In Part 1: I described the sales and design process of my new HVAC system. In this installment I will attempt to elaborate on the installation process.
If memory serves me right, I signed an agreement on December 18th to have a new system installed. I was not expecting anything to happen until after the holidays. My only concern at the time was my creaky old furnace would give out again and leave us without heat. On evening of December 20 my friend called and said that he moved some stuff around and asked if it was OK that he send a crew out tomorrow at 8:30 AM. Fine with me, and my family I might add.
At about 8:20 the next morning a convoy of various late model, logo’d trucks and vans descended on my house like an invading army. At exactly 8:30 my friend knocked on the door and introduced me and my wife to the crew chief and his helpers. All of his employees were wearing clean, logo’d work shirts.
He took the time to point out to his crew that we had a new(ish) floor and a new kitchen that needed to be respected and that whenever anyone from his company was in the house they would be wearing shoe covers. He also instructed his crew, in front of me and my wife, to use moving blankets on any work areas, no tool was to touch the bare floor, and to leave any work area cleaner than they found it. Needless to say this is EXACTLY what my wife wanted to hear and I am sure his actions instilled a lot of goodwill and confidence with her.
I need to point out that this was a really tough retrofit job. Not only did they need to remove and install the bulky furnace from under the house but they also had to run new ducts, cut holes in the floor for new returns, run new thermostat wires, and replace the AC unit outside. By comparison, a retrofit for any type of low voltage project, which I am most familiar with, seems tame by comparison. I think the complexity and planning required the running of a 12″ duct compared to a 3/8″ wire can not be understated.
Once the introductions were done, my friend walked the job with me and his crew chief. He explained the basic design of the system (helped out by his software documentation package as mentioned previously) and then came up with A, B, and C location alternatives for the various thermostats, ducting, and other items that would be installed based on accessibility.
Since we would be without heat during this process he had one of his helpers bring up a bunch of portable heaters to the family room, on a blanket of course. Again, this made my wife and I glad that we had picked this firm to do this job. They were thinking about our comfort during this process.
I can’t say much about the actual installation, as I was out of the house most of the time, but they were there at 8:30 sharp every morning ready to work. Not ready to go get some coffee and breakfast. They brought their lunch each day and ate in the trucks. No wasted time going out to eat. It was clear that they were at the gate at eight ready to start working, not ready to start thinking about working.
On the third day I came home from work around 5:30 after the crew had left and I noticed that my house was nice and warm but I could not hear any noise. Previously, heat = noise. I checked out one of the floor vents and I was surprised to be enveloped by warm, almost sweet smelling air. Honestly, the first thing I thought about was a Maui breeze.
Just then the phone rang. It was my friend saying that the job was not finished but the heat was on and asked if it was OK for him to pull the crew off my job for a couple of days to deal with another emergency. Fine with me. The the next day was Christmas Eve and I was not expecting anything to happen until Christmas was over anyway. The important part was that he did what he had to do and immediately communicated what was needed in order to finish the job and when they would be back.
The rest of the installation was pretty uneventful, they came back on the 27th and wrapped up on the 28th. I am a pretty hands on guy and understand installation practices and quality of workmanship and it was clear that this was a highly functioning company. Everyone knew what they had to do, had the experience and documentation to do it, and the tools and supplies to get it done. No excuses about running out of stuff, or orders not showing up or red label shipping to the site.
They closed a deal, got all the parts together, and got in and out of my house as efficiently as possible. As a homeowner that is exactly what I wanted, do the job, do it right and get out. I hope they made a nice profit on the deal.
Next installment Part 3: The Result