Next to a mortgage, the cost of utility bills are probably the largest household expense, and air conditioning can make up a large part of those utility bills. As your AC system ages, it will be less reliable, and the energy efficiency will gradually decline. If an AC system is well maintained it will have a useful lifespan of 10-15 years and if you’re considering replacing your system with a more energy efficient one it’s important to get an estimate. In this article, we will look at ten key questions that you need to ask from your qualified and certified HVAC company.
The Importance of Asking Questions
Before we begin, it’s important to understand why you need to ask these questions before you sign any contracts. Asking these questions will help you to choose the right HVAC company that will evaluate your needs, install your AC system correctly, and keep you informed at each and every stage of the project. You can start your research journey by checking local HVAC company reviews online and seeking referrals from family and friends. This will allow you to narrow your search to reputable HVAC companies, and then you can ask your questions help you make a final decision.
- Will You Carry Out a Load Calculation?
In order to determine the size of the AC system that you need for your home, your chosen HVAC company will need to evaluate your needs. Professional HVAC technicians should carry out a Manual J Load Calculation to discover the capacity or size of the HVAC system that you will need. There are online tools to make these types of calculations, but interpreting the results correctly and applying them to a real home should be left to an HVAC professional. This is incredibly important; if your system is too small, it will struggle, and if it’s too large, it may short cycle and shut down because it cools down the home too quickly.
- Can Existing Ductwork be Used?
If you have any existing ductwork in your home, it makes sense to reduce your costs by using those ducts with your new HVAC system. A good HVAC company will take a look at your ductwork before they give you a definitive answer. The condition of your existing ductwork is the determining factor; if you have a lot of leaks that need repairing, it’s probably a better idea to simply replace the ducts entirely. In some cases, the ductwork may just need a good clean, and this should be discussed with your HVAC company if it’s part of a new system install.
- Is Your HVAC Company Bonded and Insured?
The HVAC company that you choose should be bonded and insured to provide protection for you and the HVAC company. Installing an HVAC system is disruptive, and even the best professionals can make a mistake or have an accident. The company should be able to provide proof that they are bonded and insured to work in your home. All of the terms and conditions should be available to be read in advance when you get your written estimate for the work.
- Are There any Exciting New Technologies Available?
The HVAC industry advances quickly, and a new system may have technology that’s far ahead of a system manufactured on a few years ago. It’s always worth asking your prospective HVAC company about new technology that’s available for your home. Some of the most exciting developments include smart thermostats, high energy efficient systems, and ductless heating and cooling. Some of these technologies will offer you extra convenience and major savings on your utility bills.
- Will My New HVAC System be Energy Efficient?
There are many factors that can determine how effective and energy efficient your new HVAC system will be. The size and configuration of your home and the available insulation levels are all key factors. But, the SEER rating of your HVAC system is very important if you want to see a real reduction in the size of your utility bills. It’s always a great idea to get a higher SEER rating if you can, and this will translate to greater energy savings over the useful lifespan of your new HVAC system.
- Are There any Rebates Available?
It’s always worth asking if there are any tax credits or other rebates available for homeowners installing a new HVAC system. You may be surprised to learn that there could be incentives available for those seeking to switch to a modern energy efficient system.
- What Brands are Available?
Some HVAC companies prefer one or two brands of heating and cooling equipment. If this is the case, it’s worth asking them why they prefer those manufacturers over others. Other HVAC professionals are more than happy to install any system that you’ve purchased yourself or that they can supply for you.
- What Payment Options are Available?
It’s important to understand what the payment terms are for your new HVAC system. Is there any financing available from the manufacturer or the HVAC company to help spread the costs? Once you understand the terms, you can decide to go down that route or seek financing from a different source if the terms offered there are more favorable.
- Can Your HVAC Company Handle Permits and Approvals?
A large part of installing a new HVAC system can be the permits and approvals that you need from your local authority. A good HVAC company should be able to handle this paperwork for you as part of their installation service.
- What is Installation Timetable?
An HVAC installation will cause a certain amount of disruption in your home. So, it’s helpful if you know in advance how long this work is going to take from start to finish. Ask if your old equipment is going to be hauled away and if this is covered by your fee. The timetable should include a general clean up in the work areas, such as floors, walls, and ductwork.
A good HVAC company will have no problem in answering any of these ten questions. They should offer you a solid guarantee on the installation, and a service contract may be available or even included in your fee. If you’re still not sure, ask the HVAC company for references from other homeowners in your area before you sign a contract.