What Questions Should You Ask Your HVAC Technician?
When hiring a professional HVAC company to install a new heating and cooling system or perform repair or maintenance services for your HVAC unit, you have an opportunity to ask your HVAC technician the important comfort questions that have been on your mind. You’re sure to get the answers you need to know, as trusted heating and cooling companies want customers like you to be informed and have a comfortable understanding of the home HVAC system, whether your house has a heat pump, air conditioner, furnace, or other heating unit or cooling system currently installed.
Anytime you have an appointment for installation, repairs, or other HVAC services, take advantage of this visit and ask your HVAC professional for advice and information. Your tech will be happy to address topics such as thermostat temperature settings, maintaining good airflow through the system, improving indoor air quality, boosting air conditioning and heating efficiency to save on energy and utility bills, and more! To help you make the most out of any service call, Williams Comfort Air shares some good questions to ask an HVAC technician.
Which Temperature Settings Are Best for Summer & Winter?
To keep comfortable all year long, ask your HVAC technician about the best temperature settings for each season. While comfort is subjective and differs from one household to the next, ideal temperature often depends on your priorities – do you want to save money and keep the house relatively comfortable, or are you willing to pay more on your utility bills to avoid any moments of discomfort?
When saving energy is your concern, the ideal thermostat settings for times when your home is occupied are:
- 78 degrees in the summer
- 68 degrees in the winter
If the recommended temperature seems too drastic for comfort, use it as a starting point to find the best setting for your household. Increase or decrease by one degree at a time until you find your comfort zone. In the summer, you can reduce energy cost by 1 percent for every degree above 72 degrees you set your thermostat!
When your family is away from home, it’s recommended that you set the thermostat temperature 7 to 10 degrees higher or lower than you typically would while home. This setback, when used for periods of 8 hours or more, can generate as much as 10 percent savings on your energy bills. This is a great way to save energy even if you find you need to set temperatures higher than the above recommendation for ideal comfort, because the setback will be beneficial no matter where your starting point. Installing a programmable or smart thermostat can automate this process around your schedule, making savings even more convenient.
What Can I Do to Save Money and Cut the Cost of Energy?
The best way to save money and energy on heating and cooling is to lessen the use of your furnace, boiler, heat pump, or air conditioner. In addition to the thermostat setting strategies mentioned above, the best way to reduce the frequency and duration of heating and air conditioning cycles is to limit heat loss and heat gain in your house, depending on the season.
Heat added to the home increases room temps, creating a larger gap the air conditioner must make up for between current and ideal temp. Heat lost from the home creates a larger gap between current and ideal temps for the furnace or heating system to make up. You can accomplish this by:
- Sealing air leaks throughout the house.
- Repairing leaking ductwork.
- Limiting activities that produce heating and humidity in indoor areas.
- Closing or opening window coverings to block out or let in solar energy.
How Can I Improve Air Quality Throughout My House?
When the home’s air supply is laden with dust, dirt, pollen, moisture, and other pollutants, indoor air quality declines which can cause discomfort and certain health side effects, including increasing allergy symptoms and asthma attacks if members of your household suffer from these conditions. For cleaner indoor air quality (IAQ) throughout the house, your HVAC system is a great tool to use!
- The primary purpose of an HVAC air filter isn’t to improve air quality like many believe – it is to remove contaminants for the protection of the system, and reduced particle pollution in the air is a secondary benefit. However, using an air filter with an efficiency rating of MERV 8 to 12 offers better contaminant control than a standard disposable filter.
- Seal leaks in ductwork to prevent allowing contaminants like dust into your air supply from unconditioned areas of the home.
- Install a whole home dehumidifier to remove excess moisture in the air, which can lead to mold growth and other IAQ issues common during the humid Indiana summers.
- Having a whole house humidifier installed will help you combat dry air issues during the winter months.
- Installation of IAQ equipment like media air cleaners and UV air purifiers reduces particle pollution and prevents the spread of harmful pathogens throughout the home.
What Should I Do to Maintain My System?
Regular maintenance will improve the performance and energy efficiency of air conditioners and heating systems. Schedule one annual appointment each for heating and cooling systems (or two per year if you use a heat pump to heat and cool your home) to receive professional maintenance performed by licensed HVAC technicians. If you have any questions to ask the HVAC technician regarding the care and upkeep of your heating and cooling system, this visit is the perfect time to do so.
In addition to professional HVAC maintenance service performed by your heating and cooling company, there are things you should do throughout the year to keep your HVAC system in top condition and operating at prime efficiency.
- Change the HVAC air filter on a regular basis. Check the air filter monthly to determine when you need to install a new one.
- Keep the outdoor air conditioner unit clear of debris to maintain good airflow throughout the system.
- Make sure vents on supply ducts and registers leading to return ducts are always open and uncovered to maintain proper airflow throughout the home.
How Do Maintenance Plans Vary Between Different Companies?
Most HVAC companies offer maintenance plans to help customers care for their air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, and other equipment for HVAC heating and cooling systems. The services and benefits customers receive by joining depend on which company they are hiring for the job.
- Plans typically include one visit for heating maintenance and one visit for cooling system maintenance each year.
- The tune up services each company performs are typically similar – one company may include more or fewer tasks on the job than another.
- The cost of this service will vary between companies as well as how they bill you for membership – you may pay a small percentage each month or pay the entire cost once per year.
- Many companies offer additional perks for the customer outside of the maintenance job. This may include priority scheduling for your service appointment, discounts on diagnostics for repairs, discounted repair service, savings when you buy new equipment for installation, and more.
Before you sign up for these services, contact the HVAC company to learn more about their specific program. It’s helpful to write down questions to ask before you call, so you can be sure you get the answers you need.
How Can I Tell If My Ducts Are Leaking?
Ductwork leaks are responsible for 20 to 30 percent heating and cooling loss in the average American house! Because they sit in the ceiling, under floors, and behind walls, it’s not easy to take a look and visually assess ductwork for leaks. These signs can clue you in to a problem:
- Excessive dust in the home.
- Increasing utility bills.
- Certain areas don’t receive enough heating and cooling even with the air conditioner or furnace running.
- Low or no airflow from a supply vent.
- Excess humidity in the home.
- Uneven heating and air conditioning temperatures across the home.
If you notice these symptoms, contact your heating and cooling company to make an appointment for duct sealing and repair service. HVAC technicians are able to determine if leaks or damage exist in these hidden HVAC system components. Their training allows HVAC technicians to make noninvasive repairs at an affordable cost or determine if a new duct system needs to be installed. When home duct systems need to be replaced, HVAC pros manage the design and installation of new distribution systems that improve the efficiency of heating and air conditioning units.
What Do I Need to Know About the Warranty for My HVAC System?
When you buy new air conditioning or heating equipment and have installation performed by a licensed technician, your new unit will come with a warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty is direct from the brand that made the unit, which covers various equipment and components within the system. Your HVAC contractor may also offer a labor warranty that covers the work done to complete the installation in your home.
Warranties provide the customer with protection in the event of a malfunction or defect with the equipment or labor involving installation of the unit. These defects can impact efficiency and comfort, as well as cause damage to the rest of the unit if left unfixed.
The brand that made your new heating or air conditioning unit may require the customer register for warranty coverage after installation is complete. Depending on the brand, this must be done within a certain timeframe post system installation, or the warranty period could be shortened. There are several pieces of installation a customer will need to complete this process, such as the address of installation, equipment make and model, serial number, license number of the installation contractor, and more.
Ask your technician questions about the warranty, what it covers, and what you need to do to register your equipment warranty. Installation of new air conditioning equipment or a high efficiency heating unit is a complex job which requires specialized training. Installation of an air conditioning unit or HVAC system is a job that should only be completed by a technician who holds an HVAC license. Brand warranties could be voided if you do not have the unit installed or serviced by a licensed technician.
Answers for Your HVAC Questions
No matter what questions you have about heating and cooling systems and your home comfort, a Williams Comfort Air technician has the answers you need. For heating and cooling services in Central Indiana, please contact us anytime!