Choosing a Contractor
Finding the Best Heating and Cooling Contractor for the Job.
There are two major considerations in getting the best HVAC system to fit your needs:
Know what to ask the contractor. Because heating or cooling purchases are few and far between, you may not be aware of the various solutions available to correct common indoor problems. If you don't speak up, the contractor may assume you're not interested in saving energy, lowering utility costs or correcting hot and cold spots in your home. Check out our tips on what questions to ask.
Hire a skilled contractor. When it comes to HVAC, product performance and reliability greatly depend on the contractor's ability to design and install a system compatible for your home.
Make sure you're selecting the right dealer for your new heating and cooling system. An appropriately sized system that is also installed correctly is vital to system performance and your contentment.
- Ask how long the dealer has been in business and if the company offers 24/7 service, financing or accepts credit cards.
- Check to see if the dealer possesses all of the appropriate licensing for installing heating and cooling equipment in your state and local area.
- Review the dealer's listing on the Better Business Bureau.
- A dealer should do more than just inspect your current system. Follow the dealer around to see if he or she is checking airflow, inspecting the duct system, making note of the windows and the direction your home faces, etc.
- Be cautious of a dealer who quotes you a price on the phone or on the back of a business card after being in your home for just a few minutes.
- A dealer who has your best interests in mind will ask about your experiences in the home - how long you have lived there, if you plan to move, if you experience hot and cold spots and if you have pets, allergies, smokers or noise.
- A dealer with the knowledge and tools to address home comfort problems will offer viable solutions, including air cleaners, zoning equipment, humidifiers, programmable thermostats and two-stage and variable-speed technology. If the dealer does not offer these solutions, he or she may not be the right dealer for you.
- It takes more time to complete a correct installation. Expect to pay more for comprehensive service, but much less in the long run for your system's performance and maintenance.
- Typically, manufacturer warranties cover the replacement of faulty components for a limited time. Failure due to poor installation is typically not warranted by manufacturers. Select a dealer who will do a good job the first time and be around to assist you as needed.
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) suggests this worksheet to evaluate a potential contractor.
What to Expect From Your Tappan Contractor.
Here are the things you can expect a qualified HVAC dealer to address when purchasing a new system:
- Calculating energy savings with your new system. You may find investing in a new energy-efficient system will deliver monthly savings greater than money earned on a savings account or CD investment.
- Selecting the type of HVAC system and equipment (plus operating and safety controls) that are compatible with the architecture of your home, fuel costs and availability, the space available for equipment and duct runs, appearance issues and project cost.
- Performing load or sizing calculations for each room and the load on the central unit(s). New homes are better insulated and do not have the same capacity requirements as older homes. Over-sizing a unit can contribute to uncomfortable temperatures, too much humidity and inefficient performance.
- Using the proper industry procedures and data to select, size and place equipment, supply outlets, ducts and returns.
- Installing to local, state and federal codes and utility regulations.
- Disposing of old equipment.
- Installing the indoor and outdoor equipment. A split system is the most common installation.
- Installing the refrigerant lines.
- Charging the refrigerant system.
- Checking refrigerant charge.
- Installing duct runs (must be sealed and insulated to R-6 or R-8 if in unconditioned space) if they do not exist or are inadequate.
- Installing supply air outlets and returns if they do not exist or are inadequate.
- Installing control system(s), such as thermostats and/or zoning controls.
- Installing furnace gas piping and vent (if applicable).
- Checking all control cycles.
- Checking all power supplies, connections, fuel trains and vents.
- Measuring and adjusting airflow at the unit and at the rooms (balancing work).
- Educating the homeowner about the system and equipment (provide all instructions and manufacturer's documents, including warranties).
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