HVAC Check-Up Checklist and Guide to Finding a Contractor
An HVAC system is no longer a luxury if you live in a part of the country with extreme hot or cold seasons. If you want your family to be comfortable during these seasons, you need to invest in a reliable HVAC system. An HVAC system combines heating, cooling, and ventilation in one interconnected series of parts and equipment. Here are the essential components of most HVAC systems found in homes.
• Thermostat. Most homeowners are familiar with thermostats and how to operate them. Oftentimes their only interaction with their HVAC system is by turning off, turning on, or programming the thermostat. It is the most visible part of the system and is responsible for controlling the indoor temperature according to the settings you’ve chosen. In recent years, digital programmable thermostats have become quite popular. A programmable thermostat allows you to set temperature settings for different times of the day or days of the week. A programmable thermostat can help you regulate the energy consumed by your HVAC system.
• Furnace. A key component of an HVAC system is a home furnace. It is a substantial piece of equipment which requires ample space. It is usually installed in basements or cellars. Using the principle of forced air, furnaces heat air and forces it through ductwork circulating inside the home. Common heat sources include natural gas, propane, oil, electricity, or solar power.
• Evaporator coil. The cooling component of an HVAC system uses an evaporator coil for cooling air according to the thermostat settings. An evaporator coil is usually located on top of a furnace exterior and housed in a metal enclosure. Similar to a car’s radiator, it produces cool air that circulates through the ductwork.
• Condensing unit. This component of the HVAC system is connected to the evaporator coil. Contractors install the condensing unit outside the home and fill it with refrigerant. When refrigerant cools to a liquid due to heat exchange from exterior air, the condensing unit pushes the liquid back into the evaporator coils to turn it back to gas.
• Refrigerant lines. These lines are responsible for carrying refrigerant back and forth the condensing unit and evaporator coil. These lines are often made with durable material such as copper or aluminum.
• Ductwork. The ductwork consists of a system of ducts transporting warm or cold air to various areas of the home.
• Vents. The vents are connected to ductwork and transfer heated or cooled air into different rooms. These vents are located near the ceiling, facing downward with angled vents where cooled or heated air exits into the room.
A reliable HVAC system needs adequate HVAC check-up done routinely. As much as possible, you need to schedule a maintenance check-up twice a year.
Why do you need routine AC check-up?
You can schedule an AC check-up anytime of the year, but it is best to choose a check-up date before the system will be in heavy use for an extended period of time. For summer season HVAC check-up, spring is the best time for a tune-up. Routine maintenance prevents small problems from becoming more severe and preventive measures applied by a technician also help prolong the life of your AC system.
The reason for scheduling a routine HVAC check-up is simple: so that you can save money. If a technician catches small problems with the system, paying for small repairs is less costly than if you have to pay for a replacement. Another way you can save money through a regular maintenance is by ensuring that your HVAC system is always in good working condition; hence, increasing the efficiency of the equipment. If your HVAC system is running at peak efficiency, it will burn less energy to keep your house cool.
What are included in an air conditioning tune up?
Now that you know how important a regular HVAC check-up is, you should also understand what is included in the price you pay. The small investment you make to schedule a maintenance check-up guarantees huge returns because your HVAC system will not experience any issues or breakdowns when you need to use it the most. Here is what you can expect from an HVAC check-up:
• Thorough cleaning of the condenser coils. Clean condenser coils have increased efficiency. You won’t be wasting energy if the system is efficient and at the same time reducing the impact of wear and tear on the equipment.
• The coolant level is checked to ensure that it is not below operating performance.
• The technician will also lubricate all moving parts to reduce friction that cause wear and tear on different parts.
• Thermostat calibration to ensure proper operation.
• Checking the ductwork for tears or holes that may lead to energy loss. Filters are also checked and cleaned to remove dirt build-up and blockage.
• Inspection of all electrical connections including tightening of any loose parts.
• Evaluate the condition of the blower and clean the fan blades if necessary.
These are only a few of what you can expect from an HVAC check-up. HVAC contractors use a checklist which includes 26 points for inspection in order to guarantee a thorough examination and tune-up of your HVAC system.
10 tips to finding the best HVAC tune up contractor
Since a routine HVAC check-up is an essential step to ensuring that your HVAC system works properly, you need to put equal effort in finding the best contractor near you. It is a daunting task because you likely have to choose from a long list of possible contractors and technicians to hire. Here’s how you can ensure that you are hiring only the best for the job.
1. You should start by asking for references from trusted friends or family. This is often the easiest and best way to finding an excellent contractor for your routine HVAC check-up. However, if this step does not work for you, confine your selection list to local contractors so that you can narrow down your search. What’s good about a local contractor is the convenience in reaching out to them as well as the likelihood of a more personalized service.
2. You can also find a reputable contractor by checking the list of accredited contractors who are members of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America or the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractor’s National Association. Another indication that you are hiring a reputable contractor is by checking that their technicians have certification from the North American Technician Excellence.
3. Don’t rely on a phone quote. Always ask the contractor to check your home first before giving you an estimate. As much as possible,
get a written estimate and not a verbal agreement.
4. An experienced contractor will survey your house and your HVAC system first before calculating an HVAC check-up estimate according to the cooling-load calculation.
5. A contractor with up-to-date knowledge and experience in the industry will not hesitate to give you advice about your options on getting high-efficiency equipment for your HVAC system. Aside from maintenance and HVAC check-up, the best contractor will help you improve the existing system in your home. They are also likely to recommend you consider new high-efficiency equipment which can help you save on utility bills.
6. An experienced contractor can also give you an estimate of how much you will spend for cooling your home by using cooling load values to calculate the figures. A less experienced contractor may not have this knowledge.
7. If you are thinking about replacing your HVAC equipment, an experienced contractor will not estimate costs according to the size of your existing equipment, rather, they will recommend the right size equipment for your needs and calculate based on these recommendations. Experienced technicians are keen on helping you cut down on the cost of installation and operating your HVAC equipment.
8. Before an HVAC check-up begins, the contractor should first provide you a written estimate with comprehensive listing of all costs involved with the job.
9. Sometimes, the cheapest estimate is not always the best. You have to consider value and experience over the cost of the HVAC check-up. If you choose the lowest bid, it may not include all the necessary points of assessment and you’ll end up with problems later of if your HVAC system is not adequately tuned up.
10. You’ll know a good contractor by the attitude of their technicians. A good contractor has technicians who are polite, courteous and shows willingness to help. If possible, go to their physical office and speak to the technician in person. Another sign of a professional contractor is how they maintain their place of business.
Once you have chosen a contractor, you will eventually build a relationship with them. If you choose the best, you will have a team of expert technicians available to help you for years to come. Choosing the right HVAC contractor for your HVAC check-up is not a decision you should take lightly. Trust only the best, like Fischer Heating, to guarantee your HVAC system remains in excellent working condition throughout the changing seasons.
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