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Buying an Air Conditioning System

Equipment

Today all equipment manufacturers have similar standards. The internal components they use are predominantly the same. Their warranties are nearly identical. However, the biggest difference between brands is established by the relationship that the installing contractor has with the local distribution center. A good distributor will bend over backward to make sure the contractor is supported at the highest level and able to best take care of his customers. A good contractor knows the value of this relationship and will choose the brand that best supports his customer and his installation process. Rarely is this the cheapest(bottom-of-the-barrel) option, but when it comes to your home, would you want it to be? Find a contractor who you trust, and then you’ll know you can trust his brand.

 

Installation

Proper installation is much more important than the brand of equipment being installed. HVAC installation requires highly-trained and certified installation technicians. Installing HVAC equipment is not like replacing a refrigerator, where you remove the old and plug in the new. HVAC equipment is a fine-tuned, multi-faceted system that has to be put together piece by piece throughout your home. Your new equipment has to interact with your ductwork, the layout of your home, your desired temperature, the heating and cooling hours of your local climate, the refrigerant charge for your system, as well as local safety codes for any equipment using electricity and gas. Imagine buying a new car that is not yet fully assembled. You receive all of the parts in huge boxes that fill up your driveway. The instructions say that you have to work with a professional mechanic to achieve peak performance and for the company to back the warranty. Now it is up to you to select the mechanic that is going to assemble the vehicle. The most critical factor of the future reliability, longevity, and efficiency of your new car depends entirely on how well the mechanic puts all the parts together using their specialized tools.

In the HVAC industry, there are installation guidelines set by the Energy Star agency that tell us exactly how to put the pieces together in order to achieve the most efficient, longest-lasting, energy-saving installation possible. Unfortunately, according to a national survey conducted by Energy Star, the majority of installations are not completed according to these best-practice guidelines. As a result, the average homeowner overpays about 27% on their utilities, and the life expectancy of the equipment is drastically reduced. The North Carolina Alternative Energy Corporation found that 9 out of 10 newly installed HVAC systems still left the home with significant energy-robbing flaws.

 

Contractor

Experience matters! But it can not be the only factor used to determine the ability of your installer. Just because a contractor has twenty-five years of experience doesn't mean they are up to date with the current technological trends and installation practices. Our industry is continuously changing, and because of technological advances, we do things much differently today then we did in the past. A good contractor will not use outdated rules of thumb to size your air conditioner. They also won’t simply replace your existing unit with the same size unit. Sizing your system is one of the essential parts of the installation, and half of the equipment replaced today is replaced with an incorrectly sized unit. If a contractor fails to complete a load calculation for your home, then he isn't properly trained and is more likely skipping other important steps such as refrigerant charge verification, airflow verification, duct leakage sealing, and testing, nitrogen purging, thermal expansion valve installation, external static pressure test, and deep vacuum evacuation. Our goal is to marry the wisdom and know-how of the past with the technology of today.

Permits

It is against the law to replace your air conditioner without the proper city or county permits. If a contractor has not talked about pulling the appropriate permits, do not assume they will. Licensing alone does not guarantee proper permits will be pulled. The permit process is all about your protection from fire and safety issues. Your HVAC equipment can be extremely dangerous if installed incorrectly. If the proper permit is not pulled and your unit is not inspected, then your homeowner’s insurance may not be bound to handle severe damage claims at your home. It's the homeowners' responsibility to make sure the contractor is properly licensed, fully insured, and pulling the proper permits.

Support

One of the highest costs of running a customer-first business is the level of support made available to each customer. Our office, 24/7 call center, permit concierge, and quality assurance team cost money but are directly related to the overall five-star experience we strive to provide. Any contractor can put a cell phone number on their truck. But no one wants to get sent to voicemail when their AC goes out on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the summer! A good contractor will have a legitimate office with a call center and training room. They will train and hire the best technicians to ensure a quality experience from beginning to end. If you have an emergency with your HVAC system, you can reach us anytime, and we will respond like it is an emergency!

How to choose?

Dig deep and find out who is going to do the best job. Work with a company that inspires trust and confidence from the representative that builds your bid to the office team to the install crew. Do the math! In our industry, we always say, if you don’t pay for it now, you will pay for it later. Over the life of the unit, it will always be less expensive to go with a reputable contractor who has quality installers and your best interest at heart. Remember, you are investing in the comfort and safety of your home for years and years to come. We are here to help you make the best decision for you and your family.