furnace and 25 year old AC unit. They will also get rid of my 275 gallon oil tank. Installing during new construction is much easier than retrofitting. I imagine that the price to install new duct work for you is a bit more than the installation of my returns & tear down and disposal of my old equipment (but not much more) I am also having a humidifier added to my system. Plus Waterfurnace is currently offering a $2500 factory rebate.
    As the guy that's footing the bill you have every right to pick your own geothermal installer. Fight the fight and keep the money in your pocket. .....That's my 2 cents. Remember, I am a consumer just trying to get the most value for my dollar while not sacrificing quality.... MrEnte
  3. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Prices are impacted quite about by regional conditions. Are you drilling in rock vs mud. Do you pay $500/ bore for permits or one fee for all of them....etc

    It is difficult for someone to tell you what it costs to drill there based on what they pay "here". That's why we (in the business) often lay back on pricing comments.

    Put dealer ahead of brand in your search.

    Your builder's relationship with the HVAC guy is an important one. Generally a builder will get 10 to 15% of the subs invoices. Money for which you may still be on the hook if you go with the "cheaper" contractor. In the absence of that fee builders are not compensated for coordination of that sub and will leave it to you.
    Ask the other guy for names of builders he works with.

    You do not offer enough information to give you much more.
    i.e. I do not know what the btuh load or cost/kwh is so I can not comment on sizing. I do not know what is included in their quotes so it is difficult to say who is "cheaper".
    I do know that downstairs load is not likely significantly higher than second floor load, so the suggestion of an extra ton requirement makes me think the 4 ton is oversized.
  4. hoinoy

    hoinoy New Member

    Sorry forgot to mention that only the second contractor (big company) has provided me with a detailed analysis of the heat-cooling load of my house, while the 1st company (my builder's subcontractor) did not. It is estimated to be ~heating load of 125 million BTUs, cooling load 54 million BTUs, hot water load 20 million BTU per year.

    I agree that everyone is allowed to make a profit, but >20% markup over the same system with less features (desuperheater and buffer tank) is a little greedy. The drillers are both locally run and are familiar with drilling in the Chadds Ford area of PA, so $5,000 difference with same bore depth/ton is kind of out of hand. Given that our builder is well known for building big custom homes in the Main Line of Philadelphia, I feel that his HVAC guy is trying to pull a fast one on me due to the scope of our planned house. In addition, the first HVAC guy also told me off-hand that he would give me 2 different "quotes" with same costs for our geothermal system, 1 being detailed itemized proposal for us to keep, and the second being "general finalized costs" of our system so that we claim "every bit" of our HVAC system for 30% federal credit. Lastly, he told me that the well driller he recommended would even "drill your domestic well" along with the geothermal wells, and have it be included in the 30% fed credit. This sounds a little too fishy.

    Our builder is used to building upper-middle class communities (>$800,000/home) to $3 million custom homes, I doubt that he would risk his reputation for $5,000. When I told my builder of the geothermal system's premium, even my own builder was surprised by the cost of his own subcontractor's geothermal systems and he does not remember the few geothermal systems in his latest community had cost as much. He took the HVAC's estimate and told me that he will check with the HVAC guy.

    Ultimately, I agree that the HVAC guy's relationship with my builder is probably one of the most important aspect of my custom home, and the difference in costs of different proposals may only be 1% of the final cost of the house. However, I want to know that I can sleep at night knowing I have made the best decision without feeling being taken advantage off.

    All comments are helpful, I want to thank you
  5. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You are continued to be obsessed by the rating game. The WF 7 series is a very efficient unit, but the 41EER it will reached in a very small portion of its operation spectrum. Climatemaster is also a very efficient unit, on par with the waterfurnace 5 series. And a 7 series can operate at an EER of less than 10 if the installer is not sophisticated and experienced!
    Plus at full speed the 7 series is less efficient than the Climatemaster 30! So it depends on the design parameters, which you continue to ignore!
  6. MrEnte

    MrEnte Member

    Ok that makes sense. I looked at Climatemaster but none of the installers quoted it. So I didn't look in to it too much. I'm sure you know what your talking about. I'm the rookie here. I'm just saying the WF7 is worth looking at. Well at least I have an experienced installer. So I'm crossing my fingers & toes.
  7. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Heat goes to cold every time. It is a rule.

    Custom jobs are very expensive.

    Hoinoy, the first thing I would ask you is what you want to do.

    When you have given me your response, I would then ask how you wanted to do it.

    I never design what I think the customer wants, I always design what and how the customer wants.

    Most of my customers know that their high tech , "green" system will cost more than the 8 to 10% most mortgage banks think is the correct number as measured to home cost.

    I will guess that the "better", "cheaper to run systems", are in the 25 to 35% range.

    It is your check book, and if I was your GC @ 15% or more I would do what ever you asked me to do.

    I can make PA a part of my AO.

    A designed home comfort system is not from the lowest bidder, it is from the best bidder.

    Check me out.

  8. Matthew Bogdanowicz

    Matthew Bogdanowicz New Member

    That is a big difference between this two quotes.

    I’m considering installing two separate units with one being split into two zones.

    I wanted to use climatemaster tranquility 30 3 ton units.

    i got a price from local well driller to drill two 500 foot wells install 1,25inch loop, outdoor manifold and bring the loops into the house for 25,000 and the local hvac company to install the two units including heat recovery system for 45K for a total of 70K.

    No buffer tank.

    I will appreciate if you could share the name of the second company so I can get a quote from them. I live NJ
  9. Calladrilling

    Calladrilling Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    where in NJ are you?
    I'm a loop installer in NJ.
    1000' of. 1.25" loop.
    Check out our website, and Facebook page for photos and information on us.
  10. Matthew Bogdanowicz

    Matthew Bogdanowicz New Member

    Dear Den,
    we are located in sussex county NJ
  11. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Speaking to the builder-sub contractor relatinship, our economy has vetted that crap. The question is has your builder and his HVAC guy done geo before? How many? The key to geo is experiance and repetition. You want a installer who does at least 50% geo theough the year to get a realistic quote. If the installer does not do alot of geo, he is prollly not getting the best pricing himself on units and including danger/fudge money to CHA.

  12. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    there are companies that do exclusively geo and some that are not one solution strategists. I don't know that 50% is the dividing line. We do 1 to 2 dozen a year and many more furnaces and air conditioners, but purchase equipment mainly from one distributor so pricing is based on total volume not geo volume.
    However I agree that if you find your contractor installs a geo once in a blue moon, then you are likely not getting the best shot at success.

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