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Hiring an HVAC Consultant: Make Sure He’s Not Guilty of These Bad Practices

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, the choices you make when finding an HVAC consultant can affect your comfort and energy bills for years ahead. HVAC equipment represents a major investment in your home, and you’ll want to get the best information about the decisions you face before going forward with any particular HVAC issue.

Watch for these warning signs about any contractor you’re interviewing:

  • Relies on rules of thumb: You don’t want a contractor who doesn’t take time to conduct a load calculation of your home before recommending the size of the heating or cooling system you need. Some contractors overlook this exceptionally important process and go by a rule of thumb that says each 400 to 600 square feet of your home requires one ton of cooling or a certain number of British thermal units (BTUs) for heating, which isn’t necessarily the case. Unique factors about your home make a difference in the size of the system you need.A reputable HVAC consultant will conduct a load calculation using Manual J software to arrive at the system size accurately. Choosing a system that’s too large will raise energy bills, reduce indoor comfort and shorten the system’s life. One that’s too small won’t tackle the weather extremes we occasionally experience. Going by the size of your existing equipment doesn’t account for changes you or a previous owner have made to your home’s energy efficiency.
  • Unbelievably low price estimates:  A low estimate may mean that the energy efficiency or quality of the equipment is low or that the contractor cuts corners on installation. High efficiency and quality systems cost more, but over time, they pay back your investment in reduced operating and maintenance costs.
  • Quotes given over the phone without seeing your home or equipment: The HVAC system you choose needs to be based on the conditioning load and a thorough ductwork analysis. Both of these factors impact the system size and installation costs. To take these factors into account, a reputable HVAC contractor will visit your home and consider several factors, including inspecting your current system.

To learn more about selecting an HVAC consultant in the Alexandria and Fairfax areas, contact HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited Heating & Air Conditioning today.

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