(StatePoint) Want a snafu-free season of home heating? Better installation and quality service mean a longer life for your heating and cooling equipment, as well as increased energy efficiency and reduced energy bills. Not only that, regular service checks may actually detect problems before you notice them, and catching them in time may extend your unit’s life.
So, what should you know before hiring an HVAC professional for your installation, repair or maintenance check? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
• Ask for credentials: Make sure that the contractor has all the necessary permits to do the job. Find out whether they have experience with the maintenance, repair, or replacement of your existing system in order to prevent future misunderstandings or technical problems.
• Ask for guidance: In the long run, knowing how to service the system yourself will save you a considerable amount of money, making a good contractor one who will be there to guide you through the maintenance process.
• Hire carefully: Be careful of the lowest bidder. Contractors who are charging more may be doing so because they are better qualified. You should read company reviews as well as ask the contractor if they have technicians certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE-certified technicians have demonstrated their knowledge of today’s increasingly sophisticated heating and cooling systems by passing a nationally recognized test developed and supported by all segments of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning industry. To find a NATE-certified technician in your area, visit Natex.org.
• Take precautions: With a few precautions, you can safely hire an HVAC technician and have home repair work done during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just be sure to ask the contractor about their safety protocols. For example, do they do video conferencing for estimates? Do their techs wear masks, gloves and shoe covers on the job? Are they practicing social distancing?
• Make smart upgrades: Newer units, especially those with ENERGY STAR labels, operate more efficiently, reduce your energy bill, increase your comfort and even help protect the environment. You may not realize the amount of money you waste with a unit that is less efficient by today’s standards, even if your heating or cooling system is properly maintained. Consider the age of your unit and think about updating older equipment for long-term savings.
• DIY these tasks: While a qualified professional is a good choice for complicated maintenance tasks, there are a few things you can do to optimize your system’s efficiency on you own. This includes changing your air filters at least twice in the season or as directed by the manufacturer. You should also inspect your furnace area as well as all vents and returns to ensure they are free of obstructions.
For smooth, efficient operation of your home heating equipment and a more comfortable winter, be sure any service rendered is carried out by qualified professionals.