Comparing Equipment Features
Attempting to compare heating and AC brands, or shopping for features get the most attention from buyers. We wrote about this in last month’s blog and in other place. We provide a free grid to compare new equipment cost at a glance. From your research or bids, you can fill in the blanks on this printable chart to cut through the “noise” and understand the equipment efficiency and other objective features. However, this equipment must be installed as a system in the structural environment of your home or building, which has variables. So, on to our main topic.
Preparing for What ELSE Might be Necessary to get a New HVAC System Installed
In situations where the new heating and cooling equipment is going into an existing structure (as contrasted with new construction) there are some major potential “gotchas” to prepare for. I’ve experienced this personally, so hopefully you can benefit from my lessons, some of which were costly. Two good examples of this are electrical wiring and ductwork. They both have the potential to be significant “add ons” to the scope of the work in the project.
If you are having central heating and AC installed into an existing structure for the first time, be sure to get info about wiring conditions. This would be especially true for a older home or building with original wiring. Essentially, you want to make sure that the wiring, connections, and circuit breakers, etc. can safely and efficiently handle the new load. If they cannot, you will experience circuit breakers tripping or perhaps much worse. Because inadequate wiring will increase the cost of a job or might slow down the decision to buy a new system, some equipment installers might be tempted to not bring it up at all. Or, they might focus the discussion on the new equipment first, get that signed, then bring up the wiring issue and cost. This is also true for an older structure that already has central heat and air, but needs them replaced.
If your home or building already has ductwork, there are several parallels with electrical wiring to consider:
– The existing ductwork might be usable, OR it may need to replaced due to its structure, design or condition.
– Most potential issues can be seen ahead of time, but some could be discovered during installation of the new system.
– Project add-ons can be awkward to negotiate or expensive to buy, because work has already begun.
The solution: Focus First on Getting High Quality Advice and Labor on the Installation
We rarely miss an opportunity to highlight the variable that matters most in heating and AC: the quality of the installation. If you choose a dealer whose sales reps and technicians are trained, experienced and ethical, dealing effectively with existing wiring or ductwork should be automatic. That way, you can be sure to get the right equipment for your situation and needs AND deal with potential variables in the original project scope.
If you and your contractor handle it well, getting a new system installed will be the start of a long-term relationship that includes preventative maintenance. There are also manufacturer and possibly installer warranties to consider, and those will be the topic of our next blog post.
If you find this useful, please share your thoughts and experiences with other reads. If not, let us know how we can improve.