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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    21

    How Do You Ensure Quality of Installation?

    I am looking into replacing a 1992 Bryant 90 plus i furnace. It has required frequent servicing, and the last 2 winters it was run in "emergency" heat mode just to keep it running (I live in the Midwest).

    From some of the other posts I've read, it's not just the brand of furnace that is critical to reliable performance, but the quality of the installation that can impact the reliability and long term success of an installation.

    Are there any rules of thumb I can follow when selecting a contractor that will lead to the best chance of getting a proper installation? Is it just a matter of checking consumer feedback sites such as Angie's List to see who is satisfied with the work they've had done?

    Also is there a "season" when prices are reduced on residential heating and air conditioning systems. When is the best time to buy?

    Any ideas on this would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,837
    Attached are 4 documents that can assist you in finding a good quality company that can answer your questions and do all that's necessary to assure you of a quality installation. The first thing you can do, other than selecting the best company, is to understand that quality costs. Do not expect to get a high quality company on a beer budget anymore that one would expect to get Lexus quality at Yugo prices. You have to purchase the quality.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    If you're lucky enough to find more than one really good installer in your area, but all means get competitive bids. But honestly, the quality of installation is far more improtant than price.

    Companies that do good quality installation including heat load calculation are very vey rarely the companies that are going ot overcharge you. They are likely to be more expensive because they take longer and don't cut corners not because they have larger profit margins.

    Honestly, for most all of the contract work on my home, I have contractors I trust and I do most work time and materials. I tell them what I want done, I get a general estimate of how long it should take and I know their hourly rates. They call me if they run into issues, and they don't bill me for their mistakes. But otherwise they just send me a bill.

    The work gets done right, the first time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,977

    Arrow The only way is the right way

    kc27; motoguy128, it is critical for everything to be performed correctly, in the correct sequence.

    Do some searches to learn what ALL needs to be done; research until U know how to qualify a contractor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    garland, texas
    Posts
    670
    I'd say even if you do your homework its still a crapshoot. How does the average homeowner know a good install? How many people in this business know a good install? Every home owner that buys a Trane system automatically thinks their getting a good install.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,977

    Lightbulb

    nvr2old; motoguy128; skippedover; kc27; in the not too distant future; "to help ensure an optimal quality Install;" I would hope the ACCA would set an install standard for every contractor to adhere to.

    I also believe "to help ensure an optimal quality Install;" all installs ought to begin with a "Home Energy Efficiency Audit."

    If we don't start there; we miss the most important key cornerstone toward optimal energy savings for both Heating & Air Conditioning for our customer/user's benefit.

    Hopefully; in the future most HVAC Contractors will being doing the Home Energy Efficiency Audits & a lot of the retrofit work.

    Last edited by udarrell; 07-25-2011 at 05:27 PM. Reason: More Contractor Work & Efficency for an Investment...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Kingsport, Tennessee
    Posts
    131
    as they said.....

    As to the season, prices are always subject to change and usually can go up at the end or beginning of the year.

    For me, I would love to do an install when its not too hot or not too cold. (middle bear ) If your installer is comfortable, they are less likely to cut any corners. Just a thought.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    195

    Try A DEALER Locator

    [QUOTE=kc27;10849012]I am looking into replacing a 1992 Bryant 90 plus i furnace. It has required frequent servicing, and the last 2 winters it was run in "emergency" heat mode just to keep it running (I live in the Midwest).

    From some of the other posts I've read, it's not just the brand of furnace that is critical to reliable performance, but the quality of the installation that can impact the reliability and long term success of an installation.

    Are there any rules of thumb I can follow when selecting a contractor that will lead to the best chance of getting a proper installation? Is it just a matter of checking consumer feedback sites such as Angie's List to see who is satisfied with the work they've had done?

    Also is there a "season" when prices are reduced on residential heating and air conditioning systems. When is the best time to buy?

    Hey

    1.The Top Brands all have dealer locators. Most list their best guys 1st for your zip code. Many times you will also see all their badges, awards, and various recognitions.

    2. Ask your friends and neighbors for a referral. Are they happy with their guy? How is his service? How long in Business? Call some recent customers?

    3. If the guy only offers you only single stage equipment options, be careful. He probably lacks the education, training, and confidence required for real comfort solutions.

    4.Put more trust the guy who is considering your ductwork and your home's integrated dynamics, rather than just trying to focus on a piece of equipment.And be wary of the load calc dog and pony show.

    Good companies are very proud of their work and reputation, this will show through as you interview them.Do they look in your eyes or at their shoes.

    Good Luck,

    AC Bad Dog

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,837
    Quote Originally Posted by udarrell View Post
    nvr2old; motoguy128; skippedover; kc27; in the not too distant future; "to help ensure an optimal quality Install;" I would hope the ACCA would set an install standard for every contractor to adhere to.

    I also believe "to help ensure an optimal quality Install;" all installs ought to begin with a "Home Energy Efficiency Audit."

    If we don't start there; we miss the most important key cornerstone toward optimal energy savings for both Heating & Air Conditioning for our customer/user's benefit.

    Hopefully; in the future most HVAC Contractors will being doing the Home Energy Efficiency Audits & a lot of the retrofit work.

    udarrell, I couldn't agree more but that's not the reality of the day. It is unfortunate that a majority of homeowners suffer from two main issues:

    1. They may shop for a replacement AC or heating system one time in their life. Unlike automobiles shopping, HVAC shopping is entirely foreign to them, thus the scammers and hacks always have plenty of unsuspecting vicitims.
    2. The general public is the cheering section for the race to the bottom. Their constant demand for multiple prices serves them no good. If the first company they invite in for a quote happens to be that 'perfect' company, they have already made up their minds to NOT have the job done by them, at least not to commit at that time. The next 2 or 4 companies they invite in may not be able to hold a candle to the first but the sirens song of several thousands of dollars less capital outlay is simply too hard to resist. They rationalize away the corners that will be cut, label the first company charlatans and have an inferior job performed, even if it costs them more in the long run.

    In an ideal world, the 'perfect' company would have endless work on their plate. Reality is different. If they can't stay productive 5-days a week, then either their price algorithm increases higher still or the just go away, only to be replaced by another corner cutter. After all, that's what the public demands.

    So it is, it will take a quantum shift in the way people shop for HVAC systems before any meaningful change will take place in the open market. When mainstream America begins to understand that they only get for what they pay, then we'll see the possibilities of good work and honest energy improvements. Until then, we can keep stroking, tending to the few who know the real meaning of value and wait for the masses to come to their senses, if they ever do!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    1,070
    I must say that I think it IS up to manufacturers and professional organizations to police the trade. Unfortunately, manufacturers currently don't do that and neither do organizations such as ACCA. Until this changes, shoddy installations will reflect on ALL HVAC installers. Even word of mouth only filters out the Wall of Shame bottom feeders - as long as the system "works", the vast majority of homerowners think that's fine and, therefore, a reference/recommendations remains a crapshoot.

    If a person is lucky enough to frequent this forum and live close to one of the Pros who post regulalrly, they may have a chance of getting a proper installation.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    21
    Thanks everyone for the advice and information. I'm glad I asked, because I was under the assumption that a furnace was a "plug-and-play" type of replacement: you assess how big the existing furnace is and install a similarly sized replacement.

    I do appreciate the guidance in determining the characteristics of a competent contractor. Based on the advice that has been shared, a good opening question will be the question from one of skippedover's attachments: "How would your company determine the size of the (heating or cooling) equipment for my house?"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    Quote Originally Posted by AC Bad Dog View Post
    Hey

    1.The Top Brands all have dealer locators. Most list their best guys 1st for your zip code. Many times you will also see all their badges, awards, and various recognitions.
    I know that hte worst installer in my area... that I unfortuantely used before I knew better, isn't even listed on Trane's or Carrier's website when you search a dealer. However, neither is what I consider the best installer in the area. They are a small shop that's associated with primarily a mechanical and sheetmetal shop and are not an offical carrier for any particualr brand. Actually, they tend to sell York because of their warranty. But regularly service the trane and Carrier units that are in the factory I work at.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,977
    Quote Originally Posted by motoguy128 View Post
    I know that hte worst installer in my area... that I unfortunately used before I knew better, isn't even listed on Trane's or Carrier's website when you search a dealer. However, neither is what I consider the best installer in the area. They are a small shop that's associated with primarily a mechanical and sheet-metal shop and are not an official carrier for any particular brand.

    Actually, they tend to sell York because of their warranty. But regularly service the Trane and Carrier units that are in the factory I work at.

    I thought Goodman & Amana had about the best warranties of any Brands with their condenser replacement, etc.

    Does York use Copeland Scroll compressors?
    They don't say anything about the compressor.

    Do they use TXV's on all SEER models?

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