If you’re in the market for repairing or replacing your home’s HVAC equipment, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of trying to request price estimates over the phone or online. Minnick’s has over 65 years of experience helping Maryland homeowners evaluate their home’s HVAC issues. In that time, we’ve learned that the only way to truly solve the root issue for your heating and cooling system is to evaluate the entire home from the basement to the attic.

The purpose of this article is to explain why HVAC companies should refuse to give you a quote over the phone. We will also discuss the risk of working with companies who blindly provide phone estimates. It’s our goal that by providing this article, homeowners will be able to get accurate estimates that help them fix their HVAC units quickly at a fair price.

Finding the Underlying Issue

If you hear a strange noise coming from under your car’s hood, are you going to allow a mechanic to check it out before asking for a price? Or are you going to call and ask for a ballpark estimate to fix the strange noise you’re hearing?

The answer is more than likely the former… and the reason is that you know that noise could be from any of many parts under your hood. No one wants to pay for a solution without knowing if it’ll fix their problem. However, when you’re asking for HVAC quotes over the phone, that’s the risk you’re asking for.

Like your car, your home’s HVAC system is comprised of many individual parts that work together to keep everything functioning. There are so many factors that could be the cause for your HVAC issue, that you can’t determine the root problem without first inspecting the entire house. So, when you hear strange noises coming from your furnace unit, it’s no different than hearing that strange noise coming from under the hood.

Providing a Firm and Accurate Price Quote

If you received a price quote over the phone for a new furnace, the technician could arrive at your home and discover that the ductwork needs to be repaired first, or your equipment size may not be properly matched. Additional discoveries like these will affect the final price for your job.

When you allow your HVAC company a chance to inspect your home with their own eyes, you have the greatest chance of receiving a firm and accurate price quote. When HVAC contractors provide phone or online quotes, you’ll often receive a low price to schedule an appointment that increases based on the other variables that impact price. At Minnick’s we avoid this by only providing price estimates for homes we have seen. This way you as a homeowner aren’t wasting your time or having frustration build from variable quotes.

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Consequences of Blind Price Quotes

If you do decide to trust a price quote from an HVAC contractor who hasn’t inspected your home, you’re likely to run into some problems. The most likely consequence is a cost to repair that’s much higher than the initial quote you received. The final price for a lot of HVAC jobs are dependent on variables such as:

  • Type: There are three main types of HVAC systems. There are split systems, systems, ductless systems, and packaged heating and air systems. Each of these types of HVAC units has vastly different cost, required parts, and installation times. If you’re receiving a blind quote, the contractor is probably assuming you have a split system because they are the most common type. If you have a different type of system, it’s possible that the actual price may be higher than the quote or even worse…the contractor may not be able to service your type of system.
  • Brand: There are a lot of HVAC equipment manufacturers, and each brand has its own unique cost to install and repair. A Goodman brand AC unit can cost considerably less compared to an equivalent Carrier brand AC unit. If a contractor doesn’t ask you about brand when providing a quote, this should be a warning sign that your quote price may be subject to change.
  • Size/Capacity: A HVAC contractor must perform a Manual J Load Calculation to determine what size HVAC unit your home requires for proper heating and cooling. The importance of this is evident by the fact that 29 states mandate by state code for contractors to perform load calculations when installing or replacing HVAC equipment or ductwork. A Manual J Load Calculation measures your home qualities such as; square footage, the position of walls, and building materials. These qualities all affect how well your home can heat and cool itself. Without visiting your home to inspect these qualities, a blind quote is highly likely to have you installing the wrong size HVAC unit or ductwork.

Every Home is Unique

These are just a fraction of the factors that influence the cost for HVAC service jobs. As you’ve come to realize, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to your home’s HVAC system. Every home is unique in its heating/cooling needs, and any service to your HVAC system should be custom-tailored to your home.

Before calling another HVAC contractor for a price quote, remember that your home is a system and all its qualities need to be considered before repairing or replacing individual HVAC equipment.

At Minnick’s, we provide whole-home HVAC assessments to Montgomery County, MD; Howard County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; Anne Arundel County, MD; Baltimore County, MD; Baltimore City; and all surrounding areas.

Our goal is to make sure that we always solve for the underlying issue. That’s why we always quote jobs in person. Our $89 service call gives you an accurate assessment and price estimate for your home’s HVAC repair/replacement by trusted experts.

Call us at (301) 605-9112 or schedule an appointment online to receive your whole-home action plan.