Manual J or not to manual J?
"Most" contractors take the opinion that if what was there before did fine then it is a waste of their time to do another load calc, this only works in their perfect world! Unfortunately homes change over the course of time. People install more efficient windows, add insulation, replace siding and have the house wrapped while doing so. If any of the above changes then another manual J must be done.
As the owner of the home for less than 2 years you probably don't know for sure what changes the structure has been through. To me it would be common sense to re-calculate.
I also understand why most contractors don't want to do a calculation on every job as it can be time consuming. When you are trying to get a salesperson to 4-6 homes in an 8 hour day a load calc on any of them becomes an impossibility.
Look for a contractor that isn't in as much of a hurry. While you're at it visit his shop and take a peek around. If possible take a good look at the outside of any of his trucks that might be around, while you're at it take a peek inside one of them. Is his shop clean and orderly? Are the outside of his trucks clean? Are the inside of his trucks orderly and free of trash? The back of the truck might have the whole floorboard covered with toolboxes and large parts in boxes but it should have a rhyme to it.
If the shop or the trucks are dirty and or disorderly then chances are the work he does is the same way. At the least he is less likely to be one to take the time to do a proper load calc when he also is most likely not to allow his employees to take the hour or so a week to keep trucks clean and orderly.
When you find the guy that will do it right he won't have the lowest price! His employees might drive around in rusted out vans but every spec of that rust will be clean. His shop area will be clean and orderly. The most important thing though, he won't be in a hurry!
I hear ya! Basically, I'm assuming the worst and hoping for the best. Even if I don't get anything from the warranty company I've decided I'm still getting a new heat pump. So, if I do get something from AHS it will be a bonus. That's essentially the attitude I've taken on this. I just want to wash my hands of the constant problems and move on with a new system regardless of the outcome of the warranty claim. It's an inconvience and I believe my current heat pump is costing me way more than it should in electric bills. So, I'm hoping to get some relief in my electric bills with a new heat pump as well. But, I'm not assuming anything. If my electric bills are lower that will also be a bonus.
The contractor has informed me of the potential for a second opinion requested by AHS. They are supposed to call me back in a day or two to let me know the status.
Thanks for the info. I generally feel that the saying "you get what you pay for" is usually true more times than not. So, I'm not looking to get the rock bottom price. I feel that if you make price the most important factor you are setting yourself up for failure or at the very least problems. At least I find this to be true in the IT field. Obviously I want to feel like I got a good deal, but I don't have a desire to get the best deal ever no matter what.
One trick to getting that bill down when you have a heat pump: Make sure you have an intelligent thermostat that limits the usage of the backup electric heat strips. The heat strips typically cost 2 to 3 times as much money per unit of heat as does the heat pump. Most homeowners with old mechanical heat pump thermostats unintentionally run their backup heat strips a LOT. And even a lot of digital thermostats don't really limit the heat strip usage. Whoever installs you new heat pump should know about that when you mention it to him.
I currently have a relatively new digital thermostat (Honeywell CT3611) that I installed (it replaced the old mechanical York thermostat) when I first moved into my house. However, I plan to get a new stat with the new heat pump. I like what I've read about the Carrier Infinity Control system.
Yur AHS Warranty contractor if AHS did change out the heat pump would have only chagned out the outdoor unit.
If your upgrading be sure and changee out the entire system to reach your efficency goals.
Another issue is the qoute the AHS Warranty was probably going to be a discounted price in comparisom to contractors outside the AHS arena, so don't get sticker shocked.
An example would be with the Home Warranty company we contract with we provide our customers a discoutned install price base on our relation ship wth the HW company. We ask that they pay the difference bewteen the cash out and upgrade cost. We of course do add to that cash out cost the addition of all the non covered cost and as in your case the new fan coil.
We would gladly do a load calc for you at your request but would not have offered it to you. Reason being all systems here anyway curently installed are done in accordance to CA Title 24 and load calcs were done on the original install. We do alot of load calcs ( Using HAVC-CALC ) http://hvaccomputer.com due to the volume of home owenrs that have upgraded their homes energy efficency; ie windows, insulation, etc.
You come across as a very knowledgable and intelligent person... YOU SHOULD DOWNLOAD HE HOMEOWNERS PROGRAM! I have even provided you a link to the purchase page https://www.hvaccomputer.com/hvac/se...COrderForm.asp , good luck
It will provide you with information you can compare to your bids... You might even share it with your AHS contractor if you really did like him and who knows...
I think you may have taken your contractor by surprise asking for the load calculation. Many knowledgable contractors sorry to say, run when you say ACCA Manual J, they are excellent at what they do but don't have the training in these areas and are afreaid of it.
Hope this helps
[Edited by AllTemp on 03-30-2005 at 07:52 AM]
AllTemp Heating & Cooling
As I understand it,the typical issues with AHS don't apply here,as you will just get a refund on the unused portion of your contract,"cash it in".
The Infinity is a get choice,includes/requires it's "own" control system.In fact that what makes so different from others.
Yes ,we even skip doing a load,in many cases as we "know" the subdivision ,original contractor,etc.The problem can be the customer knows if it was undersized,but if it was oversized ,most owners don't recognize the signs of oversized.
If the home has had ,upgrades to windows ,unsulation ,etc., a load really needs to be done,also if it was a custom home.
I'd call a couple contractors,for estimates,telling them in advance you want a Load calc., and room by room loads and cfm required.Plus your duct system evaluated.
If they come up with different sizes,then do your own calculation ,on this site.
The reason I ultimately decided to get a new heat pump was because I didn't want a mismatched system with a new replacement unit outside and the old air handler inside. I have no intentions of leaving any parts of the old system in place.
I'm confident that the quote I was given was not a discounted quote because of my contractor's relationship with the warranty company. The quote was completely separate from the warranty work being done. I actually received this quote a few months ago and I hadn't even mentioned cashing out at that time. At that time I just had my heat pump repaired under warranty. It's the most recent problem where I've mentioned cashing out.
I guess I can understand not offering a load calc by default, but certainly if I ask for one I shouldn't be laughed at. And I don't think I took my contractor by surprise because I had asked him about a load calc back when he gave me that quote a few months ago. And at that time he said that it wasn't necessary. But this time around I was more specific about the fact that I wanted a load calc done if I was going to use this company and that's when he said he couldn't do that for me.
I've downloaded the demo version of the program and will give it a try before deciding to buy.
In my case, my house is part of a 15 year old subdivision. Many of the homes have heat pumps (all York if they still have the original equipment). The heat pump I will be replacing is the original York heat pump. No changes have been made to the house (same windows, doors, insulation, siding, no additions). If I was confident the original system was sized correctly then I probably wouldn't demand a load calc but I have no way of knowing if it was sized correctly. I just want to make sure I'm hearing you correctly since you said that you don't always do a load calc. Even with my cookie cutter home that is only 15 years old and has had no changes, you definitely feel I should ask for a load calc, right?
As far as knowing if it was sized correctly, I never had a problem with heating or cooling (when it is working). I didn't feel like the system ran for too short a cycle or too long. Obviously it was completely dependant on outside temperature, but nothing seemed unusual to me (for what it's worth). However, one thing that is definitely a problem is humidity in the winter. It's bone dry. I don't have a humidifier. I've seen the humidity in my house as low as 8-9% on extreme days. But, most of the time when the outside temp is in the 30s or below the humidity is never any higher than the teens. It's basically below 25% most of the winter.
Ironically, it's the contractor that refuses to do a load calc that all but sold me on the Carrier Infinity system. It could possibly be overkill for my needs but I can't get past the cool bells and whistles. I did mention I'm in the IT field, right? I like gadgets. I also have read many positive things about the Infinity system on this forum.
I have another question. Is there any merit to the Carrier Distinguished Dealer certification? Short of throwing darts at the phone book or trying to get recommendations from friends/neighbors I'm just trying to find any info I can to make an informed choice on a contractor. BTW, there is only one contractor that shows up in my area on Carrier's website that is listed as "Distinguished".
Another HO's opinion
I think you will be better satisfied with the end results, if you offer to PAY to have the room-by-room load calc done, rather than asking for it as a freebie. Of course the contract might say the cost will be subtracted if he does the final install. If you're like me, finding the contractor with the best tools and deepest knowledge will be more satisfaction that any other way. You want to eliminate the bottom-price guys right away, the kind of technician you want will expect to get paid for something like this.
While you are at this, see if you can find a contractor who can talk professionally about duct issues as well. I would ask for an analysis according to ACCA Manual D principles, and expect to pay for that too -- you will get a lot of contractors who will take themselves out of the running but the remaining ones should be the ones you want.
Many homes (including mine) were built with indifferent or inferior ducts and that can prevent the HVAC system from delivering what it was designed for. While it is tempting to think of HVAC as an appliance, it is really a SYSTEM which all needs to operate together. As an IT person you probably will understand the principle, even if you don't have the background to engineer it yourself.
Best of luck -- P.Student
We would do a load calculation ,for anyone that wanted one,most don't ask.We do one any time we see a "red flag",I'd like to be able to say we do one 100% of the time.Which we do for all new construction homes.
Even for a cookie cutter home,it's still the best and safest, thing to do.
There are only 75 Carrier Distinguished Dealers(CDD),the program is open to all Carrier Dealers.It's been available since the mid 1990's.
It is a thorough evaluation of the business,starting with a questionaire and evaluation by distributer personal,including distrbuter 'Field service" reps..Then the companies written"business plan",if selected.Then if selected, and on site review by a team from Carrier.Currently much of the evaluation is done by existing,noncompeting CD Dealers.
We are a CD Dealer,and the process alone ,improved our company.I know a lot of the CDD Dealers,but not the one in your area.I'm confident that they would do an excellent job,based on all the other CDD Dealers that I do know.
Thanks for the info.
Should a load calc be free, or at the very least built-in to the price of a new system if I were to go with the contractor? Or should I just expect that it is an additional cost for me? Many places say "free estimates" but I would assume that never (or rarely) includes a proper load calc.
Thanks for the CDD info. Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but at least it's better than randomly picking a local contractor.
If I paid for the load calc. ,I'd want it deducted ,if I bought from the guy who did it.
The time involved to measure and determine insulation values ,etc., is the reason we find it impossible,so far ,to do it on every job.Another reason is ,most owners refuse to go with a smaller system,even if the calculation shows that is what they need.
If it's new construction ,by owner,we charge and deduct if we do the job.Builders get them free,but not a copy of the calc.,unless we get the job.
We never charge for a calc on a replacement,but mainly do them at our own discretion.
Best idea I'v heard on this board is,give the customer an estimate,to replace with same size,then do the load calculation,and provide a copy to the owner,if you get the job.Price won't vary a lot,if it comes out smaller then bid,but owner would get a deduct.Providing a detailed copy,should give the contractor an incentive to be sure it's done correctly.
It's unlikely it will come out larger,as most owners would have noticed that.But if it does the increase could be much more as the duct system may not be large enough to go with a larger system.
You might want to propose this method to the contractors,if they resist doing a calc..Also call them now,before it gets too busy.
I assume you are aware of the $1000.00 Cool Cash offer from Carrier,it's in effect in our area now,if not in yours it will be soon.