Hiring the Right Air Conditioning and Heating Contractor for the Job
There are two important considerations when selecting the system to best fit your needs:
Hire a quality contractor. With central air conditioning and heating, product performance and reliability are directly tied to the contractor's ability to design and install a system compatible for your home. The lowest bid may not provide the best installation.
Ask the right questions. Because heating or cooling purchases happen maybe once every 16-20 years, you may not be up to speed on new technologies or solutions available to correct common indoor problems. If you don't speak up, the contractor may assume you're not interested in lowering utility bills, saving energy, reducing hot and cold spots or improving your indoor air quality. Check out our tips on what questions to ask.
Here's how to make sure you are selecting the right contractor for your new heating and air system. You'll be happiest with a correctly sized system that is also correctly installed.
- Typically, manufacturer warranties cover the replacement of faulty components for a limited time (NuTone is 10 years when the warranty is registered). Failure due to poor installation is typically not warranted by manufacturers. Select a dealer who will do a good job the first time and be around to service your system and assist you as needed.
- A quality installation takes more time to complete. Expect to pay more upfront for comprehensive service, but much less in the long run for system service and maintenance.
- A dealer coming into your home should do more than just inspect your current system. The dealer should also check airflow, inspect the duct system, make note of the windows and the direction your home faces.
- Ask how long the company has been in business and if they offer 24/7 service, financing or accept credit cards.
- Ask if the dealer possesses all of the appropriate licensing for installing air conditioning and heating equipment in your state and local area.
- Review the dealer's listing on the Better Business Bureau.
- A knowledgeable dealer that has your best interests at heart and will ask about your comfort in the home - how long you have lived there, how long you plan to stay, if you have allergies, pets, smokers, hot and cold spots or excessive noise.
- A dealer with the tools to address your home comfort issues will offer solutions such as programmable thermostats, humidifiers, air cleaners and variable-speed and two-stage technology. If the company does not offer these solutions, they may not be the right company for you.
- Be leery of a dealer who quotes you a price on the back of a business card after just a few minutes - and especially if it's over the phone.
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) suggests this worksheet to evaluate a potential contractor.
What to Expect
Here are the things you can expect a qualified air conditioning and heating dealer to address when you're purchasing a new system:
- Calculating energy savings with a new system. You may find that investing in a new energy-efficient system with yield monthly savings greater than money earned on a CD investment or savings account.
- Educating you about the system and equipment (provide all instructions and manufacturer's documents, including warranties).
- Selecting the type of system and equipment (plus operating and safety controls) that are compatible with the architecture of your home, fuel availability, fuel costs, the space available for equipment and duct runs, appearance issues and project cost.
- Using the proper industry manual procedures and manufacturer's data to select, size and place equipment, supply outlets, ducts and returns.
- Performing load or sizing calculations for each room and the load on the central unit(s). New homes are better insulated and do not have the same capacity requirements as older homes. Over-sizing a unit can contribute to uncomfortable temperatures and inefficient performance.
- Disposing of old equipment.
- Installing the refrigerant lines.
- Installing to local, state and federal codes and utility regulations.
- Installing the indoor and outdoor equipment. A split system is the most common installation.
- Installing supply air outlets and returns if they do not exist or are inadequate.
- Installing duct runs (must be sealed and insulated to R-6 or R-8 if in unconditioned space) if they do not exist or are inadequate.
- Installing control system(s), such as thermostats and/or zoning controls.
- Installing furnace gas piping and vent (if applicable).
- Measuring and adjusting air flow at the unit and at the rooms (balancing work).
- Checking refrigerant charge.
- Charging the refrigerant system.
- Checking all control cycles.
- Checking all power supplies, connections, fuel trains and vents.
To find a reputable NuTone dealer to service your system, visit our dealer locator.
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