How to Get the Best Furnace & AC Installation, Service and Price
We’re going to share our knowledge, with over 20 years of being in business, on how to ensure you get a great deal on a new furnace or AC unit and safeguard against being taken advantage of.
First, it’s important to realize any company installing a new furnace or AC needs to make some profit. Realistically they have to pay for their employee(s), their vehicle, tools and equipment, business license and insurance and shop (or mortgage if working out of their garage).
An HVAC company must also pay for the HVAC equipment, being installed, and the parts needed for any given project. In other words, you’re not going to find someone, other than a friend or family member, who will do the work without needing to make some profit.
How Can Some Companies Offer $1000 or MORE Off the Purchase Price?
If all HVAC companies pay the same amount of money to a manufacturer for a specific furnace or AC unit (the same model and brand) it seems impossible that a large saving on a sale price could be plausible. It is.
Here’s how it works: The original price for a new furnace or AC unit, included on the quote for all other parts and labour is increased by $1000 or more to allow for the lower sale price.
What About Companies With a Lower Overhead
It is true that a large HVAC shop with multiple employees would justifiably have a larger overhead than a guy starting a company out of his garage. The standalone operator could theoretically offer a lower price. This is in fact quite common.
If the new company completes a proper install, reduces labour charges, and provides quality parts and equipment you may get a great deal. However, you must realize you are still taking a risk.
Starting a new company presents many challenges, and in fact, you can Google how many new companies go under in one year. To be fair, it’s not impossible for a new company to succeed, but it’s also not easy.
When you are buying a new furnace or AC unit you want to make sure the warranty will be covered if ever anything goes wrong with the equipment or installation. If you have a new HVAC unit in need of repair and the company who installed it goes out of business - the LABOUR WARRANTY WILL NOT BE COVERED. This information is clearly stated on every manufacturer’s warranty notice for customers.
How to Choose a Reputable HVAC Company
You can safeguard against a disreputable company by conducting a simple Google Search and look at their reviews. You can further increase your odds of choosing a reliable HVAC company by looking at companies with at least 200 reviews.
Here’s a scenario we have seen over the years - and it’s one you’ll be able to prove when shopping and looking for quotes.
It’s the middle of winter and your furnace unexpectedly breaks down on the weekend at an ungodly hour. You call the installer, the new business operator, and he doesn’t answer. This is not unusual because after all, everyone needs rest and time off now and then.
In the winter HVAC companies are very busy. Furnaces can run almost continually on cold days and are susceptible to breakdown or failure. These are the times when you will thank yourself for choosing a company that has multiple employees who are on-call 24/7 365 days a year.
Oh yeah - how to prove the scenario we describe? Call the company, you received a low quote from, on the weekend in the middle of the night. If the phone is answered you may be getting a good deal.
Everything Looks Comparable and The Price They Quoted is Still Lower
A (significantly) lower price quote is still possible if you can’t confirm what you are being quoted. Let me explain.
You have to make sure you are comparing apples to apples and NOT apples to rotten oranges. Compare the same furnace or AC unit brand and model with other quotes from a number of companies. Like anything you shop for, make sure you know exactly what you’re buying.
If you were buying a new car and compared the 2023 Mitsubishi (Mirage $16,245) to the 2023 Audi (A1 $34,250) you are shopping for the cheapest model of each manufacturer. The prices are decidedly different and I’m sure you can understand there is a difference in quality which can justify, for many, the disparity in cost.
Make sure your quote is the apple you want and not a rotten orange you weren’t expecting.
Installation and Parts of Furnace or AC Unit
Another technique an unscrupulous HVAC company can use to offer lower prices is to over-promise and under-deliver. Of course this is difficult for the uninitiated to understand or discern on a quote so let’s use one simple example.
A hole on the outside of your home is needed to connect the outdoor unit to the furnace inside your utility room. You need the proper thermal thimble around the AC piping going through the wall to protect against outdoor air, and elements from entering your home. One could save money by simply siliconing around the piping and hole. Over time the silicone will harden and shrink causing cold air in the winter, and bugs in the summer to enter your home. You saved money but created a new problem in the future.
Above is just one of many examples of how to reduce cost to lower a quoted price. So how to guarantee you are getting the installation you need?
Find a couple of reputable HVAC installers - using the technique described above under the heading, "How to Choose a Reputable HVAC Company”. Get a written quote on a new furnace or AC installation.
Once you have one or two written quotes have the company (with the lowest quote) match or beat the written quote you received from the reputable companies. REMEMBER: The lowest quote must be in writing. This is the only legal protection you’ll have, if needed down the road. A verbal quote is as worthless as the paper it’s written on.
It’s not easy or fast to get a great deal on a new furnace or AC but it is easy to be taken advantage of. It's your worth effort to do things right if you want to protect yourself, your money and your investment.