Contrary to popular belief (or desperate hope!), your HVAC unit doesn’t last forever. While the typical service life of an HVAC unit is between 8–20 years, how long your unit lasts isn’t a matter of luck. Your HVAC’s lifespan depends on three big factors:
- Correct Sizing and Installation: Was the unit sized properly to begin with, and was it professionally installed?
- Manufacturer Quality: Is your unit from an experienced HVAC company with a reputation for long-lasting technology?
- Proper Maintenance: Are the components of your HVAC unit regularly serviced and replaced when they break? Who’s performing these services?
If, like most homeowners, you already have an HVAC unit installed, there’s not much you can do to address the first two factors short of a full HVAC replacement. If you do decide to fully replace your HVAC, we at Comfort Monster have the expertise and experience to perform a full system replacement. Replace Your HVAC System Guide
However, if you want to make your existing HVAC last, it’s essential you have a maintenance plan in place. The best way to accomplish this is choosing the right HVAC service contractor. Here are three guidelines to choose the right HVAC service provider:
- Ask about Their Process
Top installers are very systematic in their work, and it shows in their attention to detail. Many installers use a quality checklist they have developed, and some even use a third-party-developed checklist such as the Energy Star guidelines. When talking to a potential new contractor, you should ask some questions about quality control in the service process or even ask for some pictures of recent maintenance orders.
When you look at a contractor’s work, pay attention to detail. Are their jobs cleanly and neatly installed with all wiring and lines run carefully and secured? Has the landscaping been cut back to original or better condition, with new mulch in place? These things may not seem like the most important parts of the job, but a contractor’s attention to the details you can see says a lot about the details you can’t see. The more confident your contractor is in his process, the more likely you’re hiring someone who will get you the best HVAC value.
- Ask about Their Experience
There is no substitute for knowledge and experience, and there is no way to get experience other than gaining it the hard way. There’s a growing demand for experienced heating and air conditioning technicians. Companies who successfully hire and retain good people will be more likely to deliver the HVAC savings you want.
Sometimes this information can be found online, but other times you might need to be more direct. Ask your initial contact how much experience their HVAC workers have. There is also no harm in conversationally asking someone working at your house how much experience they have in the business and how long they have worked for the company.
- Ask about Their Pricing
A reputable contractor giving you a price quote needs to charge each of their potential customers enough to account for actual labor costs, plus an allowance for service and warranty work, and enough profit margin to get the company through the slow and busy times of the year. And, of course, they have to be sure their price is low enough to be competitive.
You want to work with a company that takes all the above variables into account. There is such a thing as a price that’s too low, because part of what you’re buying is the reliability of the company’s work, not just in a year but for the entire lifetime of the system. If the company fails to plan for the future, they may not be in business in a year or ten when you need them. What’s worse, you are more likely to need them (or someone else) in the future if they take a “cheap-as-possible” approach to your HVAC system.
The best way to decide how much to pay is to compare the overall quote to the underlying cost of the equipment and parts involved. A good rule of thumb for a complete HVAC system replacement is to expect the total to be about two times the cost of the actual equipment and supplies used on the job, plus a few hundred for permits and incidentals. Ask each contractor to share the details of their quotes, including incentives from manufacturers they have established relationships with (the less they pay, the less you pay, and good relationships help later with warranty coverage). If the contractor shares this information without being asked, you have likely found a reputable, transparent company that is organized and well-run.
Lasting Quality = Long-Term Savings
The more you can rely on the lasting quality of your HVAC system, the more you can save on HVAC maintenance costs. By knowing the right questions to ask your HVAC contractor, you’re better equipped to hire the best possible people to keep your system running and your home comfortable.
To learn more about our approach to delivering HVAC value, visit us at: