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Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors

Find out about heating and Air Conditioning contractors.

A heating and cooling contractor mounts a large fan. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
A heating and cooling contractor mounts a large fan.

Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors

Today's heating and air conditioning contractors can help homeowners upgrade their existing system, allowing for more efficient performance and lower monthly bills. As one of the most expensive purchases homeowners make, heating and cooling systems have improved over the years, and locating the perfect contractor to find the best systems for a reasonable price can be difficult. Knowing what questions to ask heating and air conditioning contractors as well as what systems to look for can help homeowners get the best return for their investment.

Jobs Contractors Perform

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, many furnaces are no longer compatible with the energy improvements of today. Previous HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems might not have been properly sized to meet the needs of a homeowners house. A heating and air conditioning contractor can properly survey the current system and the level of insulation in the home and windows, and from there the contractor can make adjustments when ordering a new system. The contractor should also take into consideration air leaks and measure the airflow to guarantee it meets the systems specifications.

After ensuring the new system meets the current homeowner's needs, a contractor then installs the HVAC system into the house and tests to make sure the equipment works properly. The contractor should also provide for a warranty either through his services or through the company he represents. Since the contractor should know the best system to install, the homeowner should see his or her energy bill drop shortly after installation.

Selecting a Contractor

As with hiring anyone, homeowners should do their research before hiring a contractor to work inside their home. It is best for them to check out several contractors, which can be done by asking friends or family for recommendations or checking out HVAC-association Web sites. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) list certified technicians that can be narrowed down by location. The homeowner should also make sure that the contractor is licensed by the state and that the license is current, and they should check the contractor's record with the Better Business Bureau.

Before they are hired, contractors should submit a bid on the project. It is important for homeowners not to hire a contractor based on a bid given over the phone. The contractor needs to view the equipment and then provide a written bid. Although this may not be the final contract, it should have all costs included upfront. Additionally, homeowners should not necessarily go with the cheapest bid; these contractors may not account for services or warranties that other, perhaps more expensive, contractors might automatically include.

Energy-Efficient Tips

According to ENERGY STAR, if a homeowner's HVAC system is more than 10 years old, a contractor should have a look at it to see if it needs to be upgraded. Depending on where the homeowner lives, replacing an old HVAC unit with ENERGY STAR-rated equipment can slash a homeowners annual energy bill by as much as $200.

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