Trusting Your HVAC Serviceman
My dad was a mechanic and knew a lot of mechanics, and because of that, I grew up with no worries when it came to auto repair. There were plenty of people I trusted to care for my car.
In recent years, with the absence of my dad and his mechanic friends, it’s been hard to find a mechanic who’s trustworthy, economical and good at the job.
But I can happily report that, when it comes to my heating and air service, I’m perfectly content with my contractors.
Part of the reason why, I’ll admit, is because they’re family. I knew I could trust my dad with my car, and I know I can trust my nephews with my HVAC.
Shawn and Thomas have worked in the heating and air industry for a decade and opened their own business three years ago. They’re never more than a phone call away when I have a question or a short drive when there’s a problem. Knowing they have my back when it comes to my heating and air system puts me at ease.
Expertise and honesty speak volumes, so I asked Shawn to share a few tips for choosing an HVAC contractor. Most importantly, he advises homeowners to have their HVAC serviced at least once a year, preferably twice. The same way Daddy reminded me to change the oil in my car before it got low, Shawn says routine service of the HVAC system prevents most big problems and large repair bills.
Here are a few more of his helpful tips:
- Manufacturers recommend servicing HVAC systems twice a year, in the spring for the cooling system and in the fall for heating. In their warranties, manufacturers reserve the right to not warranty parts if you haven’t had routine maintenance performed; they typically don’t enforce this, but it is in the fine print.
- A springtime service involves cleaning coils and checking the motor to make sure all is operating at manufacturer recommendations. A stopped up coil causes a system to work harder and longer, using more energy and driving up your power bill. The spring check also involves flushing out drain lines to rid them of debris that can build up and prevent optimum efficiency.
- Spring or winter, a thorough maintenance service call includes checking ductwork. If torn ductwork allows hot air to blow in the attic, you’re wasting energy and unnecessarily spending more for power. A visual inspection of ductwork is essential to make sure it’s intact and supplying adequate insulation.
- An HVAC maintenance call on an average-size home should take at least 45 minutes to an hour. If a contractor spends 10 minutes on the job and says everything looks good, call another contractor. It will take longer than that to clean coils, check refrigerant, check ductwork and do everything else required of a comprehensive checkup.
- A good contractor educates the homeowner. Do you want to get more quality air in your home? You might want to try a dehumidifier. Is one room hotter than the rest? You may need to modify the ductwork to get more air into that room. A reliable contractor asks questions and provides solutions.
- Before hiring an HVAC contractor, check references. It’s hard to beat a good reference, and you can go online and check reviews, too. No contractor makes everyone happy all the time, but if the same negative comments consistently pop up on reviews, there’s probably a reason for it.
- Review Jackson EMC's contractor network, which lists HVAC contractors who are approved to participate in Jackson EMC's rebates program.
Bottom line, says Shawn, like taking your car in for a routine oil change, biannual HVAC service provides homeowners “a little peace of mind.”
These days, that goes a long way.
Jackie Kennedy has worked with Georgia’s electric cooperatives for 23 years, producing newsletters, press releases and articles about the industry or energy-related matters. She is the author of People, Power, Progress: The Story of Jackson EMC, published in 2013. In her blog, she grapples with a variety of energy efficiency topics.