Can someone weigh in on what's involved to change out an 80 percent furnace (or worse) to a 90 percent (or better)? In terms of both work scope AND cost? Take out the furnace, and what's the cost for all ducting, labor, etc.? Even a rough number for my reference is fine.
Here in Colorado, we have required "hi / low venting" to allow makeup air for <90 percent furnaces. I know it's important for the furnace to have that, but MAN, I hate 'em. They always add a significant amount of air leakage to a home when we run a blower door. I'm so glad to see that go away as people upgrade furnaces.
Also, is it possible to reuse the old aperture in the wall for hi / low venting for (PVC) exhausting and makeup air venting? In other words, the holes are already cut in the wall. Can they be repurposed and sealed around the vent pipes?
If your bids aren't competitive you don't get the work. You have to offer something your competitor doesn't to beat out the low bidders. Low bidders common practice is condenser swaps without regard to the Furnace/A-coil thats been in there since 1986. Getting them to replace the 1986 equipment that "isn't bad" according to other contractors can be a challenge. Sure the 1986 stuff still works, but AFUE/SEER is long past it's prime.
Energy auditors work in a world where people are highly concerned about energy costs. In the HVAC world people want to be cool as cheaply as possible. Replace the 27yr old pilot light furnace and 6 SEER A-coil with almost 3 decades of dirt on it, the costumer will see the difference. Going from a 80% to 90% furnace drops their gas bill from $100 on the coldest winter month to $90 they will never notice.
Look, I took my MOTHER from a $4000 furnace replacement to a $16,000 job.
I have a client who chose my $17,000 Hybrid solution over the competitions $11,000 one. They are STILL realizing/understanding/discovering problems solved by my design that the other guy's recommendation wouldn't have cured.
Looks like you'd like to get away from the race to the bottom. I'VE BEEN THERE! It is soul sucking, isn't it?
People default to price when they have no way to differentiate based upon quality. If you are feeling the decision will be a price decision, you are probably best asking for a bid spec so you can bid apples to apples, and have no responsibility for how crappy the design is.
You are not in a "Consultative Design" world, you are in a "race to the bottom on price by cutting whatever possible corners the client won't recognize as costing them money" world.
That ends up being a much higher monthly cost, with much lower quality of experience for the consumer. If you can help them understand that, they might let you show them a different path. Even if they don't, by offering, you shift responsibility for bad decisions off of your shoulders and on to theirs.
People are willing to pay more if they know they will get more. The problem is they've too often paid more and been disappointed.
I think by having transparency around our past results we can completely change the paradigm here. Bring JD Powers to Home Performance. Help homeowners quantify quality, and make better informed decisions.
Here's my "Treatise" - http://bit.ly/TrustTransparencyTruth
Well thought out response @tedkidd. The newer technology furnaces are designed to be less demanding on fuel (and are if sized correctly), are safer - especially if installed as the sealed systems that they are designed to be, and offer better comfort if distributed correctly. Well worth the higher sticker price and happy customers that can feel the difference.
I worked a furnace program with a major utility at the end of last year and had seen prices for 93% - 95% any where from $2800 to $4000.
I just left a 90% with wasp nest in PVC out put pipe. Took the CO to 380 PPM then the nest got wet and did not work with presser swick would not close, drys out works then gets wet then does not. We take out the make up air vents with use a 2 pipe PVC vent system. I just took out 8 150,000 BTU 60% replaced with 95% and used the old make up air vents for PVC flue. I used the old flue space for return to top floor, when got done still got air flow