“Can you give me a ‘ballpark’ price for a new heating and air conditioning system? Oh, and I won’t hold you to it”.

I am asked that question more than a few times each week. I often wonder if the person on the other end of the phone really expects to get a response that will be helpful to them.

They could call an appliance store to ask the price range for a toaster. A salesperson could provide a range of maybe $15.00 to $80.00. This is a product that is there – at the store, and no installation is required. You could call a sporting goods store and ask someone the price for a bicycle – maybe $120.00 to $2,500.00? That’s realistic and likely accurate.

But a heating and cooling system? Without seeing your home nobody can tell you what it would cost, with any accuracy. It just is not that simple! There are several things that someone would need to know in order to provide that information. Many things that a homeowner may not know about.

Are the refrigerant lines the correct size for a new high efficiency system? Is the electrical wiring from the electrical panel correct? What is the type and condition of the duct system? Was the current equipment sized properly for the house? Were the original windows replaced with new dual pane windows? Has insulation been added? Have there been any additions to the original house? Are there any new codes that are now in force since the original system was installed?

I think you see the problem.

The only way that an accurate price can be given is when someone surveys the home and can answer questions like those listed above, and more. Many of the ‘bottom feeders’ will gladly provide you with a low-ball figure over the phone in an attempt to get their proverbial foot in your door. But how will this benefit you?
It is truly an easy process to purchase a new air conditioning and/or heating system if you follow these simple steps:

  • Contact a reliable heating and air conditioning contractor. First, check them out with the California Contractors License Board, and then The Better Business Bureau.
  • Let them survey your home and make suggestions as to what equipment would be best for you and your home. There are many brands and different models from which to choose.
  • Allow them to explain the reasons for their recommendations.
  • Ask lots of questions. Any honest contractor loves questions.
  • Listen carefully to their answers.
  • Listen to their advice.
  • Don’t hire them unless you trust them to do a good job.

I would like to thank all of you who have sent e-mails, stopped by our Spooktacular booth, or attended any of our Homeowner Workshops. I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a healthy and prosperous 2007! The Workshops will resume next month after a much-deserved break during the holiday season. I would also like to thank all of the people at The North Valley Regional Chamber Of Commerce for their continual assistance and support.
For even more detailed information about heating and air conditioning, join us at our first Homeowners Workshop for 2007. It will be on Saturday, January 20th. Any questions will be addressed, so bring your list. There is no cost, so bring your friends, neighbors, and relatives. If you are interested in attending, call Alex at (818) 886-2600 to make a reservation, as space is limited. Join us for coffee and a snack for a couple of hours and you’ll take home some really useful information.

Jim Berry was a heating and air conditioning service technician prior to becoming a Sales Consultant for Kahn Air Conditioning. Kahn hosts free monthly workshops to help homeowners learn more about heating and air conditioning systems. For questions regarding heating or air conditioning, send an e-mail to
Jim at info@kahnair.com

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