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  1. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    mom,
    The ratio of bad contractors to good is probably 20 to 1. So if you blindly called you'd need 20 estimates. But if you narrowed it down by doing a little pre-screening then maybe you found a good one out of the seven.

    Of course I define contractors that just go along to get along as being bad. They may put in OK stuff that works. But mediocrity is their way of life. Manual D & J are alien concepts. Custom engineering the diffuser selection for proper throw to each room is a few too many syllables for them. And the only thing "air balancing" means to them is having all four tires inflated to the same pressure.

    If you're just a cheapskate looking to get something for nothing from a desperate contractor willing to work for minimum wage then you'll get what you deserve. But if you're looking for that one in twenty contractor that actually knows how to make a kick a** system then get 7 more bids if you have too! I'm right there with you.

    vulcan,
    They can't make R-22 equipment after 2010 and they can't make the R-22 refrigerant after 2020. Existing stock will be around for a long time after that. And drop in replacements will be available. At this exact moment there's no clear advantage to getting an R22 system or a R410A system. They both have pros and cons. But as it stands I think R22 equipment is still the higher volume product by quite a bit.

    50 or 60 feet is not a problem. In some cases a suction line will need to be made one size bigger to compensate for distance. But that would most likely be true only if the current line is already a bit on the small side.

    [Edited by Irascible on 06-08-2005 at 09:10 AM]

  2. #28
    I wasn't being a cheapskate, just trying to get the best deal for my money. If I could actually get 7 more companies out here to find a competetively priced one that got pemits and really feel like they would do it by the book I would. But like I said its not easy even getting them to return calls.

    BTW, my dad bought a new heat pump about a year ago. He narrowed it down to the brand he wanted first, then had 6 bids, went with the first one (who was not the cheapest).

    I'm really glad this is a purchase I only have to make oce every 15-20 years.


  3. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
    Posts
    14,915
    By entertaining the bidding war, you virtually guarantee that the eventual installation will be substandard at best.

    Bid is an acronym for Beat Idiots Deal.

    A quality contractor will give you a proposal for all of the required work, possibly with some options. Usually any lowering of the price will be as the result of lowering the level of equipment, or dropping options.

    If the "contractors" you have bids from are dropping the price of the system that was already much lower than some of the other proposals, and are offering better equipment at the new lower price, RUN FROM THEM! You will not be getting a quality installation from them.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Northern Virginia, Fairfax County
    Posts
    641
    Originally posted by imnosupermom

    I've never bought a central heating/cooling system before. There are several brands to choose from and thousands of dealers. I was just doing my homework so that I could make the best decision for me and my family.
    SNIP
    I don't have the option to test drive AC units, so I had to educate myself the best I could.
    You are doing fine. And this is a learning process. It's just that buying HVAC is not quite like buying a car because HVAC involves local labor and skill as a major component of the whole deal. Please review my first post on page one of this thread. When I wrote, I had the feeling you were encouraging a bidding war. When I buy a car, do my research and rove around dealers like you do, but when I start talking price, I say I want their best price NOW, and when I walk away I let them know I consider this to be their best price. I do not share pricing info with other dealers. I do not always buy the lowest bid either.

    Have you called Home Depot for a Trane offer? Many of the pros here hate the idea of Home Deport and Sears being in the HVAC market. But for you, this would be a sanity check on what the other contractors are telling you. And by the way, at the Trane web site, you can find a list of local Trane dealers.
    http://trane.com/Residential/DealerInfo/DealerInfo.aspx
    Hopefully there will be a few who have a red icon by their names designating "Trane Comfort Specialist."

    Good Luck,
    Al

  5. #31
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Northern Virginia, Fairfax County
    Posts
    641
    Originally posted by imnosupermom
    I wasn't being a cheapskate, just trying to get the best deal for my money. If I could actually get 7 more companies out here to find a competetively priced one that got pemits and really feel like they would do it by the book I would. But like I said its not easy even getting them to return calls.
    I would hope one call to Home Depot will suffice. You already have a lot of info.

    Originally posted by imnosupermom

    BTW, my dad bought a new heat pump about a year ago. He narrowed it down to the brand he wanted first, then had 6 bids, went with the first one (who was not the cheapest).
    I assume your dad is not close by, or you would have gone to his contractor. But he should be able to sort through all the details with you and give his advice. Not that you have to take it or course.

    Also, think back as to whether you have shared a lot of information from one contractor to another. Some sales people will ask if you have had other contractors visiting and will pump you for info. I'd rather just say yes and little else. Let the guy visiting you at the time stand on his own two feet. Of course you should use your knowledge to help him focus on the features you want and to stay close to your budget, but you need not let him know who said what. Otherwise, some contractors will just bad mouth the competition, sometimes with lies or through ignorance.

    By the way, back to your first post about the 2 1/2 ton Payne and the 3 ton bids. Manual J can solve that discrepancy. But if your house is similar to others in the neighborhood, it might help to learn what your neighbors have done to replace their original systems, especially if you can find one or two where the orientation to the sun is the same. It is very unusual to find an original system that is undersized. Usually it is oversized.

    Good luck,
    Al

  6. #32
    Home Depot was one of the companies that never called me back. However when one of the guys I had called on my own came he was a Bryant and Trane rep and I asked if he did work for HD cause the name was familiar and he said yes... I think it was the same company that was suppose to call me for HD and never did. The Trane estimate he gave me was huge... 5 numbers before the decimal point, lol.

    I also started thinking this morning about what a nightmare it was buying carpet from HD and working with subcontractors getting it installed, I wonder if AC would be similiar.

    I honestly wasn't trying to fuel the bid war. Mainly what I did was say our top budget ix X and I'm considering these brands. I have a feeling I did provide more info to the competing dealers than I should have.

    My dad is over 1000 miles away. None of the neighbors I know have replaced their system yet.

    It is all a learning curve, right...

  7. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    340
    Originally posted by alinnova
    By the way, back to your first post about the 2 1/2 ton Payne and the 3 ton bids. Manual J can solve that discrepancy. But if your house is similar to others in the neighborhood, it might help to learn what your neighbors have done to replace their original systems, especially if you can find one or two where the orientation to the sun is the same. It is very unusual to find an original system that is undersized. Usually it is oversized.
    This is extremely good advice. Don't upsize your system just because you want 'more cooling'. As you've already said, the existing system is broken because of the clogged coil. Also note that you can't size a system by rules of thumb such as so-many-square-feet per ton.

    Make acceptance of any proposal contingent on a Manual J heat gain calculation, with a credit for each half ton if it turns out you only need 2.0 or 2.5T


  8. #34
    I'm guessing the manual J calculation isn't just something I can do. I have a feeling I'm driving the guys as crazy as I'm driving some of you. I did question yesterday if 3 ton was too big and I should stick to 2.5 and he said it was fine, but didn't do the manual J.

  9. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    Top right corner of the page there's a bulls-eye. You can indeed do a load calc yourself.

    Keep giving them hell mom!

  10. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Originally posted by imnosupermom
    I'm guessing the manual J calculation isn't just something I can do. I have a feeling I'm driving the guys as crazy as I'm driving some of you. I did question yesterday if 3 ton was too big and I should stick to 2.5 and he said it was fine, but didn't do the manual J.
    What he siad should get him off your short list of contractors.

    Larger system= Larger Ducts.

    You need to majke a list of theadvice items on this thread and stick to them,to get a good job on your home.

  11. #37
    I already had the ducts checked to make sure they could handle the 3 ton system and that was one thing all contractors agreed upon.

  12. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    340
    Originally posted by imnosupermom
    I did question yesterday if 3 ton was too big and I should stick to 2.5 and he said it was fine, but didn't do the manual J.
    http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/bldg/pubs/ACsize/

  13. #39
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Originally posted by imnosupermom
    I already had the ducts checked to make sure they could handle the 3 ton system and that was one thing all contractors agreed upon.

    How did the test them or did they just "take a look"?

    Not trying to be a pain,but didn't they agree no Man J is needed to determine the correct size.

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