Cost of HVAC Inspections for Homeowners

Posted by Will Housh on April 28

Before selling or purchasing a home, or even periodically while living in yours, it may be necessary to obtain an HVAC inspection. Performed by a qualified specialist, this inspection will tell you how your home’s heating and cooling systems are functioning, and if any repairs are warranted, as well as replacement.

Simpler HVAC inspections may be performed with your annual preventative maintenance service visit. It’s a great value for homeowners to have their systems assessed each year, to ensure proper functioning and efficiency. Inspections can provide a ‘heads up’ which alerts the owner of needed repairs, before operating the system does additional damage.

The cost of HVAC inspection ranges from contractor to contractor. Below, we’ll share with you the average cost of HVAC inspections, as well as what you’ll get for your money.

Cost of HVAC Inspection

In 2017, the cost of HVAC inspection averages $321. On the high end, an inspection may run you as much as $475; if your home is under 1,000 square feet, you could pay as little as $200 for an inspection. Be sure to verify the cost of HVAC inspection with your chosen contractor before the inspection begins, as prices do vary between providers.

What an HVAC Inspection Includes

An HVAC inspection is a thorough review and testing of your home’s heating and cooling equipment, as well as any whole-home indoor air quality systems.

Contrary to popular belief, the average home inspection does not include detailed testing of HVAC systems. While basic functioning is checked, furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, and other HVAC systems can still function with major malfunctions, in some cases. Your home inspection generally is not detailed enough to give you the full picture of how your heating and cooling systems are performing.

Every contractor’s process may be slightly different, so it’s smart to ask your preferred professional what they include in their cost of HVAC inspection. In general, HVAC inspections usually include the following:

  • Test the thermostat’s calibration
  • Check air filter
  • Inspect blower components
  • Test for correct airflow through units and home
  • Inspect electrical connections
  • Inspect quality of installation
  • Inspect areas where equipment is located
  • Inspect equipment condition
  • Inspect condenser and evaporator coils for air conditioning units
  • Evaluate system starting capabilities
  • Test safety controls
  • Evaluate temperature differentiation
  • Test refrigerant pressure
  • Examine condensate drains and drip pan
  • Examine heating and air conditioning equipment versus air handler for proper match
  • Evaluate heat pump heating mode and defrost cycle
  • Evaluate operation of backup heating source
  • Examine heat exchanger, ignition and burner assemblies
  • Test venting and clearances
  • Test combustion air
  • Test gas pressure and piping

Upon completion of your HVAC inspection, the technician will provide you with a completed report of all elements examined and their findings. They may also include recommendations as to performance and efficiency-improving repairs which will help your systems improve function. At this time, read over the report and take the opportunity to ask for clarification or more information on any points you need.

Find an HVAC inspector through HVAC.com

HVAC.com connects homeowners with contractors who provide HVAC inspections locally. Use our Contractor Directory to search for an HVAC professional in your area to access the services you need!

While you’re here, search our site for the answers to all your heating, cooling, and indoor air quality related questions! We’re the world’s top resource for HVAC knowledge.


Source: HVAC.com

Common Home AC Repairs for Residential Air Conditioning Systems

Posted by Will Housh on April 27

With temperatures heating up, homeowners are flipping on their air conditioners all across the country! This heating season, you may run into system performance issues which create the need for home AC repair.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic! Common air conditioner issues can be corrected by your local home AC repair contractor. To get an idea of what you may be facing when you call, below you’ll find common home AC repairs contractors make every day.

Cost of Home AC Repairs

When their air conditioners act up, many homeowners envision money leaving their wallets to pay for home AC repairs. The truth is, air conditioning repairs may not be as expensive as you think! The average cost of home AC repair in 2017 is $325. The average homeowner will spend between $165 to $507 repairing common cooling system issues.

Common Home AC Repairs

If your air conditioning system is having trouble starting up, producing cool air, or keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, it may be experiencing one of the common home AC repair issues below.

Home AC Repair: Refrigerant Leak

Air conditioners contain refrigerant, which allows the system to run efficiently, releasing heat from the air to cool it. Air conditioners are charged with refrigerant upon installation; a poor charge or a refrigerant leak can cause the system’s refrigerant level to fall below the proper amount. To remedy this, the home AC repair which is performed is a refrigerant recharge, accompanied by fixing the leak if that was the source causing low refrigerant levels.

It is important that the technician performing your home AC repair charge your cooling system with the proper amount of refrigerant. The manufacturer will specify this amount – correct refrigerant charge allows your cooling system to perform efficiently and accurately.

Home AC Repair: Drainage Issues

An air conditioner’s cooling process produces condensation, which normally flows away from the equipment, causing no problem. If there is a clog in the condensate drain lines or drip pan, or if outdoor humidity levels are high, moisture may back up into your air conditioner. Excess condensation will increase indoor humidity levels and hinder the air conditioner’s performance. It could also cause damage to your air conditioner’s components.

To correct this issue, your home AC repair technician will inspect all condensate lines and the drip pan. The lines will be cleared of clogs, and may be treated for algae growth to prevent future clogs. If air conditioner components have been damaged, your technician will provide you with an estimate to repair this equipment.

Home AC Repair: Broken Compressor Fan

Your air conditioner’s outside unit is home to the compressor, fan, and condenser coils. These components work to release heat from the air, transferring it out of your home to produce a cool indoor climate. When the outdoor fan isn’t working correctly, the heat transfer process is hindered. Not only will this prevent your air conditioner from adequately cooling your home, a broken fan can cause the system’s compressor to overheat. An overheated compressor could trigger the air conditioner’s safety controls, turning your air conditioner off; overheating can also cause damage to the compressor itself, requiring home AC repair or compressor replacement.

A qualified home AC repair specialist will diagnose the issue preventing the outdoor fan from working properly. Your fan will be repaired or replaced if necessary, and the outdoor unit will be inspected to assess whether the issue has caused further system damage.

Home AC Repair: Frozen Condenser Coils

If your air conditioner’s condenser coils, which are located in the outdoor unit, freeze up, your system will not run properly. Poor airflow through your cooling system can cause ice to form on the coils. Obstructions are typically the cause – such as dirty air filters or blocked return air ducts. Low refrigerant could also be the cause, requiring a refrigerant charge. A home AC repair technician can diagnose the issue behind your frozen coils, resolve it, and safely thaw your coils to restore cooling in your home.

Find a Home AC Repair Contractor through HVAC.com

Are you in search of home AC repair? HVAC.com connects homeowners to qualified contractors serving their locale. Use the HVAC.com Contractor Directory and find a Certified Contractor in your area to provide the skilled air conditioner repairs you need to keep your home nice and comfortable this summer!


Source: HVAC.com

Choosing an HVAC Installer for Your New System

Posted by Will Housh on April 20

When shopping for a new heating or cooling system, homeowners do a lot of research on the equipment itself. Potential buyers investigate energy efficiency ratings and advanced features, which are huge selling points, distinguishing one system from another. Homeowners may even configure a payback analysis to determine how soon their new HVAC system will pay for itself, or work to estimate total monthly energy bills based on the prospective system’s energy efficiency.

All of the above is truly great to look at when shopping for a new system – but one critical element many overlook is that the HVAC installer you choose is just as important as the system itself! It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles your new air conditioner or furnace comes with – if you hire a bad installer, those features won’t do you much good at all.

As you shop for new HVAC equipment, remember – shop for an HVAC installer as well. The one you choose will have a great impact on the heating or cooling system you purchase, as without quality installation, your new HVAC system will not do the job you expect of it.

Importance of a Quality HVAC Installer

Interviewing HVAC installers should be just as important as examining system efficiencies and features as you shop for new heating and cooling units. The performance and efficiency of any new system you purchase is pretty much in the installer’s hands – if installation is botched, your equipment will not offer the comfort and energy savings you banked on when you purchased it.

HVAC installers should always follow manufacturer instructions and industry best practices when installing new heating and cooling equipment. When installation isn’t up to these standards, many problems can result.

  • Bad HVAC installation inhibits efficiency. The efficiency ratings you reviewed when making your purchase decision are dependent on proper installation. Improper installation may cause your new unit to consume excess energy, raising your utility bills – all that money you invested in a high-efficiency unit won’t produce the benefits you expected.
  • Bad HVAC installation hinders performance. Your new heating or cooling unit may be prevented from delivering the hot or chilled air you expect. Installation issues which hinder performance place added stress on the system, as it struggles to do the job you’ve called for. Your home won’t be as comfortable as you’d prefer, which may trigger you to run additional systems or adjust thermostats, therefore spending more and more unnecessary energy.
  • Bad HVAC installation shortens system life. An improper install may force the system to perform under less-than-ideal conditions, stressing components to the point of breakdown. Over time, this added stress, generated by the initial bad installation, may lead the system to permanently break down well before you expect. This will leave you with unexpected replacement costs and a possible panic situation, should the system die suddenly.

Qualities of a Great HVAC Installer

In most areas of the country, homeowners have many options to choose from when in need of a heating and cooling contractor. Not all you’ll come across possess the right qualities and skills to ensure your new system is installed correctly. As you evaluate local HVAC installers, your final selection should possess these key qualities.

Brand Experience

If you’ve already determined which make of new HVAC system you’ll purchase, you want to select an HVAC installer with experience installing that brand of equipment. Experience and training teach contractors the ins and outs specific to a brand of equipment, allowing them to perform accurate installation each time.

Many equipment manufacturers have “qualified HVAC installer” programs for their brands. Qualified HVAC installers receive training and education surrounding the brand and its equipment models. This allows the manufacturer to ensure the contractor can properly install their models, and knows the pertinent information about their equipment which may vary from other brands.

These HVAC installers may also receive manufacturer-approved customer service, repair, and maintenance training, allowing them to provide not only accurate installation, but a superior customer experience and the services homeowners need over the service life of their system. Manufacturer training allows the brand to ensure the contractor is able to accurately match customers to the appropriate HVAC system for their homes, and answer any questions the customer may have about the brand’s equipment.

NATE Certification

The North American Technician Excellence organization, or NATE, is the largest non-profit certifying organization serving the HVAC industry. NATE certification shows that an HVAC installer holds the knowledge and skill to properly install heating and air conditioning equipment, utilizing industry best practices.

To obtain NATE certification, HVAC installers must pass NATE’s rigorous exams, covering certain types of HVAC equipment and services. To maintain certification, contractors must undergo continuous education every two years, to expand their knowledge of the field and stay up-to-date with the industry’s evolving innovations, technology, and practices.

Working with a NATE-certified HVAC installer presents many advantages to consumers. A NATE-certified technician has independently pursued certification to verify their knowledge and skill. They’re committed to expanding their understanding of the industry and its advances.

NATE-certified HVAC installers protect your new HVAC systems, offering high quality installation producing increased system energy efficiency. They get the installation job completed correctly the first time – NATE-certified installers have fewer callbacks than those without certification, producing fewer warranty returns.

Customers who’ve worked with NATE-certified technicians report a better overall experience, compared to working with non-certified HVAC installers. Customer satisfaction with the HVAC system as well as the installer. When searching for an HVAC installer, NATE certification ranks only contractor reputation among qualities consumers want when hiring an HVAC pro.

Find an HVAC Installer through HVAC.com

When it’s time to purchase a new heating or air conditioning system, use the HVAC.com contractor directory to find a qualified HVAC installer in your area! Search for HVAC installers with the qualifications you need to get the job done right. HVAC.com Certified Contractors have gained our seal of approval, and we’re confident in recommending them to perform the HVAC installation work you need. Your HVAC installer will utilize industry best practices while installing your new furnace, heat pump, air conditioner, or other system to ensure it performs to the efficiency levels you expect.

Visit HVAC.com to start your search.


Source: HVAC.com

Finding Local Air Conditioner Repair Contractors

Posted by Will Housh on April 18

It’s heating up across the country! Many of us have already flipped on our air conditioners for the first time this season.

The first hot day of the year can be stressful for home and business owners. When you set the thermostat to “cooling” mode, what do you do if nothing happens? Your air conditioner doesn’t fire up Maybe it does, but the air coming out is lukewarm. Or, your air conditioner makes an awful sound, or emits a horrible smell. These cooling system issues leave you thinking, “I need to find AC unit repair near me, and fast!”

Finding local air conditioner repair is easy, if you know the right places to look. A Google search for “AC unit repair near me” will turn up pages of options in most places. But, these search results don’t show who’s best for the job – just who has the best SEO.

Here are some great resources to help you pinpoint qualified local air conditioner repair. Find “AC unit repair near me” and know you’re working with a skilled pro!

HVAC.com Online Contractor Directory

HVAC.com is your one-stop shop for finding local air conditioner repair. Our free online contractor directory is home to HVAC contractor listings from across the U.S. Just type in your ZIP code to find HVAC pros in your area. You can even narrow down search results, which will help you find contractors with specific qualifications or who service certain brands.

HVAC.com is the top heating and air conditioning resource site in the world! As you search for a contractor, check out our Resource Center and the HVAC.com Blog to find answers to any heating, air conditioning, or indoor air quality question. Learn about the types of systems used in homes and businesses, how to vet contractors, and more which will best prepare you for working with the pros you’ll find through our directory.

Air Conditioning Contractors of America

A search for “AC unit repair near me” may lead you to Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). ACCA is the leading trade organization for heating and cooling professionals. ACCA represents HVAC pros throughout the country, providing technical, legal, and marketing resources for small businesses. They also work to develop industry standards that govern heating, ventilation, and air conditioning work throughout the country.

Home and business owners may search ACCA’s member database to discover local air conditioner repair contractors in their area. The ACCA Find a Contractor is free! Use it to identify local HVAC professionals serving specific market segments, performing all types of heating, cooling, indoor air quality, and building performance work.

Personal Recommendations

Aside from the resources above, your friends and family are a great resource. Ask them, “Do you know where I can find AC unit repair near me?” If they’ve used a local professional for HVAC work before, you’ll get a trusted, personal account of the experience – good or bad.

Turning to a source you know and trust is a solution many can rely on. Online review sites can be full of negative or glowing experiences – you don’t know who’s telling the truth on Yelp, you don’t know who they are! Your neighbor, coworker, or family member is someone you’ve built a relationship with. You trust their opinions on many subjects – local air conditioner repair is no different.

In your search to find “AC unit repair near me,” turning to the right sources will make your search a lot easier. Reputable industry sources and your own trusted advisors can point you toward professional local air conditioner repair contractors who deliver quality workmanship and an excellent customer service experience.

Use HVAC.com’s Online Contractor Directory to find a local air conditioner repair contractor today! Search your ZIP code to find HVAC.com Certified Contractors and other qualified professionals in your area who are available to diagnose and solve the cooling system problems you face, restoring comfort to your home or business in no time.


Source: HVAC.com

The Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist You Should Be Following

Posted by Will Housh on April 13

As a commercial business owner, facility costs account for a large chunk of your spending each year. Besides rent or mortgage expenses, energy costs are considerable – U.S. commercial and industrial facilities spend $400 billion on energy alone each year!

Lowering your energy spend generates savings that can be better allocated to other causes, such as expanding your business and generating new income. Looking for a place to start saving? Begin with your commercial HVAC systems.

Importance of Commercial HVAC Maintenance

HVAC systems, along with lighting, are the biggest energy consumers in the average commercial building. While there’s certainly something to be said for building automation systems and other technology which work to reduce energy consumption, maintaining your systems through commercial HVAC maintenance greatly impacts the amount of energy this equipment uses. Our Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist will show you the steps which need to be followed to keep your building’s HVAC equipment in top shape, consuming less energy and serving you longer.

Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Facility managers and maintenance departments can keep commercial HVAC systems running more efficiently through regular commercial HVAC maintenance. Use this commercial HVAC maintenance checklist as a guide to follow.

Preventative Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Not all businesses require the same needs from their HVAC systems. Customized commercial HVAC maintenance plans may be offered by your preferred contractor, which will provide the specific care your system needs to boost performance.

  • Performed in the spring for cooling systems, the fall for heating systems
  • This is a service which should be performed by a commercial HVAC technician. Preventative maintenance serves as a tune-up for your building’s HVAC systems, helping them run more efficiently throughout the season. Several steps will be taken to correct existing issues and prevent future performance problems and breakdowns – these steps generally include the following.
  • For outdoor components:
    • Coil and cabinet are inspected and cleaned
    • Drain pans and condensate lines are cleared of obstructions
    • Compressor is inspected
    • Fan motor and blades are inspected and lubricated
    • Control box, switches, wiring, and safety controls are inspected
    • Refrigerant level is measured and recharged if necessary
  • For indoor components:
    • Blower assembly is checked and cleaned
    • Belts are lubricated or replaced
    • Combustion blower housing is cleaned
    • Evaporator coil, drip pan, and condensate lines are cleaned and cleared
    • Burner assembly is inspected and cleaned
    • Ignition system is cleaned
    • Safety controls are tested
    • Heat exchanger is inspected
    • Flue system is checked for dislocations and wear
    • Control box, wiring, and connections are checked and tightened
    • Air filter is replaced or cleaned
    • Duct system is checked

Check and Change Air Filters

  • Air filters should be inspected every three to four weeks to ensure the filter has not become clogged with debris.
  • Changing of air filters should be performed every three to six months, per the manufacturer’s recommendation or as needed.
  • Maintenance staff should stay on top of air filter checks and changes, as restricted airflow through the HVAC systems hinders performance and increases energy consumption by this equipment. During periods of heavy use, you may find it necessary to replace filters more frequently.
  • Running your commercial HVAC systems with clean air filters can lower energy consumption by up to 15%.

Program Thermostats

  • Perform at the beginning of heating season and cooling season, and when temperatures hit the point of not using the systems regularly.
  • When it’s time to switch from one HVAC system to the next, or it’s time to not run it so frequently, it’s time to check the programming on your building’s thermostats to ensure settings are optimal for energy savings. Do this by manually programming your thermostats or through your building automation system; even if you’ve programmed heating and cooling schedules in the past, it’s still smart to recheck to make sure they still fit your needs and the same areas are still in regular use.

Periodic System Checks

  • Perform these monthly, or as needed.
  • Check thermostat operation. If your thermostats are not operating correctly throughout the season, your HVAC systems could be running more frequently than necessary, boosting your energy consumption. If thermostats are not working properly, have them repaired or replaced.
  • Check drip pan and drain lines. Clogs in your HVAC systems’ drainage lines can cause moisture to back up into your building, causing mold and mildew growth as well as the potential for damage. Make sure the drip pan and drain lines are emptying correctly and remove any obstructions that develop.

With proper commercial HVAC maintenance, your building’s heating and cooling systems can operate more efficiently year-round, generating notable energy savings for your business. Working with a trusted commercial HVAC professional, you can create a customized commercial HVAC maintenance checklist for preventative heating and cooling care tailored to the unique needs of your business.

HVAC.com connects commercial business owners and facility managers to local commercial HVAC contractors. Find an HVAC.com Certified Contractor who offers commercial HVAC maintenance services today through our Online Contractor Directory.


Source: HVAC.com