When you are in the market for a new heating and/or cooling system, first of all, don’t rush your decision. Choosing the right product for your lifestyle will allow you to live comfortably and save money. Preparation and research are essential. If you have a system that is reaching the end of its life cycle*, start researching now. Don’t wait until it breaks down and you have to rush to make this important and costly decision. When you are ready to make that decision below are some common mistakes you need to be aware of and how to avoid them.
- Not asking for references. Reputable contractors will be more than willing to provide you with the names and addresses of customers they have done work with.
- Use a trustworthy and reputable Heating and Cooling Contractor. Talk to friends or neighbors and ask who they recommend as well as their past dealings with service companies, good, bad or otherwise. Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and state licensing agencies.
- Buying the wrong size heating or A/C equipment. Bigger is not always better. Oversized equipment leads to high utility bills, a build up of mold in the ductwork, damaged equipment and uncomfortable living conditions. Make sure you get an accurate estimate from your service company to determine your home’s physical characteristics that will correctly verify the proper size equipment.
- Always going with the lowest price. This is a common mistake. Consider that a heating and cooling system is probably the most expensive appliance in your home and if you are considering price only, you may find that “you get what you pay for”. You need to consider VALUE.
- Is the heating and cooling equipment backed up by a warranty?
- Does the installation come with any guarantees or training for you, the homeowner? Does the service company you are going with offer after-sales service and 24-hour emergency service?
- Does going with a more energy efficient, higher priced model offer increased savings during the life of your equipment and a quicker payback?
- Getting only one estimate. Be sure to look at several HVAC companies and consider several different comfort options for your budget. Getting a written form for each estimate will give you the opportunity to compare the quality of equipment and warranties offered. Does the estimate include the removal of old equipment? Are permits included in the estimate?
- Not receiving training or instruction after installation. Make sure you are working with a service company that will stick around after the installation of your heating and/or cooling equipment and explain how to properly operate and maintain the system. After your system is installed you’ll need to know things like, how to reset the thermostat and how to replace furnace filters (this can become quite costly if not done properly).
- Believing your system will never break down. If something should go wrong with your new system, it’s a good idea to make sure that the company you choose has after-sales service capabilities. Find out if they have a full service department, if they offer service agreements, if they offer 24-hour emergency service and if you have an emergency how quickly they will help you out.
*Average Life: Gas Furnace - 18 years, Heat Pump and Air Conditioner - 15 years.