View Full Version : Contractor-How to choose?
07-06-2005, 08:04 PM
The importance of choosing the right HVAC person has been rightly stressed here. Can anyone provide some tips on what to look for? Would a owner-installer firm be better than a larger one that has salesmen who contact you and give you an estimate over the phone? Would a firm that installs more types of equipment be better than one that concentrates on only one or two? Is there a 1-2-3 checklist that you guys can recommend?
Some years ago I went with a replacement Carrier unit for my upstairs, because the design guy impressed me by spending a lot of time walking around measuring everything and apparently doing some calculations. Then he comes up with the brilliant idea of closing off one of the two vents in a bedroom which was about 3/4 the sq. footage of the master bedroom that had 3 (including a small dressing alcove). I trusted his 'expertise' against my wife's foreboding. You can guess what that room turned out to be - hot during the summer and cold as blazes during the winter. I finally got someone to connect the by-passed vent. (BTW, the argument that the designer gave me was that the higher air flow would make up for the loss of a vent.)
07-06-2005, 08:43 PM
These sites might help. Good Luck
Why did you let them "get away with that',sorry I just know or at least think ,that if we made such an error,the customer would insisand we would correct it.
Maybe you tried ,but we find a lot of jobs where this happens ,and I just don't get it.They pay us ,when it should have been handled by the installing contractor.
07-07-2005, 03:12 AM
If I had to guess he just paid to have it corrected because he was tired of dealing with the hacks. Sometimes there's less mental stress in just paying to get it done then trying to cajole a reticent contractor into doing it for the third time.
Plus, once trust in a contractor's competency is lost then it's hard to ever trust them again. If a doctor screwed the pooch on your bypass (and you lived to tell about it), would you let him back in there a second time? :^)
Good links pecmsg. I especially like the third one. I happen to know the author. :D
07-07-2005, 03:23 AM
My bias gmahler is towards smaller companies. But then I have an obvious reason to be biased that way. I don't think you can prove with any credibility that one is better than the other. Nor do I think how many brands a company offers has much to do with anything.
I think the best way to do it is to make a list of things that seem to be stressed the most in the links and then ask the people giving you estimates about them. If they pooh-pooh the idea of a Manual J then you've got your answer on that contractor. If they don't understand what sensible and latent heat is, keep looking. If they want to package duct cleaning with your order, run like hell.
Some of my colleagues may disagree with me on that last one. But that's OK. You get the idea.
07-07-2005, 07:47 PM
Thanks for the links - they have helped. I liked Irascible's choice of small. The guy I'm currently working with is an owner-installer. I really don't like the companies who route you through a salesman first. Reminds me of Sears. However this guy is not going to do a load calculation to verify what he is replacing.
As to why I got someone else to fix the mistakes on the Carrier duct design (see my post), they made many mistakes. One critical one was to stick the drain pipe from the unit into the drain line that runs down the side of the house. I mean literally cutting a hole in the pipe and sticking the condensate line in it and securing with glue instead of making a plumbing type connection. I had a huge leak the first heating season
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