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Drama of having a new A/C installed
Old 06-12-2018, 07:30 PM   #1
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Drama of having a new A/C installed

Since we have moved to our country home and sold our city home . We decided to replace our A/C unit . The old unit was a monster noisey PTAC . We went to a 2 ton mini split . You can buy mini splits pretty cheap and they are very efficient . So I start getting quotes Huntsville from Huntsville first guy whines and settles 4900.00 . We call a friend of ours out of the Woodlands. He quotes a Daiken turn key 3200.00 . So the first guy calls back and I mouth off . No this other guy is doing it for 3200.00 . So the 3200.00 Guy calls and says he cannot install our A/C ? Rather then argue we walk away. I find a small company out of Houston 2800.00 on a Chigo But they back out not enough profit to drive out of the city. So I try the orange guys HD . I get one of their brochures and call them , they hook me up with two installers . I ask both of them I know the unit I want so do I buy it from HD and you install it . NO ! we do not use HD products they are junk! You must use what we use American Standard ! They both quote 4800.00 . This went on for 3 weeks finally I go to Navasota I get a tip at the hardware store who to try . A very big company and well respected 2 tons Trane fully installed 3200.00 . The last guys said in the Conroe area there is a lot of price fixing . They all quote the same prices from Huntsville to The Woodlands . I can't believe this but it sure seems this way! I think my original 3200.00 guy got a threatening call.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:34 PM   #2
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I had a 5 ton Trane variable unit installed.... got a number of quotes and there was a difference in them all... not a big % difference than what you said (1/3rd) but not the same...


I went with the people who redid my duct work... their bid was low on that and they did an excellent job... the AC was about $100 higher than the lowest... when I mentioned this to the guy he said I would be surprised how many people will not pay an extra $100 to get good service...
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:55 AM   #3
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We replaced our 18 YO HVAC split system (AC/furnace) last spring. It was still working, but I'm not a fan of household emergencies arising from lack a of PM. Anyway, all of our bids were very competitive. We went with the company where the sales guys explained several possible issues that might cause extra charges (replacing faulty lines, attic door too small, etc). We incurred no additional charges. Their bid was also the lowest. However, the distinction was letting us know there were things that might happen during the install. The other companies just tooted their horn about how great they were. I've heard that wind blow once or twice before...

Also, labor is very tight right now, and doubly so for skilled labor. I would avoid lower cost options. That Chuck in a truck might turn out to be Chuckie.
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:58 AM   #4
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Are the mini split and other systems mentioned heat pumps? I presume that is a good option in TX.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:35 AM   #5
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Are the mini split and other systems mentioned heat pumps? I presume that is a good option in TX.



Mine is not a heat pump.... I have gas heat and it is cheaper than a heat pump from what I understand... however, there are many articles that say the opposite....
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:10 AM   #6
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The HVAC is a very misunderstood business. In bigger cities, the HVAC manufacturers have purchased most all HVAC businesses. Only one major Atlanta HVAC contractor is independently owned. My buddy in Memphis that did all of FedEx hub air systems also sold to a large HVAC manufacturer.

Forget about getting objective opinions and competitive prices. The larger HVAC companies have salaries, workman's comp, insurance and other overhead like salesmen, trucks, fuel, etc. to pay. They have to get large profit margins just to break even.

We use an independent HVAC contractor that is just himself. He is so much less expensive than the big contractors, and I consider myself fortunate to have him. HVAC guys are all comfortable installing mini split systems--the future of HVAC worldwide.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:48 AM   #7
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The HVAC is a very misunderstood business.
Indeed. If you can find a good independent small HVAC service company, they will offer the best service and price.


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. . . . split systems--the future of HVAC worldwide.
Hmmm. They developed largely as an answer to a European/Asian situation (a large stock of existing homes built with no forced air ducting and no good way to retrofit that ducting). Mini-spilts can be a good answer to some niche situations in the US, but it is generally impractical to use them to supply conditioned air to every habitable room in a home, as is commonly done with a ducted system. Having a home with 8-15 separate evap coils, control units, fans, drains, plus the outside condenser would be very expensive and a full employment program for HVAC service folks. The single outside condenser and singe inside air handler (maybe two in a 2 story home) of a typical ducted system is a good, serviceable, practical approach for the vast majority of present homes and new construction.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:26 AM   #8
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A better option but one that is not accepted by builders and HVAC guys is to put the evaporator unit outside with the compressor and duct the air from there into the attic for distribution to the rooms. The high heat and thermal shock from the evaporator unit going from hot to cold in a couple seconds cause problems. Especially the way they are built currently. I just had to replace my 3 YO evaporator unit due to leaking.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:50 AM   #9
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Well my beef was the A/C guys in a certain area were dollar per dollar the same . Once out of the area the price dropped . Also Home Depot sells A/C units and advertises Pro installers but their installers refuse to use a unit purchased from HD , one installer calling HD's A/C units Junk.
My installer of the mini split was great , was done in 3 hours the unit is incredible , the unit is a heat pump with an inverter . The unit actually adjusts to the size of your home . Cooling and Dehumidifying . I am sold on the MS systems LG has one that a picture frame is your inside unit. My unit is a Trane 22000 BTU 24 Seer 10 year warranty on all parts . The installer gives a 10 year warranty on installation. I believe the MS is the way of the future . Understand a few new homes are being built in College Station with the multi head mini splits.
One thing my sales rep told me NO manufacturer of A/C units offer more then 10 / 12 years . he said most packaged units last 8 to 12 years safely . But one day when you are not expecting it will go .
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:43 AM   #10
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Well my beef was the A/C guys in a certain area were dollar per dollar the same . Once out of the area the price dropped . Also Home Depot sells A/C units and advertises Pro installers but their installers refuse to use a unit purchased from HD , one installer calling HD's A/C units Junk.
My installer of the mini split was great , was done in 3 hours the unit is incredible , the unit is a heat pump with an inverter . The unit actually adjusts to the size of your home . Cooling and Dehumidifying . I am sold on the MS systems LG has one that a picture frame is your inside unit. My unit is a Trane 22000 BTU 24 Seer 10 year warranty on all parts . The installer gives a 10 year warranty on installation. I believe the MS is the way of the future . Understand a few new homes are being built in College Station with the multi head mini splits.
One thing my sales rep told me NO manufacturer of A/C units offer more then 10 / 12 years . he said most packaged units last 8 to 12 years safely . But one day when you are not expecting it will go .



I just do not believe that an installer would say ALL from HD are junk... just looked and you can buy Lennox, Carrier and Rheem from them... I have never heard anybody say Lennox is junk...
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:41 AM   #11
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This is a ploy , they want to sell the unit and install it . Just like a John Deere riding mower from HD . If you go to a JD exclusive dealer he will tell you the JD from HD is not the same as the same model number he sells.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:33 PM   #12
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This is a ploy , they want to sell the unit and install it . Just like a John Deere riding mower from HD . If you go to a JD exclusive dealer he will tell you the JD from HD is not the same as the same model number he sells.

Just as a point to this... years ago I did see a show on TV that showed that the jeans sold at a Wal-Mart were inferior to ones sold at a different shop even though they had the same model number (ie 401 etc.)...


Now I think they do have different model numbers or add something to the end to show it was specific to a big box... I do remember calling about a TV problem and the person said the last letter indicated it was from Sam's or Costco (cannot remember which)... I did not buy so do not remember...
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:46 PM   #13
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If a person is shopping for a unit with a lot of doo-dads (e.g. "smart" comms linked to the home router to allow real-time monitoring via smartphone of compressor bearing temperature, or whatever the latest gimmick is), then that type of technology is only available on the brands that heavily advertise. OTOH, if someone is searching for a SEER 12-18 unit that does the basics, there is little difference in performance or reliability between the major brands and models. All have scroll compressors made by the same company. All have evap coils made on the same few assembly lines. The major subcomponents are manufactured by the same suppliers to the same standards. The quality of the installation (proper brazing of the lines incl proper flushing with with N2, using a good vacuum pump with fresh oil and giving it time to bring things down to the 500 micron level, etc) will have a bigger impact on system reliability than the brand or model of equipment.

Some brands sell a high percentage of their units to builders, and these builders often do the installs with personnel who have minimal training and experience. Predictably, these installations often have trouble. That's not a reflection on the hardware.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:56 PM   #14
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I think it is a bunch of BS , as the salesman told me All Trane has a 10 year guarantee ...not by the installer but by the manufacturer . He said the manufacturer has an Insurance company that underwrites the warranty .
By the way when they un boxed my Trane I opened up the customer package and an American Standard decal fell out ! I told the installer I wanted Trane . He said wait a minute and reached into the package and pulled out a Trane sticker . Both have the same specs and both made in the same factory ……………………………..
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:07 PM   #15
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Jut been told out of the 50 or so name brand of A/C units they are all manufactured by eight manufacturers . The majority have the same compressors from either Mexico or China. All electronic components come from either Mexico or China . Don't worry about a well known name unit as much as a 5 star installer .
Lennox units built in Mexico , Carrier Korea , Trane built in Texas
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:25 PM   #16
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Years ago, we had some similar quoting. But a colleague at work told us her husband had his own HVAC company. Straight up quote and install at a reasonable price well below all the other quotes. That Trane system is still running strong (as expected) 13 years later.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:54 PM   #17
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I think it is a bunch of BS , as the salesman told me All Trane has a 10 year guarantee ...not by the installer but by the manufacturer . He said the manufacturer has an Insurance company that underwrites the warranty .
By the way when they un boxed my Trane I opened up the customer package and an American Standard decal fell out ! I told the installer I wanted Trane . He said wait a minute and reached into the package and pulled out a Trane sticker . Both have the same specs and both made in the same factory ..
Parts, not labor.

I paid extra for the 10 year labor warranty and am glad I did...
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:04 PM   #18
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I think you are going about it wrong. You should research the brand/system/size and then get quotes for the system you want. Starting with lowest price and not caring what brand/type/size is a sure fire way to get a mess.

Hard to follow, but I think you should do more research and find a reputable dealer or dealers and focus the discussion more on the right system and then the right price.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:28 PM   #19
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I'm confused. Did you already buy the unit and now having issues getting it installed? If not, look into Mr. Cool DIY mini-splits (in fact, Costco just had them at a great price). You can install them yourself or pay an able friend/kid etc to do it for you.

If you already bought the unit if your'e handy or know someone who is you can install it yourself then make a service call for the turn up process which requires pulling a vacuum on the lines to remove the moisture and then release the refrigerant. It's what I'd do...but then I DIY everything I can, I'm cheap. Actually no, I spend more on tools than most people on cars lol
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:42 PM   #20
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The HVAC is a very misunderstood business. In bigger cities, the HVAC manufacturers have purchased most all HVAC businesses. Only one major Atlanta HVAC contractor is independently owned. My buddy in Memphis that did all of FedEx hub air systems also sold to a large HVAC manufacturer.

Forget about getting objective opinions and competitive prices. The larger HVAC companies have salaries, workman's comp, insurance and other overhead like salesmen, trucks, fuel, etc. to pay. They have to get large profit margins just to break even.

We use an independent HVAC contractor that is just himself. He is so much less expensive than the big contractors, and I consider myself fortunate to have him. HVAC guys are all comfortable installing mini split systems--the future of HVAC worldwide.
Not in my big city. The distributors seem to have the upper hand over the manufacturers. The residential market is probably equally divided between small, medium, and large contractors, and there are too many little guys to count. The medium size guys are are tough to schedule and the big guys are $$$. Contractors just want to go to the nearest warehouse for whatever brand they prefer to use. The manufacturers don't seem to have much presence.
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