Air conditioning system contractors or HVAC contractors comprise a wide array of home services. They can install, repair, or replace your heating or cooling system, improving it for energy efficiency, comfort, and indoor air pollution. Sometimes you may know exactly what you need from a HVAC contractor: Your thermostat says it's 68 degrees but it feels like 86. A funky smell that reminds you of your in-laws wafts through your home whenever you turn the furnace on.
Other times, you may be interested in hiring an air conditioning system contractor without knowing exactly what's best for your home: During the summer, your utility bill jumps $100 and is considerably higher than your neighbor's who has a similarly sized home. When you turn on your air conditioning system, nothing smells funny but your daughter's asthma flares up, especially when she's inside the house.
What Air Conditioning System Contractors Can Do for You
More than basic repairs, an air conditioning system contractor is going to be able to give you suggestions for which HVAC system is best for your home. He or she should be able to give you a professional opinion that balances initial installation costs with long-term energy and cost savings. Some of this information you can get on your own, but general research isn't going to tell you how expensive systems will be to install in your home, as that figure can vary significantly depending on the existing structure of your home.
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Hydronic heating and cooling systems, for example, are among the most energy efficient systems available. Yet, your local climate will determine how large your boiler must be and your flooring and subfloor space will affect the viability of installing the pipes needed for the radiant flooring. You can't simply look up the cost of hydronic heating and cooling systems and get an accurate idea of cost without speaking to a HVAC contractor about your specific home.
Hiring an Air Conditioning System Contractor
Whatever your HVAC needs are, you should take some time choosing an air conditioning system contractor. Obviously, you'll want to make sure the contractor has all the appropriate licensing and certification, but more than that you'll want to make sure you're comfortable with the contractor before you invite him or her to work on one of the more sensitive areas in your home.
Get client referrals and check these references out. Even the best contractors can experience problems with air conditioning systems. Ask for a client who had something go wrong during the work. Talk to that client about how the contractor handled the situation. This is especially important if your project is large in scope and/or complicated by nature.
As with any major home improvement project, you should have a clearly stated contract that includes a comprehensive account of the cost of the project and the payment schedule. You shouldn't be asked to pay for the entire amount upfront and the payment schedule should closely parallel the work to be done to protect both you and the contractor.