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Need advice re installing new AC

10 years ago

I'm looking to install a new central heating and air conditioning system in my home. It is in Los Angeles, built in 1926, has two stories, and is about 2,400 square feet. As a result of a remodel done by a prior owner in the 1990s, the house has a central air and a furnace, but no air conditioning.

I have received five or six quotes from the relatively low end ($7,900 for Bryant Legacy series furnace, coil, condenser, some duct work but no zoning) to what I consider to be the very high end (about $20,000 for Carrier infinity series furnace, coil, condenser, some duct work and zoning). My feeling is that my wife and I will own this home for another 3 to 5 years, and then try to move to something nicer. So, I'd like to find a good quality system that is reliable, reasonably quiet, and won't break the bank.

First, do I need a furnace that is rated higher than 80% AFUE?

Second, how important is it to go above 13 SEER?

Third, is a condenser that is louder than 75 db too loud? [I know this is a bit subjective.]

Fourth, how will the almost 20 year old duct work in the house affect the choice of a furnace and/or air conditioner? [I intend to change the duct work under the house, but I am not going to change the duct work behind the walls.]

Five, what benefit is there to having a furnace with more than one speed?

I recognize that most of all of my questions are probably pretty basic to people who know something about heating and AC, but I'm not one of those people and I'd appreciate some simple and straightforward responses. Thank you.

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