In this article, we will explain how to read quotes and proposals from prospective AC & heating air contractors. This article will also explain how to compare air conditioning proposals you receive from HVAC contractors.
Air conditioning/heating systems, are frequently called HVAC systems by contractors, are essential for your comfort. HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.
When you’re comparing HVAC quotes, it’s essential to be able to understand them so that you get the best work performed at a fair and competitive price.
When reviewing quotes for replacing your HVAC system, you may be confused about how to read, review, and compare the contractor quotes you’ve received. It may as well be written in Greek. Though seemingly overwhelming, once you have some basic knowledge and know what to look for, it is a lot less stressful. It is important to ensure that comparative quotes are “apples to apples”. Therefore, we suggest you read our learning center article, “Checklist 0f Questions to Ask An Air Conditioning & Heating Contractor.” The article will help you to ask each contractor the same questions. In the article you will also find our downloadable comparison tool that will make it easy for you to, side by side, compare air conditioning quotes.
Nevertheless, knowing how to read, review, and compare HVAC quotes can mean the difference between hiring a reliable and affordable contractor and being ripped off for a low-quality job. Familiarizing yourself with some standard air conditioning and heating system terms will help you navigate your way through the quotes and proposals, which can get you on the road to buying new cooling equipment and saving you money. Here are some terms commonly found on quotes for new cooling equipment, and their definitions, to help you find an HVAC company you can trust:
- Air Handler: This is the part of your system that pushes air through the ductwork. A central air-handling unit serves the same purpose, except that it sends air to more than one area.
- Blower Motor: Is a component within the furnace (in a split system) whose function is to force the air through the ducting.
- Condenser: The outdoor unit in an HVAC system.
- Dampers: Regulate the flow of air by only allowing air/heat through manually or set by an electronic control.
- Ductwork: Conduits or passages (typically located in your attic) to deliver or remove air from the unit to the supply vents located throughout your house.
- Electronic Air Cleaner: This is a form of air purification which filters contaminants and larger particles out of your indoor air.
- Evaporator Coil or Evaporative Coil: In a split-system, the evaporator coil turns the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas state.
- Heat Pump System: It is comprised of two major components: condenser & air handler.
- Thermostat: This is the control point of the whole system. It allows you to adjust the temperature and set timers for turning the system on and off as you require. Learn how smart thermostats like the Ecobee 4 can affect efficiency and electrical consumption.
Are the Quotes and Proposals Detailed, or are They Vague?
When reviewing the quotes and proposals you receive, do they specify the details of the proposed equipment to be installed? For example, has the contractor specified the brand of the equipment, the model numbers, and the SEER rating? These are essential details that a consumer should know. Merely stating that they will replace the air conditioning with a 16 SEER unit is not enough. Not all brands are the same, and not all models within a brand are the same. You should always expect to receive the brand name, model numbers, and SEER rating (a rating of how efficient the equipment is) on any quote you receive. You can use this information to look up the equipment on the manufacturer’s website to read more about it. You can usually quickly determine if you are getting the manufacturer’s value line, their top-rated equipment, or something right in the middle. As with cars, there’s wide variability in similarly-rated equipment. It pays to know what you’re buying. If someone isn’t telling you, you are likely getting the least expensive, lowest-quality system.
Beyond the System Equipment
It’s your home and money, so to avoid surprises, the quote or proposal should layout the complete work to be done, beyond the equipment itself. It should specify what work is to take place, the disposal of the old equipment and what state your home will be left in in the areas where the contractor performs the work. For example, will they leave the work area clean and tidy?
The Key is to Avoid Surprises
A new HVAC system represents a significant financial investment. You deserve to know what equipment will be installed and how the work will progress. A reliable Air Conditioning and Heating Contractor will be conscientious and include this information in their proposal. Also, a professional and reliable contractor will care about your home or business and will want to build a relationship with you and win your business not just today, but tomorrow and beyond. A detailed proposal is an excellent way to avoid “fly-by-night” contractors who do not necessarily view business this way. These companies want to sell a system and get in and get out. Therefore, a vague proposal that lacks detail is an excellent way to screen out such contractors. We at Desert Tech care about your business and will always provide you with a detailed proposal, and go the extra mile to make sure you understand everything that is in it.
Need a Second Opinion?
If you need a second opinion to replace your central air conditioner or heat pump, you can count on a detailed quote from Desert Tech Air Conditioning and Heating. We stand behind our saying that an informed consumer is the best consumer. Call us at 760-327-2501 to discuss your air conditioning or heating needs. We’d be honored to earn your business. We serve the Coachella Valley, including the following cities: