If you're going to install new air conditioning equipment, you'll be dealing with contractors, which makes some homeowners nervous. HVAC quotes can be complicated, especially if you don't have a thorough understanding of how air-conditioning systems work and what the major components are. Some of the parts you should familiarize yourself with include the air handler and blower (in northern climates we often use the furnace for this function), the condensate system, the evaporator or cooling coil and the electrical controls.
The entire system is controlled by a thermostat, which allows you to turn your A/C on and off as well as set the cooling temperature. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with these components before you call in a contractor for a quote.
Tips to help you make sense of HVAC quotes and make sure you get value for your money:
- Do your homework. Before you start collecting HVAC quotes, do some research into the various models that interest you. There are many different manufacturers and many different models offered by each one. Some are more appropriate for different parts of the country than others depending upon weather patterns and localized conditions.
- Get a thorough evaluation of your home. Before settling on a system for your home, make sure you thoroughly discuss all problems and needs with your contractor. Be sure that he has completely evaluated your home and existing system before making a recommendation. This ought to include sizing the equipment, an evaluation of your ductwork and a review of your utility bills.
- Ask for clarification. If you don't understand something on your quote, ask the contractor about it. If you're not satisfied with the answer or the contractor seems evasive about your question, you might be better off giving your business to someone else.
- Things to remember: Be sure to ask for a copy of Workman's Compensation certificate, a copy of insurance certificate, a copy of the appropriate HVAC license and a copy of the warranty for the installation.
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