Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Let's Do It!: The Step-By-Step Guide To Your Changeout

So you've had your estimate appointment, received your bid, and have weighed all your options and decided to go with Bailey's for your new heating and air system.  Congratulations!

Sometimes customers are unfamiliar with all the steps involved, so here's a handy write-up on the process, from start to finish.  We try to make the process as painless and easy as possible for you as we can, from taking care of your rebates and warranty registration, to applying for your permit and setting up the final inspection.

Step 1) Get it scheduled!  First things first, you'll need to let us know that you'd like to go ahead with the work.  You can contact your estimator directly by cell phone or e-mail if you'd like, but it's probably best to call the office directly at 209-527-4066, as the girls in the office will have the schedules right in front of us.  Depending on the equipment you've selected, we may need to verify that your unit is in stock at the warehouse, in which case, it's just a quick call to check and then we'll call you back to confirm your desired date.  At this point, you can decide how you want to handle the contract- sign and fax to the office, sign and scan and e-mail, come in to the office to sign, or choose to sign it on the day of, prior to starting the work.  You'll want to make sure to specify which option you're choosing, what additional work, if any, you'd like to authorize (zoning, etc.), and your method of payment- particularly so we know to apply discounts to your total, and because any financing will need to be secured prior to the work being done.  Remember to check on the total amount you're paying- with the exception of instant rebates through the manufacturer (Trane rebate, for example) or discounts through Bailey's, all rebates are dealt with through third parties and are not discounted from your total bill.

Remember when scheduling that someone over 18 will need to be there to let us into the home and to sign papework upon job completion, although they do not have to stay the entire duration if children need to be picked up or errands run.  If you are financing jointly (under a primary applicant and a co-applicant), both individuals will need to be present to sign the paperwork.  Similarly, if you qualify for any utilities rebates, the person in whose name the accounts are held will need to be present to sign the rebate applications.

Step 2) Get your home ready!  Your changeout includes ensuring the ducts are sealed to an allowable amount of leakage, so we will need to tape up all the registers to test the airflow.  Make sure there is access to all registers and vents without any obstruction.  Clear out areas where equipment is going to be installed, as well as pathways for transporting it.  If you have a rooftop unit, make sure the driveway or alley is open for the crane.  Our installers wear booties to protect your floors and carpets and will vacuum up any mess.

 Step 2a) Energy Upgrade California Pre-Test.  If your changeout is qualified for the PG&E Energy Upgrade California rebate (up to $2,500), this requires that a pre-test on home and duct leakage and energy expenditure be performed by a certified third-party.  You will be contacted by Danny Maez of Danny's Air Duct Testing (209-534-3888) to set up an appointment before the changeout to take the existing system's readings, which will then be used to calculate the improvements made with the new system, and thus the amount of your rebate.

Step 3)  Installation! Unless indicated otherwise, your install crew will arrive between 8:00 and 8:30 in the morning to get started.  Your estimator should have given you a time frame for job completion; most standard changeouts are completed in a day, with the installers finishing in the early afternoon (~3:00 p.m.).  On some occasions, there may be a little pick-up work that spills over into another day.  And don't forget that your changeout includes a duct sealing and duct test after all the equipment has been installed.  Once the equipment has been started up to check operation, payment is due, as was pre-arranged in Step 1.  Checks and cash can be given to the installers, and credit card payments can be processed over the phone with a call in to the office.  If you are financing, they will have papework for you to be signed- copies of which will be provided in Step 4.  Similarly, if you are eligible for any rebates, paperwork requiring your information or signature(s) should be filled out at this time for the office. 

Step 4) Quality Assessment. After your changeout has been completed, we will be calling to set up a QA (Quality Assessment) appointment.  Your quality assessor will bring out an information packet with all your paperwork, including the warranty that the office has registered on your behalf, owner's guides and manuals, copies of rebate applications that have been completed and sent out on your behalf, copies of financing papework, etc., etc..  This is the time for your questions: the assessor will inspect the job to make sure there were no oversights and explain the system's operation to you.

Step 5) HERS Rating.  Although we perform our own duct test on your new system, California's Title-24 compliance regulations require that at least one out of every five change-outs be tested by an independent, certified third-party HERS rater.  What this means for you is that you may or may not be contacted by Danny Maez of Danny's Air Duct Testing (209-534-3888).  The selection is made randomly and Bailey's has no control over who the lucky recipient will be, although if you are contacted, please respond in a timely fashion; it is not only your changeout, but at least four others' that are delayed when the HERS rater cannot reach a homeowner or tenant for testing.  The final inspections with your building department require this HERS paperwork to be on the job-site in order to pass.

Step 5a) Energy Upgrade California Post-Test.  Once again, if your changeout is qualified for the PG&E Energy Upgrade California rebate (up to $2,500), this requires a post-test to compare with the pre-test that was performed prior to your changeout.  The same rater, Danny Maez of Danny's Air Duct Testing (209-534-3888), will call to set up an appointment.  Remember- your rebate cannot be processed until this test is completed and the paperwork is sent to Bailey's, so timely scheduling is necessary to speed along the process.  Please note that those getting a pre- and -post test are exempt from Step 5.

Step 6) Final Inspection.  Once the HERS paperwork comes in, you are ready for your final inspection with your local building department, and the office will call you to set up this appointment.  All building departments only work Monday through Friday, with some additionally being closed or furloughed every Friday or every other Friday; weekend inspections are not available.  Similarly, virtually no building department allows time-of-day requests for inspections- rather, the inspection request is called in by Bailey's the day beforehand and the schedules are put together that morning, based largely on volume and location.  What this means for you is that a specific time slot cannot be guaranteed- requests may be denied (and occasionally on when understaffed or there is a high volume of inspections, rolled over to the next day).  Inspectors typically offer a semi-flexible window of a few hours (or, depending on some, may be simply "morning" or "afternoon").  Please keep this in mind and schedule for a day when any time window will be acceptable.  Excessive missed appointments may result in fines to the homeowner, as will letting a permit expire (requiring a new permit to be issued, along with a permit fee).  Even if you have a rooftop package unit or a condenser-only changeout, you will still need to be home; some inspectors have a policy of not coming onto the property if nobody is home, and others require checking on the presence of carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms inside your home.

Your inspection itself will be short- fifteen minutes at most- wherein the inspector will look over the job to make sure everything was installed up to building and health safety codes.  Bailey's will drop off the paperwork (a job-site copy of the permit and the CF-4R and CF-6R HERS paperwork) on the day of or the day beforehand; this should be given to the inspector.  Some inspectors carry ladders on their trucks, but most do not, so if you have a rooftop unit, we will also drop off a ladder for the inspection.  Please note that inspectors are not concerned with unit operation, ductwork and registers, airflow, thermostats, filtration, etc.- if you have questions on any of these aspects of your changeout, please contact Bailey's.  When the inspector is finished, you will have either passed or failed inspection, with a write-up of needed corrections if it failed.  Either way, the paperwork is yours to keep.  Bailey's is in contact with the building departments and will obtain a faxed copy of the correction notice, and then call you to set up an appointment for the corrections.  A re-inspection will need to be set up so the inspector can verify the corrections were taken care of.

Step 7) Spread The Word!  This step is voluntary, of course- but we hope you'll participate.  There are several ways to give feedback: you can leave an online review on a site like Yelp, the Yellow Pages, or Angie's List (if you're a subscriber).  If you chose Trane equipment, you will also receive an automated survey from Trane that we would appreciate you filling out.  And don't forget word of mouth- if you refer Bailey’s to someone who ends up using us for their changeout, we’ll give you a free year’s maintenance!

Step 8) Maintenance. Depending on what equipment was installed, you may have received a free year of our bi-annual maintenance program.  Though it may seem counter-intuitive to service a new unit, it's important to set up these appointments.  Equipment installed in the off-season (for example, air conditioners set in winter) need to be calibrated for refrigerant levels, something that is difficult to do properly until temperatures are higher.  Similarly, although rare, there are occasionally out-of-the-box warranty issues, and these should be detected and taken care of early on, before they become a problem or you exceed your one-year labor warranty.  And finally, your warranty's validity is contingent on the equipment being regularly maintained by an authorized service professional.  A warranty claim may be rejected by the manufacturer if the homeowner cannot provide proof of regular maintenance.  For all these reasons, we include a free year of maintenance on our newly installed equipment, though we hope you will continue to use us even after those two visits.  Once the weather warms up a bit or starts cooling down, we'll give you a call to set up the appointment to swing by and check things out.

So that's it- your changeout from start to finish.  Still have questions?  Give us a call at 209-527-4066 and we'll be glad to answer them!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Video: Testing a Limit

Every once in a while, Mitch likes to bring out the camera while doing on-the-job training.  Here, you can watch Chris demonstrating the proper way to test a limit or flame rollout switch with a voltmeter.

Limit switches are furnace safety switches that trip-open when they exceed the temperature that they are designed (this varies depending on brand, location, and type of switch inside the furnace).  Limits are designed to shut down the burners in case of a malfunction of the unit.  While some automatically reset (they open when the temperature they are designed for is exceeded and close when the temperature drops below the design temperature), others are manual reset (they open when the temperature they are designed for is exceeded but have to be manually reset or the unit will not operate).  When on a no-heat service call, limits are one of the first things we check, and during your heater maintenance, we will either manually trip and reset your limit to check that it's functioning properly, or use a temperature probe to check at what temperature your limit is opening.

So without further ado, click below to watch Chris demonstrate how to test a limit!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Welcome To Our Blog!

We would like to thank all our customers and welcome you to our new blog, a place where we'll be posting information, news, and tips to save you money on your heating and cooling.  Our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible while saving you money, and to help keep you educated and informed on the latest trends in HVAC and here at Bailey's.

Please feel free to leave comments with your thoughts or questions; we'll be checking the blog daily.  Watch this space for special offers just for you!