Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > HVAC

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-25-2012, 02:33 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 39
Share |
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Hi

I am looking for advice on how to compare installers once i decide upon equipment as I will be contacting vendors for quotes but outside of making sure the installer is a licensed gas fitter and pulls all proper permits, how do I compare the installers besides asking for references?

What kind of qualifications should I ask about or installations and materials should I query?

Some say they will do the sheet metal work onsite while others sub it out so it will be a multi day job. What is better?

They will have to put new PVC piping which is easy given my open unfinished basement but what about materials? Is there some things or brand materials I should insist upon ie brackets/caulking to prevent water ingress?

Liberator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 06:18 AM   #2
Remodeling Contractor
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Sandy Hook, CT
Posts: 3,590
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


I would look for and only use contractors that are certified as well as licensed, which most would be. But the certified contractors are up on latest practices and modern building science. Look for NATE and RESNET or BPI certified contractors. The first is an industry backed and the other are energy efficiency experts. Almost all HVAC contractors over size the units are you pay more than needed for an over sized over priced unit. Look for a right-sized unit by getting a BPI certified contractor.

Bob Mariani is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 07:47 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 295
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Learn, Learn, Learn.

Here are some starting points for you to research. You dont have to be an expert. Just a general knowledge of what each is!!!

Manual J
manual D
external static pressure
CFM and FPM air flow from supply and in the return.
air flow throw at supply registers.
what is comfort in an hvac system (ie temp, humidity etc)
Filter options, the pros and cons.
Thermostat hardware for your lifestyle. (there are millions of types)
superheat and subcool
The entire building/hvac as an all in one system.
electrical
ductwork sealing

and many more that you will find after you begin to look!!!!

hope this helps.
bobinphx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 08:30 AM   #4
HVAC Tech/Owner
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: VA
Posts: 431
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Quote:
Originally Posted by bobinphx View Post
Learn, Learn, Learn.

Here are some starting points for you to research. You dont have to be an expert. Just a general knowledge of what each is!!!

Manual J
manual D
external static pressure
CFM and FPM air flow from supply and in the return.
air flow throw at supply registers.
what is comfort in an hvac system (ie temp, humidity etc)
Filter options, the pros and cons.
Thermostat hardware for your lifestyle. (there are millions of types)
superheat and subcool
The entire building/hvac as an all in one system.
electrical
ductwork sealing

and many more that you will find after you begin to look!!!!

hope this helps.

The capabilities of companies vary widely and these issues should be addressed by any company that comes out. Getting free estimates you are exposed to all levels. and by levels I have found:

The Salesman level: His company has sent him to all the Sales training classes- he has no idea what crew will be sent to your house, his primary job is to "SELL IT, THEY WILL FIGURE OUT HOW TO PUT IT IN LATER" (that was told to me by the owner of the biggest hvac company in my area) That particular company relied on all THE CERTIFICATIONS, TIME IN BUSINESS, Will donate to the SPCA on every job, Etc. Characterized by: "Yeah, we will take care of that"....but he has no idea because: His job is to sell it and everyone else will figure out how to put it in!

The owner level (I am biased as this is my level): I come out and address all the questions outlined above. I do all the calculations and address ALL the comfort issues in your home. I am there when my employees come to your job and outline what WE want done and have a detailed contract to accomplish. All inspections and parameters for the commissioning of the equipment is addressed. And yes, I am the rare company that you will find and only by referral.

My price reflects the quality and attention to detail that I offer. When I come to your house I am also qualifying you as someone who is looking for quality or lookin for the cheapest price. Cheapest price and "APPLIANCES" works well together. Cheapest price and an HVAC system integrated in your home doesn't.



2.
Technow is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Technow For This Useful Post:
yuri (01-25-2012)
Old 01-25-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
retired elect/hvac/plumb
 
plummen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: south east of omaha/The island of misfit contractors
Posts: 2,882
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Mariani View Post
I would look for and only use contractors that are certified as well as licensed, which most would be. But the certified contractors are up on latest practices and modern building science. Look for NATE and RESNET or BPI certified contractors. The first is an industry backed and the other are energy efficiency experts. Almost all HVAC contractors over size the units are you pay more than needed for an over sized over priced unit. Look for a right-sized unit by getting a BPI certified contractor.
I dont know about most contractors oversizing equipment,its not that hard to figure out what a house requires.
Oversizing an air conditioner is a major no no as far as being able to keep the house comfortable
plummen is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 09:19 AM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 278
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Not disputing any of the points made, but in many cases, the person doing the installation is the last person you'll see, not the first.

I asked one 'salesman' during his presentation, how attention to issues we had discussed, would be translated (conveyed) to the installation team.

Did not get a satisfactory answer, as I recall.

V
veesubotee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 09:48 AM   #7
MarginallyQualified
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Winston-Salem NC
Posts: 3,647
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Quote:
Originally Posted by Technow View Post
The owner level (I am biased as this is my level): I come out and address all the questions outlined above. I do all the calculations and address ALL the comfort issues in your home.
Do you follow that up in writing?
Not the quote for the package... I mean do you provide the clueless once every 20 years customer with some clarity on the objective data you're using (Man J & D etc) let alone the overwhelming amount of subjective aspects and alternatives that were mostly just glossed over when you went through their home on that sales call?

How about if the customer specifically asks for such?

Quote:
My price reflects the quality and attention to detail that I offer.
When I come to your house I am also qualifying you as someone who is looking for quality or looking for the cheapest price.
oh.
TarheelTerp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 10:13 AM   #8
Remodeling Contractor
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Sandy Hook, CT
Posts: 3,590
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Quote:
Originally Posted by plummen View Post
I dont know about most contractors oversizing equipment,its not that hard to figure out what a house requires.
Oversizing an air conditioner is a major no no as far as being able to keep the house comfortable
My statement comes from being a building science and energy efficiency expert. Many of the programs and contractors are not yet up on right-sizing a system. Almost all will install new systems without recommending more insulation and air sealing work done. Typical duct leakage is around 25%-35%. Here in CT they still want to place AC air handlers and duct work in unconditioned space. Sorry this is just plain wrong.
Bob Mariani is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 10:31 AM   #9
HVAC Tech/Owner
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: VA
Posts: 431
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
Do you follow that up in writing?
Not the quote for the package... I mean do you provide the clueless once every 20 years customer with some clarity on the objective data you're using (Man J & D etc) let alone the overwhelming amount of subjective aspects and alternatives that were mostly just glossed over when you went through their home on that sales call?

How about if the customer specifically asks for such?

oh.

Yep, everything is in writing....when I say my price includes adding a return, It's in the contract...when I say there will be primary and secondary drain switches...its in the contract. manual j results-in the contract (after signing though)
Technow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 11:22 AM   #10
MarginallyQualified
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Winston-Salem NC
Posts: 3,647
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Quote:
Originally Posted by Technow View Post
Yep, everything is in writing....
(after signing though)
I'm not asking about your contract or even your quote specs;
but rather the soft language that references what was gone over verbally
when you came out to measure and check the job.

I'm talking about nailing down the information and talking points you spoke about verbally when you visited the house and have become a poorly remembered swirling vortex of nearly useless information in the head of the completely clueless homeowner and other once every 20 year buyers.
---

I'm not an HVAC guy but I do have an extensive construction, mechanical, electrical and controls background. I haven't needed to buy more than a basic rental unit furnace or AC in over 20 years and now find myself in a new town without my former contacts and sources to go to...

I'm frankly a bit overwhelmed by the new options and rather pissed off at the "don't look for man behind the curtain" bullcrap that EVERY estimator or owner has been spewing in person (4 so far) and that the makers reinforce in their vague, poorly presented literature.

I agree that the install quality (what the guy with the dirty hands does) is most of the job and I'd be happy to turn over the whole thing, including the sheet metal work I need to someone else and pay a fair price for that too... but I keep finding myself turned off and turned away from dealing with any HVAC contractor for one reason or another.

The industry standard seems to be "trust me" (until money changes hands) then it's about "it won't hurt that much". It's worse than car dealers and is leading me to find ANYWHERE else to source the job out.

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-25-2012 at 11:26 AM.
TarheelTerp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 11:52 AM   #11
Member
 
creeper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: As always..beside myself.
Posts: 4,226
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


I had a gas furnace installed this past fall. I interviewed 3 companies at my house as well as spoke to a few more on the phone. What I learned is that some contractors deal morre specifically with certain brands and if you choose that contractor then thats the brand you will get. More importantly is the quality of the install and not the fancy name furnace. Questions I had were;
warranty duration, wait time for repairs and how government rebates were handled.

It ended in a tie between Carrier and Bryant. (actually the same product) After telling them both they were in competion with each other, the Bryant guy gave me a superiour model for a cheaper price and a 10 year parts and labour warranty
creeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 11:57 AM   #12
Hvac Pro
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Posts: 8,895
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Tarheel to ease your frustrations this is the way the HVAC business really works.

About 10% of the techs out there ( at least in my 33 yrs of being in biz and see what is going on ) REALLY know what is going on or what they are doing or even care. VERY few take the extra training seminars or treat their job as a Profession. Cest la Vie, that is the way it is. Therefore you can hire the biggest, largest well advertised company and get bad results if the techs are demoralized or the company culture is bad or you can get great results as they tend to pay the highest wages which usually attracts the best talent as I go were the $$ are. You can also get terrible results from the independant small guys who are basically Joe's heat em and cheat em or you can get great results if they are in biz a long time and have an established clientele (usually by word of mouth and referrals) and are honest. There is no guaranteed way to know what you are getting but talking to your co-workers, immediate neighbors, church friends etc etc usually narrows down the field as people you know won't lie. Salespeople understand about 10-25% of what I know and honestly cannot answer technical questions as they are trained to sell. Independant guy if he knows his stuff can do a better job at that. If you really want to know what car to buy you talk to a mechanic. Then a salesman for the features and trim etc. For a furnace you talk to someone like myself or the other Pros here (privately as feelings get hurt when brands are mentioned, click on the persons name and send private message and hope they like you) and if they want to help you will ask some basic questions about what you are looking for. Ie: comfort, price only and can narrow it down for you.

Every brand has a mod but does it slightly differently. Some are 3 stage, some mod in increments etc etc. MOST people won't know the difference anyway as the cycles are long and an ecm continuos fan evens out the heat anyway. That is why there are NO direct comparison sheets and CANNOT be. The more expensive ones have more dip switches for more and finer adjustment of airflows and that is where the cost increases come in. once again you cannot put all that in a spec sheet as only the techs know it. talk to the mechanic and he knows.
__________________
"Cut it twice and it is still too short".

Last edited by yuri; 01-25-2012 at 12:05 PM.
yuri is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to yuri For This Useful Post:
plummen (01-25-2012)
Old 01-25-2012, 12:08 PM   #13
HVAC Tech/Owner
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: VA
Posts: 431
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
I'm not asking about your contract or even your quote specs;
but rather the soft language that references what was gone over verbally
when you came out to measure and check the job.

I'm talking about nailing down the information and talking points you spoke about verbally when you visited the house and have become a poorly remembered swirling vortex of nearly useless information in the head of the completely clueless homeowner and other once every 20 year buyers.
---

I'm not an HVAC guy but I do have an extensive construction, mechanical, electrical and controls background. I haven't needed to buy more than a basic rental unit furnace or AC in over 20 years and now find myself in a new town without my former contacts and sources to go to...

I'm frankly a bit overwhelmed by the new options and rather pissed off at the "don't look for man behind the curtain" bullcrap that EVERY estimator or owner has been spewing in person (4 so far) and that the makers reinforce in their vague, poorly presented literature.

I agree that the install quality (what the guy with the dirty hands does) is most of the job and I'd be happy to turn over the whole thing, including the sheet metal work I need to someone else and pay a fair price for that too... but I keep finding myself turned off and turned away from dealing with any HVAC contractor for one reason or another.

The industry standard seems to be "trust me" (until money changes hands) then it's about "it won't hurt that much". It's worse than car dealers and is leading me to find ANYWHERE else to source the job out.

The hard part is trying to explain some things to people that have no idea! (even some contractors ) Like the ECM motor will solve all their duct problems (likely not)

I picked up a new customer yesterday, Carrier Infinity Zoned system throwing error messages for the last 3 years the homeowner did not know about. the reason is bad equipment selection (too big) and duct remediation (too small) was necessary----and it was necessary 3 years ago.

The frustrating part of this trade-I estimate your house and see what YOU NEED-I prove it mathematically, thru equipment specs vs. load and that your duct is sized correctly.. The craigslist guy tells you he has been doing this for 20 years and here is my significantly lower price and you dont need all those things...WHO DO YOU THINK GETS the JOB?


Like I said before the capabilities of companies vary widely. You probably haven't found the right one yet. After living in greensboro, nc from 1995 - 1999....good luck
Technow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 01:39 PM   #14
MarginallyQualified
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Winston-Salem NC
Posts: 3,647
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Quote:
Originally Posted by Technow View Post
...the capabilities of companies (and individual people within them) vary widely.
There is a market for qualified people to do the 'engineering'...
on a fee for service basis to provide a report with the 6 or 8 objective facts uniformly laid out with prescriptions to remedy the known deficiencies (like attic insulation) that would or should affect the Manual J and Manual D numbers...

The existing "trust me... it won't hurt too much" approach is no good.
Lay it out and if your people, your product and your service is of real value...
that should prevail more than not.
Just don't try to sell Mercedes in a Chevrolet neighborhood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Specifier
Mr Smith,

Your 1200SF single story brick veneer ranch home over an unfinished basement with six inch rock wool at the attic (R18)...
If you make improvements to the insulation...

In your area this size structure will require approximately X Btu of heat and Y Btu of cooling capacity...
This number can be moderated to some degree by...

Your 50 year old duct work is in great shape but aside from the inefficiencies of being uninsulated in an unheated basement...

Your 23x8 (184si) main supply trunk (reduced to 17x8) serving a total of nine 6" round (254si) branch ducts is marginally bigger than needed with current equipment...

Your 14x8 (112si) return trunk serving a total of five 8" round (251si) branches is smaller than industry recommendations relative to the supply air trunk air volume...

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-25-2012 at 01:42 PM.
TarheelTerp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 02:20 PM   #15
HVAC Tech/Owner
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: VA
Posts: 431
Default

Comparing and selecting a furnace installer


Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
Just don't try to sell Mercedes in a Chevrolet neighborhood.

Then you don't understand the HVAC industry. When I sell a system that WORKS, I may or may not be selling a mercedes. Yes, I have mercedes models available, and I have chevy models available because everyone may not be able to afford or want the "cadillac" of equipment.

Do I install the "chevy" model on ductwork that KILLED the last system???

Technow is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.