View Full Version : Do you have a TOP TEN list?
06-14-2007, 12:07 PM
I love this web site and have been reading for days. I've heard comment above comment that the best equipment is only as good as the installation, which makes perfect sense to me. However, how do I determine who is a good installer or what is a good installation? What questions should I ask?
I've got good knowledge (mostly from this site) about SEER, EER, VS, HP, etc so I feel comfortable getting quotes on the system I want but don't feel good about the installation. As an example, I think I should ensure that all connections are sealed with mastic putty, but I don't really know. The system will be in the attic along with the ducts, which is a stupid practice here in north Texas but I can't redesign the house.
I know this could be an open ended question but there must be some standard advice out there.
Thanks in advance,
06-14-2007, 01:04 PM
However, how do I determine who is a good installer or what is a good installation?
THAT is the 64-thousand dollar question!
About the only thing you can do is try to get them to describe in some detail their process, looking for whether they mention Manual J heatload calcs, or if they use some other (bogus!) method to size your system like "experience" or some (bogus!) rule-of-thumb like "X per Y square feet". That's a starting point. The question could be something like, "tell me some of the steps you will take in determining what size system to recommend", with no mention of Manual J or measuring windows and walls.
I would also ask questions about how they commission a new system. If they said things like they use a blower door to verify that ducting doesn't leak and they use a flow hood to balance the system and they test the total external static pressure and compare it to the air handler/furnace's specs - if they mentioned things like this, I'd be pretty encouraged! I'd have 'em out to quote me a system.
I would also check listings with the Better Business Bureau, the Registrar of Contractors, and do general online searches of the company and it's Principal Officers/owners' name(s), just to see what came up.
You could ask them if you can talk to a homeowner they've installed in the past 3 months that received whatever work you're looking to have done. If the homeowner would permit it, you could post pics of the install for the Pros here to comment on.
If you want to be REALLY ballsy, you can ask them if you can visit a site they're currently installing and talk to the homeowner!
I dunno what else, but that's a start.
06-14-2007, 01:16 PM
I should have mentioned that I have paid to have an energy audit performed (blower door, duct pressure/leak test, etc) so I know what size system to get. I've narrowed it down to probably Trane or Lennox but I will probably wait till fall when the rebates come back in and the installers arn't so busy. Also, one of the models I'm looking at is the Trane XL19i but it uses R22, I've been told that by fall they should have the unit in 410. Does anyone know if this is the case?
06-14-2007, 01:46 PM
First question to ask is whether they do a Manual J, D, and S calculation on each job they do. I am a home owner looking for an HVAC contractor and so far no one has said yes. Most of the time they say, "I can do the calcs if you want me to, but they will be about the same as the size I recommend using my rule of thumb." That is when you tell them to hit the road.
This one question has weeded out all of the HVAC contractors so far.
If the follow the ANSI Standard ,Quality Installation,from ACCA .
Read it here; http://www.acca.org/tech/qispec.pdf
06-14-2007, 06:11 PM
Load calc must be done! Then talk to as many contractors as you can. The one that really walks you thru the entire planning and install in a manner that you can understand will probably be the right one. This contractor will explain everything to you in a way that one who knows nothing about HVAC will be able to understand what he is trying to accomplish for you.
06-14-2007, 07:44 PM
Trane is on the slow boat for R-410A units. Carrier/Bryant lead the pack and all but their most basic units are R-410A (Puron). They have 2-stage units using R-410A and have had them in service for many years. 5 or 6 years ago Trane had a schedule to phase out all the R-22 units with R-410A. I don't know what changed their minds but the R-22 units came roaring back to life midway through the program and the higher end units never converted. You'd have to ask Trane about that.
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