Here’s What to Ask Your HVAC Technician at Your Next Service Appointment

Homeowners often have questions to ask when they schedule an appointment for HVAC repair, installation, or maintenance. Air conditioners and heating units can seem especially complicated when you aren’t familiar with HVAC lingo or even your own heating and cooling system. When you have questions to ask an HVAC technician, your trusted HVAC company is the perfect place to turn.

Whenever you have a visit for heating or air conditioning service, this is the perfect time to ask your HVAC questions and receive the answers you need to know from a knowledgeable source – your trusted HVAC technician! From setting your thermostat to the perfect temperature, ways to save money on your utility bills, and how to care for your HVAC system, HVAC technicians are always ready to address these common heating and cooling concerns.

Feeling stumped on what to ask your HVAC technician on your next service call? Thomas & Galbraith shares some of the common questions we receive from homeowners just like you. As your trusted professional HVAC contractor in Cincinnati, we’re always ready to help you better understand your air conditioners and heating equipment!

What Is the Ideal Temperature to Set on My Thermostat in Winter and Summer?

If your goal is to reduce energy use as well as lower electric and gas bills, choosing ideal indoor setpoints based on the season will allow you to balance comfort while saving money.

  • In the summer, set the temperature at 78 degrees.
  • In the winter, set the temperature at 68 degrees.

If you don’t feel these setpoints are comfortable enough for your household, use them to start the process of making adjustments to determine the right energy-smart temp for your house. Reduce the temperature one degree at a time when working with your cooling system, and increase temperatures by one degree when running your heating system – do so until you arrive at a setpoint that keeps everyone comfortable yet doesn’t waste energy by creating more heating and cooling than necessary. Each degree you can deviate from your old settings can reduce the cost of heating and cooling by 1%.

Questions to ask a technician that will help you make these changes concern correct programming of your thermostat, using its features correctly for different circumstances, like a vacation period, and how to determine when to start and stop temperature setbacks.

How Can I Cut the Cost of My Energy Bill and Save Money?

Decreasing the amount of heating and cooling your HVAC systems must produce reduces the amount of energy consumed by your air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, or other type of HVAC unit. The previous thermostat settings advice will help you minimize the difference between room temp and your preferred temp, therefore your air conditioner or heating unit won’t need to run as long or as often to keep the house comfortable which conserves energy and lowers your utility bills.

In addition to being conscientious of your thermostat settings, it helps to minimize the heat loss and gain within your home. In the winter, you want to limit heating loss and help your house retain as much of the heat energy produced by your thermostat or boiler as possible; in the summer, you want to avoid adding heat to the house which limits the cooling load your air conditioner must conquer.

When asking your HVAC technician this question, he or she can offer targeted advice and solutions specific for your home. Professional services such as duct sealing can be helpful in your efforts to reduce utility bills and save money. Other suggestions may include:

  • Sealing gaps around windows and doors, wall penetrations, attic hatches, and other areas prone to energy loss.
  • Opening curtains and blinds to let in direct sunlight for natural solar heat gain in the winter, and closing them to block out thermal energy in the summer.
  • Keeping heat-producing activities to a minimum when it’s hot outside, such as taking long showers or baking in the oven.

How Can I Improve the Home’s Indoor Air Quality?

HVAC technicians are great resources when you have questions to ask about the quality of your indoor air supply and how to improve it. These pros are ready to help you determine and address the specific indoor air quality (IAQ) issues currently affecting your household, such as humidity management, reducing allergy symptoms, excessive dust, and more.

When meeting with your HVAC technician, ask questions to learn how your home’s HVAC system is helpful for delivering cleaner air across the entire space. HVAC companies specialize in solutions that address large spaces and offer better coverage than a small portable unit. They install IAQ equipment that works with the heating and air conditioning systems to improve conditions in every room – your technician may suggest installation of one or more IAQ products such as:

  • A higher efficiency air filter. The system air filter’s main purpose is removing airborne contaminants from circulation so they stay out of the inside of your HVAC unit and don’t cause damage or disrupt efficiency of internal components – a free bonus is cleaner air for your home! An air filter that has an efficiency rating of MERV 8 to MERV 12 can remove more matter and finer particles from the air versus the low-efficiency air filters installed by default in many homes.

Typically, an air filter with a higher efficiency rating than MERV 12 isn’t appropriate for the average residential HVAC system and can cause airflow problems that harm your unit. It’s best to ask a technician for an air filter recommendation that is appropriate for the air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace system you have installed at home.

  • HVAC companies offer professional duct sealing services that close gaps in the duct system. By doing so, pollutants from areas like the attic, basement, or crawlspace are kept out of the home’s air supply.

  • Installing a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier could be appropriate to help you manage humidity and moisture issues like mold growth, dry air, dampness, and more.

  • Equipment such as air cleaners or ultraviolet light air purifiers could provide advanced particle filtration to help control dust and airborne debris as well as a line of defense against the spread of microorganisms between family members and across the home.

What Do I Need to Know About HVAC Maintenance Plans from Different Companies?

Nearly every HVAC company offers some sort of service or maintenance plan that is designed to help customers care for their heating systems and air conditioners. The specific services and perks a customer receives by joining the program will vary from one company to another, so feel free to contact your HVAC contractor to ask what is included.

  • When you contact your technician about these plans, be sure to ask questions about payment schedules. The business may bill you the entire cost for the yearly membership upfront or send bills for a smaller portion of the cost on a monthly basis.

  • Membership typically includes the preventive maintenance tune-ups your furnace, air conditioner, and other units need each year. Tune-up jobs are completed by a technician who holds the proper license, with one visit dedicated to heating maintenance and the second appointment spent on cooling system maintenance services.

  • The maintenance services included in the tune-up job are generally the same, though the specific steps may differ depending on which company you are hiring.

  • These plans often include extras beyond maintenance services to give customers additional incentives to join. These may include priority appointment scheduling for your HVAC job, waived overtime cost when hiring emergency repair services, discounted diagnostic services and repairs, savings on the total cost of purchasing new HVAC systems when hiring the company to install the unit, and other advantages.

Does My Ductwork Need Work?

It can be very difficult for a customer to detect damage in the duct system, as it is entirely hidden from view and not always easy to access in many homes. Service for damaged ducts is best left to skilled technicians who have the right job training to repair compromised ducting in a lasting way.

Because you the customer cannot easily see the ducts that carry cool air from your air conditioning system to rooms throughout the house, ask HVAC technicians what signs you should watch for that indicate you need to call for repairs. Technicians inform the customer of symptoms such as:

  • More dust than usual collecting on surfaces in the home.
  • Certain rooms never seem to get warm or cool enough no matter how often the heating and cooling system cycles.
  • Little to no airflow from one or more supply vents.
  • Higher energy bills when running heating and cooling systems.
  • Uneven temperatures when using the heating and cooling system.
  • High humidity indoors and condensation on surfaces.

The symptoms above are indicators your ductwork could need repairs such as duct sealing, or even the installation of new ducts or a completely new air distribution system. Designing and installation of ductwork systems is definitely a job worth having a professional with skilled training complete. The duct runs that serve your home have a significant impact on the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning systems. Blockages, disconnections, air leaks, and even poor duct system design interrupt airflow in varying capacities, diminishing operating efficiency of your air conditioning and heating units and forcing them to consume more energy to move air through the HVAC system and into your living areas.

What Should I Know About HVAC Brand Warranties?

New system installation cost includes the price of your new heating or air conditioning unit as well as technician labor from your heating and air company for installation service. The manufacturing company or brand of the new unit includes an equipment warranty that covers certain parts or the system as a whole should a defect be present. Your heating and air conditioning company may also provide you with a labor warranty covering work performed as part of the installation service.

Each brand has requirements for registering and upholding the warranty. When you have a technician perform installation of any new HVAC system, be sure you ask questions about:

  • What information is needed to register your warranty with the brand?
  • How soon must the warranty be registered after installation is complete?
  • Is the warranty transferrable if you sell your house, and when must you notify the brand about this change?
  • What system parts are covered by the warranty and how long is each part covered against defect?
  • What ongoing requirements must you fulfill to uphold the brand warranty?

Answers to All Your HVAC Questions

From installation to repair and maintenance, Thomas & Galbraith is always available to answer your questions about heating and air conditioning systems and services. Currently, our technicians help customers throughout the Greater Cincinnati area care for their HVAC units, maximize home comfort, and keep energy bills under wraps! To make an appointment for heating or air conditioning services, contact our team anytime!

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