Hey Tom, you say "get the right contractors" but that can be a problem.
Ten years ago I was retiring and doing a refi on my house to get all the things done that I wanted, to be able to enjoy my last years on earth. One thing was to replace my approximately 50 year old natural gas warm air system with a modern, efficient, HVAC system. The contractor I chose was recommended on the natural gas company's website (a public utility) and he lived three houses up the street from me.
He sold me a "new" system that was built in Canada called Hi-V. He had to install new distribution tubes and he removed the old ductwork. When the new super system didn't supply even close to enough heat in the winter or cool my house in the summer, he said it was computer designed for my area and I just had to get used to it. The manufacturer was of no help whatsoever. I think they learned from computer companies that they need to blame the other guy ---- always. Well it WAS the contractor's fault but don't YOU want a satisfied customer?
Because the computer says that's what fits me? Sounds a lot like Obamacare to me.
After I spent a couple years teaching myself about heating system design and researching the discrepancies of his "computer designed system" I was able to point out the problems accurately. His system as installed was only capable of producing about 33,000 BTU for a house that normally needs 60 to 70 thousand and his two ton AC compressor was well below the three tons needed. He suddenly couldn't locate the computer printout from the Right J software, which I seriously doubt he has anyway. If he had it he could have easily done another printout. While not saving me anything on my gas bill and leaving me cold it added $40/mo. to my electric bill for the constant running fan. That was SUPPOSED to run nearly all the time to circulate the "low grade heat" which saved on fuel.
When I began seriously pushing him after three cold winters he said I could I sue him if I wanted but I wouldn't get anything because he made sure his corporation never had any money in the coffers for them to take.
Finally he dropped a suitable furnace in my cellar and used hoses to run the output to what was left of the old ductwork. It now blows into some real ducts that he had not taken out and some that used to go to the 2nd floor but were removed, so it now blows into the wall in the general direction (up) of the vents. He actually told me that old houses like mine never had ductwork in the walls, they just blew the air up the wall toward the grates on the second floor. He apparently forgot that I was actually present when he tore out those 6 inch round pipes to get his new tubing in there.
So now I am destined to spend my waning years in the type of discomfort I never experienced with my 50 year old system which used to heat my house evenly. I can still put in my window AC units every summer and take them out in the fall but that becomes harder to do with each passing year.
He has my $8,000 and I have no AC and a very poorly functioning heating system. There is no legal recourse unless of course you happen to be rich. I have called many lawyers and the few who were even willing to talk to me want more than I paid him for a retainer to start, and they say it will probably cost double or triple that in the end and there is no guarantee we will win.