Let me tell you from the other side of the bubble. Call around and do not let price be your determining factor. Most reputible companies will be within a range of the other.
Originally posted by chibuyer
For fear of getting my ass chewed out… First off I’d like to apologize up front if this is the wrong forum. I read the descriptions and this did seem the best place to make my post.
Secondly, I’d like to thank each of you for taking the time to share your knowledge. Even for someone such as myself who wouldn’t know the difference between a compressor and a capacitor. I’m by NO means a DIY’er; I wish I was because I like to learn. But I know my limitations and prefer to leave some things to the professionals. It’s great to find so many active professionals that seem to care so much for their industry… I can only HOPE I end up doing business with someone of the caliber of professionalism I see in this forum.
I’m about 25 days away from becoming a new home owner. I took the suggestion from a friend to not have the builder install my AC. He said that I could get a better unit and warrantee from a local HVAC company. I live in the far west burbs of Chicago and have started looking into purchasing a unit and finding a company to install. And so the fun begins…
However, I’m finding that a lot of companies aren’t members of BBB so I’ve been unable to do much research on the customer service records of the different companies. Unlike the research I was able to do with my movers and research the Illinois Commerce Commission and BBB, there doesn’t seem to be anything that I’ve found that is similar in function. Working for a Supply Chain Association, I know that just because you say you’re a member doesn’t mean that much unless you’re active and there is no way to police that information.
Being a memeber of the BBB for most cases is like being in the Choir at church. Just because their a member doesn't mean they play fair.
However, I like to do my homework…
I need to find a unit for a 2860sf home with rather LARGE rooms, with another 1k sf to be added once we finish the basement. The builder of course put in the cheapest furnace they could find, Lennox G40, so I’m worried if that will cause me to have to settle with a less than acceptable AC unit. As it’s been mentioned on this board… I don’t want to end up with a system of yesterday (R22) for a house of tomorrow, so I need a unit for the house (410A/R-410). At least that much I know… I also know that sound is important as I don’t want to have to adjust the volume of my TV each time the AC kicks on to cool my home. But that’s about the extent of my knowledge for AC.
Basically I guess my question is what should I look for or ask in regards to the company I hire to do the job? I don’t want to end up with “used car salesman" and a unit to match that is more or less than what I need. I want to do my homework, but I don’t have a clue as to know where to start, what to look for or the questions to ask. With so many brands and units under each of those… I’m overwhelmed at this point.
If they come to do an estimate look for these things: If he does not show up with a tape measure, ask him to leave.
If he holds a piece of paper up to your house from the curb and calls you back with a price, hang up.
If he scratches your info on a piece of paper that already has information in it not from your house, ask him to leave.
If he bad mouths the other companies, ask him to leave.
What you want to see is someone who will measure your house, look around outside your house, uses mathematical calculations or software to determine the "Heat Load" of your home and explains things so you understand what he is doing and why. A good contractor, which there are more than bad, will go out of thier way to make a sale. Also, ask questions.
As far as R22 .vs R410a, if the installer uses R22 and does a good job (sizing and stuff) you'll never need to have the system charged. Refrigerant doesn't go bad or loose it's cool.
R410a is the new wave, yeah they are pushing it in the new lines, but don't let the flash get you to make a decision. R22 is going to be around for plenty of time if you ever happen to need it.
Now if your wondering about a SEER rating, let the installer make that proposal for you. sometimes it's not always the best to go crazy on numbers that you may not fully understand.
Keep doing your homework and you will find a good installer that will make you happy for many years to come.
the g40 is a good furnace and will give years of good service for you. the only real differance between it and any other lenox furnace is warrenti. it comes with 1 year parts and 20 heat exchanger. the g50 is basicly the same but has 5 years parts. you can get 12 to 14 seer with it with a matching system. try a lenox dealer for the proper specs. in your aera you will not gain much by going higher in seer. as far as trane you can still get a 12 to 14 seer unit as long as it is sized properly. to replace the furnace at this time i feel would be a waist of money.
r-22 or r-410a is preferance only. i would recomend r-410a only because it seems to work a little better then r-22
find a contractor you trust and is willing to work within your means and not so much on the equipment. you will find every thing will work fine if done right
according to the techies, my computer is very outdated, you know what? it still does more than I need it too, so not out dated for me.
Originally posted by chibuyer
Which means my system will be ‘out dated’ 6 months after I have it installed.
The argument made to me from a friend that recently had AC installed into their new home is that we live in the burbs of Chicago and it could take 20 years before I would reap any of the rewards for a higher SEER unit. He suggested I stick with the 12 SEER units, even if the industry standard is increased next year. Because Trane and Amer Standard don’t offer the 13 SEER... he think it's a waste to jump in cost and SEER to the 14 SEER units. However, I'll still torn because I do recognize the environmental impact of having a higher SEER unit.
I've read 18 pages into this board... and I'm still not doing any better. I think I've pretty much "narrowed" it down to the following 4.0 TON units:
12 SEER XR12 (R22)
15 SEER XL15i (cost is approx $60 more than the XL14i) (r22)
12 SEER Allegiance 12 (R22)
14 SEER Performance (R410)
12 SEER WeatherMaker 8TRA048 (R22)
And IF electric rates jump like gas prices,which SEEr will be the one to have.Plus it's a Green thing to do.
Ilike the Puron systems,more Green thing as well.Plus we have been installing them since 1997,2000 plus systems very dependable.
took the suggestion from a friend to not have the builder install my AC. He said that I could get a better unit and warrantee from a local HVAC company.
have you figured out how much money your "friends" advice has saved you?
I'm in the same boat as you and about to pull my hair out trying to decide. I know virtually nothing about HVAC. We just bought a house in North Aurora, so not too far down the road from you. I got a quote from a company in n aurora that is about $3K for a 4 ton 12 seer and $4K for the 15, both Trane. As far as I can tell it'll take 8-10 years to reap the reward of higher efficiency, so I guess it boils down to how long you plan to stay in the house. I'm still waiting on a quote for Carrier. I'll be intersested to hear which way you go.
Listen to atufano , that is some good advice.As long as you have a proper "load calc" done and a system to match you will be set.
Thanks SO much for the advice in this thread and the MANY others like it… I’ll keep lurking and reading.
As much as I hate to sweat, I’d hate to have to deal with a poor install for the next 15-20 years even more so. We move into our new home in 11 days and I’ve been trying to decide for the past couple of days which company I want to install my new AC unit… without them coming to the house for a proper inspection.
Yes, I’ve had more than a few companies offer to give me quotes on systems without coming to see the house first. (I know, I know… RUN!) One is said to be the number 1 dealer of American Standard, which is a unit I’m seriously considering… so now I’m not sure what to think there.
I’ve decided that instead of making an appt for install… I’m going to make some appts for on-site bids. The plan is to call companies that carry one or two of the 4 brands I’m most interested in to come to do a PROPER assessment and bid. And thanks for the info from these forums, I’m going to watch them like a hawk for how they perform their evaluation.
I want to stick with ‘named’ brands for the simplicity of maintenance and repair down the road. Figure that if I pay up the a$$ in the beginning for a well known unit over some ‘off’ brand… down the road it will save me money. I’m looking at the Amer Standard, Trane, Armstrong, Carrier, and Lennox units. Figure I’d toss in Lennox only because my furnace is Lennox. I plan to go with a 12-15 SEER unit and will try for A410, but everyone keeps trying to push R22 that I’ve spoken to so far.
As inclined as I am to go with a ‘friend-of-a-friend’ to save a couple bucks… I think for an item such as this, I’ll go with an insured and bonded company with emergency number and hours. But even more so… that care that they do a good job for fear of a bad word or tarnished reputation.
I will take the knowledge I’ve learned from reading this board and the hundreds of random posts to make my determination. Sure, $$ will be a factor, but I’ve learned that it won’t be the number one factor in my decision.
you probably do realise this yet but now that your house is built it is going to cost you more to have this system installed than it would have when it was being built.
Have you contacted the HVAC company that installed the AC in the other homes in your area? or is this not in a subdivision?