Replacing the broken AC… and going all in on three new HVAC systems

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that one of our air conditioners bit the dust.

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Of the four units on our roof, three of them are past their prime. (Hint: The three on the right.) The unit cooling the kitchen and future downstairs living/dining rooms wins the prize for going out first. Initially, we turned to the company that (used to) service our HVAC to get a new quote, but were frustrated by the salesman’s lack of interest. So Aaron decided to cast a wider net. He contacted several HVAC companies and decided to get quotes that would not only cover our one dead AC unit, but would give us options for replacing the whole system (AC and furnace) as well as replacing the two other older systems.

We reasoned that this would give us some leverage in the price. Also because the units are located on the roof, we would only need to pay to bring a crane out once (rather than each time a unit kicks the bucket.) A large scale replacement would also offer the biggest impact to our monthly heating/cooling bills.

Anton’s Air Conditioning & Heating made the list thanks to great reviews on Angie’s List. They were great to work with from the start. They did a thorough walk through and asked for measurements of the rooms to ensure they quoted the right systems for the space.

Their quote wasn’t the lowest that we received, but it was on the lower end of the scale. We also felt like the owner went above and beyond to give us the best price he could.

Ultimately, we purchased three Carrier Infinity 19VS central air conditioning units paired with Carrier Infinity 96 gas furnaces. That allowed us to replace the two furnaces in the studio:

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And one of the upstairs units:

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Anton’s scheduled our work quickly and sent extra installers to make the install as fast as possible. All of the material was delivered and then they got to work!

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Paying for this once, instead of three times = winning.

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The new furnaces are much smaller and SO much more efficient. The studio unit (pictured here) is 100,000 btu and is 96% efficient.

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The other furnaces are 80,000 btu and also 96% efficient. The older models were only 90% efficient.

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The AC’s (not pictured because we forgot to ask them to take one) were huge upgrades as well. The studio AC is 4 ton and the ones for the living spaces are 3 1/2 ton. Most impressively (per Aaron who, per usual, became an expert in the lingo) the AC units are 19 SEER (the measurement for efficiency… don’t worry I didn’t know that either) far surpassing the former units’ paltry 8 SEER.

We also added humidifiers, which should make a world of difference in the winter. (Three cheers for less static electricity!)

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The high-efficiency units came with fancy thermostats. Besides being programmable, they control the humidity and connect to our wifi to tell us the outside temperature and weather.

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So here’s my love letter to Anton’s. We’re avid DIYers, but ones that recognize that we need to outsource large or labor intensive projects. Because of that we’ve dealt with a number of contractors over the last 2 ½ years and have had mixed experiences across the board. We’ve had issues from communication to cleanliness and quality of work to can I say communication again, because OMG most contractors are SO bad at this. All of this is to say that we know what it’s like to work with bad and mediocre companies. That’s why our experience with Anton’s Air Conditioning & Heating stands out far above the rest and was hands down the best service we’ve received to date.

The team at Anton’s made every part of the buying process easy… neigh enjoyable. And if you’re going to give that much money to someone, you want to feel good about it. They helped arrange a fantastic financing plan and even completed much of the rebate paperwork for our local utilities.

The extra installers cut the install from around 3 days to 2. Ultimately they finished in just a day and a half despite the intermittent thunderstorms. If that was the sum of the story, we would be happy. What ticked us over into the love zone was the extra effort. On the first day of the install, the team stayed late to make sure our upstairs back quadrant (this covers our upstairs living room, where we spend most of our evening) was functional. They also added an overflow pan and water sensor to our upstairs furnace to guard against damage should the humidifier fail. And they cleaned up after themselves! When I asked Aaron if he had vacuumed the (slightly embarrassing) amount of dog hair in the living room he told me that the Anton’s crew cleaned a bunch before departing, including wet mopping most of the studio. Be still my heart.

So, Anton’s Air Conditioning & Heating – THANK YOU! Thanks for being great people and being  great at what you do.

Once Anton’s was done, there was still a little work left. The upstairs furnace and furnace closet lacked any kind of insulation or seal between that space and the attic space.

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That jagged hole allowed attic air (not temperature regulated and definitely not clean) to flow into the living room.

Here’s a view from the neighboring closet. Aaron pulled down the drywall (it was just screwed in) to access the attic space.

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We’re so glad he did because he also found a significant break in the HVAC line. That meant some of the air we were paying to cool/heat was leaking into the attic and some of the attic air was getting pumped throughout our second floor. No bueno.  He sealed the junction and every gap around the furnace room and attic before adding lots of insulation.

The new systems have been running  for a few weeks, and we are thrilled with change. Aaron has the thermostats programmed to spool up or down based on our routine and the house just feels more comfortable (cooler in this instance) throughout. I seriously had to grab a light blanket last night when we were on the couch. Plus (and this may be the absolute best thing to come out of all of this) the upstairs back quadrant furnace, which is in a closet RIGHT next to our couch, is SOOO much quieter. We’ve spent the last few years adjusting the volume of the TV up (WAY up) whenever the furnace kicked on. Now it’s so blissfully quiet and so peaceful.

2 thoughts on “Replacing the broken AC… and going all in on three new HVAC systems

  1. Huzzah! A happy story to what began as a bummer to your summer. Don’t you just love it when you find people who care about what they do, and the people they do it for? Three cheers for professionalism, kindness, and efficiency!

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