I'm curious to know how many installers actually perform any of these tests after they have installed new ductwork, of if I am beginning to be too anal about this part.
Obviously, if a duct system is properly designed, installed, etc., it should work as needed. That said, there does seem to be benefit to actually measuring for leakage, flow rates, etc to verify that the actual numbers match the calculated values. I'm not finding very many installers who are equipped to take such measurements, and also not finding companies in my area which can be hired to take them. Only one installer thus far that I've spoken with takes these measurements and guarantees the leakage rate and flow rates as well as system pressures.
This equates to the fact I’m down to 3 quotes, and the price range is fairly wide ( I've eliminated 5 other installers already and hope to reach my decision by end of this weekend ). One installer of the 3 is in a distant third place already. But, the other 2 are both seemingly good installers and seem to do things much in line with most recommendations I've read about here. The main difference is one takes many measurements for leakage rates, pressures, flow rates but in doing so has offered a very basic system ( single stage AC and double stage 80% furnace.. upstairs attic install ) for about the same price as the other is offering a dual stage 16 SEER AC and dual stage variable speed blower 80% furnace. The latter will add a 2 stat zoning system for about 10% extra, but they do not test for leaks etc after the installation.
Both installers have great BBB ratings, good references, and good Angies Lists reviews. Both systems involve completely new ductwork systems, but the one simply tests many aspects after the install and verifies the heat load calcs. The other does not.
I'm not finding any other local installers who take flow measurements after installation and/or measuring duct leakage. I can perform cost savings between the 2 stage 16 SEER AC and the single stage 13 SEER and the payback in truth takes much longer than I first thought ( several years given our sub 9 cents per kw/hr rates ).
I'd appreciate any opinions on how common it is to take such measurements after an installation of new duct, and how one can hold an installer accountable for the integrity of the installation. If I could find local people who could take the measurements I would probably go with the better equipment and have the contract written with performance standards that would have to be met via the subsequent test. Yet, I have not yet found anyone who can do this test except for the competing installer. Thx