HVAC stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.” An HVAC system is an integrated system in a home or business that brings together the elements of the boiler or furnace, the cooling apparatus, and the ventilation system. Some may also include an air filtration option. With an HVAC system, all elements can be controlled by a single interface. HVAC systems provide the benefit that none of elements will be working in conflict with one another. An integrated system also has the advantage of running more cost-effectively and energy efficiently than separate systems. Also delivering improved reliability and fewer maintenance requirements.
Before you hire an HVAC contractor, it’s important to learn a bit about the optimal brand and model for your needs and your budget. Here are our top five brand picks among the many available options. We’ve made our recommendations after evaluating these brands in terms of energy efficiency or SEER rating, noise levels, cost, and warranty coverage.
When you’re considering purchasing a new HVAC system, you will want to take the SEER rating into account. An air conditioner’s SEER rating is the ratio of the unit’s cooling output over an average season divided by the energy it consumes in watt hours. The higher the SEER rating, the better the unit’s efficiency.
According to the US Department of Energy’s current standards, air conditioners must be produced with a minimum SEER rating of 13, and in the southern states the minimum rating is 14. As technology improves, the maximum number increases and minimum standards may be raised. Remember that the SEER rating expresses the maximum efficiency of the unit. However, actual efficiency depends on the temperature inside and outside of your home, the quality of your ductwork, and other factors.
Amana is an all-around exceptional pick for its excellent energy efficiency and warranty coverage. While it’s certainly not the cheapest option, it’s not the most expensive, either.
Homeowners who are keen to avoid expensive repairs in the future would do well to seriously consider an Amana HVAC system. If you purchase a unit with a SEER rating of 16 or higher, any repairs to the compressor or heat exchanger (the most expensive parts) will be covered by the manufacturer. This is exclusive to home owners. Units with a SEER rating below 16, come with a 10-year warranty on all parts. Amana is widely known to have the best warranty in the industry.
Lennox sits close to the top of our list due to its continuous spirit of innovation and its standout SEER ratings. Some reach into the mid-20s, although it does produce several models that have a lower rating. The biggest tradeoff being that they are more budget friendly. Lennox’s higher-end products have multiple speed settings, allowing the units to run at a desired temperature, using the least amount of energy necessary. Control via an app on your smartphone allows you to turn your HVAC off from a remote location, in case you forget.
As you might expect from such a well-engineered product, replacement parts come at a premium. And since the brand does not offer a lifetime warranty, you will be paying out of pocket for repairs after ten years. Most Lennox products carry the Energy Star seal.
Trane is one of the most reliable names in heating and cooling systems. Optional air filtration systems remove pollen, dust, and other contaminants for the safest, cleanest indoor air possible. Many models are Energy Star rated.
All units are evaluated for noise pollution levels, so sensitive customers may choose wisely. Ratings are also provided for the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency for gas furnaces. This gives you a precise idea of how much of the fuel you pay for is utilized by your system. Trane produces some models that successfully utilize a minimum of 90% of your fuel expenditure, exceeding the current government minimum standard.
Environmentally conscious folks will find Goodman HVACs a standout. They are manufactured to run on a chlorine-free refrigerant, which is easier on the ozone layer. Their specially designed compressor has fewer moving parts than an average compressor, leading to reduced energy consumption.
Goodman’s average SEER rating is above 15—not the highest reviewed here. However it is still above the national minimum of 13. Goodman is the only brand on our list not to offer a model of at least 22 SEER. This may be less of an issue if you live in an area where summers are not excessively hot.Goodman’s offering of five HVAC units all run fairly quietly. For those who are particularly sensitive to noise or whose units are placed close to decks or patios, there is an optional foam blanket that deadens the sound output even further.
American Standard’s strengths are in their variety of options, as well as in their reliability. We tend to receive very few service calls from our American Standard customers. Depending on the model you choose, parts will come with a warranty of 10 to 20 years. This is something to factor in when making your choice. American Standard’s products are manufactured to be energy, noise, and environmentally conscious. Some models boast a dual-stage compressor that runs at 70 percent most of the time. Increasing power only when needed. According to independent testing, American Standard’s products are the quietest on the market.
Drew Green Heating & Cooling is Illinois’ premier heating and cooling expert. Providing service, installation, repairs, and maintenance work to Lake County, the North Shore, and the northern parts of Chicago. With almost a decade’s worth of experience in the area. Our certified, expert technicians provide around-the-clock service so that we’re there when you need us most.
We are happy to provide our customers with personalized recommendations regarding their best choice in HVAC systems. Whether you are building a new home or need to replace an outdated system. We also provide advice regarding insulation and improving the quality of the air in your home or office. Contact us today to discuss the best heating and cooling options for you!
Most homeowners will have to deal with an air conditioner repair at some point. AC units are complex appliances that are essential for hot summer months, so when a unit is not functioning properly, it can impose a large burden. Since there are numerous HVAC companies of varying competence at your disposal, the hiring process can be a challenge. This is a crucial decision, so before you hire an HVAC contractor, read these tips to help make the right choice.
It may be tempting to put off air conditioning repairs, especially if you think they’re an unnecessary expense. In reality, if a unit is neglected, problems become worse and cooling costs increase. Maintenance of your unit is an essential part of owning an AC system. Ignoring repairs could lead to dangerous defects or even a total system failure. Since these problems tend to increase in urgency, you might end up cutting corners and settling for a inferior service to receive emergency repairs.
Research companies within your area. Services like Google Reviews and Yelp allow homeowners to check out other customers’ experiences with contractors. Sort through reviews and look further into the companies with the highest reviews. Take note of what former customers enjoyed specifically and if anyone reported undesirable incidences. After online research, choose a few companies to contact and ask for references. A few questions to ask the references include:
This is the most important step to take before you hire an HVAC contractor. Technicians are required to hold permits and licenses that authorize them to work on AC units. Bonding guarantees you are able to pursue a company if they do not show up or their work is insufficient. Proper insurance assures that you’re covered if the technicians cause damage to your property. Before hiring a company, make sure you request proof of all three of these certifications.
A company that takes pride in their abilities will always guarantee their work. This will provide you with peace of mind knowing that your unit will function properly, and if it doesn’t, the technicians will return for free. Ask potential companies how long they guarantee their repairs and if they provide free supplemental services if necessary.
Once you’ve finished the first few steps, now it’s time to weigh your options. Ask a few different companies for an estimate on the cost of your repair. It’s best to choose companies that provide free estimates so you can receive enough to make the best choice. Make sure you receive a written, itemized estimate so you have proof of the agreement should anything change. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t just choose the cheapest company, but the company with a reasonable price and the best reputation. Be sure to carefully consider your options.
When the technicians arrive at your home, check that they arrive in a van with the company logo on the side. If an unmarked vehicle shows up with little to no tools and parts, you can be almost certain its a scam. In addition to scoping out the vehicle, take note of the technicians. Are they clean, uniformed, and professional? Do they seem ready to work and caring about their duties? Are they disheveled, rude, or disrespectful? If you are put off by the technicians, ask them to leave and quickly contact the company with your concerns.
Allowing practical strangers into your home can be intimidating. Make sure the company provides you with the names of the technicians that will be working on your repair. When they arrive, ask for their identification. If the identity does not match, contact the company and do not let them work on the unit. If there is a change in technician, they should let you know before they arrive.
A trustworthy HVAC company will not ask for the total payment before the repair. Upfront payment is a sure sign of a scamming business looking to make a buck, so if they demand it, send them away and contact the company. This is why it’s so important to receive an estimate in writing that details the payment schedule.
If the technicians start pressuring you to buy new parts for the unit, stand your ground. They should indicate all necessary replacement parts in the written estimate and contract. Technicians may take advantage of everyday people who do not have experience with HVAC units and try to persuade them to spend money on things they don’t need.
A trustworthy company will provide a detailed report of all services done to your unit in case you need to contact them for a follow up visit. This report will allow you to show them what work was done so they can better understand how to remedy any issues that may come up after the repair. As mentioned before, its best to work with a company that is comfortable guaranteeing their work and offering free returns.
After the repair is completed and has held up for a while, help future customers looking to hire an HVAC contractor by rating and reviewing the company online. If you had a poor experience or any concerns, make sure you indicate that. Provide feedback both for other customers as well as the company. A company may take your feedback and use it to improve their services. The Internet is a fantastic resource for homeowners seeking out assistance, so make sure you contribute, no matter what your experience was like!
Drew Green Heating & Cooling has nearly a decade of experience serving Lake County, the North Shore, and Northern areas of Chicago. All of our technicians are professionally trained and certified and take great pride in their work. We provide free estimates, 24/7 emergency services, and free return guarantees. If you’re in need of an AC repair, don’t suffer in the heat—contact us today!
An air conditioning system is an important investment for a homeowner. If properly cared for, a central air conditioner should last 15-20 years. Air conditioner maintenance is a crucial measure that helps ensure the cooling unit operates at peak performance and lasts as long as possible. Not only does having an HVAC company service your AC decrease the risk for stressful repairs or a costly replacement, but it prolongs the system’s life-span and energy efficiency.
Summer is obviously the most important time of year when it comes to air conditioning. The last thing you want is your AC to breakdown during sweltering heat, so you should schedule annual air conditioner maintenance during the spring. Even if you haven’t noticed any problems, a yearly inspection is still highly recommended. The key to effective upkeep of a home investment is prevention. The best course of action is to not wait until the system is malfunctioning to have a professional inspect it. The longer you delay a checkup, the worse your air conditioner’s performance will be. For every year a unit goes without being serviced, it loses 5% of its efficiency. Over time, that loss can add up quickly and lead to larger issues and the massive headache of burdensome repairs or a total replacement.
Typically, a routine service visit will cost around $70-100. This payment is minuscule compared to the costs it helps prevent. Repairs due to negligence can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.If your unit is ignored for long enough, you might need to replace it which will probably cost thousands.
In addition to repairs, consider the indirect cost of your energy bill. The harder a unit has to work to keep you home cool, the more energy it guzzles up, leaving you with painfully high electricity bills. In fact, a unit that’s running correctly and efficiently can reduce energy costs up to 25%. So while it may seem like you’re saving a quick buck by letting your unit go unserviced, in reality you’re creating long-term financial hardships.
There are a handful of steps an HVAC company should take to service your AC. These measures help identify potential problems as well as give the unit an overall tune up.Filter
A clean filter ensures that the air in your home is fresh and that the rest of the unit is protected from dirt, pollen, and dust. A dirty filter puts strain on the system and causes it to work extra hard, leading to higher energy usage. An HVAC company will replace the filter or clean it if it’s reusable. While a filter can be taken care of during yearly servicing, it’s recommended you check it every month or so and replace or clean when needed.Coils
The evaporator coil is responsible for absorbing the heat from inside the home and the condenser coil pushes that heat out. Since the evaporator coil also removes humidity from your home, it tends to hold moisture and is therefore susceptible to trapping debris like dirt, pollen, and dust. This buildup can also interfere with the condenser coil’s function. Cleaning the coils thoroughly maintains your system’s cooling and dehumidifying ability.Drain Line
The drain line allows the moisture collected by the coils to be expelled. If the drain is blocked or dirty, the proper flow of condensation is inhibited. Not only can this result in mold or algae growth, but humidity will be unable to exit the home causing a muggy indoor environment and possible water damage. Having the drain regularly cleaned will help decrease the risk of clogging and the issues that come with it.Condensate Pan
The moisture that flows out of your unit through the drain line is then deposited onto the condensate pan. Cleaning the pan removes buildup of mold and algae that not only creates unpleasant odors, but causes backups and clogs in the drain line. A technician should also do a visual inspection of the pan to check for tiny holes caused by erosion. These holes lead to leaks and require replacement of the pan.Refrigerant
If your AC is blowing warm air instead of cool, this is indicative of an insufficient amount of refrigerant. Refrigerant allows your unit to cool the air so without it, the unit is ineffective. By checking your refrigerant level, a technician can discover if you have a leak causing refrigerant loss and can remedy the problem.
Leveling the Unit
Your outdoor unit may end up leaning to one side and becoming uneven over time. If the unit is not flat on the ground, its function could be compromised. Refrigerant may not flow correctly, water may have difficulty draining, and the unit will be subject to excess strain. Leveling the unit is imperative and best left to a professional to prevent any damage.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of air conditioner maintenance, and it’s even more important to choose the best HVAC company possible to help you care for your investment. Drew Green Heating & Cooling has nearly a decade of experience serving Lake County, the North Shore, and Northern areas of Chicago. All of our technicians are professionally trained and certified. We offer the preventative maintenance services you need to keep your AC running smoothly so you can live comfortably and stress-free. We guarantee you will be satisfied with our service, and if not, we will return for free. You can have peace of mind in choosing to work with Drew Green Heating and Cooling – contact us today.
It is recommended to replace your air filter once a month to make sure your heating and cooling system is running efficiently. Air filters help remove dust mites, pet dander, hair, and other pollutants in the air. If you do not change your air filter it can cause issues with your furnace or air conditioning unit. In order for your home to be heated or cooled correctly you need to make sure the air is flowing freely. It is also especially important for those with allergies as it can help remove a lot of dust from the air. Here is a video on how to replace your air filter yourself provided by HowToWith GEO.
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