Find an HVAC Technician – Residential versus Commercial

Posted by Will Housh on March 30

Whether you need a new cooling system or a few repairs to improve the performance of your existing furnace, you need a skilled HVAC technician to do the job. If you don’t have a contractor you trust, it can be tricky to find an HVAC technician.

HVAC companies don’t all serve the same markets. Some offer residential services, some offer commercial, and some do both.

To find an HVAC technician, you may look in different places depending on the type of services you need. If you’re a homeowner needing service for your home’s heating and cooling systems, you’ll need a residential HVAC technician. If you’re in need of HVAC services for a commercial building, you’ll need a commercial HVAC technician.

Find an HVAC Technician

Contractor Directories

For both residential and commercial HVAC services, check a contractor directory. A contractor directory lists local HVAC contractors for consumers to search. Find a contractor specializing in the type of service you need. Check credentials, and even review customer testimony, depending on the directory.

Personal Recommendations

For both residential and commercial consumers, personal recommendations are great for finding HVAC technicians. Homeowners can look to family, friends, and neighbors who have used an HVAC contractor. Ask the trusted party about their experience, the customer service delivered and workmanship.

Commercial consumers may wish to ask other business owners for recommendations. If your business requires specific HVAC equipment to conduct processes, ask another business owner in your line of work. Facility managers may ask other maintenance professionals or those at sister sites of a parent company. Ask your trusted contact about the experience, payments, the level of professionalism delivered by the contractor, as well as their knowledge and workmanship.

Licensing Board

For your protection, find an HVAC technician who holds a license, if your state or local government requires it. Check your area’s licensing body for a list of licensed HVAC contractors, or to verify a contractor’s license.

Find an HVAC Technician: Residential

Homeowners who’ve never had to find an HVAC contractor before may find it hard to know where to start. The suggestions above are a good starting place; here are some additional references to help you find a trusted professional.

Real Estate Agent

If you’re new to your area, you may not know anyone to ask for local recommendations. In this situation, your realtor is a great resource. Odds are they’ve worked with local HVAC companies to aid their clients. Ask your realtor to help you find an HVAC contractor. Ask if there is a company they’d recommend, or if they can tell you which ones to steer clear of. If your realtor doesn’t have direct experience working with a local HVAC company, they likely have a trusted colleague who can assist you.

Find an HVAC Technician: Commercial

For business owners, facility managers, or maintenance professionals in need of commercial services, you may look elsewhere to find an HVAC technician. As you’re looking for commercial HVAC work, you don’t necessarily want to look to homeowner reviews to judge services – although these reviews can still tell you a great deal about a contractor’s professionalism and customer service.

Industry Groups

If your business is in a particular industry which uses HVAC equipment for processes, you may wish to work with a contractor who has specific experience working in your industry. To find an HVAC technician with these specific skills, you may look to trade groups in your industry. You may find HVAC technicians listed on the trade group’s website or in a trade journal.

Chamber of Commerce

Many business owners choose to work with other local business owners to support their local economies. If you wish to hire local, you may find an HVAC contractor through the chamber of commerce which you’re a member of. Members may even offer discounted services to other members and business professionals in the area, which can be a great advantage to you.

Hiring an HVAC Technician

For residential and commercial consumers, there are many resources out there to help you find HVAC technicians. Once you’ve found an HVAC technician, it’s important to evaluate the company to make sure it’s the type of business you want to work with. These HVAC.com resources will help you assess different HVAC companies and find the right match:

If you’re in need of residential or commercial services, you can find an HVAC technician through HVAC.com’s Online Contractor Directory. Or, let us find one for you – tell us about your project and we’ll have an HVAC.com Certified Contractor in touch with you shortl


Source: HVAC.com

Your Ultimate Guide to Installing a Central Air Conditioner

Posted by Will Housh on March 23

Installing central air conditioners is a popular spring project for homeowners and business owners across the nation. It’s the perfect time to do it – schedule installation in spring so your system is ready for summer!

If you’ve never had a contractor install a central air conditioner before, you’re probably unfamiliar with the process. Each HVAC pro’s process varies; the general steps consumers follow will be the same. This guide will walk you through the process as you plan your central air conditioner installation.

Learn the types of central air conditioners

Homes and businesses have equipment options when it comes to central air conditioning.

Split systems: This is the most popular type of central air conditioning system found in the U.S. It’s ‘split’ because it utilizes indoor and outdoor components. Inside is the air handler, which holds the blower and evaporator coil. Outside is what most people think of as the ‘air conditioner’: a metal cabinet which holds the condenser coil and compressor. Refrigerant lines connect the system. If you use a furnace for central heating, you likely have this sort of cooling system, too.

Heat pump: Heat pumps are another type of split system. Instead of a furnace and air conditioner, the heat pump supplies cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. It also has an air handler indoors, and the heat pump cabinet sits outdoors. Heat pumps can be air source or geothermal. Air source heat pumps extract heat from or release heat into outdoor air, depending on heating or cooling needs. Geothermal, also called ground source, heat pumps pull heat from or deposit heat into the earth to supply heating or cooling.

Packaged air conditioners: Packaged air conditioners combine electric air conditioning and a heat pump, or heating plus cooling equipment. These units sit on the rooftop or just outside the home or commercial building. They are often chosen for commercial applications due to their installation flexibility and small footprint.

Ductless mini-split air conditioners: Ductless systems are a great choice for cooling a home or business without ductwork. The other systems require ductwork to distribute cool air – a ductless system does not. Ductless mini-split systems have an outdoor air conditioner or heat pump, connected to air handling units placed in one or more rooms of the home or building. Control cooling delivered to each room or area separately of the other air handlers, offering greater control over energy use and temperature.

Other considerations to install central air conditioners

Depending on the type of central air conditioner considered, other factors may come into play.

New duct systems: If your home or business does not have existing duct work, you can choose a ductless air conditioner. If you want to go with another type of central air conditioner, you’ll have to have a duct system installed to work with it – this comes with extra cost and space considerations.

Duct system repairs: If your home or business does have a duct system and you want to install a ducted central air conditioner, the existing ducts may require repairs or alterations to support the new system. Air leaks can reduce air conditioner efficiency up to 30 percent, leading to energy loss and poor temperature control. Your duct system may require duct sealing to support the new air conditioner. Additional duct runs may need tied in to your existing system to facilitate your new central air conditioner installation.

Indoor air quality: Central air conditioners provide a certain level of dehumidification, but it may not be enough for your climate or indoor environment. Installing a whole-home dehumidifier to work with your air conditioner may be the best option for indoor air quality treatment in your home or business. If indoor contamination is an issue you face, a whole-home air purifier may be an add-on you want when installing a cooling system.

Finding HVAC contractors who install central air conditioners

Once you have an idea of the types of central air conditioners available and what you might like to purchase, start your search for an HVAC professional.

There are many ways you can go about your search for an HVAC contractor.

  • Ask trusted friends or family for contractor recommendations.
  • Search for a local HVAC contractor in HVAC.com’s online Contractor Directory
  • Let HVAC.com match you with an HVAC.com Certified Contractor
  • Use other online review sites or contractor directories to find local HVAC contractors

Meeting with air conditioning contractors

Once you’ve selected a few companies, contact them to arrange an estimate to install a central air conditioner. A trustworthy HVAC pro will guide you through the installation process. They’ll answer questions you have about system types, helping you choose the right option for your comfort and financial needs. They’ll perform cooling load calculations to determine the size of central air conditioner needed. Your HVAC pro will advise you as to other considerations needed for your new air conditioner to work optimally.

Choosing a central air conditioner installer

Once you have your quotes in hand, compare them and what they offer. Ask for itemized quotes which state the equipment so you know you’re comparing apples to apples. Check into warranty terms, for both equipment and labor.

After choosing the HVAC contractor you’d like to work with, contact them. They may want to meet with you again, or schedule a time for a sales representative to come pick up your contract. The contractor will inform you of the project’s timeline and schedule your installation. Your contractor may order the central air conditioner from a supplier first before scheduling specific installation dates.

Process to install a central air conditioner

On the day of your central air conditioner installation, expect a process similar to what’s listed below. Of course, the actual steps may vary between contractors.

  1. If your local government requires permitting for the HVAC work, either your contractor will obtain the permit or have informed you that you need to take care of it. In most cases, your contractor will do this for you.
  2. The contractor takes apart and removes the existing air conditioner.
  3. The contractor installs new duct systems or performs duct repairs.
  4. Prepare the installation site. This may involve setting a concrete pad outside to support the air conditioner, or installing rooftop supports for a packaged system installation.
  5. Your new outdoor unit will be positioned correctly. The contractor will install it and secure it to the site.
  6. If also replacing your air handler, install the indoor unit. While it’s a smart idea to replace both indoor and outdoor units at the same time, in some cases you may elect not to replace the air handler when you have a new outdoor unit installed.
  7. Connect the indoor and outdoor units. The contractor will determine the appropriate size for refrigerant lines, drain piping, and electrical lines. Some of these components link the parts of the split system.
  8. Connect the thermostat to the central air conditioner. You may have a new thermostat installed or continue to use your existing unit.
  9. Pull a vacuum to remove contaminants from the refrigerant lines and charge the new central air conditioner with refrigerant.
  10. The new cooling system starts and runs.
  11. The contractor will perform an installation inspection to ensure the installation was done correctly and the system functions properly.

Start your search for an air conditioning contractor

Buying a new central air conditioner is a major investment. Working with a skilled HVAC contractor, you’ll receive valuable guidance regarding system types, options, and efficiency levels available. The professional guidance you gain will allow you to select the right central air conditioner for your home or business. As you move through the installation process, feel free to ask your contractor for information or clarification along the way.

Kick off the project of installing a central air conditioner with HVAC.com! Search our Contractor Directory for a local HVAC pro, or have us recommend a Certified Contractor who can tackle your cooling project. Just complete these steps and we’ll set you up with a qualified contractor to quote your air conditioner installation.


Source: HVAC.com

HVAC Industry Trends with Will Housh of HVAC.com: R-22 Phase Out

Posted by Will Housh on March 14

The HVAC industry is constantly evolving, as we’re affected by developing technology and changing legislation. Some trends you may be aware of. Others, well – we know you’re busy, running a business and all! That’s where we come in.

On the HVAC.com Blog, we’ll discuss HVAC industry trends in a new monthly blog series. Hear what’s going on, get our take, and feel free to share yours in the comment section, or on social media!

As the R-22 phase out progresses, contractors must raise costs. The age-old debate of repairing versus replacing an air conditioning system comes into play. In the past, repair and a recharge would suffice. What does this mean for your equipment sales and repair approach?

The R-22 Phase Out and How It Affects You

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Montreal Protocol and Clean Air Act cut the amount of R-22 refrigerant in production, phasing it out in favor of more environmentally friendly coolants. R-22 is an ozone-depleting substance, as its hydrofluorocarbons are linked to ozone layer damage.

R-22 is on its way out. Only two more years until production will end entirely. Since 2015, each year we’ve seen a decreasing supply of the coolant. It’s driving up costs and forcing us to take a different approach to what was once a simple repair job.

Limited supply, increasing costs of R-22

In 2017, only 13 million pounds of R-22 will be produced. Next year, only 9 million pounds, and only 4 million in 2019. Starting in 2020, no R-22 will be made, nor imported to the U.S.

For HVAC contractors and their customers, the cost to recharge an R-22 air conditioning system has skyrocketed. R-22 costs climb as production dwindles. We’ve known about it for years, but are now feeling the impacts.

Some contractors prepare for the R-22 phase out by stocking up on refrigerant at today’s price. For these contractors, stocking up now secures product and stabilizes its price – until their supply runs out. This seems to be an ok strategy today, but some suppliers limit how much R-22 can be purchased by one company. Availability is becoming an issue.

Recharge versus replace

When faced with a leaking air conditioner refrigerant system, home and business owners must critically evaluate the remedy. The expense of recharging an R-22 refrigerant system has increased. Should a leak occur later, there’s no telling what the cost of the same repair will be. Supply and demand in action.

These customers will continue to face cost issues until they make the switch to an R-401A air conditioning system. Contractors are key when it comes to consumer education regarding refrigerant issues. Is paying $1000 to recharge an R-22 AC system the best decision? Would investing that money in a new system using readily available R-401A be a better choice?

No one wants to tell a customer the service that was affordable a few years ago has quadrupled in cost. We want to help customers better invest their money when it comes to their HVAC systems.

Replacing R-22 air conditioners with R-401A systems is the new alternative to recharging a system. With small leaks, recharging with R-22 isn’t cost prohibitive yet; if the system has completely lost its charge, the fix is quite costly. Retrofitting equipment with R-401A and other ozone safe coolant-containing refrigerant systems is another approach appropriate for some applications, particularly commercial.

Consumer education on the R-22 phase out

As the industry moves away from R-22, it’s important that we move our customers in that direction as well. For this choice, cost is a major player to the consumer. Today, replacing the system is still more expensive than recharging. It’s up to us as industry professionals to educate the consumer on the environmental issues with R-22, decreasing supply, and the end of its availability in just a few short years. While reclaimed R-22 refrigerant will still be available, it will be in high demand, and its cost will be high.

Ultimately, the R-22 phase out shows the evolution of our industry. New products are better, safer. It’s time to get rid of the old stuff – though it may not be a problem today, its potential is there. Just like the mercury thermostat of the olden days – new technology came along that was better, safer. Even though the stats weren’t necessarily causing a problem in the customer’s home, the potential for danger was there. Know better, do better, right?

Contractor sales opportunity

Obviously, the R-22 phase out gives contractors a great opportunity to upsell. Walk in to a repair, walk out with a new install. Government regulation, supply and demand, and environmental concern support replacement. When you educate your customers about this industry shift, they recognize the need to follow. It’s not simply upselling, but rather making the move now rather than later.

How is your company responding to the R-22 phase out? Perhaps more importantly, how are your customers responding? Are you leveraging the opportunity for new system sales, or devising a way to support R-22 demand?

Whichever way the industry is currently moving, HVAC.com offers the resources you need to run a successful contracting business. From marketing assistance to increase visibility to the hot leads that’ll increase revenue, let HVAC.com be your business toolbox. Sign up today to access our Contractor Command Center, your dashboard for success.

Are you a contractor and interested in growing your business? HVAC.com can help grow your business by introducing you to new customers in your local area! We are inviting the best HVAC contractors in the industry to join our network so you can connect with customers who need help with their HVAC system.

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Source: HVAC.com