One week ago I knew nothing. Nothing! When it came to HVAC I was "plenty ignorant without making a job out of it." But the one thing I did know was how to look for things on the Internet.
So then I found home.alt.repair, which led me to alt.hvac, which led me to hvac-talk.com, where little green anteaters invite you to talk hvac. (Dam*, I've still haven't bookmarked!)
I scoured two-months' worth of posts, learned what I didn't know I didn't know, and felt comfortable enough to post a question amongst some generous professionals. Even got some encouraging answers.
And then, when necessity becomes the mother of invention, it brings you HVAC-calc. by Sir Don Sleeth. Hello. Wake up those brain cells, get those tape measures ready, we're leaving the lurker sidelines and going pro-active. We're taking matters into our own hands, we're doing our own manual js, we're.....ooops....looks like my contractor estimates are oversized. Or are they? Do I know what I'm doing? Summer grains of what??? Dry climate? Latent Heat Gain? Doh! I am so drowning.
Better than a Millionaire Lifeline: hvac-calc. support straightens me out. I may even understand the numbers better than my contractors. Great. But guess who has to get them back out here to show'em my fancy paperwork. Ha. Is it too late to go back to knowing nothing?
Just wanted you all to know that, just when you think you can't bear to see another "Is this a right price?" question, or a "What brand is better?" query from us cross-eyed homeowners, and boring and braindead might come to mind more than btus, oh excuse me, btuhs, you do make a real difference for the modern, wired, consumer.
In fact, the more you all help the consumer, the more you all help the consumer's HVAC-Calc.-less contractor! And the more HVAC contractors who get HVAC-Calc. the more time I have to juggle bon-bons with my toes! Hoorah.
My adventure into the HVAC-world of informed consumerism isn't quite over. I still have a few dragons to slay, but thanks to a heck of a lot of princes, this damsel is getting to be dam* smart.
Ciao for now,
Sherry, thanks for your feed back. You are now entitled to the secret handshake. Thanks again for your remarks about Don. He is the greatest!
Are you married??
Wow, most women don't care...just heat and cool!!
It would be strange to have a customer who was more informed than me... I guess with the help of guys like Don @ HVAC calc that day could be coming.... better keep my spurs polished! Good job girl! Let me know if your job hunting. Would love to have an educated female salesperson!
Very married, and driving him nuts!
Klute, it's no picnic, life with me. The dark side is that I'm like this with e-v-e-r-y-thing. I'm the type of gal that compares cents per ounce when buying salad dressing, for bloody sake. I'll stand in line for coffee at Starbucks, and just when I get to the counter, leave the line and decide I don't need the coffee, that I'm just nickel and diming myself into debt (it's a slippery slope you know), and I'll go home and write out another check for the mutual fund. I don't shop. Haven't bought new clothing for a long time. Just take care of what I've got, and still looking gooood. If I can do it myself, I'll learn how to do it.
The ironic thing is, is that once I do get my heating and cooling system installed......I'll be too cheap to use it! Of course, I live in California. Ya can't be cheap to live here.
Thanks for the "Wow" compliment.
Hey, Spotts, thanks for the invite!
You bring up a very sticky point with me this morning: that it would be strange to have a customer that was more informed than the professional. (And maybe more strange for the well-informed customer to be a girl.???) It's strange on my side, too. I've got to call my "top pick" of estimators (this would be Company Two, for those of you who saw my first post on my estimate experience) this morning, and gently tell him that I don't believe in his expert recommendation, and that I've got a better answer. Of course, I can't say it like that. That would be consumer suicide.
Any help you can give me on how YOU would like to be told this? I know girls and guys speak different languages, so how would a guy like to hear that his customer has just researched her way into disregarding his recommendation?
Something similar happened when we were looking for a window dealer in the area. Top customer-, gold-star-rated company, just like the three HVAC contractors I called, and I was the one who had to correct this window dealer that our city no longer requires permits for window installations if the job does not include a sliding glass door. Now the owner of this company is a girl, and I know how to talk to a girl, so she took it well. (In fact, she's a good friend, now.)
But, if any of you guys can help me figure out the best way to approach the expert let me know. My fear is that, even though he's a nice guy, he will invalidate me. It's a girl thing. Tell me how to not harm a man's professional ego, 'kay?
Thanks for the job offer!!! I think it would be a wise thing for HVAC companies to recruit more women as home estimators. Some female homeowners might prefer it. But, I, myself, have a much-neglected vocation that has been shoved off to the side while I learn about HVAC. I'm sort of a "jackie" of all trades-sort. I know a little about a lot of things. When I'm learning something, I am very intense about it. My brother-in-law giggles whenever he hears me talk about my latest consumer adventure. He just can't get used to hearing this kind of stuff from a girl. And he's known me for 20 years.
Thanks again for the encouragement.
Information is the Key
Information is the key here. Knowing what works or what the job is about is one thing, doing it is another. So the key is to apply knowlege where it will make a difference. A problem with tradespersons is that they mostly learn a trade from experience. So when you come in to a job expressing information or opinions that are based on research and not actual experience. This can be a problem. My favorite saying is that:
A professional can do a perfect job and an informed D.I.Y. can do a perfect job and both can do bad jobs!
No one can dispute this statement!
The professionals if they are properly trained and informed and truly want to do a good job will NEVER look at an informed consumer in a bad way. They should engage the consumer. If you ever feel that they are patronizing or minimize the information you bring to the table, look elsewhere. An educated tradesman will challenge you if they feel your wrong and should engage you if they feel you are right. The internet has made us information powered use it!