Are heating & cooling estimates accurate when given over the phone?



Every single day at Hamstra Heating & Cooling, we get calls from customers who would like an estimate for new air conditioning equipment, and everyday at least one of those callers asks for a quote over the phone.  “Mr. Hamstra, I have a 15-year-old 5-ton Rheem A/C with a gas furnace located in a hall closet.  My home is 2,000 square feet and I have done my research, I want a 5-ton American Standard system.  How much?”  We really wish it were that easy, but it is not.

Our response to this question is always “anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000”.  Why such a big range?  Because there is that large a range of variables when performing a system replacement.

Here is a small list of reasons you should never accept a quote over the phone:

  1. We need to run a load calculation.  Even though the current system is a 5-ton, it does not mean it was properly sized originally.  Also, the home might have experienced changes since the original system was installed (new windows, added insulation, added addition, more internal heat loads like appliances, TV’s, computers, people).  All of these factors will effect the system size that the home needs.  The only way we can ensure proper sizing, which leads to better comfort, energy efficiency and longer system life is to visit the home, take all the proper measurements and run a computerized Manual J load calculation.
  2. A American Standard 5-ton may not be the best equipment for the application.  When it comes to brands of A/C equipment, not all 5-tons are created equal.  For example, a American Standard 5-ton machine has about 15% more cooling capacity than a 5-ton American Standard/Trane machine.  We also have the issue of physical unit sizes.  If the customer’s indoor furnace is located in a hall closet, we will have to come out to measure to see if a American Standard furnace fits the space.  It may be too wide or too tall.  We run into situations all the time where we have to install Brand X over Brand Y because Brand Y does not physically fit the space we have to work with.  A quality heating and cooling contractor, who is looking out for you, will make sure the brand of system they propose will indeed meet cooling capacity and will fit in your home.
  3. We cannot forget about the ductwork.  Again, a quality contractor knows that ductwork is a critical component of the system.  Any customer looking to get new air conditioning equipment should also be concerned with making sure their duct system is adequate.  If the duct is overlooked, a customer may get sold a high efficient 18-SEER unit that functions like a 13-SEER due to leaky ductwork.  It would be like putting a brand new Ferrari motor on an old Yugo chassis.  It is not going to deliver great results.  In order to deliver a proper solution, we need to inspect the system as a whole.  Not just focus on the box (equipment).

This list could go on and on, but these are the basic reasons the BUYER SHOULD BEWARE when a company willingly offers a quote over the phone.

Hamstra Heating & Cooling has been serving the Tucson area since November of 1983, as your full service heating, air conditioning and ventilation company.  We offer complete air conditioning installation, air conditioning repair, air conditioning maintenance and air conditioning service and tune-up. We offer heater and furnace installation, heating and furnace repair and heating unit maintenance and tune-ups. We also offer high-quality heating and air conditioning duct systems that are known for their quietness and performance.  We are proud to be Tucson and Southern Arizona’s exclusive provider of AeroSeal duct sealing, the most effective, affordable and viable method of sealing the central heating and cooling duct work for your home. In addition to duct sealing, we also sell duct system designs to builders, architects and other HVAC companies.

Need ac repair, or a new air conditioner installed? For prompt, professional help with all of your air conditioning, heating or ventilation needs,  please contact Hamstra Heating & Cooling today at 520-629-9833 or contact us here.

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