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Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 6639
Experience:  Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
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First, Id like to apologize upfront for how lengthy my question

Resolved Question:

First, I'd like to apologize upfront for how lengthy my question will be. I feel the need to include some background information in order for you to understand where we're at in the process of having a new HVAC system installed (and why).
Our home was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. We've had to completely "gut" our house down to the studs. Our old HVAC system was located under our house (in the crawlspace), our new HVAC system is located in the attic and has not yet been fully connected.
The reason the installation has not been completed is: our GC was ripping us off and we had to fire him. He basically charged us $47,000 for doing just the demolition work and replacing the vinyl siding. He claimed that $8,900 of the money we paid him was "payment in full" for the installation of our new HVAC system however, the HVAC company that he had subcontracted to do the work refuse to finish the job because they claim the GC never paid them (and I believe them).
Anyway, we've been without our home for 8 months now and we've now decided to act as our own GC. We just want to get the work done so we can live in our house again. We're looking to hire an HVAC company to finish the job. The new HVAC system (Ruud model: RCFL-HM3621CC) had been placed in our attic and the ductwork was done (flex duct/spider system run to ceiling vents). We do not have the new AC condenser but we do have a new platform in place that was built to hold the new condenser.
Our house is quite small, it's a ranch with 4 bedrooms/1 bath and it measures slightly under 1100 sq ft. There are 8 ceiling vents and 1 return ceiling vent.
So far we've had one HVAC company come out to give us an estimate for finishing the work. The tech from that company told us the new ductwork that's been done already isn't exactly "wrong" but that it wasn't done well. He said that he would want to reinstall all of the ductwork and gave us an estimate of $4,850 to complete the installation of the HVAC system (which includes reinstalling the ductwork and providing/installing the new AC condenser).
I feel that this estimate is ridiculously over priced. Could you please tell me - based on what I have told you - if this estimate seems over priced? I do plan on getting estimates from other HVAC companies, but price gouging is a very serious problem around here right now and I don't know WHO I can trust.....I just want a ballpark figure of what this job should cost me so that I can weed out those who are really over charging. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX (Jersey Shore)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Phil replied 2 years ago.
Welcome to Just Answer!.

Your system is likely 2 tons cooling capacity. Rock bottom pricing for the work in question is $1,500 per ton. Average is $2,000 to $2,500 per ton.

A quote of $4,800 if the condensing unit is a RUUD, and the contractor actually removes and replaces the existing bad duct job.... is about 20% high,

Given the amount of storm damage in the area, and the limited competition, you will not likely find much of a lower price.... if this current contractor is well astablished in business it is a competive price.

some contractors will use lower quality equipment and not actually do much to fix up the duct work... in that case the $4,800 price is about 50% high.

You will have to look at these particulars, and examine the existing duct work yourself to verify that has bad connections and air leaks, and might be crushed in some places.

If you shop around extensively and are careful to buy a RUUD condensing unit on the pad outside, you might get the price down to $2,500, by fixing the existing spider duct and not replacng it.

The RUUD 13 SEER efficiency rated condensing units, wholesale for about $500 more than the cheapest brands on the market.

The key issue here is the quality of the contractor, shown by his time in business, RUUD quality equipment, and his better business bureau rating.

I hold questions open after positive ratings to allow for unlimited follow up.

Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 6639
Experience: Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
Phil and other HVAC Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The tech who gave me the estimate mentioned that he'd install a Rheem condenser. Also, now that I think about it, he didn't say that he would "remove and replace" the new ductwork that the original HVAC tech had installed.....he said that he'd "reinstall" this ductwork which leads me to believe that his intention may be to just "fix the existing spider duct". I will need to clarify this with him. My husband and I have both examined the existing (brand new) spider duct and we did see 2 separate areas with very sharp bends in the ducts and the appearance of some crushing in both of those areas.....otherwise, the rest of the spider duct appears to be intact and well placed with no signs of leaks, tears or crushing.


You've supplied me with some very useful information and I truly appreciate it. Thanks Phil.

Expert:  Phil replied 2 years ago.
Hello again, Thanks for the excellent rating. Feel free to stay in touch on the AC issue as work continues..


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