Top 9 Questions to Ask an HVAC Technician
After scheduling an appointment with an HVAC technician for installation or repair, many homeowners want to ensure they are prepared and knowledgeable by asking the most important questions.
When hiring a new lawn care company or a company to paint the exterior of your home, the questions you ask will largely revolve around their primary processes and experiences. While this is essential, digging deeper when working with an HVAC technician is necessary. HVAC systems are costly investments that will affect the comfort of your home (and utility bills) all year for many years to come. Consider these top 9 questions to ask an HVAC technician before hiring them to install or repair your HVAC unit:
1. Which manufacturers do you use or recommend?
Many experienced HVAC technicians prefer to work with specific manufacturers. Often, this is because they feel that the product is superior, and in turn, they work with them more often or even exclusively. This is an essential question because it may limit the options you are presented with a new HVAC installation.
For example, if you are looking for an energy-efficient hybrid HVAC system offered by Trane, you will want to work with a pro specializing in Trane products. Likewise, working with a technician familiar with your system will simplify repairs and troubleshooting.
2. What does your quote include? What is not included?
One of the most important questions to ask an HVAC technician after receiving a quote is what the quote includes and does not include. Many homeowners are shocked when they receive a final bill for much higher than their initial estimate. This is because they make assumptions about what is included in this estimate. They may assume the estimate includes the cost of permits, for example, but it does not. By asking for clarification upfront, you can avoid surprises when you get your final bill. This also presents the perfect opportunity to ask if the system qualifies for any utility, government, or manufacturer rebates.
3. Do you inspect the entire HVAC system, including the electrical components and the ductwork?
When hiring an HVAC technician for an inspection or repair, you want the technician to be thorough enough to identify all potential problems simultaneously. If they only inspect one component, you could have significant issues with others that go undetected. This could lead to inefficiencies in operation or problems that worsen and damage your system. Ideally, ensure that they will examine the electrical components, the ductwork, and all other aspects of your HVAC system.
4. Do you conduct a whole-home evaluation?
For an HVAC technician to recommend the most effective system for your home, they will need to conduct an evaluation. Factors like the square footage, insulation levels, existing ductwork, and the windows throughout the home will be examined before a recommendation can be made. Likewise, a load calculation is needed to size the equipment properly. If an HVAC technician fails to do this, the system installed may be too small or too large for your home. A unit that is too small will continuously work hard yet never reach optimal temperatures, whereas one that is too large will require excessive energy consumption. Problems may arise years down the road as utility bills rise or the system fails to last as long as it should.
5. Do you offer financing?
A new HVAC unit, along with the installation costs, can add up to thousands of dollars. The same is true of significant HVAC repairs. As the need can arise unexpectedly, budgeting for these needs in advance is tricky. Fortunately, many HVAC technicians and dealers can offer financing to qualified homeowners. This provides more flexibility and may simplify paying for the HVAC system that has the features you want. If you are interested in financing, ask about this upfront to get the approval process finished quickly.
6. How do you determine if an HVAC system should be repaired or replaced?
One of the most common questions homeowners ask HVAC technicians is whether they should repair or replace their current system. In most cases, industry experts follow what is known as the “$5000 rule” to provide a recommendation. The rule accounts for the current system's age and the repair cost. When the age is multiplied by the repair cost, a total of over $5000 indicates that it should be replaced, while an amount under $5000 notes that a repair is best.
Despite this, there are exceptions to the rule. For example, a system that is 10 years or older may need an inexpensive repair; however, it does not account for the energy savings associated with upgrading to a more efficient model or the fact that the system will likely need to be replaced soon anyway. Understanding how your technician makes this call allows you to ensure that all of these factors are considered.
7. What steps can I take to improve energy efficiency and decrease utility bills?
Newer HVAC systems are much more energy efficient than their older counterparts. If you have a system that is 8-10 years or older, replacing it with a newer model is the best way to reduce energy use and utility bills drastically. Other steps like installing a programmable thermostat, adjusting the temperature when you are away, or using natural sunlight can all aid in more energy-efficient heating and cooling.
8. How can I improve my indoor air quality?
Questions to ask an HVAC technician primarily consist of specific HVAC inquiries, but remember that they can provide much more than general heating and cooling advice. If you struggle with high or low humidity in your home or have bothersome allergies, ask about indoor air quality solutions. For example, a high-quality air filter or a whole home humidifier can be installed during an HVAC installation or repair (if the current system is compatible).
9. How often do I need to service/maintain my system?
Proper upkeep of your HVAC system is crucial. While you should hire HVAC experts to conduct bi-annual maintenance and inspections at the start of each heating or cooling season, homeowners must regularly replace their air filters. Because each home and HVAC system has different needs, this is a great question to ask an HVAC technician who is familiar with your specific setup.
Most air filters need to be replaced at least once every 90 days; however, several factors can warrant more frequent replacements. For instance, a household with multiple pets may need to replace their filters every 30 days to keep their HVAC running efficiently. Likewise, the size of your air filter is determined during HVAC installation based on your unique layout. Along with this question, be sure to ask which size air filter is in place and note it for later reference. You can easily purchase replacement filters at TraneFilters.com.
Connect with a local Trane dealer
Now that you have the top 9 questions to ask an HVAC technician, connect with a local Trane dealer. Whether you require a new HVAC installation or a minor repair, an expert is available to guide you through the process to ensure maximum home comfort all year long.