The biggest utility expense for homeowners is heating and cooling for their homes, so it is no shock that heating, ventilating and air conditioning is not a topic of choice across the country. Even though it is not popular to talk about, All Temp Co., Inc. believes that every aspect that deeply touches the financial position of a household should be purchased with confidence and completed well. To assist with this, we will detail four essential facets of any HVAC purchase: the home, the contractor, the system and the ductwork.
The contractor is important in the purchase of HVAC because this matter is not as simple as buying a car, during which the dealer is not the biggest concern. When selling HVAC equipment, the dealer is responsible for: honoring or buying the labor warranty; registering the product for the manufacturer parts warranty; ensuring the new unit fits the home and moisture control; insuring the home during the project; licensing and inspecting the job; and ensuring that the equipment is rated to function with the existing ductwork. The following is a breakdown of why each of these aspects are important.
1. Honoring or Purchasing the Labor Warranty
When an HVAC contractor sells a labor warranty, the guarantee is honored through one of two means: the company itself offers coverage on repairs, or the company buys a warranty through a third-party. In either of these situations, handling the warranty is made efficient and simple as long as the company continues to operate in order to handle the warranty. If the company folds, the homeowner might be put in a tough position where the labor warranty is lost. The homeowner may search for another HVAC business that will agree to honor the previous contract, inclusive of the terms and conditions.
Either of these situations is frustrating, but All Temp Co., Inc. has never caused this for its customers. We have remained in business for 35 years, gladly honoring our warranties and commitments. This is why we suggest that homeowners find well-established companies that have the means to honor their guarantees.
2. Registering Product for Manufacturer’s Parts Warranty
A majority of HVAC equipment comes with a warranty from the parts manufacturer that ranges from two to five years or sometimes 10 years depending on the parts and brand. The period of the warranty also depends on how the equipment is installed. For instance, Carrier® equipment comes with a standard five-year warranty, but it can have a 10-year warranty if a licensed Carrier® dealer completes the installation and registration.
Although the terms and policies may change between manufacturers, having a licensed professional install the parts often helps establish longer warranty periods and reduce the risk of a warranty being denied. Refused warranties happen when contractors unintentionally or knowingly submit parts warranties for which they do not qualify. After this happens several times from one contractor, the manufacturers may not allow further warranty claims from the company. When a warranted part fails, it makes the repair process more complicated for the homeowner.
3. Ensuring New Unit Is Sized Properly for the Home and Moisture Control
Not doing the appropriate research on a home before choosing the tonnage of a unit for installation is another mistake that contractors could make. Installing bigger units in homes does not translate to more comfort. Installing units that are too big make homes just as uncomfortable as installing units that are too small. Why does this happen? The main cause is humidity.
When the air of a home is cooled, two reactions occur: the temperature declines and the humidity is condensed and eliminated. With an oversized unit, the temperature of the air rapidly declines according to the setting, so the thermostat turns off the unit once this setting is reached. Since the air has to be moved over the coil for a long period of time to remove the humidity, cooling the air too fast leaves it in the air. This really makes a big difference because humidity is high in our region during the summer, and it will try to get into your home. High humidity in a home can cause a plethora of problems from mildew to mold and a cold, clammy feeling to health concerns, even when the temperature inside is 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
To prevent these negative effects, homeowners need to choose contractors who are familiar with load calculations and using new technologies such as infrared cameras to determine hot spots and insulation levels in their homes. Load calculations are the standard in the industry for determining how much hot or cold air is required. They also need contractors who consider the whole home, such as the amount of air that will leak from the existing ductwork. HVAC systems should be the appropriate fit for each home.
4. Insuring Home While on the Job
Although often overlooked, one important factor to consider when choosing a reputable contractor is insurance. Having a company policy to cover the homeowner is vital in the service industry, as is workers’ compensation and health insurance for employees.
It is unclear to many homeowners as to why hiring an insured company is so essential. This is important because the homeowners are held liable if a worker falls and breaks a leg but does not have professional insurance. The employee could even have the right to file lawsuits against the property owners. In another situation, say that a worker is using a blowtorch to fix a pipe and accidentally sets the home on fire. If the contractor does not have a professional policy, the only insurance policy that will cover the property is the homeowner’s insurance.
All Temp Co., Inc. has insurance to cover all of our employees and all of the situations that could occur during a job. We do this because protecting our customers and standing behind our workers is the right thing to do.
5. Licensing and Inspecting the Job
The mechanical code in North Carolina requires that a permit be pulled each time an HVAC system is replaced. Many contractors skip this process to cut costs, allowing them to install the equipment without a license and to use substandard craftsmanship or materials. Furthermore, contractors who have had their licenses revoked can skip the process to keep working. This is not only dangerous, but it is also illegal. Furthermore, it is unethical, and the results of sloppy design or installation might not be noticeable for weeks to years after completion.
Trying to resolve the situation that arises from an unlicensed installation can be very inconvenient, if not impossible, because the work was illegal. The work is often not drafted in contracts, making it harder for homeowners to take action on ethical or legal grounds when issues arise.
When a homeowner is considering a contractor or wants to see if a contractor inspected the project, there are two ways this can be done. The first way is to ensure that the County the system is installed in is responsible for inspections, so a city employee will show up at the house as scheduled by the contractor. The contractor visited the home for an inspection. If there was no inspection, then the contractor did not get a permit for the job. The second method is visiting https://webpermit.mecklenburgcountync.gov, where the homeowner can search for the residential address to confirm whether a mechanical permit was pulled.
TIP: When you are considering a contractor, you can ask them how many projects they complete in a year. Then, you can confirm this information by visiting https://webpermit.mecklenburgcountync.gov.
6. Ensuring the Equipment Is Rated to Work With Existing Ductwork
Although this is related to a topic covered already, it is worth bringing attention to on its own. We will explain what happens when an HVAC contractor is only in the business to make a quick buck. Usually, such contractors will walk to the outdoor portion of the HVAC unit and take a few notes. Then, they will open the attic or crawl door to take a few measurements of the equipment that is already installed. Afterward, they will return with an estimate for how much it will cost to replace the equipment.
What is wrong with this is that the contractors did not look at the indoor portion of the system. This is relative to only getting half of a car serviced. For contractors to provide quality quotes, they have to assess the condition of the existing ductwork. If a home has leaky ductwork or a complete disconnection in the ductwork, the owner could buy a new, high-efficiency system but still be spending too much on energy. If the full ductwork is not inspected, particularly the return air section, the new system might sustain damage within a short period of time. Correcting this situation can often be time-consuming, expensive and difficult, leading to the contractor ignoring the issue and using a bandage to relieve the effects.
May 12, 2015