If you want to improve the quality of air in your home, you are probably undecided whether to hire an HVAC technician to do the work or to do it yourself.
You have several questions lingering in your mind, and you want them answered. The problem is, you’re not sure what to expect or how to go about asking them.
All you want is to make sure that your home air care project is free from worry and stress and done right the first time.
The beauty and success of your home air care projects depend on the choices you make. One such choice is leaving all your home air care installation, repair, and maintenance projects to an HVAC technician.
In this DIY era, however, repairing and maintaining HVAC systems seem like a routine task. If you have the time and energy, you can fix that noisy air conditioner, change your old air filters, or install that thermostat you bought the other day. But, is there any guarantee about the results you get? Better yet, how much time do you spend doing such tasks?
The best advice is to hire an HVAC technician. This will not only save you time, but you’ll have a peace of mind and a better outcome.
Read on for our top four reasons why every homeowner should hire an HVAC professional for installation, maintenance, and repairs instead of doing it yourself or relying on someone without the necessary expertise or credentials.
4 Reasons Homeowner Should Hire an HVAC Professional
HVAC technicians have the knowledge and expertise
Whether it’s handling new installation, equipment replacement, complex repair, or maintenance of essential heating, cooling, and air quality products, HVAC technicians have specialized knowledge, training, experience, and skills that take time and practice to acquire.
That means they are not only trained in their line of work but also regularly updated and proficient in HVAC systems matters
In that regard, they will always know things you don’t know and do things you can’t do. For instance, you might know how to replace your air filter, but when it comes to analyzing your home and making the right recommendation that can help improve air quality in your home, you’re likely to make a lot of mistakes.
Besides, with the knowledge and expertise that HVACs have acquired, they always know what needs to be done and how to do it better and safer. If you ignore or incognizant of the importance of hiring an HVAC technician, the probability of making mistakes that could injure you or cause damage to your home are quite high.
HVAC technicians are dependable and can be held accountable
Apart from their knowledge and expertise, HVAC technicians must be certified and licensed to stay above board, at least according to most states in the US.
Certification and licensing involve undergoing examinations to test education and skills. Obtaining EPA Section 608 card and complying with the OSHA laws and regulations are other mandatory obligation. Some states also require an HVAC technician to meet specific legal demands as per the state licensing board before practicing the profession.
An HVAC technician ready to show their certificates and license demonstrates they are not only vetted but complied with the required law and regulations. It also means they stay updated on the latest technology as far as proper inspection of essential HVAC systems is concerned.
That’s not all, certified and licensed HVAC technicians understand the permit process.They shall have obtained a building maintenance permit from your local building department and ensure all HVAC work performed in your home are done to code or inspection and workmanship standards.
As a homeowner, this is important because getting caught doing or having done HVAC work in your home without a permit can lead to fines. For instance, if you intend to sell your home and you had HVAC work done without a permit, most home inspectors will find it in the records. You’ll then be held liable and forced to obtain the necessary permits and inspections before transferring ownership of the property. This can cost you a lot of money and consume a good portion of your time – and most definitely delay you from selling the house.
The bottom line is, professional HVAC contractors will never mislead, scam or take shortcuts. You will be sure that they will perform their duties as required and ready to face the consequences when they don’t.
Unlicensed HVAC technicians may cost you more
The next best reason to hire an HVAC professional is to safeguard your property and avoid unnecessary damages or accidents that might increase the service costs. Because the heating and cooling systems in your home are significant investments, you want to make sure the contractor you choose guarantees their protection.
In as much as it would seem cheap to hire unprofessional HVAC technician to do your home HVAC projects, it’s always costly in the long run.
The reason for that is, while you might have a fixed budget or want to “save” some money, it is also imperative to think about the costs and financial liabilities in case of faulty or improper workmanship. That is, you’ll be responsible for all damages or injuries while the contractor is on the job.
How do you benefit when you hire an HVAC professional.
First, aside from following all necessary procedures provided by the manufacturer of the equipment, licensed HVAC technicians hold a surety bond – liability insurance to protect you in case of accidental damage or injury. You also get compensation in the event of incomplete work, or work performed without necessary permits or materials.
All these work in your favor because you’re not only protected but have a piece of mind.
HVAC technicians save you time
Think about it: even if you could DIY your home HVAC projects, do you have the necessary tools to get the job done? How much time would you take figuring out what the problem is and fixing it?
If I were to bet, you probably don’t have any HVAC tools, and you’d fiddle about trying to maintain or fix your HVAC system yourself.
It’s best to hire a professional to install or repair your appliances once and for all instead of hiring a handyman in a bid to save cost yet you end up fixing the same problems time and again. You still hire a professional and still be able to use time tracker work.
Professional technicians usually have all tools and equipment that can ever be needed for your specific project. Thus they do the job efficiently and quickly, not only saving you time but money to purchase tools and equipment.
They also save you time by fixing your HVAC system once and for all. Because they understand every little detail about HVAC systems, they will identify the problem even without you telling them, right after assessing the system to be repaired. They will do what needs to be done and get it fixed the first time. You won’t have to worry about doing it over and again.
Now that you understand the benefits of hiring an HVAC technician, I guess you’ll avoid installing, repairing, and maintaining HVAC systems yourself.
The next section is about choosing an HVAC professional for your home projects. It’s the same process for people who want to buy furniture online.
What Should You Look For In an HVAC Technician?
Most homeowners are conscious of the need to consider heedfully the selection of HVAC systems that are appropriate for their homes. They spend a considerable time researching and examining various air care systems that would improve air quality in their homes.
Unfortunately, one critical element that is often neglected is choosing and hiring an HVAC technician. Because many people have little understanding of its importance to the performance, reliability, and overall lifespan of HVAC systems, it is always almost an afterthought. In fact, most homeowners tend to overlook or downright ignore the whole process.
Your home HVAC systems are very complex systems that require proper care and occasional maintenance by a professional. Choosing a professional HVAC technician to fix whatever might be wrong or install any of your home HVAC systems should be given the same attention as selecting the system itself. If you hire the right HVAC installer, you are guaranteed to get the best out of the system. But if you don’t give the process the earnestness it deserves, your system might not only work inefficiently but also become susceptible to damage, giving you incredible amounts of problems in the future.
So to avoid all the quagmire and have a peace of mind once you have purchased your HVAC system, you need to hire an HVAC installer. That’s not all though, you have to make sure the technician is qualified and experienced in HVAC matters.
If you are not sure how to go about choosing an HVAC technician, here are what you should be looking for.
Various cities and states in America require HVAC technicians to have specific credentials. But even if that’s not an obligation in your state, it’s only wise to hire technicians with valid credentials. Keep in mind, HVAC installation and services are complicated procedures, and a lot can go wrong.
While you can ask for many credentials to examine whether your preferred contractor is a professional – which can be confusing most of the time – you must never fail to ask for these three: licenses, insurance, and surety bonds.
A license is a proof that the HVAC technician you want to hire to work in your home has proper knowledge, training – and most importantly tested – to install, maintain and repair HVAC systems correctly according to your state’s building code. Make sure you check the status of your contractor’s license and verify if they’re in good standing with the state and if they complete their professional duties in a timely fashion. If you’re not sure, you can always look it up through your state contractor licensing board.
Insurance matters because you don’t have to worry about protection and compensation in case of an injury or damage to property while the contractor is working in your home.
Surety bonds are a must-have for every HVAC technician. It guarantees that the contractor will conform to the relevant laws and regulations. For instance, if a technician doesn’t fulfill their contractual obligations, you can file a claim against them on the basis of that bond. Therefore, they take full responsibility to fulfill the terms of the contract as you had agreed.
When you are investing in your home HVAC systems, you need to have confidence that the technician you are considering to hire is not only experienced working with heating and cooling units but also has sufficient experience installing your preferred brand of system. Most master technicians have a wealth of skills and acquired sufficient training around specific air conditioner and furnace types, brands, and models. This allows them to fully understand different equipment and know the best possible solution when you call them.
One of the questions you might be asking yourself right now is, “how do I know this HVAC installer is experienced?”
Well, here are what you need to ask the contractor to confirm whether they have the necessary experience to work in your home.
- How much experience do you have working in the HVAC industry? If they have been working in the industry for quite some time, you should feel confident hiring them.
- Do you have any referrals from clients you’ve worked for in the past? If they can provide references from past customers, you can confirm if the work they did was satisfactory, just to be sure that they will do the same when working in your home.
- How can you correct my HVAC system mistakes? And how long are you going to take to complete the work? The technician you hire should be able to point out some common mistakes in your home from either a DIY project or sub-par work, typically by a cheaper contractor. They should also give an estimate of the time the project will take.
- Do you have any warranties or work guarantees? Technicians that fully disclose their refunds, warranties and work guarantee policies is a clear sign that they are experienced and reliable.
Even if your preferred HVAC technician is licensed, one certification you must never ignore is the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification. While it’s not a legally required document, it’s still a gold standard for technicians.
Aside from their college education and training, NATE certified technicians have also been examined and passed a knowledge-based assessment developed and administered by industry professionals. For that reason, they are highly recommended for any task in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry. Additionally, they are better prepared for the workforce and more adept at installing heating and air conditioning equipment, utilizing industry best practices.
To maintain the high standards set by NATE, certified HVAC technicians are required to undergo continuous education every two years. Establishing and enforcing that standard helps NATE validate that HVAC technicians continue to expand their knowledge of the field and enhance their competence with the industry’s ever-changing innovations, technology, and practices.
As far as customer satisfaction is concerned, NATE certified technicians have been reported to offer excellent customer services compared to non-certified HVAC contractors. That means they are committed to providing high-quality HVAC services, producing increased system energy efficiency. They get the installation, maintenance, and repair job completed the first time correctly – there will no doubt be fewer to no callbacks when your hire NATE-certified installers than those without certification.
Affiliation with an actual company
If you have already picked an HVAC technician to work in your home, one last thing you want to confirm before hiring them is if they are affiliated with an actual company and if they can provide their physical address as well as review URL website.
While you can find HVAC services online, it’s a good idea to hire a technician who is affiliated with a larger company.
Remember, just like any other industry that offers services, HVAC is also full of freelance contractors. Most of them are not only unlicensed, uninsured and uncertified; they are also inexperienced and untrustworthy.
Unless you are ready to take the risk of hiring inexperienced and unlicensed contractors, do your homework and find out if indeed the contractor you want to hire comes from a reputable company and whether there is, in fact, office space at the address they provide. You can always use Google Maps to verify if a business has a physical base of operation.
How Much Should You Expect to Pay an HVAC Technician to Work in Your Home
Hiring an HVAC technician can be done online, and with the right company, it can be a very fast and straightforward process.
After choosing an HVAC technician you want to work in your home, whether online or offline, you will want to request a service quote for your new furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump installation, maintenance, or repair.
One of the reasons homeowners are reluctant to hire HVAC technicians is usually fears about the cost involved.
However, to help you get an idea of the expenses you are likely to incur when you hire an HVAC technician, let’s categorize home HVAC services into three: Installation, repair, and maintenance.
How much does HVAC installation cost?
Determining the cost of installing a new HVAC system can sometimes be a complicated process.
First, it depends on the type of system you want to have installed, the brand of equipment you choose, and other essential factors that might affect the installation process. The significant variation in the HVAC installation cost from vendor to vendor also doesn’t make things easier.
When you request for the cost of installing a new HVAC in your home, the proposal will include the cost of the equipment, installation labor cost, and materials costs. Here is a list of the average costs for common HVAC installations according to Fixr.com
- Ductless HVAC installation: $3,000 to $5,000
- Electric furnace installation: $2,000 to $4000
- Gas furnace installation: $5,000 to $7,000
- Oil furnace installation: $3,000 to $5,000
- Air-source heat pump installation: $5,000 to $6000
- Geothermal heat pump installation: $7,500+
- Air conditioner installation: $350 to $7,200
Keep in mind, different companies offer different quotes for HVAC installation. To make sure you’re getting what you pay for, ask for service breakdown and accurately compare the contents of the HVAC installation estimate.
A trustworthy HVAC installer will not hesitate to break down their numbers for you. Once you receive that comprehensive breakdown, you’ll be able to compare the HVAC installation cost for various companies and pick one that fits your budget.
How much does HVAC service calls and repairs cost?
Nothing is worse than having your HVAC system break down at a time you least expect. To avoid such experiences, you can keep your HVAC system in good condition all year round by scheduling regular maintenance checkups. Sometimes, however, repairs are unavoidable, and you might need the help of a technician to troubleshoot or repair leaks, drain clogged lines, perform a routine system check and tuneup, replace components, etc.
Most HVAC service calls and repairs costs usually depend on what you want to be done. Labor, equipment and service fees all play part in the total amount you pay a technician. Here is a list of what you need to pay to help you get your home HVAC repairs done quickly, professionally, and economically.
- HVAC service call: $50 to $100
- Emergency HVAC service call: $100
- Evaporative cooler: $290
- Furnace repairs: $1,000 – $1,700
- Air conditioner repairs: $300- $900
- Heat pump repairs: $250 – $600
Other common HVAC repair costs for furnaces and heating systems:
- Repair blower motor: $150
- Replace blower motor: $450
- Thermostat replacement: $50 – $200+ (depending on the model)
- Replace ignitor: $300 to $400
- Repair flame sensor: $80
- Replace flame sensor: $250
- Repair heat exchanger: $100
- Replace heat exchanger: $500 – $1,200
- Repair pressure sensor/circuit board: $50
- Replace pressure sensor/circuit board: $350
- Replace gas valve: $150
- Replace smart valve: $750
- Replace draft inducer: $150 – $450
How much does HVAC maintenance cost?
Maintaining an efficiently working HVAC system is something that a lot of homeowners take for granted. It’s until the system breaks when it becomes immediately clear just how much it was relied on.
Maintaining your home HVAC system will ensure that it’s ready to carry out its task when called upon. Proper and routine HVAC maintenance helps prevent costly repairs and make your HVAC system more energy efficient. Lack of maintenance shortens a unit’s lifespan, and you’ll be forced to buy a new one sooner.
However, keeping your HVAC system in good condition must be friendly to your wallet. That said, here is a quick overview of the expenses you’re likely to incur when you decide to maintain your home HVAC units.
- Furnace maintenance: $80 – $300
- Air conditioner maintenance: $70 – $150
- Boiler maintenance: $100 – $300
- Heat pump maintenance: $70 – $140
- Mini-split system maintenance: $75 – $250
- Evaporative cooler maintenance: $70 – $150
If this is your first time installing HVAC systems in your home, it is a good idea to enroll in a residential service program from a company that provides annual servicing contracts for preventative maintenance.
While such contracts will cost you anywhere from $100-$150 every year, they cover scheduled standard maintenance services that are performed annually. Another benefit of such companies is that they allow you to make monthly payments for your home HVAC maintenance needs. They may also provide you with discounts if you hire their technicians when you need your HVAC systems repaired.
Getting a contract will not only help you save money but give you more warranty coverage than if you individually scheduled maintenance services. If your system breaks down between maintenance visits, you can be sure that it will be taken care of.
The choices you make when looking for a technician that deals with HVAC are very important. One small mistake can be costly and destroy all the investment you’ve made when improving the quality of air in your home.
The best advice is never to leave anything to chance. You need t get all the facts right and not guesswork. If you don’t take your home HVAC projects seriously, you’ll end up disappointed.
I hope this guide has shed some light on everything you need to know when hiring an HVAC technician. If you think you can’t handle all the hassle, it’s wise to consult a lawyer to enlighten you before entering into a contract with any HVAC contractor.
Always try to be on the safer side because when things go wrong, you’ll only blame yourself.
Melanie Mavery is an aspiring HVAC technician who is fascinated by the trends and opportunities in the HVAC industry. She spends most of her day writing content on home improvement topics and outreaching to prospects. She’s always looking for ways to support HVACs!