Hi there! I'm a Houston homeowner who is trying to become educated about HVAC so I can make sensible, informed decisions about replacing our system.
I'm so glad I found this website! I've been spending a lot of time lurking and reading old posts, and some of them scare me. I've realized through my reading that one of the most important things (if not the most important) is the quality of the installation. As a matter of fact, most of the problems we have are more than likely the result of the terrible installation job we inherited when we bought our home. That's why this post by classical freaked me out:
They use subs for installs many times with untrained illegal helpers picked up on the street corner. One of the installers told her he would come back on his own time and replace all of her ductwork for less than the company would charge. We suspect he may have closed off several ducts in the attic to provide impetus for replacing the ductwork.
Here's my question...(I'll try to make it brief, but that's not what I'm known for!)
We have had a consultation with four companies so far.
Company A is a fairly big operation who does a lot of new construction installations in the Fort Bend area using Carrier equipment. They sent a salesperson out. He listened to our concerns and wrote a proposal on the spot. I wasn't home at the time, so my husband met with him. Hubby said he seemed fairly knowledgeable, but was definitely a salesperson.
Company B is in the Spring Branch/Memorial area, and they have been ruled out by us already just based on our experience during the consultation. The sales rep. walked in the front door, and miracle of miracles he knew what we needed without us saying a word! This company also was here for about 20 minutes, and we have a written "estimate," but I use the term loosely because it's written on the back of a piece of paper and just lists some Amana and Lennox equipment.
Companies C & D are a different breed. Both sent HVAC professionals to our house instead of salespeople. Both were here for over an hour, crawling around in the attic looking at ductwork, inspecting airflow, measuring things, etc. We don't have a written proposal from either company yet. Both are going to send us proposals with specific recommendations based on our house and needs. I thought it was interesting that both companies that sent HVAC folks out had very similar solutions to our concerns during our meetings.
Both are established Houston companies. Neither use subs, both are licensed and insured. Of course, without seeing the proposals I can't say which way I'm leaning, but Company D seems to have a better warranty on the equipment (10 years parts & labor through the manufacturer) and that would certainly factor into my decision.
So I'm finally getting to the point! Do these sound like I'm on the right track? We learned a LOT talking to these guys! I just want to make sure we don't end up with some scam company that's going to sell us any old equipment that doesn't suit our needs. FWIW, our home's A/C needs are quite different from a new build out in the suburbs...2,500 square foot 40 year old house, negligible wall insulation, trees, new double-paned, low-e, gas filled (is that the right technical term?) windows (Gulf Coast). What else should I look for? What questions do I need to ask?