Buyers beware- There are a million phrases that fit the bill: you get what you pay for / if it seems to good to be true.
Bargains do not exist in home comfort system design - If you are
not a HVAC expert, make sure you hire one to work in your home. You
only get one chance to do it the right way (unless you have the money
to rip it out and start over again) and the best time is from the
beginning. I have enough tough luck stories to write a small novel and
it pains me to see what was considered a quality system by many other
HVAC installers. I personally feel that the regulations and licensing
requirements must be stiffened in the commonwealth, but these politics
just do not seem to exist. ANYONE can install a home conditioning
system - just up to the point of the gas / oil / or refrigeration
system. The loop hole many under trained installers use is a "friend"
or "associate" that pulls the permit for them. As long as someone's
license is on the ticket, that is all that matters for the town
Another major downfall of many states HVAC inspection
programs is that there are none. Permits and licenses are not required
for most installations ( how well trained or experienced are your
contractors??). Most of the horror scenes I view are ducted air
systems gone horribly bad (I can see a TV mini series on this in the
future). There are a few major engineering principals that need to be
followed, starting with a duct sizing slide ruler (a device many
installers have never seen). Many crews use the old rule of thumb
formulas and the "that's just the way we have always done it" excuse.
The sad part is that it is typically just a lack of knowledge and
training (going back to the lack of proper licensing for the trades).
Another warning sign is when a contractor brings a supplier or factory
rep on the estimate. Why would he/she possibly need help figuring out
how to condition your home? After all, that is our job as HVAC
contractors. If I need help designing your system, you would not want
me doing the installation as I obviously don't know what I am doing.
I guess my point here is to research your contractor beyond the
estimate price. Quality costs more from the start and I guess the low
bid will eventually do the same (when the inevitable repairs and
replacements start). Rehabbing a newly installed system will cost more
in the long run than just choosing the right guy to start with.
|A quick story: many of the pictures you see on the left of this page
are from systems I recently replaced due to poor performance, low
efficiencies...ALL of which stem from poor duct design and
installation. The contractor that did most of this work replaced a
system for a gentleman I know here in town. His house burned down and
this HVAC guy was brought in by the new builder. Shortly after the home
was rebuilt- the homeowner started having issues- frozen ac coils,
water leaking from the furnace, poor air distribution,a very
uncomfortable 2nd floor (even though the home was zone by floor), NO ac
...Yikes- a lot of issues for a pretty simple system. He would pick
my brain when I would run into him as to what the cause could be. I
asked him who did the system and there was the answer to my question! I
visited his home last week and performed a general analysis of the
installation. basically, the heating /AC contractor undersized the duct
system by over 40%. he had realized some of his mistakes last summer
when he decided to cut a gaping hole in the basement return duct to let a
little more air through the system. Now the basement door closes by
itself due to the air rushing though it and the carpet at the base of
the door acts as the filter! The contractor claims he did everything
according to code (there is no code) and the inspectors passed all of
his work (there are no inspectors)- telling the owner that nothing needs
replacement and I am out of line for my comments and criticism.
Just remember: "the sweetness of low price is soon overshadowed by the bitterness of poor quality"
|Orchard Valley Heating and Cooling has
been presented with two national design/installation awards this past
year! A third place award in the 1st annual "Green Mechanical Awards"
and most recently, a Contracting Business magazine "Quality Home Comfort Award"
for an amazing Post and beam residence in Worthington Mass. This is
the 8th first place award in the past 10 years. If you are in the
market for quality- you are at the right place!!