Less Isn’t More (Part 3 – More Pointers From the Cat)
If you haven’t read parts 1 & 2, I highly recommend them (after all, I did write them). Reading them will give you context for part 3 – however, if you tend to be the obstinate type and wish to do things your way, the wisdom here will still transcend the boundaries of your stubbornness. Now, on with the show!
10 Things You Should Consider When Buying a Heating & Cooling System for Your Home:
· Good contractors have integrity – if you don’t feel you can trust the company and you don’t have confidence in what they are telling you, keep looking.
· Good contractors have your best interest at heart. They want to help you select the system that best meets your needs and budget.
· Good contractors care about quality. In doing a good job for you, they are hoping you will tell your friends and neighbors. Also, doing it right the first time is typically a more efficient way for the contractor to do business.
· Good contractors aren’t perfect (and they will admit that) – but they try to be.
· In buying new equipment, less than half of what you’re buying is the brand. As a general rule, you do want to stay with the major manufacturers that have been around for a long time – Bryant, Carrier, York, Trane, and Lennox, for example. However, poor installation practices and inferior installation materials will cause good equipment to perform poorly and fail early, so choosing the right company is critical. Also, choose a dealer that’s been around long enough to have a track record and has demonstrated they are serious about being in business.
· No matter which brand of equipment your contractor carries, it will eventually need repair. Ask your contractor if they have a service department (surprisingly, some don’t) and what kind of qualifications, experience and training their technicians have.
· Most all major manufacturers have the same policy – if you buy the equipment on the internet instead of from your local authorized dealer, the warranty is void. This is (for the most part) based on the fact that if it’s not sold (installed) by a trained authorized dealer, it has a high likelihood of being improperly installed. This leads to warranty claims that really aren’t the manufacturers fault. Trust me – they track where the serial number are shipped to. If they sell a unit to “Bob’s Furnace Emporium” in Maine, it’s not likely he installed it in the Willamette Valley.
· There’s an old adage in the heating and cooling business that has held fairly true over the years – the less it costs to install, the more it costs to operate (and vice-versa). It doesn’t always mean that spending extra to buy the highest efficiency system available pencils out (you contractor can help you with questions on operating costs and payback timeframes), but it’s usually prudent to discuss different system types and cost of operation with your contractor before you buy. My advice is buy the one that keeps the cat happy, regardless of the cost (you can’t put a price on my comfort).
· The lowest price is not always the best deal. It’s a fact that an improperly installed heating system has the potential to kill the occupants of the home (including the family cat). Why is it that when we talk about the family’s health and safety, we want the best heart surgeon (or vet), the car with the best safety record and air bags, and we’ll spend money on fitness equipment and fitness center memberships, but we look for the lowest price for a heating system and never check out the training, reputation or history of the person /company that has the biggest day-to-day impact on our families health and safety in our own home?
· Finally, a bit of personal wisdom. If you like being scratched – purr, don’t bite. In human terms, be the kind of customer you would want to deal with if you owned a business – try and put yourself in their shoes as you deal with them. You’d be surprised how much more pleasant and less stressful any situation will be if you take that to heart.
Wow! Sometimes I even amaze myself.
Check back here regularly for more “Pointers from the Cat”. And bring kitty treats when you come.