My New AC & Furnace Experience

I am in the process of getting a new Air Conditioner, Furnace, and Thermostat so thought I would write up a blog post about my experience. First my HVAC system is a Trane system and is almost 24 years old and is still working but it is due to be replaced. I had to have the furnace repaired about a month ago and the technician had to turn down the gas flame to make the furnace work. So I figured that I would replace it when companies are looking for work as it would be somewhat cheaper now. If I waited until summer time and my AC goes out then I am sure the cost and labor would increase dramatically.

I had Goggled the Internet looking at different system and I wanted a system that would be efficient. I had to replace my old AC as soon as possible to keep me on track playing my favorite wolf gold game, it is summer time and the temperature is really hot. I realize that the higher the efficiency, the higher the price. But it would pay for itself in the long run with lower utility bills. So what I wanted was a 4 ton system with a AC rating of 16 SEER and a furnace with a 96% rating. With a 96% efficiency rating on the furnace I would also receive a rebate from Oklahoma Natural Gas company for $550. You see the high efficiency already started to pay for itself.

So I first asked company #1 to come out and give me an estimate. We stopped by our local store on Sunday and they said the lady that handled the estimates was off and would not be back until Tuesday since Monday was a holiday. She called actually on Monday and we setup an appointment for Wednesday. She arrived with a service technician from the company that would do the install. They took a quick look at my old system and recommended only a 3 1/2 ton system and gave me three estimates for a new Trane system. The middle range system was energy efficient with a Trane XR-17 AC and a Trane XV-95 Furnace. That is a AC rating of 17 SEER and a Furnace rating of 95%. Their first estimate was for $13,142.53. I said I thought that was a little high so they each called their bosses and came back with an estimate of $11,798.85. Why are estimates over $10,000 have to include cents? They offered 2 years labor warranty and Trane has a 10 year parts warranty with a 5.99% financing. This was still more than what I wanted to pay so told them I needed more estimates before making up my mind.

The next day I call company #2 and they gave me a quote over the phone, without coming out to look at my existing system, for a price of $9,500.00 for the exact same Trane system. Plus they would warranty their work for 5 years and had a lower finance rate of 3.99%. Still a bit more than what I wanted to pay but was much better than company #1.

Next I started looking at HVAC manufactures on the Intranet and also my neighbor had a recent Goodman system installed about six months ago. Also the technician that recently fixed my furnace about a month ago recommended a Goodman system. So I started paying more attention to the Goodman brand. They were not rated as high as a Trane on Consumer Reports but I found out their limited warranties was the best of all HVAC manufactures and actually Goodman was the largest HVAC manufacture in the world. Goodman offers lifetime warranty on their AC compressors and on their Furnace heat exchangers and 10 years on all other parts. So I started looking at dealers on Goodman’s website for my area.

Now I wanted a Goodman 4 ton system with an AC rating of 16 SEER and a Furnace rating of 96% and with communications between the thermostat and the units which provides greater efficiency.

I called company #3 and they came out that night for an estimate. They looked over my system and also recommended only a 3 1/2 ton system. The AC unit was not capable of the communications but was a 16 SEER system. Their estimate was $8,759. They said they would email me an estimate the next day which they did. I wasn’t real happy with the AC unit but they called later that morning and reduced the estimate to $8,300.

Still I wanted more estimates so I call two companies the next day. The first came out, company #4, at 5 pm and gave me an estimate of over $10,000.00 which I knew immediately that it was too high and told him so since my last estimate was for $8,300.00 for the same equipment. He then called his boss and said they would match the $8,300 bid. He didn’t seem very happy, guess he lost a lot of his commission. Still this was for a 3 1/2 ton system. I told him I wanted to see what models he was quoting me with and he said he would email them to me the next morning. He never did!

The next estimate, company #5, was supposed to come at 6 pm that same evening but he had to go on a late job and said he could be here around 8 pm which I said that was fine with me. So he then showed up and looked over my system and also spent some time in my attic looking over the space above the furnace and the air ducts. The other companies never did this! I told him what I wanted and he gave me an estimate. He said he would deliver an written estimate the next morning to my home which he did. I was at work the next morning so when I got home I looked over the estimate. It was exactly what I wanted. A 4 ton system with the 16 SEER AC, 96% efficiency Furnace, digital thermostat with communications between the two units. This was exactly what I wanted with one difference. This estimate was for Amana equipment instead of Goodman. Well, Amana is made by Goodman, just has a better warranty. The compressor and heat ex-changer is still warranty for a lifetime but if either goes out they give me a whole new AC or a new Furnace. So I got exactly what I wanted with a step up of the brand name and at a cheaper cost. I bought it. The company is Phillips Heating and Air on SW 149th Place in South Oklahoma City, about 5 minutes from my home, owner Lindsay Phillips. Their phone is (405) 830-8193. If you decide to call Lindsay then tell him I sent you 🙂

I am now in the process of raising the money and hopefully will have by this Wednesday. Lindsay said he could install this coming weekend. I am anxious to get the new system installed.

Here are a few photos of my old system and I will update this blog post when I get the new system installed with new photos.

Old Trane Furnace

Old Trane Furnace

Old Thermostat

Old Thermostat

Old Trane AC

Old Trane AC

2/9/2015

I got my new AC, Furnace, Coil, and Thermostat installed last Saturday, February 7th, 2015. Phillips Heating and Air did the install. They had 3 men and it took them 12 hours. They worked the entire 12 hours except for the lunch and dinner which we provided. They had a problem getting the new furnace in the hall closet where the old furnace was as the new furnace is wider and taller. They also added a filter drawer on the bottom of the furnace which added to the height. The filter drawer will make it much easier for me to the change filter every 90 days (find instructions at https://unitedfilter.com/pages/hepa-filters).

They had to run new cooper lines between the Air Conditioner and the Coil due to the new system being larger. They also replaced the electrical box outside for the Air Conditioner. They had to replace the old furnace aluminum heat exhaust with new PVC pipes.  Lindsay Phillips returned on Sunday afternoon to tie up some loose ends and to check the charge in the Air Conditioner to make sure it was fully charged. He also told me to call him in a few months when the weather gets warmer and he will check the charge for the Air Conditioner again, while also keeping some good furniture in the house, and you can even go for an antique piece of furniture that you can find online.

I can’t believe how much quieter the new units are. Outside with the AC running you can’t hear the compressor, only the fan running and it is pretty quiet. The furnace is also very quiet. These units are two stage units so they always start on the first stage to save energy and switch to the second stage only when it has to. The AC unit has a built-in thermometer which reports back to the thermostat so the thermostat knows the outside temperature which also helps to reduce energy.

Again Phillips Heating and Air did the install and they did a great job installing the new units and I highly recommend them to install yours. They are located at SW 149th Place in South Oklahoma City, about 5 minutes from my home, and the owner is Lindsay Phillips. Their phone is (405) 830-8193. If you decide to call Lindsay then tell him I sent you 🙂 I am so pleased with this new Amana system. The units I purchased are as follows and you can click on the link for each item to read more about each one:

ASXC16 Air Conditioner

AMVC96 Two-Stage, Variable-Speed ECM Gas Furnace

CAPT Cased Indoor Coil with Internal TXV

ComfortNet™ CTK04 Communicating Control System

Warranty on the entire system is 10 years parts, lifetime AC compressor, and lifetime furnace heat ex-changer. The thermostat also has a warranty of 10 years when installed with one of their Furnaces or Air Conditioners. This is the best warranty in the industry. No other company that I know of warrants their AC compressor and furnace heat ex-changer for lifetime. Only Goodman and Amana.

I am also going to purchase a Red Link Enabled Internet Gateway and then I can set the temperature using our iPhone, iPad, or a web browser from any place in the world with an internet connection. Here are some photos of my new system:

ASXC16 Air Conditioner

ASXC160481 16 SEER Air Conditioner

Amana AMVC960804CN, 96.1% High-Efficiency, Two-Stage Variable-Speed Gas Furnace

Amana AMVC960804CN, 96.1% High-Efficiency, Two-Stage Variable-Speed Gas Furnace

ConfortNet CTK04 Commuinication Thermostat (Auto Heat/Cool mode)

ConfortNet CTK04 Commuinication Thermostat (Auto Heat/Cool mode)

2/15/2015

Been using the new system now for a week now and I am surprised at how fast the furnace heats the entire home when I raise the temperature at the thermostat two degrees. My old system would take 45 minutes and the new systems takes about 10 minutes. I also have the thermostat set to circulate air and about 35% of the time the fan will run on low speed to circulate the air. I can’t even hear the fan running when it does the circulation.

So far I am really happy with my new system and I can’t wait to see how the Air Conditioner works during the summer. I will update this blog post when summer gets here. I also ordered the red-link gateway to enable the thermostat to communicate over the internet. I will update this blog post again when it arrives and I install it.

2/17/2015

I got my Honeywell THM6000R1002 Red Link Enabled Internet Gateway today and the setup was super easy. Now I have access to my thermostat anytime and anywhere in the world where I have an Internet connection and my iPhone, iPad, or a web browser. I also have an app for my iPhone and my iPad. Below is photo of the Honeywell RedLINK Gateway and a screen shot of the thermostat access using a web browser.

Honeywell RedLINK Gateway THM6000R

Honeywell RedLINK Gateway THM6000R

Screen Shot of thermostat access using a web browser

Screen Shot of thermostat access using a web browser

Next I will be receiving a wireless indoor temperature sensor so the thermostat can access the temperature in another room, probably our bedroom, and then use the average temperature of the indoor sensor and the thermostat. Also coming is a wireless switch that I will be putting next to our kitchen to garage door where I can press a switch when leaving and have it automatically lower the temperature and also a home switch that will raise the temperature when we arrive home, and the same in the garage in case that people that like to work in there,  for this having the right organization.

2/19/2015

I received my Honeywell C7189R1004 Wireless Indoor Sensor for my CTK-04 thermostat model C7189R1004. I installed it in my Master Bedroom so now the thermostat will average the temperature between the thermostat and the Master Bedroom to give a more even heating and cooling for the entire home. Below is a photo of the indoor sensor which was very easy to install and easy to connect to the CTK-04 thermostat.

Wireless Indoor Sensor C7189R1004

Wireless Indoor Sensor C7189R1004

3/15/2015

I received my Honeywell REM1000R1003 RedLINKTM Wireless Entry/Exit Remote and now I can set my thermostat to the away mode when we leave the house and back to home mode when we return home. This will also help us to save energy.

Honeywell REM1000R1003 RedLINKTM Wireless Entry/Exit Remote

Honeywell REM1000R1003 RedLINKTM Wireless Entry/Exit Remote

3/16/2015

Got the cover for the Air Conditioning pipes painted and installed this afternoon. Looks much better than just the pipes showing. See the difference with the “New AC Tubing” photo below and the “Covering for the Air Conditioning cooper pipes” photo below.

New AC Tubing

New AC Tubing

Covering for the Air Conditioning cooper pipes.

Covering for the Air Conditioning cooper pipes.

4/17/2015

Update: After two months of receiving my monthly gas bill I find that it has been 50% less usage over the same months for last year. And this is after I raised my thermostat 2 degrees over last year going from 72 degrees last year to 74 degrees this year. I also received my rebate from Oklahoma Natural Gas.

So after two full months plus of usage of my new furnace I am very, very pleased. Haven’t really used the Air Conditioner yet so I will report on it’s usage in a few months.

Jerry J. Jansen

Setting Up Defender DVR Cameras to Work With AT&T U-verse ARRIS NVG589 Modem

I recently got a new ARRIS NVG589 modem for my AT&T U-verse and had some problems getting my Defender DVR with Cameras to work on my mobile device. I finally got it to work so thought I would show how I have the ARRIS NVG589 modem setup.

ATT-ARRIS-1

Figure 1

 

First you want to bring the screen for the modem on your browser. In your browser’s address bar type in the IP address of your modem which mine is http://192.168.1.254/. Next click on the Firewall tab as shown in item 1 above in Figure 1. You can click on the image for a larger view. You may be asked to enter the password for your modem at some point and the password can be found on the label on the bottom of your modem.

Next click on NAT/Gaming sub tab as shown in item 2 in Figure 1 above. Then once the page is display you want to click on Custom Services as show in item 3 in Figure 1 above.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Next you want to enter the Service Name in item 1 in Figure 2 above. This can be what ever you decide to name this service. Next enter the Global Port Range in item 2 in Figure 2 above. Here you want to enter 18004 in both boxes unless you change the setting in you Defender DVR then enter the port that you change it to.

For the Base Host Port you will enter the same 18004 port or the port that you change the setting in your Defender DVR. Leave the Protocol as TCP/UDP as shown in item 4 in Figure 2 above.

Now click on the Add push button as shown in item 5 in Figure 2 above. Your setting will be saved and will show up in the Service List at the top of this page. Next click on the Return to NAT/Gaming push button as shown as item 6 in Figure 2 above.

Figure 3

Figure 3

You will be returned to the NAT/Gaming page as shown in Figure 3 above. Now you want to select the Service that you just created as shown as item 1 in Figure 3 above. Next select the Defender IP Address in the Needed by Device drop down list as shown as item 2 in Figure 3 above. You may have to access your Defender Network settings to find out what IP address your Defender is using.

Finally click on the Add push button as shown as item 3 in Figure 3 above.

Next I repeated the procedure above and added port 9000 for the Defender.

I hope this will help someone to get their Defender DVR to work with the ARRIS NVG589 modem as I couldn’t find any good instructions on the internet doing a search.

Fireplace Glass Doors

Last year my wife wanted the brass fireplace glass doors painted red. So I looked for a high temperature red paint and this photo below is what I came up with.

Fireplace Glass Doors Painted Red

Fireplace Glass Doors Painted Red

Truly a different look. Well, this year she decided that she didn’t like the red color so I purchased a new Pleasant Hearth AN-1011 Alpine Fireplace Glass Door, Black, Medium from Amazon and this is what our fireplace looks like now in the photo below.

Black Fireplace Glass Doors

Black Fireplace Glass Doors

I like these black doors as the screens are also doors and not slider screens like the original fire place had. The doors are also easier to open and both the glass doors and the screen doors are held shut using magnetic catches. Stilll debating whether to repaint the fireplace tools from red to black. You can purchase this black fireplace glass doors from amazon by clicking Pleasant Hearth AN-1011 Alpine Fireplace Glass Door, Black, Medium.

American Sniper, The Movie

Tonight we went to the Warren Theater in Moore, OK and saw the movie “American Sniper“. The movie was very good but did have a lot of f*** words. The story is about U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) who takes his sole mission to protect his comrades to heart and becomes one of the most lethal snipers in American history. His pinpoint accuracy not only saves countless lives but also makes him a prime target of insurgents. Despite grave danger and his struggle to be a good husband and father to his family back in the States, Kyle serves four tours of duty in Iraq. However, when he finally returns home, he finds that he cannot leave the war behind. In the end he helps a fellow soldier at a firing range after moving back to Texas where he is killed by the fellow soldier. This is really sad how his life ended. I highly recommend the movie. Worthy of the Oscar nomination. You can view the trailer below.

Kitchen Island Transformation

I recently updated my kitchen center island from white to espresso using Rust-Oleum 263231 Cabinet Transformations, Small Kit, Espresso. Took me five evenings. The photos below are in order from removing the hardware, painting inside of cabinet and drawers, sanding, clean and degloss for a better bond of the paint, two coats of the espresso paint, decorative glaze (not recommended for this dark of a project as it doesn’t show), and final protective coat. I also added two Rev-A-Shelf – 5WB1-1218-CR – 12″ Single Wire Basket (18″ Depth) pull out drawers on the bottom shelf.  I am happy with the transformation.

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Doors, Drawers, and hardware removed. Painted inside of cabinet brown to go with the west brown wall in kitchen.

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Painted inside of drawers brown to go with the brown west wall of kitchen.

15 - 3

First bond coat of the espresso color.

15 - 4

Another shot of the first bond coat.

15 - 5

Another shot of the first bond coating.

15 - 6

Another shot of the first bond coating.

15 - 7

Shot of the second bond coating.

15 - 8

Another shot of the second bond coating.

15 - 9

Another shot of the second bond coating.

15 - 10

Another shot of the second bond coating.

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Another shot of the second bond coating.

15 - 12

Shot after applying the decorative glaze.

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Another shot after applying the decorative glaze.

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Another shot after applying the decorative glaze.

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Finished Product Front Side

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Finished Product Back Side (Also replace electrical outlet and cover)

 

Unbroken – The Movie

We went this afternoon to see the movie “Unbroken” at the Warren Theater here in Moore, OK. The theater was a sell out and we arrived 1 hour and 20 minutes before the movie started and there was already a small line. The movie is directed by Angelina Jolie  and stars Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, and Jai Courtney. The movie is a true story and is a chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. This was an excellent movie and we highly recommend that you should see it. The movie deserves many Oscars from Best Movie, Best Director, and Best Actor. You can view the trailers and get more information about the movie by clicking on the link to the movie’s website here or on Facebook here. Go see the movie!

 

 

Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote

I purchased a refurbished Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote a few weeks ago and I really like this remote. I can even use my iPhone or my iPad to control my entertainment system. It will even control my Amazon Fire TV and my Roku 3. The only desire I have is wishing the remote itself  would be a bit bigger as it is a bit clumsy to operate the up and down channel and volume buttons. The system came in a brown box as it was refurbished but the remote and all components looked like new without any scratches or dents.  Buying refurbished saved me about 50% and so far buying refurbished I have not had any problems with this remote or any other item that was purchased as refurbished.

Logitech Harmony Remote

Amazon Echo

I got notified today that my invite for the Amazon Echo was selected and I am able to order the new Amazon Echo for half price since I am an Amazon Prime Member. So I placed my order today and it is supposed to arrive tomorrow. I will post my experience with the Amazon Echo soon.

Amazon Echo

I got in my Amazon Echo and I love it. The sound quality is great and the voice recognition is very good. I have been playing music from my Amazon Prime account and radio stations from TuneIn. iHeart radio also works with the Amazon Echo. I am sure I will fine more uses for the Amazon Echo as more features develop. It is always connected to the cloud so as new features are added them become immediately available.

I have used it to check the weather, time, news, and more. The unit itself is larger than what I first thought and heavier also. My Amazon Echo is pictured below.

My Amaxon EchoWe are playing more music than we have ever before while at home. The Echo makes a great blue-tooth speaker and I can also play any song, album, artist, or playlist that is on Amazon Prime. We have been asking for weather forecasts, setting alarms and timers, and getting news briefing.

Well, it has been several weeks now since I received my Amazon Echo and I am still loving it. Amazon now has an app for the iPad and iPhone which makes it easy to control the Amazon Echo. You can check your shopping list, select the music you want to play from Amazon Prime, iHeart Radio, and Tune-In. Showed the Amazon Echo to my wife’s boss and she loved it and was going to purchase one for her family and one for her Dad.

Harmony 900 Battery

I had another battery go bad on me. This time it was in my Logitech Harmony 900 Remote. The battery was swollen and I had to completely disassemble the remote to remove the battery. If you look close at the photo below you will see that the battery has swollen. I ordered a replacement battery from Amazon.

Harmony 900 with Swollen Battery

Harmony 900 with Swollen Battery

Here is the replacement battery from Amazon:

Harmony 900 New Battery

Harmony 900 New Battery

Edited: Well, I finally got the new battery for my Harmony 900. It actually came in one week ago but because of late delivers to my job, after we had gone home, and the Thanksgiving holiday, I changed the delivery to my home address on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Now the battery is already in town at UPS. After changing the delivery address to my home, it took another 5 days before I received the battery, 7 days after it arrived in town. Go figure!

It was real easy to install the new battery and now my Harmony 900 remote works just fine. Then I decided to move the Harmony 900 remote to my bedroom system with a Insignia HDTV, Samsung Blu-Ray, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Visio Soundbar and purchase a refurbished Harmony Ultimate remote to work my living room system with a Samsung 60in HDTV 3D, Samsung Blu-Ray 3D, Yamaha Receiver, AT&T cable box, Xbox 360, Sony VHS, Pioneer Cassette changer, Pioneer CD changer, Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast. The new Logitech Harmony Ultimate remote is supposed to arrive tomorrow.

My First Snow Blower

With winter coming earlier this year and myself getting older, I decided to finally get me a snow blower, a GreenWorks 26032 12 Amp 20 in. Corded Snow Thrower. Thought I might get a chance this weekend to use it as we did get some snow. Problem was that most of it melted when it hit the driveway and sidewalks. I am sure I will get a chance before too long to put it to use. I know that it will save me a lot of time when I normally have to shovel the driveway. Guess I got it just in time as I see now that the price has increased by almost $40.

 

GreenWorks 26032 12 Amp 20" Corded Snow Thrower

GreenWorks 26032 12 Amp 20″ Corded Snow Thrower

2/28/15

Used my new snow blower for the first time this weekend and it saved me hours of work. Normally I have to shovel part of the driveway, go inside to warn up and rest, go out shovel some more, go back inside to warm up and rest, etc. Usually don’t shovel the sidewalks as I am too tried by the time I get the driveway shoveled.

This weekend I used the new snow thrower and cleaned the driveway and sidewalks in 10-15 minutes and I wasn’t even tried at the end.