What to specify in contract?

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by toby267, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. toby267

    toby267 New Member

    Hello, everyone,

    I am getting ready to purchase a 5 ton waterfurnace 7 series in my 3,000 sq ft home. The local dealer came out, and gave me a proposal. In it, not many things were specified,and we exchanged emails in which I found out the following:

    My duct work needs some mods, which were specified in the proposal "Some modification of existing ductwork"

    ground loop will be horizontal bored, 6 runs of 3/4" piping 200 ft long each for a total of 2400 ft. feeding 1 -1/4" supply and returns (not specified in proposal).

    15kw of back up heat strips

    customer supplied 50 gallon buffer tank feeding newly installed 85 gallon marathon finishing tank, plumbed per specification on this forum :) .

    I specified an aprilaire 5000 air cleaner.

    This system will replace a 17 yr old 95% propane furnace and 4 ton 10 seer a/c unit.

    The thermostat is not specified. should I buy the TPCC32U01 or 04?

    The installer is the largest geo company in the area with an outstanding reputation. Should I just relax and trust them, or do I need to specify anything in the contract?

    Thank you,

  2. Tamar

    Tamar Member Forum Leader

    Toby, having an outstanding reputation means very little (believe me, I know).

    How many installers did you talk to?
    How many references did you talk to?
    How many of those references have a 5 ton WF 7 series and a house that has the same characteristics as yours?

    I, personally, would never install (another) geothermal system where there wasn't a specific project plan that included what equipment would be installed. I am the poster child for getting it all in writing.
  3. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    We're a contractor that spells it all out. Well most of it, I'm not telling you how many copper 90's I'm using as I probably don't know.

    But, honestly, sometimes I wished we didn't. I can see why some chose to use very simple quotes.

    Often, from our perspective, the more information we provide, the more the quote gets picked apart. As in "well I have a couple of copper 90's you can use".

    Some clients want the recipe before tasting. Some clients don't need to know the recipe. They just want to know if it tastes good.

    So, yes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting it all sorted out. We even use a "Scope of Work" document that we go over the "grey areas", just so there is no future misunderstanding. Just understand that the contractor is most likely not trying to hide anything. They are just trying to simplify things as many clients don't care for all the details.
  4. Tamar

    Tamar Member Forum Leader


    Are there any performance projections or guarantees in the proposal? I was handed a GeoDesigner report which showed that the installed system would provide 98% of our heat via geothermal (the Annual Contribution to our heating was/is shown as 98%). Because the piece of paper that has my signature doesn't list that commitment, our contractor is now saying they never made that commitment.

    If the performance commitments are there (including electricity usage for pumping), then I revise my earlier advice....how they get there is less important to get in writing. Still, I'd be concerned about a contractor who doesn't provide details....if they have them, why wouldn't they if you ask?

    Just to give you the back story of why I advocate for getting this. My current contractor (after 3.5 years) has admitted to the Mn Atty General's office that there are design and installation issues with my system, but then they turn around and say they are not contractually required to provide me with their plan for remediation. Here's a quote from the letter they sent to the AG: ....<Tamar> has demanded a project plan that details all repairs and modifications to be made, the time schedule for making them, and geothermal-related certifications of all employees and subcontractors that will be making them. <Tamar> was not entitled to this information under her contract with <installer> and there is no basis for her to demand that she receive it now.

    So....although my situation is not typical, an installer who refuses to use a standard contract template and spell out some details when asked for them raises a big red flag for me.
  5. Tamar

    Tamar Member Forum Leader

    PS....I don't mean to scare you off geothermal. I'm even more of a believer than I was when I started the process. I just get all riled up when someone intrinsically trusts a well known and supposedly reputable installer without rigorously checking references....because I made that mistake.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  6. toby267

    toby267 New Member

    Thanks everyone for chiming in! The waterfurnace rep will be here next Thursday to finalize the contract. He said he would be happy to answer all of my questions at that time; I just want to make sure I have all the right questions to ask!

    Tamar, I read about your woes both here and on another geothermal board, while deciding whether to go the geothermal route. I admire your fortitude and determination to get your contractor to do the right thing!
  7. Tamar

    Tamar Member Forum Leader

    Toby, if you've seen the threads about my project, you understand where I'm coming from. For posterity, when others visit this thread, I want to stress not to be taken in by marketing. The company I chose advertised heavily when they got into geothermal, they had 6 foot tall signs with literature in front of any installation, they patented a logo for geothermal where the O is an earth.... Who would know they could mess up so badly?

    They were "all in", now I believe they are "all out" due to installations like mine that went south.

    Good luck, and I hope you'll be reporting back next year on how pleased you are with your system!
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  8. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    My standard contracts are very simple and says things like excavation and ground loops........It is one small peice of an entire package of materials.

    Attached Files:

  9. toby267

    toby267 New Member

    Thank you, Joe


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