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lindsey_ca

New to this Forum, not to GardenWeb, need answers :-)

Lindsey_CA
12 years ago

I've been a registered member here at GardenWeb since 2004, lurking for a while before that. Confess I haven't been in this forum before (at least, not that I can recall...)

Anyway, since the HVAC experts are here, I'd like to ask a question or two...

Hubs and I live in Sacramento County, CA. Our house is wood frame construction on a concrete slab. Two story, approx 2250 sq.ft. Downstairs has entry, living room, dining room (those three areas have vaulted ceiling), kitchen, breakfast nook, family room, bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room. Upstairs has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Only one setback thermostat, which is upstairs in the "landing" area (large squarish area). The one air return is over the stairwell (from the entry, take five steps up, small landing; turn to your left, four steps up, small landing [air return is directly above this landing]; turn to your left, five steps up and you're in the upstairs landing area). Central (gas, forced air) heat and air conditioning. The heating unit is in the attic (which I know you guessed because of where the air return and thermostat are), and is a horizontal unit. Air conditioning condenser (condensor?) is in the backyard, up close to the house.

The house is 20 years old (we bought it when it was in the framing stage). Over the years there have been several winters when the heater "died" and we had to have it serviced. Had to have the thermostat replaced once.

I think the heater is a Rheem, but right now I'm not positive and it's late and I'm not inclined to go hunt down the paperwork.

At any rate, during the summer when we had the air conditioner going, we'd left the house to do some shopping; and when we returned the "blower" in the attic was making an odd noise. So, we shut the air off and didn't turn it on again. Luckily, we were reasonably close to the end of the hot-hot season, so we suffered through it. Now that we've had a bit of a weather change (except for this week when it's in the mid to high 70s again and it's supposed to be 80º tomorrow), we need the heater. Turned it on a week or so ago and it sounded really horrible. It was putting out warm air, but we were concerned about what might be happening, sight unseen, in the attic so we turned it off. Suffered through some days/nights when it didn't get above 62º in the house.

Had the repairman out to check it, and he said it needs a new motor and a couple of other parts. He wasn't even sure if one of the parts was still manufactured! But, he called around and found them. $700 for the parts.

So, Hubs and I are wondering whether we should just put in a new system (yes, we know a new system would be much more energy efficient, quieter, more effective, etc., etc.), but we have no idea what we'd be looking at in terms of costs. No one will even give us a "ballpark" figure without having someone come out to the house and a big to-do, etc.

Can anyone here tell me a reasonable range of what it should cost for a replacement gas, forced-air heater unit? Are we looking at $1,500 or at least $15,000? Let's just assume (yeah, I know) that all of the current existing ducting is sufficient and all we're doing is replacing the heater unit.

Thank you in advance for any information/advice you can provide. :-)

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