Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a Heating and AC Repair Company
Things You Need to Know Before Choosing a Heating and Air Conditioning Repair Company
A heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system is one of the most expensive components of a home. It is also a component that requires frequent attention and care if you are to get the most and best use out of it. For this reason, you should find a reputable professional that you can call on for everything from routine inspections to part (and even unit) replacement. But first, here are some things you need to know before you hire an HVAC repair company.
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Taking Proper Care of Your Heating and Air Conditioning System
Your heating and air conditioning systems can last for decades . . . that is, as long as you take good care of them. There are certain maintenance measures that are necessary to getting the most life out of your heating and air conditioning system, and to helping it work at its optimal level while it is around. Here is what you need to know about taking proper care of your heating and air conditioning system:
Changing the filters:
The filters are what stands in between the air you breathe and the duct work and inner mechanics of your HVAC system. Therefore, they serve the very important purposes of keeping your lungs clean and your system functioning efficiently. Your filters should be changed about once a month; use high-efficiency filters whenever possible.
Cleaning the coils:
This maintenance measure should be performed at least once a year, in order to keep the air conditioner coils free of things like mildew and mold growth. To clean the coils, remove the access panel of your air handling unit with a screwdriver (be sure to wear safety gloves), and then spray the coils down with a water hose.
Cleaning the outside unit:
Any component of your heating and air conditioning system that is outside of your home is vulnerable to debris build up. Make it a point to inspect that area on a regular basis, and to clean out any dirt, dust, algae, mildew, and/or yard waste that may be accumulating either in or underneath the unit.
There are certain aspects of general HVAC maintenance that must be handled by a professional. These include changing out the refrigerant, checking for and repairing gas leaks (if applicable), and inspecting the motor, compressor, burner, ignition system, control system, and heating elements, among other things. Be sure to schedule annual and seasonal heating and air conditioning system checkups with a company you can trust.
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Do it Yourself – Heating and Air Conditioner repairs
While proper upkeep can certainly help extend the life and functionality of your heating and air conditioning system, it is inevitable that you will at times face the need for repairs outside of your standard maintenance checklist. Before you call on a professional, however, be sure to consider these DIY HVAC repairs:
It may be that your heating and/or air conditioning seem to not be working at all. In some cases, you may be able to solve this problem by examining the power supply. Troubleshooting steps in this regard include: checking to see that the power to the unit is turned on, verifying that the circuit breaker has not been flipped, and inspecting the emergency off switch to ensure it hasn’t been unintentionally flipped.
There are a variety of reasons for why your thermostat might not function appropriately. It may be as simple as the need for a battery replacement, or it may even be that your thermostat went into lockout mode after you changed the temperature setting, in which case the problem will solve itself within minutes when the thermostat times out of lockout mode.
This mechanism’s purpose is to trap condensation from your furnace or air conditioner and drain it away from your home. It is located on the unit, and includes a container with a float (or, water level indicator) and a drain pan. To troubleshoot the condensate pump, check the drain pan and drain to make sure they’re not clogged with debris, tap on the float to ensure it’s not sticking, and inspect the wiring to see that it is amply twisted around the wire nuts it is attached to.
Signs it May be Time to Replace Your Heater and Air Conditioning System
So, you’ve maintained your heating and air conditioning to the best of your ability, and you’ve even come out of pocket to have some repair work done. Still, you wonder if it might just be time to replace your HVAC. Here are some signs that you’re probably right:
Your electric bills are too high:
Sure, it’s understandable that you have high electric bills during the coldest and hottest months of the year, but you need to be conscientious of just how high those bills are. If they seem excessive, and showing signs of only getting worse, then it’s likely your heating and air conditioning system has seen better days and is simply no longer able to function the way it should.
Your unit is screaming for attention:
Your home’s heating and air conditioning should hum in a way that fits into the background noise. If, instead, your unit is dominating your home environment with what sounds more like a grumble, it’s a possibility that there are much more serious issues than noise on the horizon.
Your unit is constantly running:
If you notice that your heater or air conditioner is constantly on and yet your home environment is not getting any more comfortable, then it may be time for you to start shopping for a newer model.
Your home has outgrown your HVAC:
Heating and air conditioning systems come in a wide array of types and sizes, and any time you remodel your house with an addition, you risk outgrowing your AC system. There is just no getting around the fact that more living space equates to more space to heat and cool, and if your heating and air conditioning unit can’t handle the workload, it’s inevitable that you will have to replace it.
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Choosing the Right Heating and Air Conditioning System
As previously mentioned, there are numerous sizes and types of heating and air conditioning systems on the market to choose from. This is both a blessing, in that you have options, but also a curse, in that it can be very confusing sorting through all of those options. Choosing the right HVAC system for your particular space requires a specific set of considerations. Here are some tips:
Calculate the amount of heating and cooling you will need:
This arithmetic calculation must account for your home’s size and amount/type of insulation, as well as the environment you live in, and it will be your starting point when you decide it’s time to go shopping. Call a professional AC company to come out to your home, take the necessary measurements, and advise you on the amount of power you need in order to amply heat and cool your space.
Remember that spending less can cost you more:
You may be able to save money right now by purchasing a low-efficiency HVAC system, but that decision will ultimately cost you a lot more money in the long run. When it comes to budgeting for a new heating and air conditioning unit, a good rule of thumb is to shop wisely, but spend as much as you can realistically afford in order to get the highest quality unit possible. That way, you can rack up the savings in the form of manufacturer and electric company rebates for energy conservation, lower monthly heat and cooling bills, IRS tax refunds for purchasing energy efficient appliances, longer product lifespan, and lower overall maintenance and repair costs.
With all this talk about energy conservation, you may wonder just what you are supposed to be looking for. Fortunately, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes it easy for you to spot your eco-friendly options. Just look for the white and blue ENERGY STAR logo; this label is an indication that the product you are looking at has met or surpassed government standards for energy efficiency. In order to determine just how energy efficient a unit is, look at its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). The base (lowest) qualifying SEER for energy efficiency is 13, and each number above that represents an additional 5 to 10 percent of efficiency, up to a rating of 21.
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How to Find a Reputable Heating and Air Conditioning Repair Company
Whether it is basic maintenance that you are after, a repair, or a full-on HVAC system replacement, it is inevitable that, as a homeowner, you are going to need to call on a heating and air conditioning specialist at some point or another. There are many such professionals out there, spending money on advertising to attract your business. So, how do you know which one is right for you or, even more, which one you can trust to handle overseeing the job of caring for one of the most expensive components of your home? Here are some tips for how to find a reputable heating and air conditioning repair company:
The best indicator of any company’s workmanship and customer service is that company’s reputation, and the best way to find a company whose reputation you can trust is to ask those people you trust the most for their recommendations. Chances are you have a number of close friends and family in your area who rely regularly on an HVAC repair company. If they can point you toward a particular professional, then you’ve likely found someone worthy of your business.
Any HVAC company that you hire should be amply insured to cover costs should the worst case scenario happen and a technician get injured while working on your premises. Moreover, insurance is a good indicator that a company is reputable, as most insurance companies will deny coverage to entities that cannot prove a track record of best business practices.
Air conditioning professionals must be licensed to work in the state they practice in. Your particular state will determine what the exact licensing requirements are, so you should check with your local regulatory agency to find out what licensing your HVAC company of choice should have. Any reputable AC repair business will be able to present you with proof of appropriate licensing upon request. If you don’t want to ask, you can search for those records online.
In addition to searching for a company’s licensing online, you can also conduct some other research to help steer you in the right direction, and away from disreputable companies. For starters, search for customer reviews of the HVAC company in question on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Then, head over to the Better Business Bureau website to see if there are any outstanding formal complaints against the company.
Any reputable heating and air conditioning repair person should be able to provide you with a list of verifiable references. Be sure to ask for this list, and to follow through with the phone calls. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask beforehand, and don’t choose an HVAC company until you’re sure you’ve heard substantial positive proof that the company is what you are after.
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Your heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system is central to your home’s health, and to your comfort and well being. Therefore, it is important that you take proper measures to ensure its optimal functioning. You need a team of HVAC professionals on your side. We have the know-how and dedication necessary to providing you with thorough and reliable HVAC care services. Call today.