Heating contractors ensure families remain comfortable throughout the winter. Even in mild winters, New England offers some cold spells that make life very uncomfortable. During frigid winter weather, home heating systems may breakdown due to additional stress on the system. Therefore, homeowners should find a reliable heating contractor (or heating company) with the experience to fix your home, if any issues occur.
To help, some experts share tips and suggestions that any worthwhile heating contractor should satisfy.
Find Reliable Heating Contractors in Your Area
Many homeowners feel comfortable checking for minor home heating issues. For example, many of us can check thermostats for working batteries or change furnace filters. However, heating contractors possess additional knowledge that helps diagnose and repair any significant or pending issues.
But how does a homeowner find a quality heating contractor?
Most people start with asking family, friends or co-workers in the area. Recommendations and word of mouth work in all industries, including HVAC. Additionally, online reputations make a difference. Although no company is perfect, review platforms provide a measuring stick.
- How many reviews did customers leave?
- What is the overall feeling?
- Is the company accountable to upset customers?
Additionally, the following expert suggestions help homeowners identify the best heating contractors.
Ensure the heating company offers 24/7 service.
“A quality ‘HVAC Expertise’ contractor will have technical assistance available around the clock, every day of the year, including holidays, to solve heating and air conditioning emergencies. Often times, the technician will be able to help the customer determine if the problem actually warrants a potentially expensive service call.” – Choosing an HVAC Expert, HVAC Expertise; Twitter: @HVACExpertise
Set expectations with your heating company.
“A qualified home performance contractor will help you solve problems in your home such as comfort, indoor air quality, moisture, and combustion safety, and will help you reduce your energy bills. [He also will] use technologically advanced tools to diagnose your home before makings suggestions for improvements.” – Top 10 Questions to Compare Home Performance Contractors, Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI); Twitter: @_BPI_
Hire a company that meets NATE certification standards.
“Technical training is a must, whether it is through an on-the-job apprenticeship, a short-term vocational course or a full-fledged certification program at a technical or trade school. Also, many states do require a license to become an HVAC technician – this license is usually obtained by passing an exam. Federally, techs must become certified with the EPA in order to work with refrigerants. NATE certifications – North American Technical Excellence – are also valuable, although not required by all HVAC employers.” – What is an HVAC Technician, Explore the Trades; Twitter: @ExploreTrades
Confirm the contractor maintains the proper insurance.
“State insurance requirements vary depending on the contractor’s incorporation status and type of license. If there is no insurance requirement, you may wish to ensure that the contractor has voluntarily acquired liability insurance. If the contractor has liability insurance, they should be able to provide you with a copy of their insurance certificate.” – Tips for Hiring an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) Contractor, Concord Municipal Light Plant; Twitter: @CMLPmedia
Ask the heating company about rebates and other incentives.
“While in the process of finding an HVAC technician, ask what rebates and incentives might fit with your situation and needs. PG&E offers a number of different rebates and incentives, which can save your business money by offsetting the costs on HVAC repairs and upgrades.” – Gary Fagilde, 6 Things You Need to Know Before Contacting an HVAC Contractor, PG&E; Twitter: @PGE4Me
Work with a heating contractor and company that values your business.
“Truly professional contractors care about your home’s indoor environment system, because they care about your business… and they want your referrals. True professionals offer employee training, provide state of the art equipment, ask you questions about your lifestyle needs, and provide options for service, so you can make the right decision.” – What’s a Good Contractor Worth?, ACCA; Twitter: @accausa
Heating Contractors Fix Common Problems
Typically, the best way to prevent problems with a home heating system is always preventative maintenance. As a result, many homeowners commit to annual maintenance with heating contractors that provide routine inspections.
In addition, experienced technicians understand the heating system contains many components and provides a thorough inspection.
Inspect Furnace & Heating System
- Heat Exchanger.
- Flue or Vent Pipe.
As the heating process begins with the burner, during annual maintenance work, the heating contractor should inspect all of these components.
Issues with Heat Pumps
A heat pump is an electrical device that takes heat from one location and moves it to another. Heat pumps do not create and distribute hold or cold air. Instead, heat pumps simply transfer air from one location to another. There are two major items in your home already that use heat pump technology: refrigerators and air conditioners.
Additionally, heat pumps offer two main benefits, which are year-round climate control and energy efficiency. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a reduction in monthly heating costs of up to 50% when converting from an electric furnace to an all-electric air-source heat pump. Actual savings vary widely depending on climate, age of the current system and local electricity costs.
Due to these benefits, technicians should inspect the heat pump with care. However, many heat pumps last between 15-20 years with many manufacturers offering 5-10 year warranties on the major components.
Fix Loud, Noisy Heat Pumps
If your heat pump has suddenly become noisy, you may suspect that it’s about to have a breakdown. Noisy heat pumps are more common in the winter. However, the loud noises are often due to the valves shifting to put the unit into defrost mode. While a noisy heat pump could be simply that — noisy — it may also be cause for concern. Know the difference and how to fix your heat pump’s loud noises if they more than a winter quirk.
For any of the following heat pump issues, then call your heating contractor for help.
- Heat pump is louder than usual.
- Pump makes loud noises during the startup or shut down cycle.
- Heat pump sounds like metal hitting metal inside the unit.
- Pump makes rattling or vibration noises.
- Heat pump makes buzzing, grinding or gurgling sounds.
Issues with the Blower Motor
A blower motor is the component within a heating system that blows heated air through vents. There are two main types of blower motors: single-speed motors and variable-speed motors.
- Single-speed blower motors blow air at one speed.
- Variable-speed motors adjust their speed to blow air at varying speed levels.
Even with proper maintenance, some issues still cause your blower motor to stop working. Therefore, watch out for some hard-to-miss signs. First, if your furnace constantly runs, but the house still feels cool. Therefore, keeping the blower motor fan cage clean helps ensure proper operation of your HVAC system.
- clean the fan blades.
- check the motor belt for wear and tear.
- adequately lubricate the motor.
Additionally, other common issues involve the resistor, fan relay and climate control switches. However, an experienced HVAC professional evaluates and fixes any issues with these components. A properly functioning blower motor remains a critical component of your heating system. Plus, the blower motor is vital in maintaining a comfortable temperature within your home.
Inspect & Clean Heating Ducts
Homes contain a series of ducts (or tunnels), which circulates air throughout the house. The ducts circulate warm air in the winter and cold air in the summer. This is your HVAC ductwork.
As duct systems distribute heated or cooled air throughout our homes, they should be leak free and insulated. For example, do your heating ducts contain any air leaks? If so, then you are essentially throwing money out the window. Plus, particularly in the winter, we want the heating duct insulated wherever it passes through any unheated spaces in your home. Homeowners should know that uninsulated ductwork contributes towards home comfort problems. Here are some warning signs that identifies if better duct insulation is required.
- Air temperature coming out of supply registers from ductwork in unconditioned spaces is very cool to the touch.
- Air temperature coming out of supply registers from ductwork in unconditioned spaces is warm to the touch.
- Ductwork has visible signs of condensation.
SolvIt recommends homeowners seal ductwork. As a result, homeowners enjoy a leak free home that protects their family. To best accomplish this, there are many types of sealants available including:
- mastic sealers.
- spray foams.
- approved tapes (don’t use duct tape!).
Since your entire home and heating system contains HVAC ductwork, including those hard to reach places, consider working with an experienced contractor. In addition to sealing, remember insulating your ducts as well. Particularly during winter, insulating your home heating ducts improves energy efficiency and home comfort.
Experience the SolvIt Difference
At SolvIt, we feel we meet and exceed the industry standards of professionalism and customer service. In the words of Scott Bilodeau, President of SolvIt Home Services:
“We built our reputation and business on reliability, convenience, and the best warranties in the industry. Our team strives to provide 100% customer satisfaction built on respect for you and your home. Most importantly, we only hire the best heating technicians by utilizing stringent hiring practices and conducting thorough background checks on all of our technicians. We employ these hiring practices for our customer’s safety and peace of mind. Our technicians are licensed, bonded, and insured. SolvIt technicians arrive at your home equipped to repair, maintain, and install all major appliances. We provide service on your schedule with upfront pricing.”
Connecticut’s harsh winter is no time to have your heating system quit on you. Your heating system needs the right attention and care to help protect its value and keep it working efficiently. SolvIt offers reliable and budget-friendly options when your heating system fails you (including expertise in oil to gas conversions and financing help through the Connecticut gas conversion incentive program). We offer furnace repairs and annual maintenance inspections, as well as installation of new furnaces and boilers.
What are your heating questions? Call or schedule your annual inspection today!