How should you choose an AC contractor? If you're a first-time homeowner or you have little to no experience with residential cooling maintenance, take a look at the questions to ask before hiring an HVAC company.
What Types of Maintenance Services Do You Offer?
Most HVAC contractors offer pre-season or post-season check-ups, tune-ups, and safety inspections. The specific services included in these types of maintenance appointments may vary. Ask your would-be future contractor to detail what they look for in an inspection, how they'll clean the AC unit, and what else they'll do during this routine type of service.
Are Refrigerant Checks and Refills Part of Routine Maintenance?
Air conditioners use chemical refrigerants to cool your home. The refrigerant absorbs heat from your home and moves outside to the AC system's condenser unit. The condenser helps to release the heat before sending the refrigerant back into your home. As the refrigerant absorbs and releases heat, it changes from liquid to gas and back again. Over time the liquid refrigerant levels in your AC system may drop. Unlike the oil in your car, this isn't a substance you can or should replace on your own. Only a qualified HVAC technician should inspect the refrigerant or recharge it.
Before you hire an AC maintenance contractor, ask if the technicians are certified to check or refill your system's refrigerant. Older units may use HCFC-22 (also known as R-22). While this ozone-depleting refrigerant is no longer made or imported into the United States, some air conditioners still use it. Only Section 608-certified technicians should service systems that use HCFC-22 refrigerant, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Section 608 certification is part of the Clean Air Act. Technicians with this designation have the knowledge and experience necessary to work with ozone-depleting products such as HCFC-22. If your HCFC-22-containing unit needs a refrigerant recharge, you need to hire a contractor with this certification.
What Types of Air Conditioners Do You Service?
Is your air conditioner still under warranty? Some manufacturers require customers to work with specific, approved contractors. Failure to choose one of these companies may leave you with unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses.
If your air conditioner isn't under warranty, you still need to choose a contractor who routinely works with your system's brand. The more experience a contractor has servicing the brand, the better able they are to diagnose issues, make repairs, and find replacement parts if needed. Reach out to a professional for residential cooling maintenance services.