FAQsGive us a call: 714-952-3900
When it comes to heating and air conditioning, you’re understandably bound to have questions that you want answers to. Maybe it’s about how to choose an HVAC contractor, how a heat pump works, or what a ductless system is. That’s what this page is for. We can’t cover everything but it’s an awesome place to start and get some answers to your HVAC-related questions. Keep in mind a real live human being (no AI here) is just a call or a text away. We’d love to hear from you.
Choosing an HVAC Contractor
Choosing a contractor for HVAC in Orange County, CA or any home improvement service can be daunting. Our mission is to provide an experience so great that you never have to go looking for another HVAC contractor again. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking to hire, many of which you can do before even calling to have them come out.
- Make sure they have an active license from the California State Licensing Board. You can verify their license by the name of the business, their license # (which should be easy to find), or other ways on the CSLB website.
- Your contractor should be bonded and insured. Without these, you are at risk. For instance, if a contractor were not properly insured and they or one of their workers injured themselves in your home, you can be liable for that injury and at risk of a potentially expensive lawsuit.
- Check their online reputation. You may be used to checking Yelp to inquire about a restaurant before visiting. This can be a great place to vet a contractor as well. Google has recently gotten into the review business as well and you should be able to check their Google reviews online. Pay particular attention to the company’s responses to reviews, bad ones as well. A company attacking someone for speaking out about their negative experience could be a big red flag.
- If they are properly licensed, bonded, insured, and have good online reviews, give them a call. Hopefully, you get a real live person to talk to. Ask away and get a feel for how they handle your questions. It should be easy enough to tell if it’s just a person answering the phone (their job) or someone who genuinely cares about you and what they are doing.
- Ask how long they’ve been in business. More than 50% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years. More alarming is that 70% of them fail in their 10th year.
Finally, if all that checks out. Schedule an appointment for a repair, estimate, or whatever it is you need.
Warranties for My HVAC System
Your home’s HVAC equipment should come with a manufacturer’s warranty and a warranty or warranties from the licensed HVAC contractor. Most equipment these days comes with at least 5 years on parts and 10 years on major parts (e.g. compressor, heat exchanger, etc.). However, most of the top brands (American Standard, Mitsubishi Electric, Trane, York, Samsung, Carrier, Lennox) come with 10 or even 12 years on all parts and a limited lifetime warranty on major components.
Do any manufacturers offer extended warranties?
Yes. For example, Mitsubishi Electric trusts their factory-trained technicians to install their systems properly. Therefore they offer a 2-year additional warranty on all parts on top of their 10-year standard warranty IF installed by a Ductless Pro.
What is a standard warranty from a contractor?
Most HVAC contractors in California offer a 1-year labor warranty, as do we. There may be some fine print but mostly, if anything goes wrong in the first year (e.g. part fails or system leaks due to faulty installation), they cover the labor to repair or replace. Command Comfort is famous for offering a limited lifetime warranty on installations and most service parts. Few if any match this.
How do I submit a claim under warranty?
Most licensed HVAC contractors can work on any brand system and should be able to check if a part is under warranty. It does not necessarily have to be the installing contractor when it comes to a manufacturer's warranty but if you liked your installation company, and know who they are, give them a go first. You cannot likely get parts replaced without a licensed contractor.
Ductless Vs Ducted
First, let’s get familiar with some HVAC lingo. An air handler is typically a DUCTED system. A fan coil is typically DUCTLESS. Both have their place in many homes. Many homes are a good fit for a combination of both ducted and ductless HVAC systems.
Advantages of ductless. A ductless system doesn’t use ducts (duh) to deliver the conditioned air into a space (i.e. Your home!). Duct systems are famous for leaking. Therefore, much of the air (30% or more on average) that your HVAC equipment heats or cools can leak into your attic, walls and crawl spaces. What a waste right? But, oftentimes, a duct system is necessary and a professional HVAC company should be able to help improve its efficiency. A ductless system delivers the conditioned air directly into your home. Oftentimes, a ductless mini-split system also allows for room-by-room climate control.
What is a ductless system?
A ductless HVAC system, oftentimes a mini-split system, is also most often a heat pump which can provide both heating and cooling for your home. Of course doing so without the need for ducts! Do not mistake a ductless mini-split for a portable room air conditioner or a through the window/wall air conditioner unit. A true ductless HVAC system is a professionally installed “permanent” solution for indoor climate control. These systems are the predominant solution in places such as Europe, Asia, South American and more. They’ve taken the US market by storm in recent years.
Heat Pump Vs Gas Furnace with Central A/C
Both a heat pump and a central A/C system with a gas furnace are used for heating and cooling homes. However, there are some key differences between the two:
- Heat source: A heat pump extracts heat from the outdoor air or ground and uses it to heat your home, while an A/C system with a gas furnace uses natural gas or propane to generate heat.
- Efficiency: Heat pumps are more energy-efficient than A/C systems with gas furnaces, particularly in mild climates. This is because they move heat instead of generating it, so they use less energy to achieve the same amount of heating. In colder climates, the efficiency of a heat pump decreases as the temperature drops, making a gas furnace a more viable option.
- Cooling: Both systems can cool your home, but a heat pump can do it more efficiently because it is designed to work in reverse. Instead of extracting heat from the outdoor air or ground, it extracts heat from your home and releases it outside.
- Cost: A heat pump is generally more expensive to install than an A/C system with a gas furnace, but it may save you money on your energy bills in the long run. The exact cost difference will depend on factors such as the size of your home, climate, and energy prices in your area.
Overall, the choice between a heat pump and an A/C system with a gas furnace will depend on your specific needs, climate, and budget. Consulting with a licensed HVAC professional can help you make the best decision for your home.
HVAC System Maintenance
Just like your car, your home's climate control system needs to be properly maintained to function and perform properly.
How often do I need to have it serviced?
Most companies and manufacturers recommend you have a tune-up performed twice a year. We like to service heaters in the fall before winter really sets in and likewise, air conditioners in the spring before it gets too hot.
What If I don’t ever do maintenance?
Just like your car, your home’s climate control system needs to be properly maintained to function and perform properly. If you neglect to take care of your equipment, it will break down and you’ll likely lose any associated warranties. There are many simple yet important things you can do yourself, such as changing/cleaning your filter often (typically every 3 months but it varies greatly so check every month), but unless you are very familiar with HVAC mechanics, leave the regular tune-ups to the experts.
How much should it cost?
It shouldn’t break the bank and you should look for a company that offers options. We have our gold plan which covers just the basics (great for newer systems in good condition) and this starts at as low as $16 per month. For older systems and ones that require a bit more attention, we have our Platinum Elite plan. The average a la carte tune-up from a reputable HVAC company is around $150 - $200, however, you’re likely to see promotional rates for first-time customers.
What’s normally included in a tune-up?
A good HVAC tune-up should consist of anywhere from 15 - 25 checkpoints. Common checks are changing the filter, testing electrical components, monitoring refrigerant levels and testing for carbon monoxide. Be weary of contractors who can get this done too quickly. An average tune-up takes about 45 minutes to do it the right way.
Climate Control for Life.