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The Secret on How to Get the Best Deal on A/C and Heating Installation

The Secret on How to Get the Best Deal on A/C and Heating Installation

We are going to give you all the guarded secrets to getting the best deal when you are shopping for a new home air conditioning and heating system.

These secrets are being revealed by an industry specialist that has been selling home HVAC installs for over a decade.

What if I told you that most if not all established air conditioning and heating companies already know what you want to hear and since they know this, they all sound the same when they give you a quote. Getting the best deal for your home and family when picking a HVAC contractor can be stressful and a crazy shot in the dark, if you don’t know what to look for and ask.

Everyone always tells you the same when interviewing HVAC Contractors:

what to ask every HVAC contractor

So, what should you look for, and what should you ask to get the best deal when replacing or installing a new A/C and heating system for your home?

  • Know what you want and need before you set an appointment with any Heating & Air installation contractor.
  • Have a game plan and know your expectations before you sign a contract.
  • What to ask and know to save money or get the options you want for your home.
  • The truth about rebates that air conditioning contractors don’t want you to know. 

Know what you want and what your home needs before you start calling HVAC companies.

Most homeowners will replace their heating and cooling only once or twice when living in a home. It is not something that people do often (most quality home air conditioning systems last 20 years or more). This leaves the homeowner relying on the contractor to inform them on what they need or should get. Depending on the HVAC contractor this can be a bad move if they are dishonest but what is more common in the HVAC industry is that the salesperson is not fully knowledgeable on all the options, which means homeowners will not have all the correct information. Most HVAC contractors will give you a free estimate to replace your system. Some will charge a fee to diagnose and repair an HVAC system, so you must make it clear that you want a free estimate for a new HVAC system.

Five questions to ask

What are the top 5 questions to ask your HVAC contractor

on the phone before they come to your home for a free estimate (excluding the obvious one listed at the very top)?

  • “What if I’m not happy with the comfort system after you install it?  If it doesn’t cool or heat your home properly, will you make it right? Is that on your contract?”  This is a direct question that should be always asked, if the contractor gives you a vague answer and it is not on the contract, ask him if he’s willing to put it in writing.
  • “Do you offer financing?”  Even if you’re planning on paying for the whole amount with cash or credit card you can use this to leverage the deal later. I’ll tell you how, keep reading. If you need the payment options because your A/C broke unexpectedly, it’s good to know this before the technician or salesman comes over so you can get what you need instead of just putting a band aid on it. Knowing what your financial situation is so that you can budget for a new home comfort system (80% of homeowners think their AC is going to last another year or the underestimate the cost.)
  • “What warranties do you offer and are they backed by your company or the manufacturer, and what are the restrictions?” Most, if not all, air conditioning companies offer some sort of warranty. The most common are 1 to 5 years labor with a 10-year parts. The labor is commonly backed by the HVAC company installing it, while the parts are backed by the manufacturer. Looking at the reviews and making sure there are no bad ones of past customers complaining about how the HVAC company did not honor their warranty or had performance issues that they could not or would not resolve.
    • Try to get a 10-year parts and labor warranty that is backed by the manufacturer not the contractor installing it. If the HVAC contractor goes out of business and is no longer around, your labor warranty backed by them is useless. 7/10 air conditioning companies fail in the first 5 years of business, not because the owner doesn’t know how to fix or install AC equipment, but because they don’t know how to run a business
10 year unit air conditioning and heating Warranty
Lifetime compressor warranty
top 10% of installation
Lifetime Heat Exchanger warranty
  • It is important to know what type of HVAC contractor you want. Do you want a small local contractor that is just him and a helper? This option is usually cheaper, but when it gets really hot or really cold they don’t have the manpower to get to you quickly because he can only fix so many HVAC systems per day. Or do you want a mid-sized company that has about 5 to 15 employees, but is more expensive than the smaller guy by a couple of hundred or thousand? They can usually show up when you need them and give you peace of mind that you are paying for service. Or the large HVAC company that has 30-100 employees that have a solid foundation of staying in business that are usually the most expensive in town but give an over-the-top experience.
    • There is no wrong or right answer to this question, but I recommend thinking about it before you set appointments so you can get an apples-to-apples comparison. If not, your estimates will all be thousands of dollars different without really understanding why the price range is so large. You might be asking yourself “Is the other guy missing something or are you just more expensive for the same thing?”
highest rated air conditioning and heating company around

Pick Your Local Family Owned HVAC Company

  • “Are you going to give me a detailed proposal the same day you come over.” Most larger companies are going to ask to “meet with all the decision makers or people that will be helping to design the right comfort system for your home.”  This is so they can close the deal the same day if everything works out.  This is not a bad tactic for the contractor, but it can be time consuming if all your estimates are requesting you and your spouse to be present for every estimate. Some companies will not set an appointment with you unless you agree to that. Smaller air conditioning contractors will come over to talk and not even drop a price or a quote because they are not organized. They also might not want to do your job for many factors, they think it is too hard, don’t have the manpower to do it, or they talk themselves out of offering what you need because they think you don’t want it.
    • Either way you want to make sure that the contractor knows you are expecting a detailed proposal of what they are going to do and for how much the same day.  (Coming back to give you a price a second time is a sales tactic, this is used to see all other proposals that you have gotten and discredit them)

Have a game plan before you sign a contract for your air conditioning installation!

  • If you want a deal and know you’re getting the best value in replacing your heater or A/C don’t always sign with the first company that comes out.
  • Have a list of questions to ask all contractors biding on your contract and act naïve to see what they tell you and compare your notes to what you already know.
  • What size unit do I need for my home and how did you come up with that number?
  • What is the energy efficiency rating, and can I get proof in righting after its installed to verify your giving what you said?
  • What do you need for a down payment and when do you expect the balance? (Don’t give more than 10% before he starts.)
  • Do I need permits for my HVAC job and if we don’t get them who will be responsible if something bad. Also, will you put that in writing.
  • What do you recommend we do and why? What other options do I have?
  • Can I see pictures of your work that are like my project?
  • “If I said yes today, what would be the entire process from now to when I’m comfortable” (ask all contractors this not just the one you think is best and not at the finish line when you’re signing the contract. The salesmen might think this question is a green light to close a deal, but stick to your game plan and get all the quotes you need to make the right decision) 

How to get the biggest bang for the buck when getting your air conditioner system installed.

Calculate your savings

The easiest way to get a better price is to ask for it. That may sound dumb, but most salesmen will give you what you want if it makes sense or they have a large margin on that product. Most high efficiency systems will have more room to go down than the base tier system. Meaning an 18 or 20 seer system will have a bigger discount than the 14 SEER system. (SEER is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, meaning the more you have the more you save on electricity)

Seer Chart

SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.

Asking how much you pay for your equipment or telling them how much you seen the equipment online won’t help you. Air conditioning contractors price their installations how they seem fit. A smaller guy might go on time and materials multiplied by a magic number they came up with. Larger A/C companies usually have formulas that they follow to stay profitable. So, if you’ve seen the price for a furnace, evaporator coil and condenser for $2,800 online that’s useless info when you’re negotiating a deal.  Most larger companies have a way to deflect that question. There are other ways they can move the cost around where it come out too the same price, they wanted to sell it for.

Asking for free upgrades like a better thermostat, UV light or filtration system is the easiest way to get them if you ask them to put them in the deal if you go with them. This is the most common way to get something for free but do it after you negotiated a price on the system, if not they can hide it into their price.

Free UV Light with new furnace or air conditioning installation
Freee Touch screen up grade
10 Year Parts & Labor Warranty Upgrade with new furnace

If you are buying your system via cash or check. Do not tell them that if they are pushing financing. Every financing company charges the contractor a percentage of the amount finance for a decent rate or offer.  The most common one a customer pays for are “same as cash” or low payment options. This can cost the contractor 5-15% depending how long or low the loan and interest rate is. With this information I would negotiate all the way to the end then ask them “if I pay you cash will you give me a discount?” If they say no, tell them you know they are paying a fee for the financing and to just give it to you instead of the bank. 

You get what you pay for…sometimes.

Paying the lowest price possible isn’t always the best way to go unless your finances are in that situation, which happens often when you don’t plan your HVAC replacement.  Most homeowners want peace of mind that the contractor will do what they say, make it right if they come up short, show up on time and clean up after themselves.  This might seem like common sense but not all HVAC contractors are the same and the ones that known and practiced this, they usually charge more because they know homeowners are willing to pay for it.

Investment Iceberg

I didn’t mention anything on how much you should pay for your new air conditioning installation…

There are too many factors to tell you if you’re getting a deal or not. In the past I did that and what happens is most of the people that read my blog get expectations and focused on how much they should pay instead of getting the biggest bang for the buck.  They overlook even air temperatures, low utility bills, a long warranty, how quite the unit will be and picking a good contractor that knows what he’s doing.

Importance of Hiring True Blue Professionals Only For AC Problems

Importance of Hiring True Blue Professionals Only For AC Problems

The options for heating and air conditioning systems in Norwalk, CA have never been so great. Not only do we offer HVAC units with built-in heat but even simple split unit ACs now come equipped with their own automated function to keep you warm during those cold winter months!

The key purpose of such systems is to ensure that your room remains really cool all through the harsh summer months and that it remains toasty warm regardless of how cold it may be outside.

Good care is necessary for any machine or appliance to last. This includes taking time out of your day (or week) in order make sure that these devices are properly maintained so they can continue providing their service without issue.

This is the part where Comfort Time Heating and Cooling comes into the picture. It is imperative that if something goes wrong with your AC, the last thing you should do is to call in just about any ‘fly by night’ operator. Only tried and tested ‘true blue’ professionals should be tasked with this job. It is an almost axiomatic assumption that a rank amateur is liable to do more harm than good, and it will take both time and money to undo the damage when you hire highly skilled technicians to redo the work. There are certain steps that have to be taken into consideration when looking for a good AC repair service in Norfolk, CA. These are some of the tasks they will have to undertake when repairing a malfunctioning air conditioner.

Charging Refrigerant Gas

If your AC is not giving you the desired level of cooling, the odds are that it could be something as simple as a refrigerant gas leak. This problem is simple to diagnose, but it is certainly not that easy to repair, since the leak may be very small and located pretty much anywhere in the system. If that is the case, then your air conditioning unit requires a simple ‘top up’ of refrigerant gas in the system.

This is a problem that can’t be ignored. If you don’t take care of it properly, then leaks will occur again and again because every leak needs meticulous attention to detail if we want them gone for good!

Other Norwalk CA air conditioning repair outfits will ‘top up’ the gas without finding and plugging the leak, the problem will almost certainly re-occur. The real professionals will be suitably well equipped with highly specialized equipment. And moreover, they will also have the requisite experience to both detect and plug the leaks in the pipes and coils of the AC unit.

As a matter of fact, the better outfits who typically perform Norwalk CA air conditioning repair will likely purge the system as well once they are able to find the errant leak. And what is more is that they will do this even before they start pumping in the new refrigerant gas. This way, they will get rid of the stale refrigerant and charge the AC with fresh cooling gas.

Once the leak (or leaks as the case may be) has been identified and the old gas is removed and replaced with new gas, the chances are that all of your AC’s gas related issues may well have been solved, at least for the foreseeable future. However, it is advisable to switch your AC on and off for a few minutes, even when not using it. This is because lack of circulation of the refrigerant gas will force it to escape into the atmosphere, and this will mean another visit from the good people at Norwalk ca air conditioning Repair.

Norwalk CA HVAC Repair

HVAC units are a more complicated version of the usual AC. In fact, in areas that suffer extremes in terms of both winter and summer times, the HVAC unit is pretty much the ideal way to make good and sure that your home and workplace are well serviced by the ‘state of the art’ climate control system. This is because an HVAC system can easily dispense both hot and cold air whenever required so that it is able to maintain the overall temperature setting at the desired level.

Commercial AC

However, an HVAC unit is also just like its regular AC counterparts, at least in the sense that this type of climate control system also requires a certain amount of servicing and periodic maintenance in order to ensure that the entire system is able to remain as fully functional as it was on the day it had first been installed. In the rare event that the system starts malfunctioning, then you will have to call in the experts at Norwalk CA HVAC Repair. These highly skilled experts will perform a series of steps to ensure that your system is back to normal again. Some of these steps include the following:

Changing the filters

The air filters in your HVAC system are your very first line of defense against different types of bacteria, pollutants, pollen grains, germs, and many other types of highly noxious air contaminants. Apart from that, clogged and dirty filters can more often than not force the system’s compressor to work overtime. This will lead to markedly higher energy bills and will also create a bigger ecological footprint. Yes, swapping old and worn out filters with new high efficiency, pleated air filters can be pretty expensive. But as the good people responsible for Norwalk CA HVAC Repair will tell you, these new filters are well worth the price since they will protect your family from various diseases, allergens and inflated energy bills.

Norwalk CA Heating Repair

Apart from furnaces, there are many great heating options available to the discerning consumer. Some of them include heat enabled split AC units that do not require a furnace to operate but can effectively ensure that your room remains as snug and warm as you want it to be so that you are able to sleep in comfort. However, should such an AC or HVAC unit malfunction, then it will be time to call in the leading experts at Comfort Time for Norwalk CA heating repairs. These great professionals will have your system up and running in no time at all.

Norwalk CA Furnace Repair

Theoretically speaking, there are myriad different reasons due to which your furnace might need extensive repairs and the attention of professionals at Comfort Time in Norwalk CA Furnace Repair. However, there are a few common reasons that we can check out in order to understand the whole process a bit better.

A Faulty Thermostat is Often the Culprit

If your thermostat is on the fritz, then the chances are that you will most certainly experience a certain level of discomfort wherever your heating system has been installed. A malfunctioning thermostat will turn itself off at odd times or switch on the fan when it is not supposed to do so.

Thermostat

Here it is pertinent to add that the faulty thermostat is one of the most common reasons due to which the furnace might run between the on and off cycle a whole lot quicker than it is supposed to do so. Not only will it leave you cold and shivering, but the whole system might also break down completely. This is the part where you will certainly require a helping hand from Comfort Time’s professional furnace repair services who know the nitty gritty details of Norwalk CA Furnace Repair in order to get your climate control system right back on track.

The Pilot Light Is Not Working Properly

If the pilot light is not working or the system’s ignition is faulty, then the chances are that it will prevent the furnace from starting in the very first place. There are many reasons due to which either of these issues can come to pass, ranging from thermocouple problems all the way to sudden drafts or clogs in the furnace.

The Furnace Is Too Old

All mechanical and electronic devices have a certain service lifespan. And with the passage of time, these appliances reach the end of their service life, regardless of how well maintained they may have been in all the years they were functional. Eventually, there will come a time when simply replacing the thermostat and the filters or even the pilot light, will be of little use and the furnace will continue to give issues and problems. There is a very simple reason behind it.

The appliance has quite simply been worn down to its old mechanical bones and will just simply have to be totally replaced.

Along with being a general contractor, Comfort Time also offers furnace repair services. They will help you figure out what is wrong and how to fix it without having an expert come into your home or spend thousands on repairs if we can avoid that cost altogether!

We will also install the unit at your home or workplace so that you will not have to worry about it again.

At the end of the day…

In the light of the above discussion, we can easily see that the repair, installation, service and maintenance of any AC, HVAC or even simple heating furnace is not a task that should be taken lightly or entrusted to any novices who are just in this field to make a quick buck.

This is why you need to only hire the most experienced and skilled professionals who will be able help guide your way towards repairing or replacing any heating & cooling systems. This way, there’s complete peace-of mind for all those AC worries!

Most Common Installation F.A.Q.

Most Common Installation F.A.Q.

I’m thinking about replacing my HVAC system and don’t know where to start.

We recommend you start local with a Google or Bing search and find an air conditioning and heating company that is within 10 to 15 miles of your home. Finding and using a local HVAC company will pay off in the long run if and when you ever have problems or need service during peak seasons. Some HVAC companies advertise farther then where they usually service during slower seasons to stay busy, but when peak season comes, they are usually understaffed to handle your issue in a timely manner.

 

What to look for in an air conditioning installation company

The first thing you should always look for when hiring a HVAC company to install or replace your air conditioning and heating system is make sure that they are licensed, bonded, insured. There are many handymen or people moonlighting as contractors that will install air conditioning systems that are not licensed. The easiest way to look for someone’s license is through the California State License Board. They have an easy to use search function on their website. You can also find contractors that you have ready researched and run their license. In California the classification to install, repair, or replace air conditioning and heating systems is called a C20 classification.

As for the insurance you should ask to see a physical copy of it. Just because your HVAC contractor tells you that they have it, you should still verify that it is current and will cover your Project.  The standard is a one-million-dollar policy per occurrence, which means your job or project will be covered for 1 million dollars if anything might go wrong. Liability insurance is more important than the contractor’s surety bond. Most contractor surety bonds are typically only rated for $10,000.

Liability insurance works well to cover any issue you might have and if you’re really concerned with the contractor or to give you the extra peace of mind you should be able to ask them to add you to the policy and ask for a certificate for your project directly.

 

What to look for in an air conditioning installation company – Pictures of projects

A picture can say a thousand words but when it comes to home air conditioning and heating projects you should examine them closely so that you can see the workmanship the contractor will be doing for your home. Knowing what to look for in the pictures is something that can be subjective to every home owner and every contractor.

The best advice we can give you when looking at pictures of HVAC systems that the contractor you are considering has installed is to make sure that they lineup with the standards that you have for your own home. If they’re presenting these pictures with pride as examples of jobs they’ve done in the past consider if they measure up to your own standards and expectations if your home was the one being used as the example.

What to look for in an HVAC installation company – Reviews

A review to every HVAC contractor and home service provider can be the biggest asset to the company or their biggest liability. When you research a company to come to your home and install a heating or air conditioning system you want to get a couple sources for reviews like Google and Yelp.

You may find that many companies lean on only one review website more than others. They might only have 20 reviews on Yelp but 150 on their Google Business Listing so it is worthwhile to check multiple sources. This will allow you to really see the values and culture that a company has. When looking at reviews you also will want to read them thoroughly rather than just skimming through the star ratings.

How to find and air conditioning and installation company – The equipment brand they represent

Most air conditioning and heating companies will only use 1 or 2 manufacturer’s equipment. The biggest factor when deciding what manufacturer’s equipment to use is the location of the distributor they buy from. When you shop around for contractor bids you will find that they will usually all sell the same equipment because they all buy from the same local distributor.

If you have a specific brand you want, you should look at the manufacturer’s dealer locator to find the closest company around. With the manufacturers dealer locator, it is very common that you will see big holes in geographic coverage and the biggest reason is there are no distributors of that brand close enough. Most small HVAC companies will not want to drive 50 miles away to pick up a specific brand and bring it all the way back to your home for installation.

How to find the best air conditioning company to install your system – Does a brand name really matter

First off there is only 4 major manufacturers that produce air conditioning and heating systems: Lennox, Rheem, Carrier, and Trane. These 4 major manufacturers will re-label, re-paint, and rebrand equipment to their partner’s brands, the same exact units coming off the same assembly line.

For an experienced HVAC contractor to tell you there’s a difference between a Bryant and a Carrier, or Rheem and a Ruud, or a Lennox and Armstrong, he is lying to you because its exact same unit. What really matters is how the equipment is installed.

Getting the best air conditioning – The value of a good installation

Whether you go with any brand you choose when installing a new air conditioning system, it’s all about how it’s put in your home. There are many studies that have been done by companies like PG&E that found bad installations as the leading problem when it comes to reliability and performance of HVAC systems.

So how do you stop that from happening to your home and make sure that your contractor is doing what he needs to do to make sure your system is running at peak performance. Make sure they have a quality control system in place, something as simple as a checklist when they’re done with every project to review that they didn’t miss anything.

That may sound obvious that it should be done but most air conditioning contractors still have the mentality of just changing out boxes for your home. A good quality contractor is going to show you their checklist or a form they fill out or something that helps them keep track of all the steps and tasks that need to be done for a quality installation.

Getting the best installation for your home – The importance of permits and why you should always ask for them

Getting permits is the most important aspect of any large home project that you want done. Whether you use a small local air conditioning company or a large corporation to do your installation you should always get a permit for your HVAC project. There are many ways a contractor can cut corners when they don’t do the job properly. Getting a permit doesn’t always guarantee you will get the best quality installation, but it does guarantee your home won’t burn down if they met the minimum requirements.

In California there’s a lot of things that can happen when you pull a permit. One thing is the county or city will not release a permit to someone that is not licensed with the State of California to install air conditioning systems. Secondly before the city or county inspector comes out to the home there needs to be a 3rd party that comes in and verifies that the system is performing to the California State Standards.

This third party ensures that your system is running close to the manufacturer specifications. They will also ensure that there’s a low amount of duct leakage so that you’re not heating and cooling your attic and that your system has a correct amount of the refrigerant in it.

The third party will also perform a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) test to verify that the system is installed to California state standards as well as local municipal standards. The cost of permits will usually range between $300 to $800. The fee for the third-party inspector will also usually fall within $250 to $350 for all the performance tests and verification. In the long term if you’re looking at cutting costs with any contractor do not start with cutting out the permits, it will cost you more in the long run.

 

Financing your air conditioning and heating system

Getting financing is easy if you are considering getting a heating or cooling system for your home. Most people dread the unexpected cost that can pop up if they are thinking of replacing or installing HVAC systems in their homes. Financing makes it easier to afford a large investment like a home HVAC system, letting you spread out a potentially large purchase, sometimes up to even $20,000 for a top of the line installation, over several months or years.

The biggest things you need to look for though when you use financing for a home air conditioning system is the terms. Most financing companies offer a variety of options to pay for the air conditioning system. Some of the most common ones are no payments or no interests plans for a certain amount of time or low interest low payments for a given amount of time.

The most important thing to know about these promotional plans is that they require you to pay on. Failing to make a payment or making a late payment will often result in you having to pay the interest on the entire amount financed rather than just the balance. For example, if you have 36 months no interest equal payments plan, and you are late on the payment on your 34th month you’ll be paying interests on the entire amount financed rather than just the balance. Financing makes it more affordable but also requires you to keep up with all the payments.

 

Finding the best air conditioning heating system contractor – Why does the cost vary with every contractor?

When getting estimates for your home air conditioning system you might find that some contractor prices vary wildly from one to the next among HVAC contractors in the same area. The biggest reason the cost varies from every contractor is not overhead but how they value their Company and Workmanship.

It really comes down to how the company is managed and operated. The low-price leader will usually have issues with quality of their installation because they’re in a situation where they don’t invest in growing their market and have no cushion to fall back on making them desperate for another job as soon as possible just to stay afloat.

A company that has a good business model will be more expensive than the low-price leader consistently, but the benefits of this is having a company that’s going to be around 10 years from now when you need them to honor their warranties. The higher quality contractors will also take the time needed to install your system properly.

When you think about installing or replacing a system like your heating or cooling remember that this is something that should work well and efficiently for 20 years. It is a long-term investment in your home that you want done correctly the first time even if it’s a bit more upfront, the higher quality installation will end up saving you money over the years.

What really matters when it comes to choosing an air conditioning installation contractor.

At the end of day, it’s your decision on who you choose to install or replace heating and cooling systems. You can feel comfortable trusting this important part about home because they are experts in their field!

 

 

Give Comfort Time a call at (562) 245-9840 for all your heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration needs!
Our service area includes Downey, Hacienda Heights, La Habra, La Mirada, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, and Whittier.