Any tips for deals on a new central A/C system?

Up against a bad freon (r-22) leak in an ancient system, so shopping for a replacement rather than trying to repair. Any tips on getting a deal?

Direct local contractors? Costco? Lowes?

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Skip Lowes/Home Depot/Costco and go directly to a contractor and plan to negotiate with that contractor. Check Valpak. Most of the larger contractors in my area have a monthly coupon in there for a discount on a new system. Those work well if you don’t want to negotiate the old fashioned way. If you can stand the heat for a few weeks, get multiple quotes. Be sure to get quotes from companies that sell different brands. If you want cheap, find a contractor that sells Goodman.


You might consider checking with your local utilities. Some provide savings or rebates.

Here’s an example from Baltimore:

Also, you might find moonlighters through craigslist or similar classified listing sites. We did this. Although it took a bit longer to get everything installed, we saved 50 percent on two-stage 16-SEER Rheem/Rudd heat pumps.

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I don’t have a recommendation for your area unfortunately. My preferred company does not go there.

Lately, I have had great luck with Home Advisor. You might try that out and see what you find.

Bad time to be without AC. Sorry!

First quote is coming from the local contractor we’ve used before.

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In anticipation of needing to go through your current exercise, I kept this from Fatwallet in my idea file. The bad luck stick never hit me so I can’t offer any comments on this strategy. Hell, it may have been a social marketing campaign. Good luck.

=====begin quote=====
15 Seer Heatpump and indoor airhandler Installed for $3200
|8/4/2013 10:14 AM| Hot Deals
Rating: 17 Posted By: cpumechanic020
Views: 4422 Replies: 41

Just wanted to share my Fatwallet Search for a replacement Heatpump.

Went here;…

Added 10kw emergency heat strip, and $39 for liftgate delivery.

Contractors (and WWW) suggest that the “goodman” AC units are low quality and to avoid.
Rheem/rudd is not Trane or Carrier, but 10 year warranty is fine with me.

Ordered unit over the phone on Monday, unit arrived from Florida in PA on Thursday.

Boxes on Pallet, shrink wrapped, no evidence of any damage.

Paid local AC contractor (17 years experience) $1125 Cash to install the air handler, flush the copper lines of old freon, and hook up and test the new unit.

I had removed the old air handler in basement, and the outdoor unit prior to his arrival.

The installs started at about 10 AM, and was complete and unit working at 3PM

Total Cost Summary

15 Seer Rheem/Rudd (exact models linked above) 10 year Warranty on Compressor and indoor airhandler

Outside unit + Inside air-handler 15 Seer Free delivery$2,387
Licensed AC installer labor $1,125
Federal Tax Credit -$300

Grand Total installed 15 Seer Heat Pump $3,212

Same hardware on E-bay is ~$500-600 higher in price.
Called Local AC suppliers and they wanted several thousand dollars more for the heatpump install.
They wanted 50% markup (from this price) on the hardware, I laughed at them.

Used Visa card to charge the hardware , so if any issues, I can dispute.
Paid $39 for “liftgate service” did not need, it , slid the units off back of semi , onto my pick up truck bed, no issue.
Opened the boxes ON the SEMI, to check for damage, before I accepted the units.

Installer made $1100 for about 6 hours work, so he was well paid and happy, and did a very clean nice job.

Probably could have found an installer who charged less, but… I wanted assurance that my home stays warm this winter.

Very impressed with the folks in Florida selling for these prices, and free delivery included.

Hope this helps someone else.


=====end quote=====

That’s a good deal.

Just be sure that there was (is) a filter-drier installed on the liquid line; that the liquid and suction lines are correctly sized (larger diameter liquid lines are often specd on newer equipment); and that you register the warranty on line.

Also, depending on which air handler you have, be sure to set the fan speed settings for the best dehumidification or install a separate dehumidistat if the air handler supports it.

It is also 5 years old. :wink: I wish that OP was around to post a current review.

I just noticed who started this thread. My sympathies. Although I grew up without A/C, it is much easier on a kid than on an adult over 40. Good luck on finding a solution very soon. The Big Easy ain’t easy in August. That’s a blues song, right?

We’ve got a window unit cooling the bedroom, so it’s not completely awful.

We have used Goodman’s in our homes for 16 years with no issues other than them getting old. We bought our first house with a 14 year old Goodman and it lasted another 8 years before leaking Freon lead us to get another. Other than the Freon, we had to replace a capacity or something once which ran about $50 when it was found during the annual cleaning/maintenance and another when some panel went out on the furnace which i believe was around $200 with the service call. We went with Goodman at replacement time as well.

We tried working with two side gig installers and both times they did poorly. One guy kept trying to upsell the unit claiming he couldn’t get stuff or something else and kept putting off the install. He supposedly did good work for some of our friends when they recommended him but when I told them about our issues they said thinking back, he said similar things to them and they bought it (I don’t get recommendations from them anymore :wink:). Another guy kept putting off our install because it was busy season and our air was working so he basically said we weren’t a priority against paying customers with non-working air. We finally went with a local business and only paid about $200 more and had it done within a few days.

I imagine the side gig method has hidden risks depending on the quality of the install. I’m wary of it, but I do have a lead on a guy who has done side work installs for a friend’s house.

Wholesale Direct to the Public

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I ended up wirh a wide range of quotes from local firms based on personal recommendations, ~6-11k. The high one was the Costco Lenox dealer.

Going with the low one for a 14 seer Goodman.

Thanks everyone!


Thanks for posting the decision. Hope the Goodman serves you well.

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We haven’t gotten the first electric bill yet, but the difference in cooling/dehumidification is dramatic. God kinows how much money we were pissing away with that old system, Not really getting much cooling in return.


Congrats on the new system. How was the installation?
And if you weren’t Katrina-ized, re-caulking the windows and new door weatherstripping / sweeps will help a lot.

Thinking of adding central AC or mini-split before next summer.

@TravelerMSY Are you still happy with your Goodman unit?

We have a Goodman now and are planning for replacement in 1-2 years. Just added freon again today…

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