Beware of Drive By Pricing

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Hello Friends,
Whenever I am asked to provide pricing for a replacement furnace or air conditioner, we always perform a full analysis of the home including a heat loss/gain report to ensure that our customer gets the best system for their needs. This procedure requires a 2.5 hour visit to the customer’s home. Recently, a customer asked me, “Why do you need so much time? Another contractor gave me a price in 5 minutes! Don’t you know what you are doing?”

I would like to answer this question.

The replacement of your home heating and air conditioning system is a significant investment that will dictate your comfort, efficiency and safety for the next 10 – 20 years. Only with the proper research can you be confident that your system will meet your expectations and satisfy your needs.

Some of the many questions that need to be answered are as follows.

  1. Is your home warm enough?
  2. Does your current system maintain a uniform temperature throughout your home?
  3. Are there rooms that are always too cold or too warm?
  4. Is the air in your home fresh or do you find that your home air is stale and stuffy?
  5. Is your home too dry? Is your furniture and/or hardwood floors cracking?
  6. Is your home too humid? Do you have a mould or condensation problem?
  7. Will the new air system be compatible with the existing duct system and piping system in my home?
  8. Do you have enough hot water?
  9. How will this new system affect my air quality?
  10. How will this new system affect the pressure in your home?
  11. Is your home air clean? Does anyone in your household have breathing issues like asthma and allergies?
  12. Is your existing system oversized and operating inefficiently?
  13. How much heat do you actually need?
  14. How much cooling do you actually need?

As you can see, there are so many issues that must be dealt with in order to make the right equipment selection and to ensure that your selection will work well together with your existing infrastructure.

I have been to so many homes where the client is suffering because the contractor they hired to replace their furnace just offered a quick 5 minute Drive By Quote and failed to properly assess the home and their needs.

Any contractor who makes a proposal with a 5 minute visit will not be able to propose the best system for your budget, comfort, safety and efficiency.

The CMHC Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has published a FREE guide on how to buy a new furnace, boiler and/or air conditioner. You can click here to get to the order page and you can order the printed booklet or electronic copy.

For your interest, I have put a copy of the guide below.

View this document on Scribd

See this video about what can happen if your contractor does not properly assess your needs.

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