Before installing anything in your home, it’s important to speak with the contractor and ask the right questions. But what are the right questions to ask, when it comes to installing an HVAC system? Here’s a guide to what to ask to ensure you get what you need.
Are You Certified For Home Energy Installation?
Contractors installing HVAC systems need more than a general contractor’s license. They’ll also need to be licensed to for home energy installation. Beyond the fact that an improperly licensed contractor may do a bad job, it can also put you, your family, and the work crew at real risk of injury. So, before he gets started, look at his license.
It’s fairly simple to look up a contractor’s license; often he’ll provide you the information when you ask as part of the bid process. If not, you can contact your state’s licensing authority, and in many cases, even check licenses online.
Are You Looking at My Entire Home?
Installing an HVAC system isn’t just a matter of placing vents. Your contractor should be doing a full evaluation of your house and looking for any signs of air leakage. Any professional contractor will be doing the following:
- Examining your home’s “envelope” for air leaks, and sealing them.
- Checking your home’s thermostat system and ensuring it’s in good working order and will be able to interact with the HVAC system, or replacing it as part of the job.
- Looking at your attic and wall insulation to make sure it won’t trap heat or otherwise cause problems.
- Ensuring that any outside vents, such as a dryer vent, are properly sealed.
- Making sure the power draw on major appliances, such as your refrigerator, won’t interfere with the rest of your electrical system.
How Will You Determine Which Unit to Install?
Most HVAC contractors will determine your home’s needs based on a document called “Manual J.” The formulas contained in Manual J help a professional determine the heat load, or the cooling load, of your home, including factors such as age, square footage, and cost per watt. Just like you wouldn’t install a V-12 into a lawn mower, you might have an air-conditioning unit that’s too large and eats more energy than you really need for your home. Having the right system to do the job will save you money in terms of electric bills and repair frustration in the long run.
What Should I Be Doing to Keep My System in Good Shape?
We all like to keep our homes in tip-top condition, and HVAC systems are no exception. However, each HVAC system is different in the care that it needs from the homeowner. So ask about details on what you’ll need to do to ensure your system is always working its best.
When Will You Be By to Inspect the System?
Usually, contractors will schedule an inspection with you about a month after the system is fired up to ensure everything is operating smoothly. So, get that scheduled ahead of time.
Remember, an HVAC system is only as good as its installer and its owner. By asking the right questions, you’ll ensure your home is cooler and happier. End