Am i wrong to ask?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    8
    why dont contractors do manual J, etc when they come to see your house?

    according to what i have learned and read on this forum, it seems that it needs to be a standard

    Im looking at haveing a heat pump installed and have spoken to 3 contractors thus far. When i even mention a load calculation they look at me like im almost retarded. Seems like they are too good for that or something and that their best guess is good enough.

    I am having a hard time finding a contractor that does that sort of thing. i have gotten to the point of requesting that when calling and almost feeling like im "inconvieniencing" them

    i live in the greater vancouver area and am having a hell of a time finding the right contarctor for the job

    any advise?

  2. #2
    going through the same thing. first guy way of sizing method was "your house looks about the same size as my parents and i put a 4 ton in theirs."

    finally called my county building office and got a list of installers from them.

    will cost u $'s though but worth it if your are unsure how it was sized when the house was built or system installed.

    when you get your sales pitch and they start throwing out "it will save you 50% on your electric bill..." try approaching incentives with the sales person. something like "i'll pay you 50% of what you want for the system and if it saves me 50% after the first year i will pay you double what you want for the system." i have had no one take me up on that offer yet.

    funny to watch their face.






  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    34

    Frown

    I hear you. I am having 'some' degree of buyers remorse at the moment. I had a new AC system installed in my Las Vegas home. My original basic York system was close to coming apart, so I sprang for an upgraded system. Well, the price was surely upgraded I assure you. I got saled pitches from fours different 'contractors' in uniform, which were only salesmen who didn't actually install anything. I was quoted everything from a low $5k system up to an $11k system, and the product offered up was anything from Comfortmaker, York, RUUD, Rheem, Trane, and Lennox. I ended up committing to a two-stage Lennox 19 SEER condenser and variable speed furnace/blower. My home is 1,165 Sq.Ft., and single level. The guy quoted me a 3 ton system, which may be oversized a bit. Still trying to get consensus on that question. The guy also looked at me like I was from another planet for bringing up the J Manual calculation inquiry! Also got the cost saving and the old "the system will pay for itself in energy savings" pitch. I obviously bought it. I was shocked to see the actual unit delivered....looked like it was large enough in physical size to cool a hotel!! It was a 3 ton though, as I verified it on the labels. Hope I made the right call, or do I have some legal recourse if I can prove the contractor was negligent in installing too large a tonnage system for my place??

    Anyway, I heard the National Comfort Institute site has a contractor list of folks who do a two-hour load calc and airflow test process. Not sure the cost to have that done (cha-ching!!), but may be worth the expense to get the right equipment the first time. But I really wish I had discovered this forum and various members before plunking down my cash, and would possibly have possibly made some other decision on my equipment. Take your time, even if you are suffering from heat/cold, and get the right contractor to properly assess your HVAC needs and concerns. It IS a big purchase decision. Good luck! -Ken

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,597
    i am a tech involved in the reverse situation. i have a potential customer that i performed a load calc for.

    i came in at 3.5 ton, the other two companies are looking at the existing and quoting 4 ton.

    they also want her to spring extra for higher seer equipment, which in my opinion will never be recieved in the life of an hvac system, in my area and the additional cost.

    my advice, take the added expense of a higher efficiency system and put in a 15 year CD.(depending on your climate , of course).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Memphis
    Posts
    2,502
    having a load calc done takes some effort. Most contractors arent going to go to that much effort for just an estimate. If your wanting a good load calc done by a professional, call & ask for one & offer to pay for it. Maybe you could even barter with em a little & have it applied to their estimate if you go with their bid.

    I'm a contractor & I just dont have time to go spend about 2 hours doing a load calc on every residential estimate.
    Life is like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
    Posts
    15,785
    Originally posted by hvac hero

    I'm a contractor & I just dont have time to go spend about 2 hours doing a load calc on every residential estimate.
    Amen! and all that just for them to get a lowballer to do the job.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

    "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart". - Unknown

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Posts
    16,168
    Originally posted by mrbillpro
    Originally posted by hvac hero

    I'm a contractor & I just dont have time to go spend about 2 hours doing a load calc on every residential estimate.
    Amen! and all that just for them to get a lowballer to do the job.
    I did that three weeks ago for a customer. I also made the mistake of leaving my load calc since he had been a previous customer. I called back two weeks later, he went with a well know local low baller in my area using the size my load calc came out to, which was 1/2 a ton higher than everyone else.

    Mr low baller made the mistake of not pulling a permit or using an electrician.............he should have gotten his letter from the Building Dept by now.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    7,680
    KVR. To be fair, a 19 SEER unit is a two stage machine and is not made in half ton sizes. For instance, if your load calc was for 27,000 btuhs, a 3 ton unit is your only option. (either that or put up with the heat when its 95+ ouside)

    Frankly for an estimate, you may not always get a manual J because no dealer wants to provide his competition with his legwork. And it is time consuming. On the otherhand, once you decide to let him do the work, you should agree (and do it in writing) that you would like a load calc done. If his original system quoted is too large or too small, then you need to accept a price difference either higher or lower depending on what you need versus what you were quoted.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Wilmington, DE
    Posts
    355
    It is very tough to do a load calc and it does take time to do so what we do now and this seems to work for us well is we evaluate duct system all that stuff give an estimate on equiptment and install generally we give and estimate on what we think is the correct size(unless its a new house of course or they never had ac, or its just not possible to even come close)if you have been doing this for a while you can make and educated estimate on the size but sometimes you will be a 1/2ton off. Its in the contract that if they decide to go with us we will come out do the load calc and adjust the price if our estimate was wrong but the price never rises for the customer we will eat the difference if its a little bigger unit than estimated for as there isnt all that much of a difference in price for going a 1/2 ton up or down. And we give the copy of the load calc to the customer. People seem to like this and it prevents us from spending 1-2 hours on a load calc when the person is just window shopping or not going to use us. I feel our time and knowledge is worth money and if your not going to pay for a load calc your not just going to get our expert opinion for free unless you buying somthing from us. I think its ok not to want to do one for free but the problem is that there is a good portion of contractors out there that dont know how to do one and they are the ones to watch out for

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    512
    Originally posted by dynalowrider79
    generally we give and estimate on what we think is the correct size(unless its a new house of course or they never had ac, or its just not possible to even come close)if you have been doing this for a while you can make and educated estimate on the size but sometimes you will be a 1/2ton off. Its in the contract that if they decide to go with us we will come out do the load calc and adjust the price if our estimate was wrong but the price never rises for the customer we will eat the difference if its a little bigger unit
    This is how every good contractor I talked to in my area (northern VA) did it, including the one I went with. Worked out fine; the important thing is that they did come back and do the load calc before actually putting the equipment in.

    It is perfectly acceptable to BID by rule of thumb so long as you INSTALL by ManJ (well, install by ManS *sized* by ManJ) subject of course to proper corrections. (A lot of people forget about the required derating for inside temperatures below 78 degrees, for instance.)

  11. #11
    perel,
    who did you use in NOVA?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    212
    In NJ I got lucky and found a company called Manuel J. But to my surprise when the guy came to my home and introduced himself as Manuel, It went downhill from there.

    Apparently Manuel was his name.



    Seriously, I'm just trying to convey that it is difficult to find the right contractor for certain services. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    homeowner
    Posts
    27
    i found that only the sales rep from Sears did a semblance of that for me, asking where sun hit in morning, viewing shade trees and windows, etc (though I guess carrying a compass would help). He initially recommended a half ton less than the others based on his calculation, but said half ton one way or the other was a normal variation. And then he priced out a 4 ton, same as everyone else. After that he wanted a lot more money for the same product.

    It seems like an evaluation of the insulation, ducts and leaks etc is beyond the time alloted for the sales call, and the original builder is relied upon.

    We found our "truth" by being satisfied that all three said 4-ton, which is the same as what we are replacing.

    The contractor we are choosing is the only one who took the time to actually locate the lines that run from the outdoor unit to the indoor, told us of the need to cut into a finished ceiling, followed our condensate drainage tube and carefully measured our existing oil furnace to make sure a new coil would fit into it of we decided to keep the old furnace.

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