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Finding a heating contractor any tips?

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  • Finding a heating contractor any tips?

    My furnace is 60's vintage and I would like to have a contractors lined up before the inevitable replacement. Looking around it seems like NATE certification is a big thing as well as BBB.org rating. What is involved with NATE certification? Is it worth taking the time and finding an installer with the most NATE techs? I assume the heating contractor should be able to do a heat lost test.

    Would replacement require replacement of duct work or just the transition piece? The ducts are in good shape if that matters. Would I be able to get a high efficiency furnace with the old duct work?
    Last edited by rodm1; 10-26-2013, 07:30 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Finding a heating contractor any tips?

    You are on the right track but not enough info for any detailed recommendations.

    Location is very important, as severe winters different than the south. Do you have gas to house or is it total electric.

    You really need to check the internet and see if any complaints on the lowest price contractor and why the complaints?

    I just had a senior citizen widow buy a new air/heat system from a big company and says her electric is over $500 per month and she was a cancer survivor. Look at my background picture, they did not replace fiberglass in return air with drywall and left big gap at top of return air closet. LISTEN TO EACH BIDDER AND HAVE THEM DESCRIBE WHAT THEY WILL DO, MAKE SURE THE SYSTEM IS R410 A FREON, AND THE INSTALLER IS LICENSED AND PULLS A PERMIT. BE HOME FOR THE FINAL INSPECTION AND GET A COPY OF THE FINAL FROM THE INSPECTOR.
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    • #3
      Re: Finding a heating contractor any tips?

      Just because someone has a certification in something, doesn't necessarily mean they are an expert.

      I'd take an old timer in this trade with some grays around his ears, versus a young strapping lad loaded with certification after certification.

      Let me give you 2 examples of what I'm talking about...

      1. I have my class 2 license in refrigeration, and missed the universal license over 2 questions. I've never touched a chiller in my life, but yet that license would of meant I could of worked on one. All I had to do was " retain" more information out of the testing book to get those 2 questions I got wrong right.

      2. Combustion analyzer is beaten into our brain today to service any type of appliance using Gas or oil. We finally went out and bought 1 a few years ago, and I put my father to the test, because sets his boilers up by eye, cause he's old school. I checked him on a boiler to see what the numbers were, and he was dead on, and did it without a combustion analyzer, because back then there was no such thing. With that said...we all should have a Combustion analyzer on the truck, along with a Smoke tester for those closed chambers in where you can't see the fire.

      My point is this, a certification doesn't always mean your qualified to have to " know how" to work on something.

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      • #4
        Re: Finding a heating contractor any tips?

        NATE certification is good for telling you the tech knows how to turn a screwdriver. The BBB is a pay-for-play club. I find that both have little to no meaning when it comes to knowledge and its usage.

        A good sales-tech:

        - takes the time to determine if the product needs replacing
        - provides documentation or other proof of failure
        - takes the time to inspect the entire system
        - takes the time to recommend a system for the user's needs (does not shoehorn in a bulk purchased product)
        - takes the time to do a manual J heat loss and gain to size the system properly
        - has the proper licensing, insurance, and EPA certifications
        - pulls the proper permits
        - reads the manual and installs per manufacturer's specifications
        - takes the time to answer all your questions to your satisfaction
        - provides a detailed well written contract with models, sizes, and efficiencies
        - refuses the job if the customer insists on a sub-standard or otherwise incorrect install

        Transitions can be made to adapt the new unit to the old duct work. High efficiency units will work on old ductwork but be prepared to have more dust and gook fly out and get lodged in the filter initially as new blowers are more efficient and powerful. You may find that your old ducts are more leaky than you thought.

        Expect to pay more for heat loss/gain calculations. Don't be a bottom feeder. Lesser cost does not equate to a better deal.
        ~~

        ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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