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another question for homeowners

I wou;ld suggest you contact your local energy supplier and ask if they or someone they know of conducts energy audits of residential homes. Once you have this information, have a energy survey of your home done and find out where you are loosing the most heat/ cooling dollars from your home.Then ,armed with this imformation ,contact reputable contractors -- the ones on this site are good or Dan would not let them list and have some quotes done. The estimate ,having been done by the energy people ,will allow you to ask questions you already have the answer to and you can judge the responses you receive from the contractors accordingly.

Jack Ennis Martin -- Hug your kids, they are here because of you ;no one else.
All the best.


  • John Ketterman
    John Ketterman Member Posts: 187

    Let's say you have two quotes. In both cases you have no idea what the contractor's technical verbiage means and whether he understands it himself; you have no idea who will do a better job; and neither will give you any savings guarantees although they are both assuring you that you'll save a whole whopping lot.

    So would you go with
    a) the low quote, or
    b) the high quote?
  • Brad White_63
    Brad White_63 Member Posts: 24
    Option C.

    Get three more prices from contractors who communicate. Do not use either a) nor b).
  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935
    so what do YOU do?

    given any circumstance, do YOU always pay more for something? when you have a choice, always a $50.00 bottle of wine over a $15.00 bottle?

    one dentist tells you, you have a cavity, one says the tooth is Ok, what do you do?

    one doctor says you need this medication, other says you need an operation, what do you do? third doc says 'well you have gotten two other options, I think you are fishing and wasting my time.

    why must the home owner believe YOU ,without the slightest doubt, you are their savor?
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Educate myself so I can make an informed decision. Sometimes I choose the lower price; sometimes the higher; sometimes I get more options; sometimes I change the entire scheme. And yes, I have done this frequently and continue to do so--not only for services but for equipment and combinations.
  • Stephen B. Eller
    Stephen B. Eller Member Posts: 10

    I agree with comment about finding a contractor who can commuicate. I hate it when a contractor treats me like I'm too stupid to understand what he's talking about. When I work on my house myself I do it with care. I try very hard to find a contactor who will do the same, but most seem just want to the job as fast and cheap as possible. I don't mind paying more for quality work, but it's hard to find.
  • David Sutton_6
    David Sutton_6 Member Posts: 1,079
    I know for myself

    That when i dropped all the fancy words and talked to the HO i a way HE can understand and of course if theres a couple they are both there never talk to one with out the otherthe amount of sale went up.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Brad and Mike

    I will have to agree with Brad, and Mike's answers on this one.

    As a consumer now days you Have to be educated about products you buy or you are leaving yourself wide open to a reaming.

    You as a contractor need to be able to sell your product to the consumer. Be able to communicate why your quote is the best for the money in DETAIL, what are you giving the consumer that others may not.

    If you can't do that then the easiest thing to do for the consumer is get more bids to see which ones are high balls, and low balls. Which does not mean they will end up with the best value.

  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    another thought re: Bob's question

    taking your example literally, you are describing a brain-dead customer. Assuming we're talking HVAC which involves serious money and consequences, no choice but to educate oneself. With knowledge you can ask questions which will elicit their degree of knowledge and attitude. I've met 3-4 contractors from the wall who obviously know their craft, even though they may disagree on a host of issues. If consumers know enough to ask for heat calcs and CO combustion tests, then more and more pros will start offering them.

    Whether I choose the high or low bid, I'm going to make it my business to know what I'm getting and what's necessary.

  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Exactly! An informed consumer is the BEST CONSUMER for a mechanical contractor who prefers (dare I say insists) upon efficiency, craftsmanship and quality materials.

  • Brad White_63
    Brad White_63 Member Posts: 24
    But sometimes (and it is a shame too)

    the home owner knows more than the contractor. All too frequently and both sides of the aisle know it. Still, that is what The Wall has done, raised the bar for both contractor and homeowner expectations.
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Consumers who educate themselves usually try to define the "best". When it comes to mechanicals, an educated consumer tries to differentiate between the "best" and "fancy" to judge value.

    In the hydronic world, "best" IS CHANGING and consumers who choose to educate themselves find AMPLE reason to believe this--both from manufacturers data AND from real-world experience.

    Unfortunately, many otherwise excellent mechanics are not changing with the times--they may use the "best" equipment at the request of the consumer, but the rest of their practices remain unchanged.

    THIS is the condition that puts an educated consumer in an extremly difficult position as they might actually know more about how use the "best" better than some mechanics!
  • Xc8p2dC_2
    Xc8p2dC_2 Member Posts: 150
    Ask questions

    and then judge thier response, if they are like Doctors and don't like to be questions, move on

    Trick questions are always good to [you know, the ones you know the answer too], but twist it to see if they are full of bull
  • scott inM.E.
    scott inM.E. Member Posts: 68
    Name brought up in warwick...

    Mike, speaking of best equipment last week at the viessmann two day seminar/class your name was brought up as an example of some pretty elaborite figures using a viessmann heating system, your famous.
  • KAG
    KAG Member Posts: 82

    This is a nother reason why the heating industry needs to push for license qualification. "Money and time is never spent on a bad education. You always learn something weather it is good or bad."
  • Plumb Bob
    Plumb Bob Member Posts: 97

    I may be the first mere homeowner to respond in this thread.

    The problem with "educate yourself" is that it is not easy. I have scientific training, and it took me a while and lots of posts before I figured things out. In college they didn't teach me the difference between static pressure and head, for example. You're not going to sell many boilers if you demand that all customers educate themselves first!

    The problem with "find another contractor" is that some contractors present themselves better than others, but it does not mean they will do a good job. We have a well-known HVAC company here, and the boss himself came to give a quote, and he was attentive to all my concerns and answered all my questions sincerely and articulately and gave lots of technical detail once he sensed that I could handle it. It was only after much more "education" that I realized that everything he said was bad advice. For example, he argued very sincerely that condensing boilers were not reliable. Also, I later heard that you never see him again once you sign the contract; others do the work.

    So what's a regular non-technically-minded homeowner to do? The only reliable thing in life, other than death and taxes, is that if you go with the lower quote, you'll shell out less money. The rest is a complete crapshoot.
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Doesn't everyone see the ordered simplicity in chaos?
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,279
    Just a thought

    When you buy something expensive and you are aware you don't know much about it, you hire someone objective who does. You get a home inspector or two to look over the house you are considering. Or, you get a mechanic to take a peek under the hood of a "pre-owned" car. Perhaps a "heating consultant" could help here. As a minimum, that would be a respected heating contractor who would be hired to provide guidance and NOT the physical work.

    I suspect there are lots of guys out there who know the heating field very well, but have worn out their bones doing it. Consulting could be a good fit for them and cost effective for the homeowner.

    Yours, Larry
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514

    You did the very things a homeowner needed to do. You listened, questioned,researched, and decided that the contractor inquestion was not giving you what you wanted.

    Also you bring another very good point to light....The contractor that will be there after the job is completed.
    You obviously asked around, and found this not to be so.

    This is not an easy challenge, but if you want the best value for your buck it needs to be done. Its the way the world is today. No different than any other product you buy.

This discussion has been closed.