Install is matters... how to spot a good pro?
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  1. #1

    Install matters... how to spot a good pro?

    After getting some quotes and talking to some pros I still cannot tell who is a great contractor and who isn't.

    One said Lennox is at the forefront of innovations. Second said Carrier is 7 years ahead of everyone. Third one said Trane beats all. One said Trane coils are impossible to clean. Second agreed. Third said - baloney - Lennox and Carrier coils are the worst to clean. So brands are impossible to chose by talking to contractors - each pushes their own.

    Some send salesperson, who is smooth and knows a lot, well-dressed and pleasant. Sometimes owners come out. Often they are less polished, but I give them more credibility, but they can be rough around the edges.

    Therefore, I'd like to know how to tell a good contractor from an average one? (Bad ones I can see already - "what's a condensing furnace" one asked me). What questions should I ask and what answers should I hear?

    I know about doing Manual J calc. But what else?
    Last edited by dafreerider; 03-09-2008 at 11:11 AM. Reason: misspelled

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Anyone that sells their company on the brand they use is questionable.
    If they bash others brands to sell you theirs they are questionable.

    When they ask about what you want out of the system, what comfort level you want.
    Check your house and duct system, your looking at a better contractor.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    SW FL
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    6,225

    Red face Contract ( proposal) Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by dafreerider View Post
    After getting some quotes and talking to some pros I still cannot tell who is a great contractor and who isn't.

    Therefore, I'd like to know how to tell a good contractor from an average one? What questions should I ask and what answers should I hear?

    But what else?
    A complete and timely presented proposal
    with model numbers
    ( major equipment submittal/specs showing capabilities and proper match-up)
    and itemized work scope that addresses Your Requirements.

    Was the basis for sizing stated?

    Are options listed as a separate item with costs?

    Options: humidifer, dehumidifier, filter or IAQ upgrades, 10 year Parts and Labor Warranty, higher efficiency equipment, bath fan model / features where applicable, additional testing, maintenance / service agreement, ...

    Did the company effectively fulfill their introduction?
    Typcially something like ... " Remember, we cannot quote installations without looking at the site. Be sure to indicate when a good time is for our staff schedule an appointment with you."
    Were they willing to met with you at a convenient time?
    Actions speak much loader than a contractors salesmen words.

    Were any performance guarantees discussed initially?
    Did the contract address this issue?

    Were references listed and financing details provided, if requested?
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio, United States
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    12,899
    Coleman
    No Heat No Cool You need Action Fast

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    chicago suburbs
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    4,422

    good luck

    finding a good installing contractor is a crap shoot. ask your friends who they like.


    i wouldn't bother with references....who are they gonna give you??..an unhappy customer?...maybe their cousin?? most people don't know what they're looking at anyway. if it keeps the house warm/cool it's good enough even though the system has been butchered in.

    LOTS AND LOTS OF UNDER TRAINED BUTCHERS OUT THERE.


    unfortunately ..you won't know until it's too late if you've been hacked.
    FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
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    18,836
    Find one that will;

    Test duct static before quoting

    Use Manuals,J,S,and D,to load calc,select equip.,and re-design ducts if needed.

    Test static after install,and see you have proper air flow.


    Now anyone can say they will,so phrase questions carefully,most will tell you why the won't do any of this,so avoid them.

  7. #7
    While asking friends sounds like a great idea, but two of the recommended contractors turned out complete duds. One recommended one - you'll be laughing - asked me what is a condensing furnace, when I described my current equipment. When I told him that I want the outdoor unit to have a 2-stage compressor, he asked me if they "still" make them? What? Another recommended guy who installed a system to my friend, looked at my furnace (20-year old Trane XL90) and said - "hmmm... this looks too complicated". He then proceeded to tell me that he can install a good system for me. When asked about brand, model #, etc., he said "Don't worry, it's gonna work well".


    I know that references can be rigged. That's why I want to see for myself what a good contractor sounds like

    Also, I check their names versus www.BBB.org site for having a good record.

    So, question: if they ask me if I experienced any problems with temp control and I say no, would it be considered okay to base the sizes on the current system?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    chicago suburbs
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    search BBB on this site....see what people think of that.


    keep looking.
    FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,943
    It seems like you've already got a pretty good handle on things. You're asking them more questions than they hear from 95% of their customers. All the suggestions here are going to help you narrow it down. Keep plugging away, and you'll find the one you're looking for.
    And, if any more of them ask "what's a condensing furnace", just show them the door.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    chicago suburbs
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    fill out your profile. you might find someone on here.
    FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    451
    Service is important too. Call after hours...not at 2 a.m.....see how fast they respond to your call and how they treat you.
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes...that way you are a mile from them and have their shoes

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,275
    Trane condensor coils are hard to clean.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,591
    So, question: if they ask me if I experienced any problems with temp control and I say no, would it be considered okay to base the sizes on the current system?

    Do you think its ok to replace an oversized furnace with an oversized furnace?

    Yours may or may not be oversized.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

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