Few systems in the home feel more essential than the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) unit. We’re grateful for it when it works and miserable when it breaks down. Heating and air conditioning makes for big business. The industry saw a growth rate of 4.1% between 2009 and 2014 and generates about $71 billion a year in revenue. The U.S. has more than 85,000 HVAC companies.
What Can I Do to Keep My Heating and Air Conditioning Unit Working Well
The most important thing you can do is have it installed properly. If you scrimp on this step and it is put in wrong, it can cost you up to 30% in increased energy costs and even more in heating and air conditioning repair. You can reduce your energy costs even further by making sure you get a programmable thermostat, this will save about $180 per year. Also, make sure you change the filter every three months to cut down on dust, allergens, and dirt that will be spewed throughout your home.
Now, the time will come when you need the services of a heating and air conditioning company. This could be because you need HVAC repair or service. Proper maintenance will extend the life of your HVAC system and it should last between 12 and 15 years.
What to do When You Need Help from a Heating and Air Conditioning Company
Remember to ask any HVAC contractors the following questions.
- What are your credentials and qualifications? Reputable companies will be licensed and insured.
- What do your current and former customers think about you? Check Facebook Groups, Yelp and with the Better Business Bureau. Ask your friends and family, if they live near you and have a house, they may have recommendations. Ask your neighbors.
- How do your prices match other local companies? The company with the lowest price might not be the most cost effective in the long run. At the same time, the company that charges the most may not be the best. Sometimes you get what you pay for, sometimes companies are just trying to rip people off.
- What brands do you offer? If they do not offer products that are Energy Star rated, for instance, go someplace else.
- Ask for an estimate but make sure they look at your home before giving you a final price. It is impossible to know the full extent of a job before seeing the space involved. Two houses can have the same number of rooms and square footage yet have totally different layouts that have greatly different heating and air conditioning needs. A house with high ceilings and spacious rooms will need something different from a house with a large number of smaller rooms.
There is another factor to consider when you select what company will work on your HVAC. These people are going to come into your home and do their work there, are you comfortable with them? You might want to ask the company what their hiring process is. The chances are that their employees are reputable but it is worth asking in advance. Any research you do before you have work done with save you money and increase your peace of mind.