Most homeowners cannot tell the difference between an “efficient” HVAC system and one that is costing them an arm and leg in unnecessary repairs and energy costs.
Since we continue to hear many of these myths when visiting homeowners, we thought we would share some of the more common misconceptions with you. Hopefully, you can avoid these mistakes when you need to make a decision regarding your HVAC equipment.
Below are six of the most common and costly misguided beliefs held by homeowners and the real truths behind them.
As long as it’s working, nothing to worry about
For example, your heating system may continue to work even if there is a crack in the heat exchanger. However, a cracked heat exchanger leads to leaking carbon monoxide, which is extremely lethal for you and your loved ones.
Similarly, your cooling system may continue to work even if it is low in Freon. However, it will need to work double time to cool a room, which will lead to equipment failure.
Even if your equipment appears to be working fine, have a professional check it out once a year.
A change of filter is all it needs
Changing the filters is essential for safe air flow but more is needed. You should also check the vents and ducts for any buildup of dust, dirt and molds, which can spread throughout your home. These obstructions can also cause your system to consume more energy.
In addition, inspect all electrical connections, fuel systems, hot water systems, steam systems, condenser and evaporator coils, refrigerant levels, blower components and condensate drain.
Uneven Heat and Cool Air Distribution in Normal
Wrong. Your entire home must have the same hot and cool temperature. It is not normal for some areas of your home to be hotter or cooler. An efficient heating and cooling system evenly heats and cools your entire home.
If you have hot or cold rooms, there might be something wrong with your ductwork or obstructions in the air return registers. Or maybe your HVAC system is not big enough for the job.
Indoor air quality is not an issue
Not True. It is important to have a comfortable and “healthy” home.
Unfortunately, almost all homes have varying levels of air pollution, leading to asthma, headaches, dry eyes, running noses, fatigue, and even lung diseases. Your heating and cooling systems do not merely function to increase or lower temperatures; they should also regulate the quality of the air you breathe.
There are many causes of poor indoor air quality such as:
- Pollen in the spring; pet hair and dander;
- Fumes from paint and hairspray;
- Second hand smoke;
- Combustion pollutants (e.g., carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide) from fuel burning stoves and furnaces; and
- Radon (naturally occurring radioactive gas that enters the home through cracks in the foundation or walls).
Service contracts are a waste of money
False. Regular checkups by an HVAC specialist will ensure that your cooling and heating equipment last as long as possible with the fewest repairs and lowest energy costs. Moreover, they protect you on those days where you really need your HVAC equipment to work such as when the temperature drops down to -40C.
Regular servicing pays for itself in the long run by keeping your HVAC equipment working at its peak performance level 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Hire the contractor that quotes the lowest price
Not all inexpensive products/services are inferior, and not all expensive items are superior. Here are some points to take into consideration when evaluating a service contractor’s price.
- Value – not price – should be your main determinant in choosing a service contractor.
- Before asking for quotes from contractors, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. For instance, more efficient equipment cost more (but save you money in energy costs) and some contractors offer guarantees (shoddy companies NEVER offer guarantees on their work).
- Study the quotes thoroughly and ask lots of questions.
- Prices quoted should be as advertised. Some HVAC contractors advertise unrealistic prices to get their foot in the door. However, once they win the bid, they pressure you to buy other services.
- Don’t fall victim to unscrupulous contractors.
If you are searching for a reliable HVAC contractor for the repair and maintenance of your heating and cooling systems, here are some points I would like to share with you.
It is important that you have your HVAC system maintained by a professional service on a regular basis. Regular maintenance will not only make your system work efficiently and save you money for major repairs; it will also extend the life of your equipment.
Good indoor air quality must be an urgent concern. Change your filters regularly and have your ducts regularly cleaned. It would also be wise to consider installing a heat recovery ventilator, which brings in fresh air and improves climate control without wasting energy.
Before hiring an HVAC contractor, make sure to ask these questions:
- Does your company have an HVAC contractor license?
- Do your technicians undergo regular trainings?
- Are you authorized to handle refrigerants of air conditioners?
- What trade associations is your company a member of?
- Are you available during emergencies?
- Do accept credit cards or have credit terms?
- Do you guarantee your work?
- Can you provide me with references of past clients?
I hope you will find these suggestions and recommendations helpful when you need to make important decisions pertaining to your HVAC system.