Professional Installers are A GREAT VALUE.
Professional HVAC installation crews are a tremendous value not only to an HVAC business owner, but to a homeowner as well. Of course this value extends over into the commercial end of the HVAC, construction, and maintenance arena as well; but primarily I am going to talk about residential issues. I know that it's a tough economy out there right now, and I know that environmental laws and issues have really screwed over the American homeowners in many different ways. The temptation surely exists for many to hire non-professional, or even former professional construction or electrical workers who say,
Sure, I can put in that furnace and condenser for you!
It could be that such a person or crew is someone that you know, maybe friends, or family even. I completely understand the desire to help out someone who is out of work with a job that they think that they can handle. I only want to explain to you how that this could very well backfire completely for you, and cost you, the homeowner or business owner, far more money than you ever meant to spend, or ever should have had to spend.
You will NOT save money, you will LOSE money
It's very possible that you've had the work that you need done for your house or business submitted for a quote from a Hvac contractor, and you didn't like his quote. Perhaps you thought that the contractor's quote was far too high, and truly, it might have been too high. If this is the situation, then what you should do is simply get another quote from another contractor, an hvac contractor, NOT an out of work plumber or electrician. I've talked about all of this before, but there have been tremendous changes in the way HVAC equipment is being manufactured, and only one of those changes is even a little bit beneficial to the homeowner, and that is the advent of refrigerant R410a, which is an environmentally friendly refrigerant that has the additional bonus of having greater enthalpy, or, in other words, a greater ability to add or remove heat to a conditioned environment. The thing is, with all the changes in equipment, and the way that the new equipment works, your beer drinking buddy, or out of work brother n law is FAR LESS LIKELY to be able to install this equipment correctly unless he is a certified and trained HVAC professional who has been in the hvac business and spent a LOT OF TIME in the field doing HVAC jobs in the past few years.
Anyone other than a trained, licensed, and insured HVAC professional is only going to cost you more, maybe MUCH MORE money; and you'll be lucky if they do not, in fact, ruin the equipment being installed.
An HVAC Service Technician.
How To Choose Your HVAC company.
Listen, I've been in the HVAC business since 1995. I've worked for a lot of shady HVAC people. I KNOW what goes on more than you do, and I KNOW things about that business that you will never know unless you somehow catch up to me in experience. The very best advice that I could possibly ever give you in regards to choosing an hvac contractor, service technician, or installer is to go with WORD OF MOUTH.
Here's a secret: The best in the HVAC business do not have to advertise, their customers advertise for them. The best in the HVAC business are people who TURN DOWN work from people who call them without telling them who referred them. The best thing that you could ever do as far as finding these pro businessmen and technicians and installers is to ask your friends who own homes several questions
1. Who installed and services your heating and air conditioning equipment?
2. Were they friendly and courteous?
3. Do you feel that they were honest?
4. Do you feel like they did a good job?
5. Did you shop around for quotes, and did you feel that you got a good deal?
Horror Story One
If you do a little bit of research by asking your local friends, family members, or neighbors about who all they've used in the HVAC business, then you should be able to avoid the following horror stories so long as the individuals or companies used are still in business, and have experience with the new equipment being sold today. The first story that I'm going to use as an example of bad installers is an older story, but it's still relevant to the modern equipment.
At one point in 2002 I worked for a fairly large and growing HVAC company in Segoville, Texas; which is just East of Dallas. This company was owned by someone who had the same surname as my Mother's maiden name; and was, in fact, a distant relative. The distant relative owner did NOT know that I was related to him at any time during my brief employment there.
To cut to the chase, these people were gangsters, dopers, and crooks. They were anything and everything BUT true professionals, and they weren't in business even a year after I quite for greener pastures. The man who ran the installation crew looked like a Hells Angel. I know some Hell's Angels, and in no way am I being derogatory to that organization. I thought the head installer was a very nice guy, and we got along great. The problem was that the contractor and owner of the business was selling and installing heat pumps exclusively, and the head installer installed every single one of them incorrectly.
Well, Todd, how is it that they worked if they were installed incorrectly?
I'm so very glad that you asked that question! Listen, what the install crews were doing with the heat pumps at this company was this: They tied all the heat in together, so that when the heat pumps were turned to heat, not only did the heat pump run, but the emergency heat, which in this case was always electric heat, also ran. The problem was that the people who paid for heat pumps got NONE of the benefit of owning a heat pump. They had great heat in the Winters, but they paid for all of it on their electric bills. Heat pumps are designed to save you money on heating; but they can only do that when they are installed correctly.
Horror Story TWO
Recently I wrote an article about some wonderful new equipment that is not only VERY energy efficient, but also VERY reliable. Those systems are the Ambiance Eco Green Inverter series of mini split systems; and they are also heat pumps. Now, as a service technician I wasn't present at the installation of the systems of that brand that I've seen, and I'd never have seen those systems at all were it not for the very unprofessional installers that installed them so poorly that I had to be deployed to repair the problems that the non pro people created.
Truly, I'm grateful to the world for jack leg, redneck, non professional installers. I get paid to repair their mistakes. They help me out inadvertently, and I love them for it. Facts are this, you, the home or business owner should avoid those people at all costs, and perhaps you won't have to meet ME so often.
It would be hard for me to stress enough just how important it is to have someone who truly knows what they are doing should you be installing something as complicated and wonderful as a set of Ambiance Eco Green Series mini split systems in your home or business. These are truly complicated machines, and only a master service technician should ever be called to work on them. Now, I'm not master service technician; but I AM a VERY GOOD service technician; and my employer, in fact, is the best, brightest, and on top of that, most honest HVAC contractor that I've ever known. When you see ME, then you've got a true whiz behind me; and if I can't figure something out, then the answer is only a phone call away.
I'll try to be brief here and explain this well, but the Ambiance Eco Green Inverter mini split heat pumps are high quality, and high efficiency, high tech HVAC systems, and when someone tries to install them who isn't even qualified to install a standard system, then big trouble ensues. What happened was that these red neck, non pros fitted the flare fittings of the copper lines together not knowing how to check for leaks, and on one system all of the refrigerant leaked out; and the homeowner was lucky indeed that none of the components were damaged before I got there and repaired the leak. ON another of these systems there was a sort of mystery going on, as the system, when running, showed to have no pressure on the low pressure side. In fact, my gauges showed a vacuum, or a negative pressure environment within the system. . . .and that damn sure shouldn't have been the case. To make a long story shorter, what happened was that in this brand new home, I had to cut holes all in the walls to find the pipes and repair the leaks. In the system showing a vacuum? There was a complete obstruction of refrigerant flow, as a rubber sealing piece, designed to prevent any dirt or anything from getting into the copper lines before installation simply hadn't been removed - they'd just threaded the pipes together without taking out the rubber stopper! The homeowner not only had to pay for repairs to brand new equipment that wouldn't have otherwise needed anything for years - they also had to pay for repairs to their walls. Nobody knew where the pipes would be joined together inside the walls, and if it had been done right, the pipes would have been in the attic to begin with.
Professional hvac installetion crews are more valuable to you than you can ever know. If you think that you will save money by hiring someone who thinks that they know how to do the work, then you are completely responsible for their failures, as you should have known better than to hire a non professional in the first place. I have only scratched the surface here, the list of possible mistakes that could occur with a non pro HVAC installation crew are too numerous and vast in scope for one article to ever contain.
Use word of mouth to find quality professionals, and you can only win. Hire a non professional, and you will be lucky indeed if you do not loose big.