• Set thermostat to 78•F in summer and 68•F in winter.
• Change HVAC filters monthly and make sure they are facing the correct direction (look for arrow on side of filter).
• Have your system serviced twice per year.
• Minimize use of electric space heaters.
• Insulate electric wall plugs and wall switches with foam pads.
• Caulk around plumbing penetrations that come through walls beneath bathroom and kitchen sinks.
• Caulk electrical wire penetrations at the top of interior walls.
• In the winter, make sure drapes and shades are open during the day to catch free solar heat. Also, be sure to close the shades and drapes at night to keep the heating in.
• In the summer, close shades and drapes during the day to help keep heat out.
• Insulate attic access door and ensure the door closes tightly.
• Make sure insulation in your attic does not block soffit vents. Also, be sure outside soffit vents are not blocked.
• Do not close supply air registers.
• Ensure return air grilles are not blocked by furniture.
• Ensure windows and doors are properly weather-stripped. Verify all outdoor doors close and seal tightly.
• Ensure your outdoor heat pump / air conditioning unit is kept clean and free of debris.
This is a question that has been asked many times over by consumers. With 25 years of experience in the HVAC industry, James Garren, general manager of Smith's Heating & Air Conditioning Company, Inc., gives us his expert opinion.
"There is no data available that provides conclusive evidence that one brand is better than the other. In fact, many manufacturers will make more than one brand.
I have found over the years that the answer to this question is ... your contractor!
Here's my reasoning behind my answer: Let's say that there is a brand that is the best. We will call it Brand A. If Brand A is installed in your home by someone who didn't know what he or she was doing, is its performance still going to be considered the best piece of equipment?
Since the equipment was installed by an inadequate technician, the perfectness of Brand A never really mattered.
Here at Smith's Heating and Air Conditioning Company, Inc., we suggest that consumers spend as much time researching their contractor as they do equipment options. It is important to choose a contractor who is licensed, properly insured, and who is knowledgeable on the latest industry laws and regulations."
Choose a reputable HVAC company by asking a few simple "common sense" questions:
• Is the HVAC company established? Be sure to visit their website (if they even have one) to find more about their business. Take note on how long the company has been established.
• Is the company licensed? A consumer can actually lose money by hiring an unlicensed contractor by exposing themselves to possible safety hazards due to the contractor's lack of knowledge and training. For the state of South Carolina, one can visit www.SC.gov to verify a company's license.
• Is the company insured? It is imperative a company is insured! A consumer can potentially be sued if an accident occurs on the property.
• Did the HVAC company schedule me immediately or call me back? Was the technician on time? Did the business as a whole exude professionalism? These traits may seem like small details, but are very important when choosing between contractors. A reputable company will promptly schedule an appointment, have their technician on time, and represent the company in a professional manner through proper attire and signage.
• Does the company have a service department? Legitimate HVAC companies will want to establish long term relationships with their customers. Choose a contractor that offers regular maintenance programs--companies that offer these programs essentially want to help their customers keep their systems in proper functioning manner for longer periods of time.
• What have you heard from others about this company? Word of mouth referrals are the most powerful form of recommendations. Be sure to ask your friends and family who they do and do not recommend. Also, make a point to check out the company with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com).