Preparing for the Heating Season

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

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Preparing for the Heating Season

According to the Department of Energy, approximately 56% of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling your home. Because of this, it is important that a homes’ Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system be maintained to ensure the maximum efficiency. Regardless of the type of system you have, dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of heating and cooling system failure and a contributor to high-energy bills. You can keep your heating and cooling system at peak performance by having a licensed HVAC technician conduct routine maintenance on your unit. While it isn’t necessary to have an HVAC service contract in order to have your unit maintained by a professional, it can be a cost effective way of maintaining your unit. 

If you choose to invest in a HVAC service contract, consider a few simple rules to ensure that you are getting what you pay for.

1. Study up. Read all the information you have on your current HVAC system and know  the model number. Take note to any rooms in the house that might feel too hot or too cold. This information will help your technician/contractor better understand your needs.

2. Ask for referrals. Sometimes friends, family, and co-workers are the best resource we have to a good reliable contractor.

3. Ask for references. Ask contractors you speak with for customer references. Get at least three and call them. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints that may have been lodged against the contractor.

4. Find special offers. At different times during the year heating and cooling companies will offer a special rate with a maintenance agreement.

5. Expect a home evaluation. The contractor should spend a significant time inspecting your current system to access your needs. He or she may make suggestions about your current system to make it more energy efficient. Pass it on. If you are satisfied with the service tell a friend.

A service contract also allows you to prevent any unforeseen problems and unwanted costs while keeping your heating and cooling system at maximum energy efficiency. A service contract should be performed twice a year. HVAC technicians are busier during the summer and winter months so it is best to schedule the maintenance of your system in the spring and in the fall. One way to remember to schedule an appointment is to call your HVAC technician when the time changes to and from day light savings time.