Making The Right Decision
When it comes to the health and comfort of your family – not to mention your wallet – it is important to be thoughtful before making the decision to purchase a new heating and air conditioning system. Many homeowners however, end up buying the wrong equipment for the wrong reasons. They receive the wrong information, they feel pressured to purchase and they settle for anything.
Remember to do your homework and be considerate when deciding which system to purchase. And certainly avoiding these four common mistakes will help you to make the right decision.
MISTAKE #1: Buying The Wrong Size
The Department of Energy states that a significant percentage of people who replace their heating and air conditioning systems end up installing wrong-sized equipment. The results are high utility bills, buildup of unhealthy mold in the ductwork, damaged equipment and uncomfortable living conditions. All of this is easily avoided by making sure you get an accurate load calculation from your contractor.
Your load calculation is determined by your home’s physical characteristics and takes into account your family’s personal needs. This, along with a detailed system analysis, will correctly identify the proper size equipment needed for your home.
MISTAKE #2: Using Untrustworthy and/or Unqualified Contractors
Choosing the right contractor can mean the difference between having a horribly expensive experience you’ll never forget and an enormously positive experience you actually want to share with friends and family. Here are some steps to take to make sure you choose the right contractor:
- Do Some Research. Doing a little homework on the work to be performed will set you up for success in choosing the right contractor for your job. You don’t need to become a technical expert, but a little research will help you ask the right questions and be able to assess the contractor’s answers and experience.
- Get Referrals. Get 3 – 4 contractor referrals from people you know and trust. Referrals from the people you know and have had hands on experience from the contractor goes a lot further than references from people you don’t know. You are more likely to get both positive and negative feedback from people you know.
- Trust But Verify. After identifying a few prospects, make sure each prospect is located locally and has a physical address. Then, call the Better Business Bureau to verify the company information.
- Take Time to Interview. Interview contractors. Make sure you take time to meet with each contractor and go through your list of questions.
MISTAKE #3: Choosing the Lowest Price
If you get a bid that is significantly lower than the others, it’s probably too good to be true. It’s good to remember that sometimes you do actually get what you pay for. Essentially every contractor is installing the same heating and air conditioning equipment and in many cases the only difference is the name on the outside of the equipment- not the price.
Also, there are laws that regulate how systems are installed so when your bids are lower you are saving on installation costs vs. equipment costs. That begs the question- are the technicians qualified? Are they taking any shortcuts? Are they leaving anything out? Are they cutting corners just to get the work? Important things to consider.
MISTAKE #4: Failing to Get a Written Guarantee
Every contractor will say they stand behind the products and services they offer. However, if they fail to give you a written warranty you should be hesitant in using them. Protect the health and comfort of your family from unforeseen breakdowns in your heating and cooling system. Ask for a guarantee that guarantees your systems performance, your investment and your overall satisfaction.