Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/Contractor advice

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Question
Hello,
 I have an old package unit (over 25 yrs old) Iím pretty sure the compressor died.  It has been humming when it starts for a couple of years.  I can hear the contactor click but it wont start. One time it dimmed the lights in my house as if it had a dead short, but it didnít trip any breakers.
 Through the years I have replaced squirrel cage blower and shroud, low voltage transformer, evaporator fan, and multiple capacitors and even fished a dead possum out of the round flex duct work connecting to the house.  I figure now is the time to replace the unit and I will need to hire a contractor.
 On my first proposal the tech informed me my house is 1546 sq ft and would require 33000btu/3 ton unit.  A Trane 14seer with heat pump would mount right up and cost $4242
 He is recommending a Goodman 14 seer with electric heat, which would require a prefab slab conversion and duct adapter kit for  $3678  He claims they both have 10 year warrany so the Goodman is just as good and the heat pump makes the Trane more expensive.  I live in south Florida (Ft. Laud) and only occasionally use heat.
 
I suspect he gets a cheaper price on the Goodman.
What is better about a heat pump?
Is 14seer good enough for package unit ?
Are these prices high?  3ton Trane 14seer $4242  3ton Goodman 14seer $3678
I plan getting a couple more estimates or even hiring my neighbors brother to install it as a side job.  He installed another neighbors with no problems.

Iím looking for any advice on how to find a good contractor and what to look out for.
If I hire my neighbors brother what concerns should I have regarding warranty etc.?
Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thank You,
Wayne

Answer
Wayne,

Personally, I would look into a Goodman brand heat-pump. The advantage of a heat-pump over and above a unit with electric heat is the cost savings you would get on your electric bill when you heat your home. The cost to run electric heat is pretty high.

The prices you were quoted do not sound out of line at all, but I would avoid doing business with contractors who are family members or close friends....it is best to maintain a "business relationship" with a reputable dealer.

As far as locating a good and fair contractor, I would recommend consulting Angie's List, The Good Contractor's List, and even the BBB. Get 2 or 3 opinions, along with 2 or 3 quotes. Finally, make sure whoever installs your new unit files for your 10 year warranty within the fist 30-60 days after install; otherwise, you WILL NOT get any extended warranties....just the manufacturer's default 5 year warranty.

Good luck!

Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC

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Chuck Best

Expertise

I can answer most fundamental questions about Air Conditioning and how it works. I can give advice on different services in the DFW area, as well as lend some advice as to pricing systems along with solid opinions as to quality equipment versus sub-standard equipment. I can help educate consumers with regards as to what to look for in a service company, as well as steps they can & should take when considering repairing vs replacing their A/C equipment.

Experience

I was the Sr. Sales Technician for one of the most well-established HVAC (residential) companies in DFW for over 5 years. I then became the Dallas Team Leader for another well-established DFW company based out of Ft. Worth. Became the Sales Manager for an area A/C business most recently.

Publications
I have written content for several area HVAC (residential) businesses with respect to their Sales Policy manuals. I personally wrote the Sales Training Manual for a well-established DFW area HVAC company.

Education/Credentials
BS Univ of NM 1985

Awards and Honors
Million Dollar Sales Club; 2009, 2010, 2010, 2011, 2012

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