Now I remember...
Now I remember why I never pulled the trigger when I was thinking about doing this a few years ago. This whole process is one big PITA. I have contacted 8 companies. Of those 8....
1 never came out.
2 came out, but never sent an estimate. (1 of these was at my house less than 10 min. I'm glad he didn't send an estimate.)
2 didn't even pretend to do any type of load calculations and just sized based on my old system.
1 did an "outside" manual J. (measured outside of house and did the "calculations" in his truck.) This was the one who must have thought his Goodman was gold plated or something. Based on his price, he was VERY proud if it.
1 that appeared to do a load calc, but did not provide it when he sent the estimate.
And 1 that did a load calc and provided it to me when he gave me the estimate.
So based on all that, it doesn't appear like I have a whole hell of a lot to choose from. I'm beginning to get a headache.
contact 8 more.
and be sure to tell them over the phone that you will only have a qualified HVAC contractor come to your home.
tell them you must have a load calc done properly according to Manual J and the ductwork must be sized properly according to Manual D.
Then you should be able to weed out the hacks before they get to your door.
Exacly ,similar advice should be required reading for every visitor to this site!!
Agreed this is a PITA but it never has been easy for me, a S.Texas homeowner. A whole house Manual J does make use of externally visible measurements, plus several things that must be guessed. On the positive side, you have had 3 people do some sort of load calc and that could be worse.
Originally Posted by acobra289
Those guys that only replace with "same" size equipment, have a valid business plan I reluctantly admit. They may put food on their table but are not doing the best service for their customer.
I say *try* to give these guys every chance to show they can do the job the way you want it. Would never hurt to give them a 2nd chance to *show* their calcs. I forget whether you have done Hvac-Calc yourself but if not would encourage you to invest a couple hours in it. Then you and the pro can compare notes and likely correct a couple of errors, not necessarily yours (I once had a Manual J done which was unacceptable in its 1st draft because they measured a room wrong). Another resource is one or two pros from this board can perform a Manual J for a reasonable fee.
My sympathy and best of luck -- Pstu
P.S. As a good and fair business practice you want to avoid demanding a Manual J in your hands, without payment for it. This does represent a significant amount of labor from the AC pro, and it makes sense for him not to give it away.
I never do a Manual J unless I have a signed contract and a deposit. How much of my valuable time would be wasted if I did one on every estimate?
I honestly feel most guys do it my way anyway. So I do a manual J, give it to you w/o out a signed contract, you gonna give it to the next guy?
I have had that happen.
I agree with HeyBob completely. 8 estimates--wow-one in eight chance of getting the job. Why waste alot of time just so the next guy can use your info for free. Signed contract and then you will get a load calc and copy for your self. Can't afford to spend a really long time on each estimate for fear you may think my product is "gold" because I am a little higher. You said one guy did complete load and gave you a copy with estimate. You should have a easy choice or does his price "sound a little high"
Sounds similar to my recent furnace buying experience, except it was 7 contacted 5 came out, all gave estimates, none did Manual J.
Originally Posted by acobra289
I would agree to pay for a Manual J if I had an estimate, deposit, and agreement on the make/model/type/SEER of the system, but...
what kills me is the Manual D. You can't do it until you do a Manual J, and the results could easily double the price of the contract. I does me no good (or the contractor) to have a signed contract for a system and then have doubling the price for all-new ductwork scotch the deal.
Next time I go through this, I will buy the S/W and do the Manual J myself, before making any calls. Then I'll have the contractor do the Manual D as part of the estimate process, on his dime, or no deal.
You are right on the money. I won't cut my own throat either.
Originally Posted by HeyBob
Same goes for a load calc. No tickee no laudry.
Seems kinda strange to have so many guys comeout and not provide estimates.
Either they are very busy or something made them decide not to seek your business.
He was the one with the "questionable" manual J results according to some of the pros on this site. Not only that, the performance numbers he quoted from the ARI site are apparently for a different furnace than the one listed on the estimate. And yes, he was one of the higher ones, but I don't have a problem paying for quality. I am going to speak to him about the difference in furnace models.
Originally Posted by jjer
Don't give me any grief about contacting 8 companies, I wouldn't have to do that if the 3 or 4 I had originally planned had done what I thought was a decent job during the estimate process. So yes I contacted 8, but it took that many to get 2 thorough estimates. If a company doesn't want to perform a load calc before the contract is signed, that is fine. All they have to do is inform me of that. None of these companies did.
Yes but the question still lingers why they did not even provide you with a "Rul of Thumb" estimate.
Did you have everyone timed too close together?
No, only once did I have 2 come on the same day and they were in the morning and afternoon.
Originally Posted by hvaclover
Maybe I wasn't clear before. I do have 5 actual estimates out of the 7 companies that showed up. 1 company canceled 2 appointments w/ me. I never called them back to set up another appointment. 2 companies came, but never followed through with the estimate. I guess they are very busy.
What I liked: This guy took the time to measure and look over everything. Addressed my concerns about lack of airflow in 2 bedrooms. Seemed to have good answers to my questions. Always got back to me when I called or emailed with a question. Good BBB record.
Concerns: Questionable ManJ results. Possibly wrong furnace listed on estimate v/s the ARI reference number I was given. I will have to discuss this with him.
What I liked: Reasonable price. Good BBB record. Got back to me quickly when I had a question about estimate or asked him to change the equipment to R410.
Concerns: Not as thorough as company A. Did not address my concerns about lack of airflow in back bedrooms. Mentioned nothing about a condensate drain pump. Wanted to push R22 equipment.
What I liked: Reasonable price. Good BBB record. Offered to put some hand dampers in to help adjust airflow to the back bedrooms.
Concerns:Did not look at house at all. Only looked at current equipment to get sizes. Was going to put the same size furnace back in even though my old one is grossly over sized. He reduced the size when I asked him about it. Did not provide performance numbers of proposed system on the estimate, other than I was getting a 13 seer HP. I could not find an exact match of the system on ARI.
What I liked:Decent BBB record. Large established company.
Concerns:No manual J. Wanted to sell R22. His solution to my back bedroom problem was to close 2 vents in nearby bathrooms to help push more air into the back bedrooms. No performance numbers of proposed systems.
What I liked: Not a heck of a lot.
Concerns:ManJ was calculated with outside house measurements. I asked if he wanted the measurements of the windows, he said no, he was good at estimating the size by looking. I asked if he wanted to know which were the new double pane windows. He said he always figures the windows to be double pane because he knows people are going to eventually put double pane in. Equipment grossly overpriced compared to others. No specific performance numbers on estimate other than 14 seer. When I asked about the 10 yr P&L, he said they were crap and not worth getting since it was a 3rd party insurance company. I would not use this company if they were 1/2 the price of the others. Well.... maybe I would. :D
So at the moment, I am leaning towards company A, assuming he can explain about the furnace issue.
Your concerns about airflow in back bedrooms are important. It also elevates the job from simple AC install. Do you have any info on how Contractor A proposes to address that?
Contractor B sounds like he might have potential, just that he has not been as thorough. Perhaps pushing R22 because he is not as comfortable working with R410.
Your contractors C, D, E... sounds like you have written them off, with reasonable cause.
Best of luck -- Pstu