Ductless System Installation (Podcast)

At Cape Cod Heat Pumps, the team works closely with clients to make installation as seamless as possible. In this podcast, the owner Jared Grier walks you through what to expect before, during, and after ductless HVAC installation.

John Maher: Hi, I am John Maher, and I’m here today with Jared Grier, owner of Cape Cod Heat Pumps, an HVAC contractor in Marston Mills, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, specializing in ductless heating and cooling technology and focused on detail, quality, and professionalism. Today we’re talking about ductless system installation. Welcome Jared.

Jared Grier: Thanks, John. Glad to be here.

How to Choose a Ductless Installer

John: Yeah. So Jared, how do you go about choosing the right ductless installer?

Jared: Yeah, there’s a lot to that question. This is quite frankly a really large decision for a majority of our customers. These can be substantial purchases. Oftentimes, these can be one of the top purchases that a customer will make in their lifetime beyond a vehicle, home, and maybe their education. These systems don’t necessarily have to be expensive, but they also are not necessarily inexpensive either.

And it’s also one of those choices that you don’t make very often, you’re not replacing your heating system every year or a couple of years, this is a once every 20-year, 30-year decision to be making. So we always encourage our customers to do their research, do the research about who would be doing their work, what they’re even looking for, making sure that the contractor is properly licensed, checking any sort of training or affiliations they might have. Us, we’re an LG rep platinum dealer. What that means is we really know this equipment, we know it inside and out. We constantly are having trainings with all of our technicians in LG.

The other thing to think about is after the installation, who’s going to maintain and service this equipment? Nowadays, we have a lot of people that will be putting this type of equipment, and we have a lot of plumbers, we have a lot of electricians, and I’m not here to say that they can’t do an installation and do a good job of it, but oftentimes they’re not tooled up or have the expertise on what it’s going to take after the installation to both maintain and service that equipment. So we encourage our customers to look at these as a holistic approach that not only who’s going to offer you the best product, the best service now, but also down the road.

One thing that we’re doing here at Cape Cod Heat Pumps is we’ve created the Cape Care Plan. The Cape Care Plan is our maintenance plan that we offer our customers, we offer it to every single one of our customers. What we’ve done to make it even easier for those customers is it’s a monthly plan. So it’s going to be similar to a gym membership that each month we’re going to charge your credit card and when it’s time due for your maintenance, we’re just going to give you a call and you tell us when you’re available and we come out there, and then you can go about using your system again. So really looking into the contractors, asking the right questions, doing your research, reading reviews online, and then again, just asking what that contractor, not only what they’re going to do for the installation, but after the fact is very important.

Red Flags to Avoid When Choosing a Ductless Installer

John: What are some of the things that you’ve seen in terms of maybe competitors or other people that are out there that maybe don’t think of their customers the same way that you do? Have you seen any issues?

Jared: Yeah. So here at Cape Cod Heat Pumps, I’ve got a drawer that’s just full of licenses. I’ve got my EPA license, I’ve got my journeyman sheet metal license, I’ve got my sheet metal business license, I’ve got my electrical business license. All these licenses are what I need to put this equipment in for you as a customer. So again, making sure you’re properly licensed, but also, again, asking those questions about if I’ve got a problem down the road, what are you going to be able to do for me?

We do have some competitors that don’t actually even have their own installation technicians, so they actually subcontract out that work, which is going to be really hard to control quality work when you’re just contracting it out, especially on a mass scale. But then even after the fact, once their one-year warranty is up, you’re on your own. And we’ve even had a couple of their customers give us a call and are looking for somebody to now service this equipment. So that’s definitely something that’s going to be really key in your research and you’re going to want to be asking those questions.

And another thing to look for is proper practices and procedures. We go out to the home, that other company I alluded to, they do virtual assessments. You cannot tell enough about that home through a virtual assessment or a phone call versus actually putting the boots on the ground. And so we’ll actually go out, we’re going to measure the house, we’re going to talk with the customer, we’re going to assess the age of the home, we’re going to assess your electrical needs. And based on that, we’re going to create a proposal for you and get that in your hands on a full installation of what it’s going to take.

How to Prepare for the Day of Installation

John: So is there anything that a homeowner needs to do to help to prepare for the day of installation?

Jared: Yeah, so here at Cape Cod Heat Pumps, one thing that we do is we actually do a pre-installation walkthrough, and generally that’s about one to two weeks before the installation. So that’s actually, I go out and I get to meet with the customer, and this is a great opportunity for that customer, maybe ask any last minute questions they might have, and for me to reinforce what their expectations are going to be, where equipment’s going to go, how we’re going to run any refrigerant lines, if there is anything that they need to move in a basement or attic, at that point we’ll talk about it where it should go.

So we do those with the customers and it just gives us a really smooth transition, both from the initial call to the office and my estimators going out there, to our installation and after the fact. And it just makes that whole process really smooth and gives us the ability to communicate with the customer through it.

John: And then you’re not showing up on the day and saying, “oh geez, I forgot to tell you, you have to move this cabinet that you have here in the living room”, or something like that.

Jared: Correct, correct. So we’ll go over all that. I mean, I even get into the particulars of what color fortress they want to have on the outside of their home and where it’s going to be. And in the process when I have those meetings, I’m actually taking a pictures of where all the equipment’s going and I upload that to our software. So that way the installers, before they even get out there, they know where all this equipment’s going. And then once they’re out there on that initial installation date, they’re going to view it with that customer one last time. So we’ve got many opportunities to reinforce with that customer what their expectations are as well as where things are going to go.

What to Expect on Installation Day

John: So then once the day comes for the installation, can you walk us through that process and what the steps are during the installation?

Jared: Yeah, so depending on what the installation would be, oftentimes, first off the lead’s going to show up and introduce himself. Once he does that, the helpers are going to put Shubees on and we’re going to lay drop cloths throughout the house, wherever we might be working. And then after we do that, the lead installer’s going to go over that customer one last time, what we’re doing and where things are going. And at that point, we’re going to start the installation.

If it’s wall units, we’re going to start hanging wall units, piloting and ensuring that their location is going to work with the construction of the home. If it’s a ducted system, we’re going to get that air handler up in the attic, and then we’re going to start figuring out where all of our grills are going to go. And then from there, we’re just going to continue on with the installation, communicating with the customer the entire way.

Setting Up Warranties and Service After Installation

John: And then what happens after the installation day? Again, you’ve probably seen the situation where, like you said, after that warranty is done, that company’s just gone. But what happens after the installation day for you guys? Do you follow up with the customer and make sure that everything is working properly?

Jared: Yeah, and here at Cape Cod Heat Pumps, there’s no such thing as a tail light warranty. We actually give a two-year labor warranty if you sign up for our Cape Care Plan. What that also does, that gives you priority service during the weekend, after hours, weekend emergency calls as well. So after the installation though, what we’re also going to do is we’re going to register the warranties for all that equipment.

When it comes to LG, because we’re a platinum dealer, you’re going to get a twelve-year parts warranty. And as I said, you get a two-year labor warranty for us. If there’s any rebates associated with this install, our office is going to gather all the information from that customer and apply for them on the behalf of the customer.

And then even after we apply, we’re actually going to continue to follow up and make sure that they get that in a timely manner. And then even a year after the fact, we’re going to continue to engage that customer. As I said, we’ve got that Cape Care Plan, so if they sign up, when the time’s due, we’re going to give them a call, set up time to go out there, maintain the equipment, change any filters, and then we’ll do that for the next 15, 20 years hopefully.

Ownership Tips for Ductless HVAC Equipment

John: Is there anything that a customer can do on their own to keep the equipment working properly? Do they need to be changing or cleaning filters or anything like that?

Jared: Yeah, depending on the type of equipment, we’re going to review with the customer, where the filters are and what they need to do to either change or clean them. The other thing too is outdoor units, keeping them clear of debris. Oftentimes I’ll find condensers that are buried in mulch beds and vines growing all over them. So you definitely want to ensure that the outdoor unit is free and clear of whether it be debris or any sort of vegetation. That’s going to be very important as well. But just having us out also on the yearly maintenance is going to be critical.

Contact Cape Cod Heat Pumps to Learn More

John: All right, well that’s really great information, Jared. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Jared: Thanks for having me, John.

John: And for more information, you can visit the Cape Cod Heat Pumps website at ccheatpumps.com, or call 508 833 H-V-A-C. That’s 508 833 4822.