Pricing differences from company to company
So, you're in the market for a new or replacement heating or air conditioning system. You've gathered all of your information from the internet regarding the proposed equipment, including different makes and models . You researched the contractors on available sites such as the BBB, Angie's List and local Consumer Affiars. It's been weeks since you started your quest for an HVAC contractor and by now you most likely have had your fill of waiting and interviewing. Finally, with all of your information in hand (Your ready to make a decision on who to hire.) All of the systems seem pretty similar in comparison, but when looking through all of the proposals, there is a pricing difference. Why ??? Perhaps there is something that you missed? Could there really be that much of a difference in pricing from company to company?
Well the answer to that question is (Yes). Depending upon the contractor, the scope of the work, as well as the cost and quality of the materials being used for your installation, all of the above will determine the final price. There are variables that can increase the cost such as : Equipment quality and brand, energy efficiency and seasonal energy efficiency ratings: SEER, EER, the type of air handler motor; ECM or Variable Speed, along with all of the related materials such as the quality of the grills, insulation factors of the flex duct, gauge and length of the trunkline and overall air duct desgin can add additional cost to your proposal. Why the difference? Because there (IS) a differnence in the quality of materials used from contractor to contractor.
Differentt views on quality is a key ingredient to pricing: As humans in a very competitive industry, we all look at things from a different perspective, it' not all cut and dry. When replaceing your system with a high efficiency model, it's important to look at the complete installation and not just the equipment itself. For instance, many people may not realize that the air duct system plays an extremely important part in the overall efficiency, effectiveness and quietness of your air conditioning or heating system. If your air duct system is old, undersized, poorly insulated and leaking air into your attic, and drawing hot air into the system from the the attic, then the air duct system should be addressed by the contractor as part of, or in addition to the equipment replacement proposal. Ask yourself this question: Would you install a brand new engine into an old, rusty, broken down car? (No) So why would you spend thousands of dollars on a high efficiency system only to lose most of that efficiency through an antiquated, inefficient air duct system. So many people make this mistake, and it's not due to their own fault, but by the fault of the contractor or sales person preparing the estimate. You see, some contractors may only be interseted in replacing the equipment, and look no further into your needs or improvements because they may not be competitive with the additional costs. Some representatives may only be sales people with limited knowledge of the dynamics of how an air conditionig system may work or should be installed. This does not make them bad contractors, they are trying to be competitive, they want to sell the job -- right? But at what cost to your pocket and comfort. Be aware of what you're asking for, because that's exactly what you may get. Many times I've arrived on an estimate for a ductless mini split sysytem and I find that conventional central system can be installed at 1/3 less the cost of a ductless systems. A contractor may not offer the customer central a/c, perhaps in fear of losing the job, or because that is not what the customer was asking for. It's an easier sale to offer the customer what they request, even though there may be a better, less costly way to do the job. This is why It's important to allow the contractor to make the suggestions and recommendations to you on what he/she feels is the best system / application for you. After all he or she is the Expert.
Here are a (few) (Basic Questions) that should be asked by the HVAC contractor:
1.How comfortable was your home with the old system?
2. Was there any air delivery issues? hot spots / cold spots noisey registers?
3.Did you add any addttional square footage, extensions, rooms or skylights to the home?
4. Have you had a recent home energy audit, and if so, have you reinsulated or air sealed since the audit? These improvements can lower the overall tonnage required to cool your home, in turn saving you money on equipment and operating costs
5.Did you replace / upgrade your windows with high efficiency models? It's important that a full inspection of your existing air duct system is performed as part of the estimate. If a contractor does not go into your attic to evaluate your air duct system, you should seriously consider if you really want that contractor doing your job.
For over 30 years we have always based our reputaion on Quality. But more importantly, our customers' comfort, energy savings and complete satisfaction. At times, we may be a little more expensive than some other companies, but we will never skimp on material or design quality to save a few dollars. It's our belief: Do It Once and Do It right. We will never comrpomise our reputation, your home, or your comfort just to sell the job. So, when comparing contractors and proposals, ask questions, get all of your information together then give us a call. And always remember: Never base your decision soley on price or equipment name brand. You can buy the most advanced air conditioning or heating systems on the market, but if the system is assembled imporperly or connected to a poor air duct system, then your money was spent in vein. Let the contractor explain how the equipment and system design that they offer will benefit you, not only monetarily, but comfort wise as well. Let them explain their installation procedures and the quality of their materials and workmanship connected to your installation. It's important to remember. (Not all air conditioning systems are created equally). In this industry you truly do get what you pay for!
Written By: Carmine Galletta
(Certain Restrictions May Apply)