Selection criteria for complete replacement
I've been reading a lot of different posts and keep coming to the same answer - the brand of unit isn't as important as the installation, and therefore selecting the right contractor is vital.
Great idea -- but how does a homeowner, with no HVAC experience, choose the right contractor - and make sure the installation is done correctly?
What should I know to ensure I'm getting a thorough job done? (seen some stories of poorly installed units and claims that the homeowner didn't do their homework - I need help understanding the right homework - have been reading all day and still no closer to understanding what's important and what's just hot air.)
I have a 50 year old house, 1150 SF, pier and beam house in North Texas. The coil in the attic was replaced 2 years ago. The furnace is probably 20 years old and the condensor outside is 13 years old. The duct work is awful and so is the insulation, for that matter. So I'm looking at spending a little cash to replace everything. Necessary?
How would you chose a doctor for one of your children?
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too little.
When you pay too much, you lose a little money -- that is all. When you pay too little, you may lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."
As a fellow homeowner going through this as well, I'm looking for characteristics.
1) I got 5 bids. The attitude and "feeling" you get from the consultant is part of it (but not much.) You're telling them your concerns, they're responding. Does it seem they have your interests at heart, or are they pushing you in a direction they haven't explained well? The initial bid and discussion is only the beginning, not the end of the consultation. On the other hand, if you can't or won't invest a certain amount of time with it, you'll likely stare at the pile of bids and throw a dart. I know you're wanting a better way than that.
2) On this forum, look for trends. When you read thread after thread about getting a load calculation done or other methodologies, that's a worthy goal. And so on.
3) Any purchase that highlights the equipment, as HVAC does, will naturally tend to de-emphasize the install and service after the sale because there are many variables, many ways (big and small) to install and configure the very same stuff. It's frankly an intangible we can't fully know or predict upfront. But this is where the various certifications and # of years in business give clues.
Be wary of:
But this discount is only available if you sign the contract now.
I can be anybodies price.
I can tell what size from my years of experience.
We don't pull permits.
We can install a bigger unit without altering your ducts.
But if you pay X now with green cash I can do it for this much less.
I have this old unit in my warehouse I can give you a discount on.
15 minute evaluations.
Select a contractor with a Requisite Overview Sequence
The contractor you select should have an overview of the sequence of what needs doing, to optimize the balancing of both your comfort level along with energy and utility cost savings.
1) In order of sequence, evaluating everything you can do to reduce the heat gain, comes first.
2) Then comes the sizing of the equipment based on the number of hours you have in your climate area that meets the BTU per hour rating of the equipment.
3) If there are few hours that meet the BTU rating of your equipment, you need to downsize the equipment.
4) For optimal efficiency, optimize the heat load through the evaporator coil when under lighter load conditions.
5) Over sizing equipment, will result in an inefficient short cycling which also can result in early component failures.
6) When the equipment, the duct sizing and airflow through the evaporator coil are all optimized, with an air handler that keeps and optimal load through the evaporator coil, the result is the operating optimization of EER & SEER.
7) EER & SEER are dependent on many factors that unless optimized, can result in big losses in those Stated or Listed Efficiency Ratings.
I had a better post completed & lost it before I got it posted. - Darrell
i may be old school, but trust and word of mouth still mean something. ask you neighbors and co workers who they would recommend!
"When the people find they can vote themselves money,that will herald the end of the republic" - Benjamin Franklin
"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force;like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action"- George Washington
My business is mainly commercial, but we do some limited residential work. We can and do buy any brand of equipment, as we are commercial and not locked into brand loyalty to a vendor. Our work in this arena comes strictly from referral. We do a lot of higher end houses where it is not uncommmon to spend well into five figures for a replacement. In every case, we get a referrel from a happy client, not one who feels jaded. That is a good sign. My men know that I expect a good clean job, installed wired and programmed correctly when we leave. They do not spare a penny on installs because that is what I expect. I do not ever expect to be anywhere near low bidder. I also do not expect to ever hear complaints about the install. In short, ask your neighbors, friends and coworkers who they have used and trust. If they found a good one, they will let you know. If they feel bad, they will definately let you know about that. Use your resources for at least a referral, we all like that. Honestly, you may want to ask around here, there are good guys hanging around, and some are even looking for work these days with the economy being a tad slow. guys who come here are thirsting for knowledge, let them try to use it.
What he said: ditto.
Originally Posted by smittyii
Any work you need that can wait long enough to get 3 quotes, throw out the high and low and work with the one in the midde.
Need it now. look for someone that charges by the hour, NOT flat rate. I HATE flat rate.
It makes it easy for the contractor, but always figures WORST case!
I.E.: cooling coil needs changing on a furnace because it's leaking freon. (cheap coil).
Well now,, some furnace's need to be pulled to get to the coil. Some do not. Some door frames need to be pulled to allow the furnace to be pulled out, some do not. So we figure WORST CASE and the price includes pulling furnace, door frame and coil!!!!!!!!!!
Last edited by HeyBob; 09-17-2008 at 08:53 AM.
Reason: Removed Pricing From Post!
Sounds like someone is bitter about a BAD flat rate system. everyone I know that uses flat rate has accomodation for the example you gave. Anyone not using flat rate is way behind. When done properly it is best for customer and service company
Originally Posted by Leo3006
Last edited by HeyBob; 09-17-2008 at 08:53 AM.
Reason: Removed pricing from quote!
Most flat rates have this type of a job tiered by difficulty.
Maybe Leo just couldn't find the right line item.
Perhaps you should have read the instructions before calling.