Air conditioning companies in Central Florida have recently been advertising great AC system savings because they claim to have taken the salesman out as the middleman between the customer and the company. The effect of this change is that the company’s savings are passed along to you. Sounds like a great idea in theory, right? WRONG. We will explain to you why this is a horrible concept and educate you on the tell-tell signs to look for to avoid this scam.
Everyone has different lifestyles, different types of homes, different expectations of how they want their AC systems to run and how often. Wouldn’t you find it strange if the company you were purchasing your AC unit from refrained from asking you any of these important questions?
Our Professional Sales Associates have been trained to ask you questions about your current system, your lifestyle, what your expectations are for a new system, and analyze a number of additional factors before providing you a number of options that should meet your needs. They also have had extensive training from the manufacturers we represent to know the systems and which ones will best suit your needs.
Some of the questions, that WON’T be asked by a telephone representative claiming to “save” you money are:
1. When your old system was working properly, did it heat and cool all areas of the home adequately?
2. Are there any rooms or areas that don’t seem as comfortable as others?
3. Are you home during the day or would a programmable thermostat be advantageous for you so you’re automatically adjusting the temperatures when no one is going to be home?
4. How about the humidity levels in your home-do you ever feel a little “clammy”?
5. Would you like to be able to control the humidity as well as the temperature?
6. Is humidity control something you’d like to hear more about? Most people find they are comfortable at higher temperatures once the humidity is brought down consistently, saving you more money.
7. Are you familiar with the benefits of a Variable Speed Air Handler or Furnace?
8. Has anyone inspected your attic insulation to see if it is adequate by today’s standards? Higher R-Value insulation can save you every month on your power bill.
9. Do you have an adequate return air duct system (especially important for bedrooms and evening comfort) for today’s more efficient systems?
10. May I take a look in your attic at your entire duct system to see if it is
a. In Good overall shape
b. Adequately sized for today’s systems
c. Properly sealed at the registers and mixing boxes
11. Does anyone in your home suffer from allergies or asthma?
12. Would you be interested in improved filtration to keep the dust down?
13. How often do you typically change your filter? Would you like a longer lasting one so you don’t have to change it so often?
14. Would you like to hear about the benefits of a UV light in your Air Handler or Furnace to keep mold and mildew from forming in your drain-pan and on your coil?
15. Have you heard of the Top Tech Air Knight from RGF Industries? It is designed to KILL viruses and bacteria that are either air borne or on surfaces keeping your whole family healthier.
16. Are credit terms or a flexible payment structure more in tune with your budget than a one time cash outlay?
17. Would you be interested in a higher SEER System that allows you to take advantage of greater discounts from the manufacturer and the Federal Tax Credit? While not as attractive as the last two years’ tax credits, it still nice to let the government help you buy your system.
18. Has anyone discussed the differences between single speed or stage outdoor units with you vs. 2 speed units which will run on low speed approximately 75-80% of the time saving your money in the long run?
19. May I take a look at your electrical panel box and hookups at the system components to make sure they will be the right size and type for the new system? In many cases the electrical breakers of older systems do not match up well with the new equipment.
20. May I take some quick measurements for the larger pad we may need for the outside unit since today’s units are typically larger than those of 8-10 years ago?
21. How much would you like to save on your utility bill on average each month? The higher the efficiency the more you’ll save …but at greater initial investment cost.
22. Is ease of programming the thermostat important to you or do you see yourself as a real techie that enjoys getting into more challenging programming?
23. We will be pulling a mechanical permit on this job –will your phone company be doing the same ….and arranging to have it inspected and have any corrections noted resolved quickly?
24. Would you be interested in a Protection Plan that, allows you to renew annually for one low fee that provides not only an energy savings tune-up but also covers ALL Parts and Labor as long as the policy is in effect?
25. This is a major home improvement purchase that will impact your expenses and comfort over the next 10+ years….do you want to deal with a company that doesn’t even come out to do a site survey much less ask you very many of the above questions?
This may seem like an exhaustive list of questions, but in reality the answers to these pertinent questions will help our professional staff assist you in selecting the right system for your home. These questions have a purpose and ignoring them will only cost you more money in the long run. Don’t save a few bucks and a little time and make an uninformed decision over the phone that you will end up living with for years to come.
Contact Facility Pro Tech at 407-608-5370 to arrange for one of our professionals to arrange a personal in home visit to assist you in your decision making process. We don’t believe in high pressure sales but do believe in helping homeowners make informed decisions and then doing an excellent job of installing the selected system.
The local news media has recently been reporting about an untrustworthy AC company rated so poorly that they received an “F” rating by the Better Business Bureau. In one instance, the customer called to schedule an appointment with the company who had replaced two air handlers and two outdoor condensers on his air conditioning. The customer said, “Within two hours of installation the second-floor unit stopped working. The technician had failed to protect certain low-wattage wires, which caused a short. Ever since then there has been loud banging and thumping when the system is operating. It also has been leaking refrigerant. A blower was replaced, but this did not resolve the problem.”
After scheduling an appointment (he thought) the customer took the day off work and waited at home without technicians ever arriving and without any follow up phone calls. When he called the next day he was treated like it was his first time calling the company. This is unfortunately a very common example of all the disorganized and unprofessional AC companies in the Orlando area. Though you may think you’ve gotten lucky with a quick and easy air conditioning installation, the true test comes afterward, when time reveals whether it was a proper install or unskilled job that results in expensive repair bills.
Here are some tips in choosing the right company:
- Ask the contractor for references. Find out if other customers were satisfied.
- Ask the contractor about his or her license. If a license is required in your area, ask for the license number.
- Ask the contractor for proof of insurance.
- Ask the contractor if he or she is a member in good standing with the BBB
- Ask the contractor if a permit is required and if he will pull it.
- Ask if the contractor’s technicians are NATE certification. NATE-certified technicians have proven their knowledge of modern HVAC systems.
See our blog post How to Ensure Quality Residential HVAC Installation for more in-depth checklist to ensure you get the best service from your AC company.
If you have been shopping for something to cool off your house, you will have noticed that there is a great deal of difference in air conditioning prices. While any air conditioner is going to be moderately expensive, not all of the low cost or all of the very high cost air conditioners are cost effective over the long run. Low cost air conditioners tend to be very poor quality and may not stand up with continued use, resulting in high maintenance and repair bills. Low cost or very cheap air conditioning prices tend to be found on the discount or store type brands, some which have very low energy efficiency ratings. Basically the lower the energy efficiency rating, the less effective the unit is in producing cold air with regards to how much power it requires. Even a very low cost air conditioning unit with a low energy rating will quickly result in much higher monthly power or electricity bills, easily costing you hundreds of additional dollars over the summer months. So, in the case of low cost, air conditioning prices are only telling a small amount of the total story.
Very expensive air conditioning prices are typically associated with the top of the line, highly energy efficient units. If you live in a warm climate where you use this type of cooling system over several months, it may be well worth your while to invest in the more expensive model. If, however, you live in a moderate climate where you only use the system for a month or two over the summer, it may take several years of use before you make up the difference in the price of saving on the energy bill. In this case it is important to do some additional calculation about your energy saving and the air conditioning prices to see if the ac installation will actually save you money. Keep in mind that new innovations in energy efficiency, “green products” and even alternative sources of energy and therefore what is a highly efficient and energy saving system today may be outdated in just a few short years.
Another consideration with regards to air conditioning prices is the type of model you are buying. Window units are often the least expensive, however they are usually only effective in smaller spaces. Portable units can be moved from room to room and may allow you to purchase one or two units and move them throughout the house as needed. Wall mounted units do require some installation and are permanent fixtures of a room or space. Conventional systems are the most expensive, but they do provide air conditioning throughout the entire physical structure, as long as there is a heating vent in the area. Carefully considering what you want and how much you plan to use your air conditioner will help determine what are reasonable air conditioning prices for your home or office.
The HVAC Industry has developed over the last 40 years a number of educational programs for the direct benefit of technicians.
All of these programs are Governed, Owned, Operated, Developed and Support by the HVAC Industry (The GOODS Principle).
The GOODS Principle
- Governed by the Industry to assure all parties have a voice in the operation and structure of the programs that make better technicians.
- Owned by the Industry so that no one party can reap financial benefit from the actual programs.
- Operated by the Industry so there is inclusive open consensus of the programs.
- Developed by the Industry to enhance and raise the skills of the technician.
- Supported by the Industry to maintain the financial stability of the technician programs.
The benefit of The GOODS Principle is a better trained, knowledgeable and professional HVACworkforce and improved service and reliability for customers.
The Evolution of HVAC Technical Education
The foundation for modern education in the HVAC industry was created by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) in itsgroundbreaking Industry Curriculum Guide originally called the Suggested Secondary School Course Guide, which dates to 1967. This guideis the foundation for education in the HVAC Industry. Updated as the ARI Curriculum Guide in 1989 and again in 1995, this foundation hascontinued to serve the industry identifying the knowledge, skills and competencies for HVAC technicians.
A second valuable development in the education of HVAC technicians was the Industry Competency Exam (ICE). Using the IndustryCurriculum Guide, industry professionals representing manufacturers, contractors, distributors and educators, developed the first entry levelexam identifying the scope of knowledge technicians seeking a career in the HVAC Industry should have. Maintained once a year, throughthe ICE Construction Committee, the exam remains a valid test for entry level technicians. The third important development was the ARI Teachers Workshop. Started in 1996 to help the HVAC/R instructional community remaincurrent on educational developments and share educational methodologies, the ARI Teachers Workshop raised the bar for entry level HVACtechnicians
The fourth significant development in the education of technicians was the NATE program. Started in1997 as the HVAC Industry’sTechnician Certification Program, NATE is a valid, reliable, defensible and widely respected certification protocol for the seasoned technicianin the HVACR Industry. Joining the NATE coalition in 1999, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and the RefrigerationService Engineers Society (RSES) enhanced the program and continued the industry philosophy of self governance and raising thestandards for HVAC technicians. Coalition partners continued joining NATE with Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Association(SMACNA) and Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) becoming part of the coalition in 2001. In 2006 the UnitedAssociation (UA) joined the NATE Technical Committee.
The creation of the Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) was the fifth important developmentin the industry’s continuing pursuit of excellence. Developed to provide programmatic accreditation for the HVAC/R education programs,PAHRA was formed by industry educators. The accreditation standards developed by PAHRA were reviewed by the ICE Committee toensure they would produce highly qualified entry level technicians. And in January 2008 the UA, PAHRA, ICE and NATE signed a Memorandum of Understanding giving students graduating from PAHRAAccredited programs using the ICE and NATE Certifications advanced status in the union.
Banded together under The GOODS Principle, all of these programs are committed to reviewing, maintaining and improving the educationalstandards for HVAC technicians. Three of the programs PAHRA, ICE and NATE (The PIN Process) directly relate to improving Industryeducation programs by establishing the accreditation standards for the programs, setting the entry level criteria and proving the seasonedtechnician skills necessary with NATE’s Job Task Analysis.
Upgrading or installing a new air conditioner is not a do-it-yourself job. You will need the help of a fully qualified and licensed HVAC technician. A typical job might proceed as follows:
1. You identify and contact a licensed HVAC technician
2. You set up an appointment with them to visit your home. At the appointment, they will inspect your existing system, and collect a wide range of information about your home — how many windows it has, which direction they face, how thorough is its insulation, etc. The technician uses all of this information to calculate the load — the correct capacity for the system that they would install.
3. You should receive a written estimate from the technician. Make sure that the estimate breaks out the different charges that the technician expects to encounter — i.e. how much will the system itself cost? How much in additional work to comply with code. Do they recommend work on your home’s ducts?
4. If you want a second opinion and one of the technicians submits a bid that is dramatically different from the other bid, don’t be shy about asking the technician to explain the difference — they may have noticed something that the other technician missed.
5. You should make sure that the technician is properly licensed and insured, ensure that warranties are properly spelled out; a permit is included and generally make sure that you get what you think you are going to get at the end of the process.
The Carrier Corporation is one of the leaders in the industry of heating, refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Carrier air conditioning units have been sold in the United States since they were first designed in 1902, and are now available in close to 200 different countries across the world. With the main headquarters located in Farmington, Connecticut, Carrier air conditioning, heating and refrigeration businesses employ over 45,000 employees worldwide and is constantly expanding and increasing their market and services offered.
Carrier Corporation has several different divisions include the retail and commercial sectors that sell Carrier air conditioning, heating and refrigeration products and services. In addition there is a commercial HVAC building and industrial division, refrigeration and food service division, transportation refrigeration division and a passenger comfort division that focuses on climate control for marine vessels, busses and recreational vehicles. These different divisions all strive to increase the efficiency and power saving features of their products as well as promote environmental awareness and options for recycling and innovations in different heating and cooling systems.
One of these innovative cooling and heating systems that uses Carrier air conditioning technology is the hybrid heat dual fuel system. These systems, both heating and Carrier air conditioning systems, are able to sense the temperature and heating or cooling needs and adjust the type of fuel they are using to help minimize fuel bills. The systems are set to run off the lowest cost energy source when heating and cooling requirements are low or moderate, but when the temperature becomes very cold or very hot the system automatically switches to the most efficient fuel source under these conditions. In essence the system only uses the most expensive fuel when there is a need for immediate heat or cold, switching back to the less expensive system for the average operation of the heating or cooling unit.
All Carrier air conditioning products come rated with a SEER number. The SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) that is indicated with each unit allows homeowners to select the most energy efficient product for their home cooling needs. The higher the SEER number the more efficient the air conditioner is operating. The United States government regulatory agency requires a SEER number of 13 for all new products on the market. Carrier air conditioning units typically range from 13 all the way up to 21, which provides a significant reduction in the amount of energy needed to produce the same amount of cooling as a lower SEER rated air conditioner would. Talking to a professional that is familiar with Carrier air conditioning units and products will help determine which air conditioning unit best meets the needs for your home cooling requirements.
In most areas, but especially in the southern climates, air conditioning is a definite must. Not only is it essential for general comfort, but in the very southern states it is also a health benefit as temperatures reach into the hundred plus degrees during the long summer months. Air conditioning in these areas is a key factor in resale values of properties and many residences without central air conditioning will be devalued on the market, regardless of the size, condition or architecture of the house.
There are two basic types of air conditioning, central air, which means that the cold air is blown through the house from a central cooling unit, typically located outside of the house. There are options within central air conditioning systems including conventional systems, also known as forced air and high velocity air cooling systems. There is some difference in price between these two systems but both are designed to effectively maintain a reasonable temperature in the house. These systems work on thermostats, just like the furnace does in the winter. Air conditioning systems of this type may be coupled with humidity control systems that work to adjust the amount of moisture in the air during the hot summer months. In dry climates additional humidity may be added to the cooled air and in humid climates dehumidifiers are used in conjunction with air conditioning systems to ensure a comfortable room temperature and humidity level. Although either forced air or high velocity air cooling systems are the most expensive to install and maintain, they also add the most value to your home or residence.
Another option for cooling your home is to use window units. These are small, semi-portable systems that are installed in the bottom section of a window and draw air through the system cooling the temperature and blowing it into the room. The condensation is drained outside from the back of the unit as is the heat vented out of the room. These small window type air conditioning units are effective for small rooms but typically are not powerful enough to maintain a consistent temperature in a larger room or throughout more than one room. For older homes or homes that currently don’t have the duct-work and space needed to install a conventional or whole house air conditioner, these window units may be all that is required. Since they are not a permanent fixture in the house they may or may not be included in the sale, however they also don’t add any value to the house.