What is HVAC?
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It’s also commonly referred to as Central Heating and Air. Generally, an HVAC system will consist of a furnace and an air conditioner, each of which moves air through your home or office via a series of ducts and vents. Certain systems combine the furnace and the air conditioner in the same unit, but in most homes, these two units are separated.
Regardless of whether they use the same source for heating and cooling, all new buildings are required to use the same system for these tasks. That means unless you use a standalone space heater or air conditioner, your building needs an HVAC for climate control. The term “HVAC” is also generally used to describe the ductwork, filters, humidity controls and various registers that provide the infrastructure to support your heating and cooling unit(s).
Custom HVAC design
Every building has its own heating and cooling needs. The size of a building, the number of windows it has, the materials used to make it and the area it is located in will all affect the process of adjusting its climate. Because no two buildings are alike, there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” HVAC system. Different units will work better with different buildings, and the ductwork in each building should be tailored specifically to its layout to make sure that air can circulate properly throughout the building.
It’s important to be aware of the specific heating and cooling needs of your home and to remember them whenever you’re dealing with an HVAC technician. Any contractor you hire should pay serious attention to the individual needs of your building.
Attention to detail is important when choosing an HVAC contractor, but it isn’t the only consideration. You’ll also have to make sure that the contractor you’re about to hire is properly qualified to do their work. In California, technicians need to have a Class C Specialty Contractor’s License (designation C20) to be certified for HVAC work. Always ask to see the credentials of a contractor you’re considering before you sign anything or hand money over. A qualified and reputable company won’t mind showing you—in fact, they’ll be proud to show you how well-suited they are for the job!
HVAC installation and maintenance cost
One of the biggest questions prospective HVAC owners have for technicians is, “what’s it all going to cost?” This is sort of a “good news, bad news” scenario. First the bad news: it’s impossible to tell exactly what it will cost to install and maintain an HVAC. Different furnaces and air conditioning units all have different costs, and so do different contractors. There are also factors in your home that could affect the prices of installation and service, including its size and the existing heating or cooling technology in it. Replacing your ducts, for example, probably won’t cost as much as putting in a brand-new set.
Here’s the good news: it’s entirely possible to get an idea of what your HVAC system will cost by looking at the average prices for the unit you want, the regular rates of labor for your contractor, and certain conditions in your home. Here’s a list of prices for some of the most common HVAC units. We recommend Bryant, since it tends to strike an attractive balance between affordability and quality, but feel free to make your own decisions based on your budget and needs. To find out what a contractor charges for labor, it’s best to call them and ask for a quote. Describe what you want to be done, then establish if they charge a flat rate or on a per-hour basis.
HVAC Services, Parts and Repairs
When you’re choosing your system, you’ll want to think about more than just its initial cost. You’ll also want to consider the availability of HVAC parts for your unit in the area where you live. It’s often worth investing in a more expensive system at the front end if you know that it will make getting replacement components easier. Spending the money on a good system at first can also reduce the amount you’ll spend on repairs in the long run since the best systems tend to have longer lifespans. When it comes to service though, you won’t want to skimp. Hire a technician to do a checkup and resolve any issues with your system at least once a year—usually in the spring.
Selecting an HVAC company
Selecting the HVAC company that’s right for you will come down to a number of factors, including their availability and their price. The most important things to look for are proper certification, experience with your type of unit, and excellent customer service to ensure that everything is done professionally. Keep those criteria in mind and do a little research before choosing a company—you’ll find that this legwork can save you a bundle.