A properly functioning HVAC system is crucial to maintaining a comfortable home or office environment, which is why you should never delay when looking to get it replaced or fixed. Just as important, however, is asking the right questions.
Every air conditioning system is complicated and unique, which is why they require the expertise of a licensed HVAC technician. Not only is comfort and efficiency important, but safety is a serious concern. Improperly installed systems can lead to reduced system performance, greater energy costs, insufficient ventilation and poor indoor air quality.
When shopping around for a new contractor for your heating, cooling and air conditioning system there are a few important things you need to consider.
10 questions to ask your HVAC supplier:
1. Will the HVAC company provide a no obligation estimate?
Any potential HVAC provider should be straightforward with the inclusions and exclusions when providing a project quote. The company should visit your home or office for a comprehensive and accurate assessment of your heating and cooling needs. Clarify whether their estimations include labour costs, replacement parts or warranty specifications,
Always ensure these details are in writing before starting work. This way, you’ll know exactly where your money is used and avoid any hidden financial nasties.
2. What is the condition of my current system?
Knowing whether your home or office’s current duct system or wall-unit is sufficient is paramount to saving money and extending the life of a new unit. Often, a quick, surface-level fix may not be the best answer.
During the pre-quote assessment, a qualified contractor should inspect the existing system for damage or leaks. Your air conditioning contractor should understand the environment it is working in and consider the occupants’ needs. If someone tells you that you need a new unit without even seeing your existing one that’s an immediate red flag.
Understand what components require replacement and consider whether there are new technologies or system upgrades that might suit your HVAC needs.
3. What size system does my home or office require?
Simply matching your existing system specification may not be the best buy, especially if you’ve made changes to your space since your last HVAC installation. A reliable contractor will ask for details and conduct a thorough analysis of your space.
This is an important question. If you buy an HVAC system that is too big, you’ll end up wasting money and energy. But, if it's too small then you won’t be able to efficiently cool or heat your home with enough airflow.
4. Are there any special rebates or offers I can claim?
There are several rebates available to individuals and businesses looking to install a new HVAC system. What state you live in, type of dwelling or business as well as your status as a purchaser or renter are all factors considered when finding a rebate program.
Speak to your HVAC provider to determine what financial support might be available to you and how you might qualify. You can also learn more by visiting the Australian Government’s site for rebates and assistance.
5. What is the estimated project timeline?
If you’re experiencing a complete system shutdown then you will need your new HVAC system installed as soon as possible. Depending on your project’s size, try and find a HVAC contractor who can commit to a service schedule ASAP.
If your system requires replacement parts, ask if they already have these in stock? Or, how long might it take to get the right parts for your system?
6. What sort of lifetime costs can I expect?
Although the upfront costs of your unit and its installation are the primary drivers when choosing an HVAC system, it’s also important to consider the ongoing energy and maintenance costs. Ask how you might better maximise your energy and cost savings.
The lifetime costs of your particular system may include factors such as estimated energy usage and costs, maintenance and the cost of repairs for its expected lifespan.
7. What HVAC brands do you offer?
Replacing or fixing your HVAC system is a big investment, so it’s important that your contractor partners with reputable suppliers and brands for a system you can rely on 24/7. Additionally, a good HVAC provider will be up to date with the latest HVAC technology and should be able to offer you an advanced and more efficient system.
Ask if the brands they choose to work with are reliable? Why do they prefer a particular brand? Has that brand been in the industry for a considerable amount of time? Will your HVAC provider choose a system that will deliver in performance and efficiency for an extended lifespan?
8. What licensing and certification does your company hold? Are they up-to-date?
HVAC systems are complicated, which is why your contractor should have the training and certifications required to ensure efficiency and safety with your installation or repair. Be sure to ask a prospective HVAC contractor for a copy of their accreditations. You’ll also want to confirm that their licence is still valid.
Further, some industries will require additional certifications such as a Police check or Working with Children clearance. Ensure your individual technician is up to date with the certifications needed for work within your business. This will ensure work safety practices are covered, as well as ensuring technicians are performing high-quality services that increase your HVAC system efficiency.
9. Does your HVAC company have a maintenance plan? How might one benefit me?
The discussion of reactive vs preventive maintenance is always of hot debate when it comes to HVAC systems. Reactive maintenance, essentially run-to-failure, often leads to severely reduced system performance, expensive fixes and even entire system failure. On the other hand, a regular maintenance plan means any problems can be identified before catastrophic failure occurs and lengthy system downtime.
Find a contractor that offers a bespoke maintenance plan that best suits your needs. No two systems are the same, and so it makes sense to have a system tailored just for you. Ask about these agreements and whether they are customisable. What is included within their plan and what costs might you incur?
In the long-run, a maintenance plan means your system will have a longer lifespan, and greater efficiency level over time.
10. Do they provide 24/7 emergency servicing?
If your HVAC system fails when you need it most, you’ll need a reliable contractor that offers around the clock emergency services. Find HVAC experts with the ability to solve issues quickly and effectively, on the first visit. Even a minor breakdown can have considerable commercial implications, or create an uncomfortable home environment.
Hire the right HVAC contractor by asking the right questions. Replacing or fixing your system is a big investment.
Ensure you’re well-informed and working with an experienced team. Any reputable contractor should have no hesitation in answering these questions.
The team at MAINair can assist you in understanding your home or businesses’ heating and cooling needs and help you make an informed decision. Providing years of comfort, while keeping your utility bills in check. Contact us today for a free quote and assessment.