If your HVAC system has served its time and you are looking at replacing it sometime in the near future, you need to hire an HVAC consultant. Also, if your HVAC system is new and you want to ensure that it keeps running at its best by scheduling at least annual maintenance, an HVAC consultant is still what you need. In this article, we discuss five things to look for during your search for the right person who will keep your system performing at its best.
References and Referrals
Ask for past client references from any contractor you’re considering. After you’ve got a list, don’t just leave it there – call them up! Find out if the jobs were completed on time and within the budget. Ask if the company performed clean installations and showed respect toward the homeowner’s property. You also need to know if the company tested the system after it was installed to ensure maximum efficiency. Run potential contractors past the Better Business Bureau to see what kind of complaints are registered against them. You can also go online to check complaints or ratings, but keep in mind that too many online reviews are fake. Page after page of glowing reviews without details and bitter diatribes without the mention of specifics can be suspicious. When you’re seeking referrals, it is best to ask your friends, neighbors, or co-workers for honest feedback. Ask local trade organizations for names of their members in your area, or look up online services.
Potential contractors should offer a thorough home evaluation to determine the best heating and cooling solution before installing an HVAC system. Factors to be taken into consideration are square footage of the home, the R-value of insulation, the number of windows, and the direction they face. Contractors need to inspect the duct system for leaks, loose segments, and insulation. The sizing of a new system should not be done based on square footage alone, but rather on calculations determined by data fed into industry software known as Manuals J (for cooling and heating loads), D (for ductwork), and S (to determine the size of equipment). Once you have an evaluation, the prospective contractor should give you a written, itemized estimate so you can compare costs, energy efficiency among the proposals, and warranties. Do not make a choice based on price only. In certain climates, a better quality, more efficient furnace may require a bigger price tag since it uses less fuel over time.
Licensing and Experience
Your HVAC system is probably the most expensive equipment in your home, and you will obviously want assurance that whoever works on it has proper training. Ask if the contractor carries top brands, and inquire as to the technician’s training with these brands. Each manufacturer is unique, and a quality consultant will ensure that the technicians have had the right training to work on the installations.
Rebates and Special Offers
An HVAC system is a major expense, so look for rebates on energy-efficient equipment, or ask your dealer about any special ones.
Efficiency is an important factor. When shopping for an upgrade, you will definitely want the most efficient equipment you can afford. Ask the contractor about Energy Star-rated models. Energy Star is the government’s efficiency rating that is awarded only after rigorous testing of an HVAC equipment.
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