Level/Seer HVAC for 1800 sq ft townhouse?

13 Replies

We are going to be first time landlords in a couple of months for an 1,800 sq ft., 3 floor, townhouse condo. We need to replace the HVAC system, and I believe this is a "B property". 

1. What would you recommend for the SEER rating we get?

2. Any other recommendations?

Thanks!

Updated 28 days ago

in VA, outside of DC

I would just go a 5 ton unit. Not a huge price difference btw 4 and 5 ton and and it is 3 stories where heat will travel up. I chose a 16seer over a 13 seer but it was because price was not a huge difference too. 

yea 3 ton is way undersized for 1800 sqft. I would go at least 4 ton. Currently have a 5 ton for 2200 sqft and my tenant still says it feels hot upstairs but we are in southern california. 

@Daniel Felix it's hard for anyone to judge what size unit you need over the internet. Many things have to be taken into account. Current duct work size, age of home, current insulation etc. Higher the seer rating the more efficient the unit will be. Your best bet is measure each room and add up your actual square footage. A 3 ton unit is not too small for an 1800 sqft building again depending on insulation factors also age of windows. A 4 ton or 5 ton is a large unit for an 1800sqft structure. Bigger is not better in this case and don't let anyone tell u otherwise. Too many installers do not size units properly which cause issues down the road.

Originally posted by @Michael Gessner :

Bigger is not better in this case and don't let anyone tell u otherwise. Too many installers do not size units properly which cause issues down the road.

 Yessir! Everyone here is just guessing.....Get a good HVAC Contr. to size it correctly

@Bruce Woodruff thanks!

We are in the process of getting some contractor quotes.

I guess I'm trying to figure out is, will the final decision be the same for us living in the home vs. using it as a rental. Thoughts?

On other threads I've read on different topics, sometimes the sentiment is "here is what's good enough for your rental property, versus you living there."

@Daniel Felix

The ductwork was likely sized for the original install. If it’s rated at X CFM, going higher will cause major issues down the road. Replacing all of the ductwork isn’t cheap. I’d recommend adding a mini split unit for the upper floor and installing the 3 ton if that’s what was original and isn’t adequate for the house.

Originally posted by @Daniel Felix :


On other threads I've read on different topics, sometimes the sentiment is "here is what's good enough for your rental property, versus you living there."

Not in my opinion. You'd want to be comfortable if you were a tenant right?

@Daniel Felix

My advice to to speak with a licensed HVAC tech and have them come out and check current temperatures in each room with existing unit, as long as it is still operational. You don’t want to go to big on the unit because then it won’t work properly. For Air it was throw to much humidity and mess the entire system up. For heat you will

Be spending much more money than you actually need but I think your talking about air not heat. What you need is return vents. If it’s an older house chances are there isn’t adequate returns to properly supply the house. Speak with someone about adding another return vent especially on the third floor. I did a house with 3 floors and the upstairs was a few degrees hotter. For the seer I have never purchase more than 15 but that up to ypu. Most important thing is don’t go to big. If it has a 3 ton now I would

Maybe go up to a 3.5. From what I’ve learned from licnesed guys is one ton per 700 square feet. So your 3 ton should be plenty. Look into replacing your ducts snd running a new truck and return up to the upper floors for better air flow. Once again if you want this done correctly speak with someone who knows what they are doing and do this everyday!!

@Justin Sullivan thanks! Home is 2006. I lived here since then and been pretty comfortable.

Though I adjusted the vents each season to adjust for hot top floor in summer and cold lower floor in winter. And use the Ecobee to target occupied rooms at times.

We'll consult with the HVAC people as we get quotes.