First off, to all the contractors/installers that have posted their great work in the "Wall of Pride" section, thankyou. Its good to see people take pride in their work, specially after working in a supply house and seeing what materials so many local contractors use.
I know it varies from area to area but, one of the biggest things I see from the other side of the counter is, contractors in this area use ALOT of flex, and very little sheetmetal duct work. At most, they tend to do do takeoffs with round pipe and then flex it the rest of the way out, leaving me seeing visions of the "flex octopus"( featured in the wall of SHAME), OR they use alot of ductboard trunklines ( this observation is based on what I see purchased from us ).
Another observation is, you can tell which of the contractors do mainly installs and few service calls, vs having combo teams or seperate install/service depts.
The guys that do mainly installs/roughins and startups, usually end up calling us in the supply house when they have technical questions that go beyond their very limited knowledge.
It also appears very few know how, or actually do a Load Calculation, meaning they base their equip sizing off of rule of thumb/sq footage. Last week alone, four of the larger contractors in the area were in the office at different times asking their "outside sales person" to help them figure load calcs that any decent Calc program should be able to do.
The last observation I'll comment on for now is about efficency ratings. Most new const systems are builder grade 10 seer, with a occasional 12 seer. Heat pumps with backup electric heat or gas seem to dominate( due to our milder winters ). One contractor yesterday, installed their 1st 90+ furnace and was lost when it came to venting it. Very few use or have tried to use anything above a 10 seer HP or condensor, which I find ODD considering AC is used for longer periods of time in this area.
Thats about all, sorry for the long post. Just some things I've noticed while being on the other side of the counter..
We do about half of our duct jobs in ductboard. And we have for 25 years. As of yet we have not experienced any difficulty with using it. Of course we have a Glasmaster for cutting. Also a pnuematic reverse clinch stapler for strenght and heating irons for the tape.
If someone doesn't know how to use ductboard properly I wish they wouldn't use it. Because it give us who do know how to use it a bad rap.
This is one of our jobs.
[Edited by benncool on 05-22-2004 at 01:11 PM]
That doesn't even look like duct board in the pic, nice job.
Interesting about the load calcs not being done. When I took over sysem design and sales for our company I heard from a couple of customers that other companies gave prices over the phone. I then began educating my potential customers about the importance of load calculations which I do for EVERY job, even do heat load when giving cooling estimate, it only takes a couple minutes more. I also tell them that there is no way that an estimate can be close to accurate over the phone. Needless to say my close rates skyrocketed and profits shot through the roof. I have been going strong like this for a while now though I have found out that a couple of my competitors found out waht I was doing and are changing thier ways. My close rates and profits will fall slightly since they are doing loads now but atleast consumers are getting high quality service they deserve even if not from me.
One example I liked. A guy called for an a/c only estimate. He said that 2 other companies told him $xx (less than $1700) amount over the phone. I started my walk through and found that the furnace was so tall and the basement ceiling so low that there were takeoffs actually smashed to fit in the 9" tall plenum...no getting a coil in there. So I educated the customer and explained his situation. I ended up selling him a furnace, a/c, and a duct job. It cost him a bit more but he had the money and was willing to pay to have it done right. The other companies lost out on a great job for thier laziness. I'll never forget that job I got, it was the first I ever sold and I am still just as commited to quality now as I was then.
Nothing annoys me more than a half-assed company.
Nice looking job there with the duct board Benn.
A question for you on the round branch/takeoff lines, are they hardpiped with standard guage round metal? Its hard to tell from a distance.
I know good trunk lines can be done with duct board if the right tools are used, and the installer has experience working with duct board.
I guess my real question is this. Whats considered "to much" ( if there is such a thing ) when it comes to using flex duct? I ask mainly due to the amount I see some of the local contractors buying on a per job basis. Its not unusual to see orders with 600 to 800 feet of flex on a order.