Understanding pricing in the HVAC industry can be a very confusing endeavor. After your contractor has performed the Manual J and determined the proper size unit for your home, it is time to start the discussion on the level of efficiency you want for your new system. Each level is set by the US Department of Energy in what is known in the industry as SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.
In simplest terms a SEER is like miles per gallon in your car. The higher the SEER the less the unit costs to operate, but the more it costs to install. All of this is regulated through very stringent testing by ARI for the US DOE. For a piece of equipment to be available for sale in the US it must be ARI rated and approved. You may have bids that are significantly different. One bid may be for $4,000 on a 3 ton unit and one may be for $9,000 on a 3 ton unit. Why the difference?
The $4,000 unit:
- It is more than likely a non rated 14 SEER.
- The contractor does not carry the proper limits of general liability or workers comp (allowing a contractor to work in your home around natural gas and high voltage without the proper insurance coverage opens you up to enormous personal liability.)
- The technician has limited installation experience. (Perhaps even trained by watching YouTube Videos.)
- The unit carries the minimum warranty.
- 24/7 customer service, especially after hours for warranty problems, is usually non-existent.
The $9,000 unit:
- The unit will be ARI tested and SEER rated.
- The company has been in business for many years, with high customer satisfaction ratings.
- Highly trained, expert installers.
- The company carries the necessary insurance to perform the job without risk of personal liability.
- The unit will carry an industry leading warranty.
- The company will stand behind the product and warranty without issue.
Unfortunately, many families learn the hard way that the guy in a HVAC work truck who installed their unit for $4,000 will NOT show up after hours and fix a warranty problem; in fact many of them put warranty calls off as long as they can to save money, hoping the problem will simply resolve itself. The state of Texas mandates that whoever you chose to install your system MUST warranty the ENTIRE system, including all parts and labor for one year. Always choose a contractor that has the support staff to warranty your new system 24/7 for that first year.
At ETR we always treat that warranty call just like a normal service call and take care of you immediately. Our technicians are insured and have built a reputation of being highly skilled, honest, and professional. Give us a call today, so we can discuss your options for your HVAC project.