The heating and cooling contractors at Richmond’s Air share what to expect when receiving a new system estimate
When the time comes to finally replace your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump, you’ll need to call up an experienced and reliable HVAC contractor. It’s important to choose your contractor wisely; a shoddy install job or improperly sized equipment can add up to major headaches and money in the future.
If you’re getting ready to meet with an HVAC contractor about a new heating or cooling system in your home, there are a few steps you can take to make the meeting worthwhile and get the most out of your new system.
Before the HVAC Estimate
Before the contractor arrives, reflect on the current status and needs of your home. Consider the following factors, and take notes to share with the contractor:
- Have you remodeled since the previous furnace or AC was installed? Energy upgrades such as extra insulation or triple pane windows can make a huge difference in the size of the equipment you’ll need to keep your home comfortable. Noting additions is also important.
- Do you have “hot spots”? Are there areas of your home that are hotter or cooler than others? Let the contractor know; the information can help the contractor better assess your home’s needs.
- Do you have other needs? Do you have allergies that might require whole house air purification or want to better control humidity? Now is the time to let the contractor know about your home environment needs.
- What’s your desired temperature range? Furnaces give out hotter heat than a heat pump, for example, so letting your contractor know you like it warm and toasty, or don’t mind moderate temperatures, is important.
During the Estimate
When the contractor arrives at your house, he or she will take the time to talk to you about your needs and the will take measurements, including home’s size (square footage), ceiling heights, the number and size of windows and the direction they face, among others factors. The contractor will use this information to determine a load calculation, which tells the contractor the required size of HVAC equipment needed to properly heat or cool your home. Your contractor will then present you with several different options, most likely a budget model, a midline model, and a higher-tech very efficient model.
When considering what model to choose, you’ll obviously need to think about the confines of your budget, but you’ll also want to consider:
- What is the length of the warranty? You’ll want to know the length of the manufacturer’s warranty, as well as if (and how long) the contractor provides a warranty for his or her labor.
- What is the payback period for energy efficient models? These models may cost you more upfront, but could equal savings in the long run. Ask about the expected payback period on such air conditioning and heating equipment.
- What is the estimate for installation? The price of a furnace’s installation can add up in a hurry. Make sure you factor this price tag in as best you can.
- What’s the noise level of the new system? You’ll want to learn about the decibel output of the new air conditioner or heat pump to know if the noise may be obtrusive to every day living.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to having a new air conditioner, furnace or heat pump installed, but a little homework and a few questions can help you get the best system for your money; one that will keep you comfortable for years to come.