(Or why spending a little more and getting the right job is the true bargain!)

Money BagTimes are tough right now and sadly, our economy doesn’t show tremendous signs of improvement just yet.

  • So… do we blame people for wanting to get their money’s worth? Absolutely not!
  • Do we think that consumers might make the wrong decisions when gathering prices for larger ticket home improvements? Unfortunately, we do!

Many homeowners feel that

  1. The best price is the cheapest price.
  2. Quality doesn’t count.
  3. Shortcuts are acceptable.
  4. It won’t be their problem, they’re moving anyway!

Often homeowners wait and replace heating systems just prior to listing their home for sale with a realtor because they feel a new furnace or boiler will help seal the deal. And, it very well may…but why a homeowner would want to reap the benefit of comfort and possible lower energy costs is a question for which we’ve yet been able to find an answer.

Here are a few tips we feel are important and should be considered when embarking on a heating system replacement and choosing the right heating contractor:

  • Get references from family, friends and neighbors who have successfully completed the process and ask them ‘If you had to do it over again, would you choose the same heating company?’
    • If the answer is yes, this may well be a good, strong recommendation
  • Ask for licensing information from the contractor…
    • Homeowners are often surprised at this suggestion. They often feel a replacement system wouldn’t merit these requirements as you’re replacing the item with an exact or like model.
      • Aha…all the more reason to choose your contractor wisely. The average homeowner doesn’t know to ask that his or her house be properly sized.
      • Don’t assume the sizing or the existing equipment is correct.  It may be undersized and therefore never heat your home properly or worst yet, oversized so that  your house will never be comfortable and your energy costs will  be exorbitant
  • Make certain your contractor will take out required permits and make provisions for building department and code official inspections
    • Often homeowners are fearful that this process will result in higher real estate taxes, when in actuality it’s for your protection
    • At some point should you sell your home, this lack of permit and inspection will cause trouble that can easily be avoided by doing the right thing
  • Ask for a Certificate of Insurance…
    • Again, adequate coverage is an assumption many homeowners make. Be wise.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions…
    • Be sure to share problems or the dissatisfaction that you might have with your existing system. Sharing these details may resolve previous issues and create a more comfortable environment for you and your family
  • Respect the contractors’ time and expertise

Unfortunately real estate experts have created a ‘formula’ to help their potential clients feel at ease in listing or selling their homes. Often they suggest getting multiple estimates and choosing the middle or least costly. When asked why, they are unable to respond. This creates frustration in the marketplace. Your local heating contractor wants to be able to make a presentation to showcase his/her expertise. You wouldn’t choose medical care in such a casual manner, would you?

The old adage, you get what you pay for comes to mind.
Quality work commands a higher associated cost.

Lower quality work often brings forth multiple problems making the lower price an imaginary price.

Problems that rear their heads after a low cost installation has been completed may find your contractor nowhere to be found.

Did you get the “BEST” price?

More importantly, did you get the “RIGHT” installation?

Bonnie Bornstein Fertel is co-owner of Bornstein Sons, Inc., along with her husband, Richard Fertel. Bornstein Sons is a 3rd Generation Family owned and operated business providing Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Solar and Electrical repair, maintenance and installation services in northern and north central New Jersey.

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