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The 4 Green Flags to Look for from your HVAC Manufacturer


You need to finish contracts on schedule and within budget. So it’s painful to put up with malfunctioning equipment causing post-install callbacks. Those eat at your bottom line. Same with awful lead times or a lack of installation guidance or, worst of all, shipments with critical errors on arrival. 

Avoiding these problems shouldn’t entail significant asks from your manufacturer. They should be expectations. 

Mechanical contractors are in communication with HVAC manufacturers all the time. But the ones who look for key pieces of information when ordering their equipment avoid the pitfalls that derail their competition.  

So let’s dive in. Here are green flags mechanical contractors should identify in manufacturers — green flags that make for easier, hassle-free projects. 

#1 They test their equipment beyond standard benchmarks 

Every manufacturer will tell you they test their equipment. You’re looking for a manufacturer that can describe exactly how far they go on end-of-line testing. 

But technical support doesn’t mean much if the person on the other end of the call isn’t a real expert. It’s a green flag when the manufacturer you’re talking to has technicians with long tenures and other, demonstrable forms of expertise. At Cambridge, the majority of our tech support staff has been working on our products in various capacities — including on the production floor — for decades. 

For example, is your HVAC manufacturer testing for site-specific conditions? If they are, that means the finished product is tested at the benchmarks required at its eventual destination — not to an arbitrary in-house standard. 

Manufacturers who test for site-specific conditions dramatically improve your ability to efficiently complete contracts. It’s an extra step that directly translates to reliability. 

But manufacturers also make decisions when designing their equipment that indirectly affect reliability during installation. For instance, Cambridge equipment includes few consumable parts, if any. That means one less thing to worry about upon start-up and one fewer reason for a callback post-install. 

#2 They facilitate installation even before the sale 

The right manufacturer thinks creatively to make your work easier. 

Manufacturers should work to streamline installation even before your shipment arrives. For example, Cambridge performs free heat load assessments and has an application engineering team on call to lay out the ideal placement of equipment or solve challenges in complex retrofits. 

We guarantee our selection and sizing recommendations— it’s very, very rare, but in the off-chance the design recommendations we provide and you adopt don’t end up meeting your facility’s requirements, we find ways to make it right. That might mean additional service or new units. We don’t wait to hash out details before taking action. 

The point is this: When designing and implementing the right HVAC solution, there’s no need to go at it alone or tolerate inconvenience. And your manufacturer should have a demonstrable stake in your success, too. 

#3 They give you reasons to trust their lead times 

Long lead times are painful in new construction and crippling in retrofits. But a quoted lead time becomes truly unbearable when it’s wrong. 

Some manufacturers quote you lead times that are just an average of their recent shipments. But without additional information, there’s plenty of room to gloss over the shipments that went out past schedule. An average lead time tells you nothing about how consistently that manufacturer is hitting the mark.   

The right HVAC manufacturer can walk you through the logic behind their lead times. And they’ll explain how their numbers are backed up by more than a hunch. 

Call Cambridge, for example, and we’ll tell you that the reliability of our lead times results from our vertically integrated manufacturing process. Since we manufacture the key components for our products in-house, we limit exposure to supply chain volatility and deliver weeks faster than any alternative. 

There are other ways manufacturers can demonstrate accountability for their lead times. What internal processes ensure orders ship on time? For a manufacturer that has solid systems in place, giving you a look behind the scenes won’t be a problem. 

#4 They’re proactive about making installation smoother 

The site has been cleared for your work and everything is in place for install. But now you’re stuck on a rooftop trying to start up incomprehensible HVAC equipment. You need to troubleshoot this equipment fast, get inside and get to your next commitment. You need help. 

Dealing with technical support needs to be painless, and it needs to take advantage of modern technology. For example, Cambridge products come outfitted with QR codes at critical components. Finding specific guidance for a given part is simplified to the level of pulling out your phone. And while a phone call with tech support is nice, but a video call is better. 

Strong tech support isn’t the only way to make installation smoother. Nobody wants to make any last-minute runs to Grainger. It should be the bare minimum for your shipment to include all the parts you’ll need for installation. And using nozzles, curbs and directional elbows provided by the manufacturer means you don’t risk mismatching parts.   

To sum it up 

We get it: It’s not convenient to get into the weeds with how your manufacturer operates. But if you want to complete more contracts with less labor, you’ll need to start asking some questions. 

It’s time to raise your expectations of what your manufacturers can do for you. Cambridge Air Solutions-affiliated reps are committed to helping you improve your business and enrich your life. 

They know how your local HVAC market works and you’ll want them on your side. Find your nearest rep now. 

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