Many times consumers have quick questions that can be answered with the following Q&A. The information below can also be used as suggestions for proper maintenance to avoid serious and costly problems for most of your HVAC systems. For serious HVAC problems, it is best to contact a service provider for an inspection to properly assess the situation and resolve the problem in the most rapid and cost effective manner.

Questions to ask before hiring HVAC contractors

The following questions can help you find quality HVAC providers that can help you save money and frustration down the road:

Q: What is the size of your staff?
A: A mid-sized, flexible and full-service company is best. They will be able to help you from start to finish without the extra expense of additional HVAC contractors.

Q: What type of training do you have?
A: The ideal HVAC contractor has a thorough understanding of each and every project contracted. The best contractors are licensed, bonded, insured and meet our rigid certification standards.

Q: Do you do a pre-employment background screening?
A: It is essential that a contractor not only be skilled, but safe. Many HVAC clients are single women or elderly persons who have no handyman or technical skills. A responsible contractor will make sure they are sending a safe contractor to a customer’s home.

Q: Can you provide references?
A: A reputable company specializing in HVAC services will be more than happy to providereferences. Be sure to follow up on them prior to hiring a HVAC contractor for any type of service!

What do rating numbers mean?

The U.S. government requires an efficiency rating of all air conditioning and heating equipment. The rating reflects the percentage of energy used efficiently, with a high rating indicating high-efficiency.

Should outdoor units be covered in winter?

No. Most heat pumps operate year-round and should never be covered. Also, air conditioners that operate seasonally are built to withstand an outdoor environment and should not be covered.

Should a thermostat be set to auto or on?

Auto is the more cost effective way to go. The fan operates only when the temperature requires it. This is the most used and the most efficient setting. However, when the temperature does rise, there are advantages to using the “on” setting. Air is constantly filtered through the unit’s air filter, thus constantly circulating air results in an even temperature throughout the home or building.

How often should I have my HVAC services inspected?

It is recommended that most HVAC systems be inspected once a year. This will help reduce serious and costly problems down the road.

Are there any maintenance steps I can take besides an inspection?

Yes. You can change the air filters periodically. You can also be careful about what you put in your disposal to avoid damage. For more suggestions and tips, most HVAC service providers have maintenance tips listed on their website. Please note that it is not recommended by most HVAC providers that you take on problems that you are not trained in handling. Doing so can cause bodily harm or create a bigger problem in the HVAC system.

Is it better to fix or replace?

The HVAC service provider will be able to answer this after an inspection. Many times certain products cannot be fixed. For example, a water heater with a rusty bottom cannot be repaired so it will need to be replaced. To make a sound decision it is best to consider the cost of future service repairs versus buying a new HVAC product.

Can a HVAC technician give you a maximum price for work to be preformed?

The reality is that until the service provider actually examines the HVAC system, they cannot give you a quote. Many times, even after an inspection, once the work is commenced more problems may arise that may require additional parts and labor. This is why it is especially important to hire a reputable service provider with the experience and skill to fix the problem in the most cost effective manner. A reputable service provider will not price gauge because they want repeat customers and good referrals in order to remain competitive.

Who do I contact for HVAC products and service?

For questions concerning new products, energy efficiency ratings, or repair or replacement services, call your local HVAC systems provider for an inspection. Many service providers will waive the inspection if you contract them to perform the job for you.

How do I hire HVAC technicians?

Most homeowners are concerned with not only fixing the problem be it a clogged drain or leaky water heater, but with whom they should entrust to fix the problem. Even if you are lucky enough to have a referral to a reputable HVAC service provider, the following tips should help you get the most out of the service:

Make sure that customer service explains all of your options and answer all of your questions. We’ll listen to your concerns and we’ll do what it takes to ensure you’re completely satisfied.

Hire technicians that wear clean uniforms and shoe covers. Protective floor mats should also be used.

Hire a service provider that considers your safety a top priority. Ask if the technicians have gone through a background screening, drug test and thoroughly trained.

Ask if they are licensed and insured.

Ask what their normal business hours are. Ask if they provide emergency services.

Ask if they charge for drive time.

Ask for referrals.

Contact the Better Business Bureau to check their record.

Get everything in writing!