Whether you’re looking to update your current air conditioner or you want to install central air for the first time, there are many questions you need to ask an HVAC company when they provide you with a service estimate. These questions will ensure you understand what you are getting, what you’re paying for, and that you are getting the right system for your home. Interested in replacing your current HVAC system? Call Integrity AC and Heating in Phoenix today to get a free quote!
-Size and Capacity
One of the most costly mistakes homeowners make is getting an air conditioning unit that is not the right size for their home. If it is too large, it will be expensive, inefficient, and cause your energy bills to skyrocket without a noticeable increase in your home’s comfort level. If it is too small, it won’t be able to cool your home properly, which means it work harder and shorten its lifespan, resulting in a broken system that needs to be replaced far earlier than it should. Ask the HVAC professional providing you with an estimate what size or capacity system you need to properly cool your home. The calculation used to determine the right size AC unit is called the Manual J Load Calculation.
Ask the estimator if the currently installed ductwork — if there is any — can be used and what condition it is in at this time. It’s also important you learn if there are any leaks or if it needs to be cleaned. Your ducts carry cooled and heated air throughout your home, so if they aren’t in good condition, you won’t get the performance from your new system that you are expecting. Additionally, dirty ducts will cause air filters to clog, which puts undue strain on your HVAC system. Cleaning the ducts will help to prevent this from happening.
-Bonded and Insured
No matter what type of project you’re aiming for, it is vital you ensure the company you are working with is bonded and insured. Not only does this show that a company is trustworthy, it also helps you from being liable in the event that an accident happens and someone is injured while working at your home. It’s also a good idea to ask if they provide their estimate in writing, along with what the terms and conditions are that have been discussed. This creates a record of the estimate and any agreements that have been made to ensure everyone is on the same page with what is expected.
With HVAC technology constantly changing and evolving, new technologies become available to the consumer market. Ask if there are any pieces of new tech that you should consider for your home. This can be things like a ductless system, or accessories to add, like a digital programmable thermostat. Many of these new technologies have been developed to help with energy efficiency, so you stand to save money on your energy bills if they are right for you.
Energy bills continue to rise and a potential energy crisis looms on the horizon, which has led many companies to make a concerted effort toward energy efficient technologies. Ask what the SEER rating is of the new system. See if you should be expecting a decrease in your energy bills or if there is a way to lower them going forward.
Some HVAC professionals have a preference for what brands they like to offer. See which ones are offered by the company you’re contacting. Ask if there is a reason why they prefer one company compared to the others. This is a great opportunity to learn more about both the company you’re potentially working with, as well as the brands that are on the market as you continue your search.
-Rebates and Tax Credits
Depending on your area and what type of system you are getting installed, you may be eligible for rebates or tax credits. Many of these are offered for homeowners making improvements to their home’s energy efficiency. A reduction in your overall carbon footprint can result in getting cash back or you can claim it on your taxes. The HVAC professional you’re speaking with will be able to give you all the details of the rebates or tax credits that may be available to you.
Whenever a large project like installing an HVAC system is done, permits and approvals need to be handled. If they are not, you may be forced to uninstall the entire system, resulting in another costly project. Ask the HVAC contractor if they handle all of the necessary permits and approvals with local authorities.
With a project as involved as central air, it will carry a price tag that typically requires payments to be made. Ask the contractor what their payment terms are, if their company or the manufacturer offer any type of financing. It’s vital you have a clear understanding of what is expected of you in paying for this service so you get exactly what you paid for.
-Guarantees and Warranties
It’s important you learn what type of guarantees the contractor makes for the installation. You’ll also need to ask if the unit itself carries a guaranty or if the manufacturer provides a warranty. Get the terms of that warranty so you understand what is covered and what will void it. Additionally, this is a good time to ask about a service contract, as some companies include it with installation or offer it separately.
Nobody likes to be waiting around for a project to be completed. Ask the HVAC contractor what their timetable is for installation, from start to finish. See if they will haul away your old unit and if that is an additional charge (or included with installation). Discuss what the clean-up process is like and see when you can expect the work area will be restored to its previous condition.
When you ask questions, you ensure you enter this project educated and prepared for whatever may happen. If at any point the contractor you’re speaking with comes off hesitant or unwilling to answer these questions, it’s a good sign that you should keep looking for someone more reputable. This is a big project and you need to be able to trust the company you hire to do the job right. After all, an HVAC system, when properly maintained, is supposed to last you for at least 20 years!
If you’re living in Phoenix and you’re looking for an HVAC contractor you can trust, call Integrity AC and Heating today. Our HVAC gurus will be more than happy to answer all of your questions and address your concerns. We hope to hear from you soon.