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Stylish wood-burning stone fireplace provides a central focal point in this contemporary living room.Attila / Shutterstock.com

Stylish wood-burning stone fireplace provides a central focal point in this contemporary living room.

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5 Questions Your HVAC Contractor Should Ask You

If you are looking to replace or upgrade your heating and/or air conditioning (HVAC) system, you can find countless articles on what to ask an HVAC contractor and how to interview him or her. But here we look at the flip side: what your contractor should be asking you.

contractor building plansSyda Productions / Shutterstock.com

A good HVAC contractor wants a customer to find the optimal system that provides comfort within the customer’s budget. By asking the right questions, your contractor can create the perfect system for your family’s needs.

Your contractor should ask:


What makes you comfortable?

Think back to the last time your system was functioning properly. What temperature was the thermostat set to during the summer? How about the winter? If you like your home at 65 degrees all year, then you are going to need a large air conditioning system. If you spend most of the summer with the air conditioning turned off and only use it when you’re sweltering, then a smaller A/C system will work.

Additionally, if you have horrible allergies and struggle to function normally during peak pollen times, then a system that filters and improves air quality should be part of your HVAC plan.

Are some areas of your home uncomfortable when the system is on?

Your contractor should ask whether you want to focus on improving comfort in certain areas of the home. This is a critical piece of information in designing a solution that is custom to your needs. Everyone lives in their home differently, using different rooms for different purposes. Two identical homes can have very different heating and cooling needs based upon the direction the home faces and how the home is used.

Your contractor can suggest options for different rooms. For example, he or she might add additional zones to an existing system or add a ductless heat pump to a problem area. Or you might want to have a dehumidifier or humidifier added to your system to improve uncomfortable humidity levels. A good contractor knows the importance of learning and asking about your current system’s shortcomings.


How long do you plan on being in the home?

The length of time you intend to continue living in at your home is information you should share with your contractor. If you plan to stay in your home for a long time—maybe even grow old with it—a high-end, high-efficiency system will last longer and operate more efficiently than a standard system.

On the other hand, if you intend to quickly flip the house for a profit, a basic system may make more sense financially. In addition, it’s helpful for your contractor to know if you plan to add-on or remodel the house in the future. If you are planning on an addition, then you may need a larger staged system to handle the home’s eventual size.


How important is technology to you?

Technology advances every day, and better bells and whistles are always on the horizon. Your contractor should be showing you all of the latest available options if you want to stay on top of technology.

Current technology allows HVAC systems to be monitored directly from a cell phone or tablet. If you’d like to monitor your system remotely, you’re going to need the technology that can do that. If you’d rather opt for simplicity—a conventional system with a typical thermostat—then your contractor should be asking about that as well.


What is your monthly budget for heating and cooling?

One of the last things your HVAC contractor should be asking is how much you would like to spend per month for heating and cooling. If, like most people, you want to cut down on costs as much as possible and be environmentally responsible, a very energy-efficient system may be important to you. This said, high-efficiency equipment is more expensive than standard efficiency gear. So you have to find the right balance—and your contractor should help you do this.

Additionally, an HVAC contractor should tell you about any financing opportunities and whether government tax incentives are available for certain types of high-efficiency equipment.

Hiring the right contractor takes work. By looking for these key indicators of good service, you will not only get the most for your money but also gain the peace of mind that you have made the right choice.


Author Bio

Danielle Marsh is a content developer for RSC Heating and Air Conditioning, a full-service HVAC contractor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and enjoying the beauty of Lancaster County.

Room Temperature Too Hot, Too Cold

When room temperatures swing more than about 3 degrees F. between when the air conditioner goes off and on again, it generally means that the pump isn’t cycling on often enough. too hot too coldWhen room temperatures drop lower than the set temperature on the thermostat, the thermostat is usually improperly calibrated or installed where it doesn’t sense a proper sampling of room air. The thermostat may just need a simple adjustment.

1Remove the thermostat’s cover or main body. For a mechanical thermostat with a mercury switch (a small vial filled with mercury), first use a small level to make sure the thermostat is mounted level on the wall. If it isn’t level, it won’t measure temperatures properly. Digital electronic thermostats don’t need to be level to work properly, but the rectangular ones look best if they are.

With this type of electronic thermostat, you pull off the body to access the baseplate and wires.

With this type of electronic thermostat, you pull off the body to access the baseplate.

2Look for a small lever that moves along a calibrated scale (not the heat temperature lever)—in some cases, it is marked “longer.” This is the heat-anticipator adjustment lever. Move it one calibration mark closer to the “longer” setting if the air conditioner goes on and off too frequently, or move it one mark away if the air conditioner allows room temperature to drop too low or rise too high before going on or off.[GARD align=”right”]

3Wait several hours for the thermostat to stabilize at this new setting, then repeat with an additional adjustment if needed. If these adjustments don’t solve the problem, consider replacing the thermostat. (For information about buying a new thermostat, see the Thermostats Buying Guide.)

If you would rather hire an air-conditioning pro to inspect and maintain your AC equipment, this FREE service will help you find a qualified local AC professional.

Call for free estimates from local pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

Air Conditioner Will Not Cool

If your central air conditioner will not cool but you can hear it running, it may just need to be cleaned. Whether or not this is the cause of the problem, it’s the first remedy to try. Plan to do this on a relatively warm day. The following are guidelines; always refer to your owner’s manual.

air conditioner will not cool

Turn off the circuit breaker that serves the AC compressor.

1Turn off the power to the AC unit. There is normally a shut-off or disconnect panel on the wall next to the outdoor compressor. Also shut off the air conditioner’s 240-volt circuit at the main electrical panel.

2Rake leaves and debris away from the outdoor condenser. Trim any bushes that might block airflow.[GARD align=”left”]

3Unscrew and remove protective grilles and the top cover or grille from the compressor. If the fan is attached to the grille, be careful not to pull any wires loose.

4Use a soft brush to clean dirt and debris from the fins, and then vacuum the fins with a brush attachment (taking care not to damage them).

5Use a hose and nozzle with a trigger grip to spray debris from the fins (from inside the unit). Protect the wiring and motor from water with plastic sheeting or a large plastic garbage bag. If your owner’s manual calls for lubricating the motor, do that now—but don’t over-lubricate.

6Reassemble the unit.


7To test it, turn the thermostat to OFF, reset the power at the disconnect next to the compressor and the main panel, and then set the thermostat to ON. To avoid straining an air conditioner’s compressor, wait at least five minutes between turning it off at the thermostat and turning it back on. Let it run for a few minutes, and then feel the two pipes that connect the condenser unit to the air handler (slide any insulation back). One should feel warm, the other cool.

air conditioner will not cool

Air conditioner technician checks refrigerant levels.

If the air conditioner still will not cool, call an air conditioning technician—the refrigerant may need recharging.

get air conditioning hvac pro

For more on maintenance tips, see Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer.

Call for free estimates from local pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

Central AC Cost Considerations

Installing a central air conditioner is not a do-it-yourself project, so you should discuss the following with a qualified air-conditioning contractor:save money heating cooling

First, find out whether your house can readily accept an air-conditioning system. Installing one usually only makes sense if a house is being newly constructed or has a forced-air heating system that the air conditioner can piggyback on. Retrofitting the needed ductwork in an existing home is simply too expensive in most cases.

Even in a home with usable ductwork, a standard central air-conditioning system can cost $3,000 to $6,000 or more to install. Because the cost depends on so many variables, the only way to pinpoint it is to get at least three bids.

Central air conditioners run on electricity for the compressor, blower, and fan. In some hot climates, where an air conditioner must run frequently, this can push energy costs sky-high. The amount of electricity needed to run a central AC depends on two things: cooling capacity and energy efficiency (measured by a SEER), so make sure you inquire about both before making your purchase. The more efficient the air conditioning system, the less it will cost in the long run.

Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Local Air Conditioning Contractor

Call for Free Estimates from Pros Now!
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]