Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor

Few components of your home have as much impact on your comfort and safety as the heating and cooling system. When troubles with heating and cooling systems arise, it can quickly make the conditions in your home unbearable, as excessive heat or cold temperatures can not only make you uncomfortable, they may also pose health risks.

Homeowners seeking to resolve heating and cooling issues at home should make use of professional air conditioning repair companies. These professionals have the skills and the tools to accurately diagnose and repair air conditioner and heating problems right the first time, preventing excessive spending on repairs.

Finding the right a/c company can be difficult, as there are many competing firms in the market, many of whom may specialize in certain fields of air conditioning repair, but not others. Knowing what to look for in a heating and cooling contractor will help homeowners make an informed choice for their air system repair needs.

Maintenance Checks a "Must"

If you're hiring a contractor to provide maintenance services to your heating and cooling system, you'll want to hire a company that does all of the standard maintenance work, such as:

  • Checking all heat pump belts and replacing them as needed
  • Check and replace heat pump filters
  • Lubricate mechanical parts as necessary
  • Check wiring for frays or breaks.
  • Check the heat exchanger, flue, ducts, and burners in gas-fired furnaces.
  • Check flue, fuel filter, and fuel jets in oil-fired boilers.
  • Replace air filters, vacuum unit, and lubricate moving parts in air conditioner. Also check refrigerant pressure and top off as needed.

You'll likely want to have a contractor conduct a maintenance visit once or twice per year. With regular maintenance, you can stop minor problems from developing into more expensive ones and help keep your a/c unit operating more efficiently, saving you money on electric bills.

Finding a Full-Service Company

For repair work or new installations, it's important to find a full service heating and cooling company – that is, one that designs, installs, and repairs the type of heating and cooling system you use. Hiring a full-service company with experience with your particular equipment is helpful because these companies tend to know all the possible problems with your system and they also tend to be ahead of the curve regarding advances in maintaining your specific unit.

Online reviews of heating and cooling contractors can provide a useful way to differentiate between the companies you're considering. Look into whether companies:

  • Arrive to appointments on time.
  • Give accurate quotes or estimates.
  • Have a quick response time to emergencies.
  • Did the contractor clean up behind himself/herself?
  • Were the repairs effective?
  • Are the technicians background checked and drug screened?
  • Is the company available 24/7 and on holidays? Your contractor needs to be on call to handle any emergencies.

It's also important to look into whether your heating and cooling system contractor has all the appropriate state licenses and is insured. Membership in the Better Business Bureau and other professional organizations is also a plus, as it shows the company meets industry standards.

Other Services to Look For

In addition to the basics, there are a number of other helpful services your heating and cooling contractor can provide.

  • Heat loss calculation – This estimate involves how much BTU capacity is needed to heat or cool a building. The calculation takes into account the insulation in your home. The type and number of windows and doors and other factors determine whether your unit is adequate for your heating and cooling needs.
  • Energy optimization – Your contractor should be able to tell you how you can optimize the energy consumption of your home's heating and cooling system. The contractor can advise you to add new insulation, seal ductwork, doors and windows, or make upgrades to your HVAC unit.
  • Payback calculations – Your HVAC contractor should be able to show you estimates concerning how much it will cost to operate any new unit he or she is trying to sell you. These estimates should spell out how much you'll be saving over time by upgrading your HVAC unit.

Knowing When to Replace Heating and Cooling Systems

Like any appliance or component of your home, your heating and cooling unit will need to be replaced as time goes on. Sooner or later, all heating and cooling systems reach a point where the cost of replacement is less than the cost of maintaining the system and the costs associated with a less-efficient, obsolete system. According to Energy Star, you should replace your heating and cooling system when:

  • The heat pump or air conditioner is more than a decade old or when a furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old. Older units have significant wear and tear and they also do not benefit from recent advances in efficiency.
  • If your unit is often in need of repair and your heating and cooling bills are climbing even after the unit is repaired. Inefficiency is one telltale sign that a new unit is needed.
  • You notice that some rooms in your home are hotter or colder than others. Inconsistent heating and cooling can indicate problems with the a/c unit.
  • The heating and cooling system makes an excessive amount of noise.
  • The home develops problems with humidity. Humidity problems are often a sign of a malfunctioning heating and air unit.

Installing a new heating and cooling system will often resolve these problems and even lower your heating and cooling bills. Air conditioning manufacturers are constantly refining their systems to consume less power and offer better results. With the installation of a new unit, you could save 15 percent or more on your heating and cooling bills.

The experts at ARS Universal Heating and Cooling can ensure that new heating and cooling systems are installed correctly and that any issues with duct work are resolved. ARS Universal has served the Greater Atlanta area for more than 20 years and provides professional assistance with all HVAC, furnace, heating, and air conditioning needs.

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