Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/Package unit replacement

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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,

Whoever installs your system make sure they register it for you and give you a copy. 14 SEER is the minimum standard as of 1 January. 2015. The only problem hiring a moon lighter would be you would not get any labor warranty. Other than what brand to purchase that is a customers decision. Nowadays there is not that much difference as majority of the parts are purchased from 3rd parties. Prices vary depending on region of the country.

The Goodman is not as heavily advertised as the Trane,  those advertisement cost are passed onto the customers. Your paying for the Trane name also, that is but one reason the Goodman is cheaper. To Goodmans credit, they are the number one residential brand in the USA.

None of the Contractors mentioned anything about your existing ductwork possible needing any type of modification or resealing or some parts needing replacement.

Heat Pumps  do not require extra separate heavy gauge wire to run electric heat.

A good Contractor actually does a load calculation and does not replace same size unit for a new same size unit.

I would get several other bids then decide.

25 year run is good, goes to show you they made them solid back in the old days. New units are a different story just like anything made nowadays.

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40+ years diversified experience.An HVAC/Refrigeration Self Employed Contractor since 1986. NATE Certifield. Answer questions pertaining to Residential and Commercial Air Conditioning , Warm Air Heating, Heat Pump systems.Mechanical and Electrical troubleshooting of these systems.Be as detailed as possible when describing problem.Packaged unit or split systems.No appliance questions.

Experience

Installation and Troubleshooting, Mechanical and Electrical, in following areas, Refrigeration ( Walk In and Reach In Coolers and Freezers ) Commercial Roof Top and Packaged Heating/Cooling ( Natural Gas,Propane, Electric, and Heat Pumps ) Computer Room Air Conditoning Systems,Commercial Residential Packaged and Split Systems Air Conditoning and Heat Pumps.Warm Air Oil , Natural and Propane Gas Heating systems.

Education/Credentials
Graduated from Private Technical School in 1975. An HVAC/Refrigeration Contractor . Have Unlimited Heating/Piping and Cooling Contractor License.Limited Sheetmetal Contractors License.NATE Certifield. York Certifield Master Heat Pump Technician 1986. Served 33 years combination Active Duty Air Force , Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard in the HVAC/Refrigeration Shop/Mechanical Shop. Troubleshooting/Installing HVAC/Refrigeration Equiptment Worldwide. Retiring in 2003 as a Senior NCO ,and a Mechanical Superintendent.

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