US Air Conditioning

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Finding the right Air Conditioning Contractor

When selecting your dealer, look for a manufacturers' authorized dealer seal of approval. It means they have met the manufacturers' criteria for repairing, installing and servicing your heating and cooling system. Most authorized dealers have better warranties and guarantee their work.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor selected to inspect, upgrade or install an air conditioning system is as critical to the system's successful operation as the equipment itself.

Here are some suggestions to help homeowners select an HVAC Contractor:

  • Manufacturer Authorized Dealer. They install only premium-quality equipment and participate in ongoing training on new technologies. Most authorized dealers back every installation with a 100% satisfaction money back guarantee.
  • Educate yourself. Before you buy, find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your area. Before you call a dealer, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential dealer better understand your cooling needs.
  • Ask for referrals. Get recommendations from friends, coworkers, real estate agents and home improvement specialists. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area.
  • Call references. Ask an HVAC dealer for customer references and call them. Ask about the dealer's installation or service performance, and if the job was completed on time and within budget.
  • Check for membership in professional organizations such as NATE (North American Technician Excellence).
  • Ask to see state and local licenses, liability insurance forms and worker's compensation documents. Be sure documents apply to the contractor as well as any technicians or subcontractors in his or her employ.
  • Expect a home evaluation. The AC technician should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn't always better; they should also size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good technician will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers specifications.
  • Get written, itemized estimates. When comparing proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A lowest price may not be the best deal if it's not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.
  • Get it in ink. Sign a written proposal before you buy A/C products or work gets started. It'll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.
  • Research the selection of services a contractor offers. Is scheduled maintenance included? What about repairs? Are they available 24 hours a day?
  • Find special offers. An indoor comfort control system is one of the largest purchases you'll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available manufacturer, state and utility rebates on energy-efficient equipment.

A well-trained technician will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system. However, not all service technicians are competent. Incompetent service technicians forsake proper diagnosis and perform only minimal stop-gap measures. Insist that the technician do the following:

  • Check for correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
  • Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measure air flow through the evaporator coil
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
  • Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat