Use These Red Flags To Steer Clear of Untrustworthy HVAC Contractors
Now that we’re running into winter here in Mid-Atlantic and Eastern states, many homeowners will realize that their heating systems either have issues carried over from last winter, or have developed new ones since turning off the heat last April or May. The problems may be so serious that a new furnace or heat pump is needed. If you haven’t had a heating contractor out to your house in a while, you may have lost track of who’s the best when it comes to repairing or installing heating and cooling systems. This is when you need to be careful when deciding between different HVAC contractors.
So how can you tell which HVAC contractors to avoid? Consider these warning signs.
- Low-ball prices look like great deals, but they’re often misleading. Professional technicians not only earn their hourly wage, but companies must figure in the cost of gasoline for the service vehicle, the overhead related to the administrative office, and other expenses, such as on-going technician training. Compare the suspiciously low price against these company expenses, and decide if you’ll truly be getting the quality of service advertised.
- Rules of thumb are good for estimation, but not for final decisions on what equipment your home needs. If a contractor tries to sell you a furnace based on the “400 square feet per ton” rule, or based on the size of your old furnace, this should send up a red flag. Reputable HVAC contractors will insist on performing a load calculation, using the industry standard protocol, Manual J, to determine the size of system you need. These calculations are essential for proper sizing and energy savings.
- Estimates given over the phone sound convenient, but are likely to be inaccurate. The home likely has undergone weatherization improvements since the last system was installed, and likely has other unique features that are impossible to understand over the phone. Physical space to hold the new unit must be evaluated. Ductwork may have degraded or have other issues. Proper sizing calculations need to be performed. A contractor can only provide a proper estimate by visiting your home.
Do you have questions about your heating and cooling system, or are you considering an upgrade? Contact Sobieski Services. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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