calgary furnace repair

Furnace Repair – Hire A Professional

If you are looking for Calgary furnace repair services, make sure to find a qualified professional. Having an unskilled person try to repair your furnace could cost you major money. When your furnace is on the fritz and it needs to be repaired fast you will want to call a professional repairman to handle your needs.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional

When winter is here and your furnace is not operating properly you will want to be able to call a qualified professional furnace repairman to get your unit operating again. As you start your search for a furnace repairman, ask your family, friends, and coworkers for who they use. If you are unable to find a professional furnace repairman through personal references check on the internet. The best way to find a professional furnace repairman in your area is to go to a search engine and type in furnace repairman in my area. When the list generates, click on a link to go to the company’s website. Most reputable companies will have a website that lists their services. Once you have determined if the company you chose will be able to handle your needs, call them to come out and give you a quote.

calgary furnace repairMost furnace repair companies can replace your furnace, repair your furnace, or perform maintenance on your furnace. After you have received a quote make sure the company has a license and is legally allowed to do the work in your state. Once you have found a licensed furnace repair company that fits all your needs have them set up a maintenance schedule for your furnace. A maintenance schedule will allow them to perform maintenance on your furnace twice a year. This maintenance will keep your furnace running efficiently. Most maintenance includes washing or changing filters as needed, checking and cleaning condenser and evaporator coils as needed, checking all electrical connections, checking and clearing all drains, and checking all amp draws. The skilled technicians will find any issues and repair them at an additional cost to you. Allowing a technician to perform regular maintenance on your unit will extend the life of your furnace and keep your utility bills down. Having a furnace that runs efficiently will help you to save energy.

When you have issues with your furnace, make sure to find a furnace repair company you can trust. It may seem like an irritating task to find a reputable furnace repair company, but having a skilled professional you can trust to call will make all the difference. Most companies will also perform after hour emergency calls as needed. Ask your technician if this is a service their company offers. Finding a trustworthy furnace repair company will put your mind at ease when your unit is on the fritz.

HVAC Maintenance

How Regular AC Unit Maintenance Can Reduce Your Needs For Repair

HVAC MaintenanceKeep your air-conditioner (AC) unit serviced and you will not just cut costs on your Hollywood home energy use, but you will additionally lengthen its life-span, spending less on expensive early replacement. An air conditioner needs regular maintenance to ensure it is working at the maximum efficiency. The optimum time to make use of these tips is just before every air conditioning season begins.

Before turning on the cool air of the A/C, make sure you have given your reliable HVAC system its annual check-up. Air conditioning units need regular servicing to operate at their peak. If you stick to this maintenance every year, you will be staying cool and saving money on your energy bills and unforeseen AC repair Hollywood FL expenses. Things you can do include:

Changing The Filter

Central air units must have their filters changed a minimum of every couple of months. But when you’ve allowed the chore to slide to the back of your mind, then right now is as good a time as any to get that filter changed.

Clean The Vents

Again, a routine dusting a few times annually is a must. However when you’ve been slacking, it should be done now. You can also think about having an expert give your air ducts as well as vents a cleaning.

Air Conditioning Coils

The air system’s evaporator coils and condenser coils gather dirt over the months as well as years of service. A thoroughly clean filter stops the evaporator coil from getting dirty quickly. In time though, the evaporator coils will nevertheless gather dirt. This dust decreases airflow and insulates the coils, decreasing its capability to absorb heat. To prevent this issue, examine your evaporator coil each year and thoroughly clean it as required.

Outside condenser coils may also become very unclean if the outside atmosphere is dusty or when there are leaves close by. It is simple to see the condenser coils and observe if dirt is actually gathering on its fins. You need to reduce dust and debris close to the condenser unit. Your clothes dryer vents, leaves dropping, and lawn mower are possible causes of dirt and particles. Cleaning the region around the coils, eliminating any dirt and trimming leaves back a minimum of two feet (0. 6 meters) will allow sufficient airflow around the condenser.

Hiring a Professional

When your air conditioning unit requires a lot more than regular servicing, hire an expert AC repair Hollywood FL service specialist. A well-trained specialist will find and repair issues in your air conditioner system.

The specialist should:

  • Look for proper quantity of refrigerant
  • Run a test for refrigerant leakages utilizing a leak detector
  • Catch any refrigerant that needs to be evacuated from the unit, rather than illegally releasing it into the environment
  • Look for and close off duct leakage in central units
  • Calculate airflow through the evaporator coils
  • Verify the right electrical control sequence and make certain that the heating and cooling unit cannot run at the same time
  • Examine electrical terminals, thoroughly clean and tighten up connections, as well as apply a nonconductive covering if required
  • Check belts and oil motors for wear and tightness
  • Examine the precision of the thermostat.

The bottom line? While some air conditioning servicing can be done by an experienced homeowner, it is nevertheless essential to have a professional technician examine the system regularly.

air conditioner repairman

Common AC Problems That Could Require Repair

air conditioner repairmanWhen summer is on the horizon, many homeowners start to get ready to turn on their air conditioning units, dreaming of days where summer’s heat and humidity are kept at bay by their air conditioning systems. But what happens when your AC doesn’t work properly? When problems arise requiring AC repair NYC, residents must call in a qualified service technician to fix the problem. Below is a list of common problems that can arise with an AC system that will require repair.

Neglect

Your AC unit has sat idle all winter long. Because of that, it can take a little coaxing to start up properly the first time out of the gate. Similarly, if you run your AC for long periods of time without having routine maintenance done, it can lead to problems that will require repair. Just as how problems with your health can get worse and require intervention if you don’t catch them early at a regular checkup, problems in your AC system can worsen and require repairs if you don’t address them early. The best way to catch a problem is to schedule regular maintenance.

Parts failure

Anything mechanical will sometimes experience failure of one or more of its parts. An air conditioning system is no different. Because there are so many parts to the system that need to work together, it’s not unusual for one or more parts to sometimes fail. In the case of an air conditioner, among the most common parts to experience failure are the compressor and the fan. If your system is cycling on and off frequently, it could be an indication that one or more components of the system is failing.

Issues with the thermostat

There is a host of things that can potentially cause your thermostat to fail. It could be as simple as a dead battery in the thermostat or something more complex like an improperly calibrated sensor or simply a faulty unit. If your home doesn’t seem to be staying as cool as it once did, one of the best things to do first is to check the batteries in your thermostat. If it’s been a while since you changed the batteries, this could be an easy fix for the thermostat problems. If that doesn’t work, you may have to upgrade your thermostat to a newer model.

These days, thermostats are quite sophisticated, allowing you to program multiple temperatures all at once, for example, if you want the house to be cooler during the day but don’t require such a cool temperature at night, you can set the thermostat to automatically adjust at a certain time of day. Or, if you are at work all day and don’t want to spend the money to cool an empty house, you can set your thermostat to come on just a couple of hours before you come home, so you can enjoy a cool house when you arrive.

New Unit Installation

Is your unit older than 10 years old? Are you paying a lot of money for unit repairs? The time has come to replace your unit. While this can be an expensive cost, it is something that has to be done. If you are looking for a professional technician to check your unit and give you installation options check with premierheatingandcoolingsystems.com for all your needs.

Benefits to Installing a New Unit

Installing a new unit can cost up to $20,000. While this is a lot of money, it can actually save you money in the long run. If your unit isn’t running efficiently it will cut off and on and run all day. This runs your electric bill up. By upgrading your unit to an energy-efficient unit, you can cut your electric bill in half. Another major issue is the safety of your family. If your unit is old and not functioning properly you run the risk of having electrical fires or gas leaks in your unit. Some people hear the price of a new unit and think they will just keep getting repairs done.

Most consumers do not realize that you can get your new unit financed and make monthly payments until it is paid off. There are also several other financial incentives such as tax incentives and manufacturer incentives. When you install a new unit you are also getting a manufacturer warranty. This warranty usually pays for all repairs needed up to a certain time, then it pays a prorated amount towards parts and labor on repairs needed. Also, some companies will add in a year of free maintenance. When you have a unit, to keep it functioning properly you will need to have service performed twice a year.

This service includes cleaning or replacing filters as needed, checking all electrical connections, checking all drains and cleaning as needed, checking and cleaning coils, and performing any repairs needed. This maintenance ensures that your unit is running at full capacity and running efficiently. A skilled technician will also be able to set your thermostat so that your unit will run at a comfortable temperature for you and your family. No one wants to have to spend money, but sometimes you have to spend money to save money.

Replacing your unit is one of those times. Having a skilled and qualified technician replace your existing unit with an energy efficient unit can save you money. An energy efficient unit will lower your utility bill and ensure you that your unit is running properly. Once you have decided to install a new unit make sure to sign up for a regular maintenance service plan to secure your new investment.

PVC Pipe FAQs

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a durable, inexpensive material that can be used for several different types of projects, but it isn’t necessarily the “be all end all” when it comes to HVAC applications. It will work great in some instances, while it won’t be appropriate in others. Here are some commonly asked questions regarding PVC and how it can best be utilized for HVAC-related work.

What are some of the best uses for PVC?

PVC can be used for some heating and cooling projects but not for others. It is a sturdy material relatively easy to install, and can be used in walls, floors, ceilings and several other indoor environments. It should work well, for example, if a builder wants to install heating and cooling grills in the floor of a home, or if a house doesn’t have enough space to install metal ductwork.

How efficient is PVC at transporting hot and cold air?

PVC is far superior than metal when it comes to insulation. Metal tends to disperse air, making a heating and cooling system have to work much harder in order to make an indoor environment comfortable. PVC is very good for larger buildings where conditioned air has to travel longer distances through ductwork.

How long does PVC typically last?

There are areas in Europe where PVC has been in continuous use since the 1930s. Most studies indicate that PVC is durable enough to last 100 years or even longer. In many instances, PVC will last longer than the buildings in which they are installed.

Is PVC recyclable?

Yes, but since it lasts so long there is rarely a need to dig up PVC and replace it. Scraps of PVC left over after cutting to size, however, are often recycled to make new pipes.

What is one of PVC’s chief limitations when it comes to HVAC applications?

It does not handle substantial heat very well. The maximum temperature at which PVC can function properly is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, if you are planning certain types of heating-related projects you will probably need to consider an alternative material.

Is PVC expensive?

While PVC is typically more expensive to manufactures than other commonly used materials, the difference in cost is relatively small. While it could be somewhat costly to install PVC in large-scale projects, the higher price should not be much of a concern for smaller projects. However, PVC could provide substantial long-term savings for even larger installations because it helps increase heating and cooling equipment efficiency.

Can PVC be mixed with other materials when installing ductwork?

No. When you use PVC in ductwork, you need to keep in mind that you will not be able to mix it with any metal parts. PVC and metal come in different sizes and shapes, so they are not easily interchangeable. This could become a major issue that makes any future upgrades or maintenance extremely complex.

How will PVC behave should a fire occur?

PVC is combustible, but once the source of the flame is removed it will not continue to burn. However, like many other materials, PVC can emit potentially fatal carbon monoxide if exposed to flame. The risk is low, however, because PVC is typically installed behind materials that are noncombustible.

I see a line in some of the PVC that I’m preparing to install. Does that mean it’s defective?

Probably not. While PVC is brittle and can crack easily if mishandled, the lines you see are very likely due to part of the manufacturing process. These lines form when melted plastic flows through one side of the pipe-mold cavity and then fills into the opposite side. As long as you cannot open the pipe by pulling on it, there is no crack.

How is PVC affected by continued exposure to the sun?

There are stabilizers built into PVC pipes that help them withstand ultraviolet light. If used in an outdoor HVAC installation, it may become discolored but it will still be able to perform at optimum level. Use a water-based paint (not oil based) that is compatible with PVC in order to protect PVC from prolonged UV exposure and keep discoloration from occurring.

How would I fix a PVC pipe leak at a weld joint?

If possible, you’ll need to remove the leaking joint and start over, because that likely means the joint was not properly welded. This could have happened for one of several reasons, such as a foreign material being trapped in the joint, a damaged component or the joint may not have been bottomed completely. You may be able to use a plastic fillet hot-air weld on the exterior of the pipe, but that will only be a temporary fix. In addition, it will only be appropriate for an extremely minor leak.

 

Author Bio:

Amanda Hill is the Content and Creative Manager for PVC Fittings Online, based out of Rock Hill, South Carolina. PVC Fittings Online is a supplier of PVC pipe, Schedule 80 PVC Fittings and accessories for commercial contractors all across the United States 

Elements of an Excellent HVAC Website

When potential clients visit your website, they’re looking for answers. It’s your job, as an HVAC contractor, to make sure that your website answers the questions that people are asking! Below, we’ve compiled some of the most important elements of an HVAC website.

Include Detailed Contact Information – Potential clients need to know how to find you, or at least how to contact you. This may seem obvious, but according to BIA/Kelsey, 60 percent of local businesses don’t include their phone numbers on their website! If a person comes to your website to make an appointment, just to find out that they don’t know how to get in touch with you, they will leave your website quite frustrated. You could miss out on a heck of a lot of business. Be sure that your business contact information is prominently displayed both in the header or footer of your website and on a designated contact page. Some of the most important contact elements to feature on your website include:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Fax Number
  • Email Address
  • Service Area
  • Interactive Map – This isn’t a requirement, however if you have the capabilities to include an interactive map on your contact page, it can help potential clients visualize exactly where you are to make it easy for them to find your business.
  • Contact Form – Again, not required, but a contact form can eliminate the extra step of customers dialing your phone number or copy and pasting your email address. The easier you can make these small tasks for clients, the more likely they are to actually contact you!

Display Products and Services – Before a potential client decides that they want to choose your business for his or her HVAC services, they’ll likely want to know more about all that you have to offer. Some customers may prefer to call your business to learn more; however today 70 percent of Americans use the Internet when shopping for local products and services, according to BIA/Kelsey. If you’re an authorized dealer for certain products, be sure to include those on your website. Also, it’s important to list out exactly which services your business provides so that potential clients can be sure they’re calling the right person for the job.

Keep it Simple – One of the most important things to keep in mind for your HVAC website, is to simply keep it simple! While your website should certainly provide ample information about your business, you don’t want to overwhelm potential clients. Your website should have an organized structure with clearly labeled buttons and links. If you’re in the process of a website redesign, it may be helpful to do a little research on what your clients are really looking for. Consider putting together a quick survey for clients to fill out after a job to see what they think would be useful on your website.

About the Author

Blissfield Heating & PlumbingBlissfield Heating & Plumbing offers plumbing and HVAC services in the Southeast Michigan and Northern Ohio areas. In business since 1978, BHP provides high quality work and reliable, honest customer service. BHP is a Lennox Premier Dealer, as well as an authorized dealer for Whirlpool, Goodman, and Lochinvar. Learn more about Blissfield Heating & Plumbing.

10 Features To Look For In Field Service Management Software

Without the right tools managing a field services company can be extremely inefficient and costly. Field service management software gives you the right tools to manage all of your agents out in the field and intelligently assign work and plan routes.

If you’re currently organizing field work and managing field agents using spreadsheets, phone calls or emails, then field service management software is guaranteed to save you a lot of time and money. Field service management software will save you time in the office, reduce effort, cut down on mistakes and improve your customer satisfaction.

When researching which field service management system is the best fit for your business there are a number of factors you should take into account. We’ll discuss 10 features you should look for in a field service management (FSM) system.

  1. Field agent skills and qualifications

If your business offers a range of service to your customers then it is important to be able to track the skills and qualifications of your various field agents. FSM systems have a lot of range in their ability to do this.

Many FSM software suites have no functionality at all in this area, which may be appropriate for your business if you only offer services that require a single skillset.

If you have staff or contractors with a range of skills or qualifications this feature becomes very important to ensure jobs are scheduled to the correct technicians, avoid rework and callouts to jobs the technician is not qualified to complete.

You may not need this feature if you know all of your staff and their abilities very well. However, introducing an element of human error into the job scheduling process creates a weak link in the process and can have drastically negative effects if there is staff turnover or leave. This will also become a limiting factor for the scheduling process to scale requiring specific knowledge of the field agents in order to schedule work.

Systematising this information allows for work to always be assigned to a qualified technician and allows the scheduling process to easily scale to large volumes of booking without booking staff requiring specialised knowledge of the field agents.

  1. Intelligent scheduling tools

Assigning work in an efficient manner will allow you to complete the most work with the least resources and provide better service levels to your customers.

There are a number of factors that need to be considered to efficiently assign work to field agents. Addressing all of these factors will ensure you can offer your customers the most accurate timeframe for completion of work. Ensure each field agent works at their highest capacity and work is completed in the most cost efficient manner.

  • Location of the job – Knowing where the job is located and having the ability to search and map the local area will allow you to search for all nearby field agents to complete the job.
  • Location of the field agent – Mapping out the location allows for you to estimate booking times for customers and ensure technicians are available to complete the work during the requested timeframe.
  • Skills required to complete the job – If your company offers a range of services it is important to be able to track the required skills on the job sheet to ensure that only a qualified field agent is assigned the job.
  • Field agent availability – availability and calendar features are important for the booking process as they let you plan your resourcing capacity and remaining capacity to ensure that field agents are assigned the highest number of jobs each day. Capacity planning features can also help plan your work schedules and customer sales.
  • Customer availability – Being able to track the customers schedule preference on the job sheet will allow you to schedule the job to the customers preferred time.
  • Other work scheduled for the day – being able to see other jobs which are already scheduled for the same day or scheduling period allows you to group jobs together by skill set or geographical location which allows you to minimise travel time and expenses.
  • Cost – In the case where your field agents are contractors with varying rates or where travel payments are applicable it is important to have cost estimation features in the booking process to ensure that jobs are completed at the lowest possible cost.

Ensuring your field service management system can address each of these factors in the job scheduling process will allow your business to schedule work in the most efficient way.

  1. GPS tracking

GPS tracking allows you to track all of your field agents throughout the working day. Most field services GPS tracking systems will use the GPS from the agent’s mobile phone. For privacy reasons the GPS systems will only track when a field agent has clocked in to work in the field agent portal or application.

GPS tracking allows you to ensure that each field agent is on time to each scheduled job and allows you to identify early if a field agent is running behind schedule.

Some field service management systems will allow you to automatically notify the customer of the technicians approach and give an estimated time of arrival. Tracking like this helps reduce customer service enquiries and administration work which will reduce overall administration costs.

  1. RCTI/Payroll system

Field service management systems with automated field agent invoicing and payroll systems can significantly reduce administration costs related to paying contractors and employees.

Recipient Created Tax Invoice (RCTI) functionality will allow you to create a payment schedule for contractors based on jobs completed and the work completed on each job and automatically generate payment invoices on the contractor’s behalf. The best systems will allow you to integrate with your accounting solution, further reducing administration costs related to data entry.

An automated payroll system will do the equivalent for salary and per hour employees by creating timesheets based on their sign on and off times.

  1. Reporting

When selecting a field service management system you should review the system’s reporting capabilities. Reporting is very important to ensure you know what’s happening in your business and out in the field. Having up to date information allows you to make intelligent business, human resource and scheduling decisions.

The reports required will vary for different businesses and industries so one thing to look for is the ability to build custom reports. However, there are a number of useful generic reports you may want to look for when reviewing a system.

  • Daily job status report – this report will show the number of jobs each day and their relevant job statuses. This allows you to track the completion of jobs throughout the day to ensure things are going to schedule and also allows you to identify and action exceptions.
  • Rework requests – A report tracking rework request should display the number of rework requests over time, the percentage of total jobs over time and also give this information on a per field agent basis. This allows you to track the overall percentage of jobs that result in a rework, allowing you to identify the root causes and minimise rework over time, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing costs. Having this information on a per field agent basis helps to identify field agents with quality problems so that they can be performance managed to increase the quality of their work.
  • On time arrivals / late arrivals – This report will help you ensure that field agents are working to schedules and arriving on time. The report will help you identify causes for late attendance and ensure on time attendance in future. This will help you schedule work more accurately and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Customer satisfaction – Customer satisfaction reports are important to ensure your customers are happy and to identify avoidable causes of customer dissatisfaction. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a good measure of this.
  • Capacity reporting – This will allow you to identify skill and availability shortages in each geographical area. This can be used to identify recruiting requirements to ensure you can meet customer demand.
  • Custom reporting – Every business is unique and will have their own reporting requirements. So it is important that the system you use has at least some basic functionality to be able to create custom reports specific to your business or at least has the ability to export data so custom reporting can be done using excel.
  1. Technician portal

It is important for your field agents to have a portal to manage their workload and information. The factors you should look for in a technician portal are

  • Scheduled jobs – technicians should be able to log in and view their scheduled jobs and their daily job routes to ensure that every job is completed on time.
  • Availabilities – technicians need to be able to enter their availabilities for each day and also track leave on their profile to ensure that work is not scheduled to field agents who are not available to work. The system can also use this information to track skill shortages in geographical areas.
  • Skills/qualifications – field agents should be able to track their skills and qualifications against their profile to ensure that they are scheduled work accordingly
  • Compliance – If your industry has any regulations regarding qualifications, registrations or insurance etc. it is efficient to have technicians ensure their compliance and attach copies of any required documents to their profile.
  • Job history – this allows for field agents to track their job history should any rework ever be required.
  1. Customer portal

A customer portal is a web page application where a customer can log in and track their scheduled jobs. Customer portals will reduce contact center enquiries regarding the field agent arrival time and increase customer satisfaction as they are able to track the job each step of the way to completion.

  1. Sales and customer invoicing

If your field agents have the ability to make additional sales for services or products then these features are a must have in a field service management system. Field agents should be able to sell extra services and products on site, charge the customer’s credit card or accept cash and have the system email the customer a tax invoice.

  1. Customer service tools

Customer satisfaction is very important to ensure long term repeat business and positive word of mouth from your customers.

  • Customer satisfaction surveys – You can’t improve your customer satisfaction if you don’t know what it is. You should be able to configure a customer satisfaction survey to be sent to each customer at the completion of their job. Some systems will have surveys that can be completed on the field agent’s device at the time of completion. However, these are open to abuse by field agents or the customer giving inaccurate results due to the presence of the field agent. Surveys emailed at the completion of the job allow the customer to fill the survey out at a later time and provide more accurate results.If you give every customer the opportunity to offer feedback you can ensure you follow up to ensure customers who have had a bad experience can be result in a happy customer again.Customer comments will also allow you to identify specific causes of dissatisfaction and improve processes to ensure the issue does not repeat in future.
  • Job completion report – This report shows what was done on each job. This can be stored on the job card for future reference and also emailed to the customer at job completion. The completion report is important so the customer knows what was done and so you can ensure that jobs are being completed correctly according to the scope of work required.
  • Customer notifications – Customer notifications allow the customer to be notified by SMS or email when the field agent is on route to their property. This ensures the customer is going to be home at the scheduled time and also reduces the number of enquiries regarding the technician arrival time.
  1. Digital sign off

Digital job sign off allows for your field agent to have the customer sign off on the completion of the job. This feature is important as it can be used to ensure the job was completed by the field agent and avoid situations where the field agent has not actually attended. Additionally, it will allow you to ensure the job was completed to the customer’s satisfaction and have the customer sign off on completion of the work. This will reduce rework as the customer has signed off on the job and cannot then dispute the job completion at a later date.

Conclusion

When deciding on a field service management system for your business it is important to assess the systems capabilities in each of the features addressed in this article and ensure that you select the best software suite for your business. Not every business will require every feature that we’ve covered above and you may be able to save money by selecting a more bare bones FSM suite, but it is important that you also plan for features you may need in the future as migrating between systems is a significant and expensive process.

BrendanWildeAbout The Author:

Brendan works in field service management, marketing and business management for Quick Air and Jack B who provide Australia wide service in air conditioning, heating, and IT services.

Progress Report: New HVAC Efficiency Standards 5 Months In

With the start of 2015, HVAC contractors have had to adapt to a set of new HVAC standards aiming to improve efficiency. Most states raised their minimum efficiency standards for both commercial and residential systems installed after January 1st.

Although the new standards require adaptation efforts on the side of contractors, they’re also a good opportunity for HVAC specialists. They can showcase their expertise by providing support to customers in meeting the new requirements, plus they’re now able to push the sales of higher efficiency systems.

In December 2014, we offered you a guide to the new HVAC efficiency standards. It was especially relevant, as research back then showed that most contractors were not prepared to meet the new conditions for HVAC energy efficiency. Since we’re approaching the middle of 2015, it’s a good time to see how contractors are progressing with their application.

 

What are the new HVAC standards?

One of the biggest changes introduced is that HVAC efficiency standards now vary between states rather than having national ones, which was not the case until the beginning of 2015. The rationale for this step is that energy efficiency needs are very different in different parts of the country, so the new rules aim to take these into consideration.

The US is split in three regions, which have different requirements: North, South and Southwest. The minimum efficiency for air conditioning rose to 13 SEER in the North, and to 14 SEER in the other two regions. Heat pump minimums rose to 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF in all regions. This means that many contractors working across states are now required to meet different requirements for different projects.

Another major change is that now HVAC contractors working on residential systems have to calibrate the outdoor installations with the indoor ones. Additionally, the SEER rating of the outdoor system is now linked to that of the indoor one and the capacities of the blower and coil. This makes calculating the overall rating of a system a bit more complicated.

 

Is the effect on HVAC contractors clear? 

While the first half of 2015 is almost behind us, it’s difficult to judge what the total effect of the new standards on HVAC contractors is. The stricter requirements mean higher costs for installations and higher end prices for the customer, but it’s too early to judge whether this has led to less work for contractors. After all, many Americans are becoming more and more environmentally conscious and thus prefer to upgrade to higher efficiency systems.

The overall impact will also depend on which enforcement method the Department of Energy decides to choose. So far, the DOE has developed three potential approaches. The first one is the lightest version for contractors, as they’ll need only to install the right units in the appropriate region, while manufacturers will track serial numbers and distributors will keep the records.

The second approach entails contractors having to keep records about installation locations, addresses and serial numbers. Then manufacturers will document serial numbers shipped to distributors, and distributors will do the same for contractors.

The third approach presents the biggest burden on contractors. They’ll have to also give distributors serial numbers and addresses for installed units, on top of the other requirements from the first and second approaches.

 

Tips on staying compliant

The new standards mean that contractors need to put more effort to stay in compliance in terms of the installations they work with. The DOE has even set up a system to follow routine violators for HVAC contractors who knowingly install systems with lower ratings in order to ensure that the new standards are followed.

Thus, it’s really important that you keep thorough records of the systems you install for a period of two years, so that you can prove at any point that you’re operating according to the new rules. Plus, the stricter rules on record-keeping and information collection are good news for honest contractors, also considering that the Federal Trade Commission is likely to change the installation labels to reflect the regional standards.

As the standards for legal operation also vary between states, don’t forget that you also often need to meet different requirements to obtain your HVAC license. In most cases, you’ll need to get a license bond during the licensing or registration process.

What’s your experience with the new HVAC efficiency standards? What have you found difficult and what has improved your operations flow? Please share your thoughts in the comment below!

 

Todd Bryant AuthorAbout The Author:

Todd Bryant is the President and Founder of Bryant Surety Bonds. He is a surety bonds expert with years of experience in helping HVAC contractors get bonded and start their business

What to Do If a Claim is Filed Against Your Surety Bond

suretybonds

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acwa/8456435036

When obtaining your HVAC contractor license from the state or local licensing authority, you’re usually required to get a surety bond. The purpose of the bond is to guarantee your compliance with the applicable contractors license regulations. It also serves as proof of the quality of your work and your ability to complete the tasks to which contracted.

In order to fully understand the function of bonds, it’s also good to consider what surety bond claims are, when they can be filed, and how to tackle them. Only by getting the complete picture can you know the best course of action if a claim is filed against your surety bond.

Let’s explore in detail the claim process and learn more about how to avoid claims.

When and how can a claim be filed on your HVAC license bond?

It’s useful to remind ourselves how surety bonds work in order to put the claim process in perspective. The bond is a contract between your business, the licensing authority, and the surety provider. Its aim is to guarantee your legal compliance and not to protect your business, which is the function of insurance.

Thus, the contractor license bond is designed to cover a set of specific violations that are stipulated in the state or local regulations. In case you commit such a violation, a consumer, employee, or supplier can file a claim against the bond. The usual reasons for consumer claims include low quality work leading to damages to property, completion delays, or fraud in the execution or performance of the job. Employees and suppliers can file claims in case they have not received their due payments or fringe benefits (for eligible workers).

The person or entity submits the claim to the surety provider. Then, the surety starts a thorough investigation to check the validity of the claim. Often the circumstances are disputable, so the claim may need to be resolved in court. If the surety has sufficient proof, it will accept the claim and cover the penalties up to the bonding amount. Afterwards, you will have to reimburse it for all costs. If, however, the claim cannot be proven, the surety will assist you in challenging it legally.

The best course of action when a claim is filed

Even if you don’t agree to a claim that is filed against your HVAC business, a claim is not something you can brush aside. Both the surety that has underwritten your bond and the licensing authority approach surety claims quite seriously. Thus, it’s in your interest to follow the procedure in order to have the best outcome of the situation. Usually this means providing proof of your diligence on a project or, in case the claim is proven, finding a reasonable settlement with the claimant. It’s a good idea to seek legal advice from the start to ensure you know where you’re standing

If you get contacted from your surety regarding a claim, it’s best if you respond as soon as possible with a detailed explanation of your position and a full set of documentation proving your point. In this way, you can safeguard your interests and make sure that all information reaches the underwriter. That’s how they can make a decision whether the claim has a solid proof or not.

In some cases, your local or state licensing authority might inform you that a complaint against you has been filed with them. While this is not a claim on your bond, it might translate into that as well. If the license provider deems the claim legitimate, disciplinary action can be taken against your business, which can mean also the cancellation of your license. Thus in this case it’s also a good approach to file your official response immediately and address the problem with your point of view and all due documentation.

Avoiding claims is the wisest approach

A surety claim can turn into a nightmare, especially if not handled properly. In case the claim is proven, you’ll face serious financial damage. It might also lead to losing your contractor license and then having difficulties in obtaining one in the future. Let’s not forget that the problematic situation can have negative repercussions for your business reputation.

While this may sound like preaching to the choir, the wisest course of action in your HVAC business operations is to do your best to avoid claims. In practical terms, this means strictly abiding by state and local regulations, diligently completing your work and due payments to subcontractors and suppliers

Another useful tip is to keep accurate records of your contracts and their amendments or cancellations and of all payments made and received. Having everything in writing can save you in case of an unjustified claim. Timely and transparent communication with your subcontractors and suppliers is also crucial. If you keep them informed about your current circumstances, they may be more willing to allow you more time to pay invoices and not to file claims against you.

While surety bond claims are sometimes an unpleasant fact of life, there are ways to avoid them and to take meaningful course of action if you still get one filed against you. The key is an honest and open approach combined with being diligent both in your work and in your business documentation.

What is your experience with claims on HVAC contractor license bonds? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the author:

Ralitsa GolemanovaRalitsa Golemanova is a surety bonds expert and an active blogger in the construction field. She is a regular contributor on the Lance Surety Bond Associates blog.

15 Ways to Market or Advertise Your HVAC Business Like a Pro

titleimage

Image Credit: ContractingBusiness.com

Let’s face it, owning your own HVAC business isn’t for the faint of heart. However, the satisfaction of working for yourself and seeing operations through end-to-end is well worth the extra effort. There’s just one problem – To really profit and expand your business you’ll need lots of it, and outsourcing can be expensive.

 

Here are 15 marketing techniques that will help you find more work and increase your HVAC business visibility:

  1. Create a Marketing Plan – One of the main reasons some small HVAC businesses are doomed before they even start is the lack of an effective marketing plan.
  2. Professional Networking – Create a profile on professional networking websites like LinkedIn. Go a step further by taking part in discussions and groups to gain exposure.
  3. Word of Mouth – Happy customers are your best advertisement. Build a good rapport and be proactive in asking them to tell others about you, if they like your services.
  4. Yellow Pages – Most people nowadays won’t bother with a directory, because searching the web is much faster and easier, but sign up for a listing if it’s free.
  5. Newspaper Ads – Target homeowners. They don’t want to know about fancy equipment or your service vehicle, so focus on punctuality, neatness, offers, discounts, etc.
  6. Vehicle Signage & Branding – Larger ads printed on the vehicles reduce their resale value, so keep it simple. All you really need is your name, company logo, phone number and website.
  7. HVAC Website Listings – Just like HvacWebConnection.com, there are numerous online HVAC contractors directories, some of which are free. Sign up with as many as you can and create your company/contractor listing on these web directories.
  8. Company Website – Today, every company needs a website that is simple, visually appealing and easy to navigate. If you can’t make one yourself, hire someone to do it for you.
  9. Events or Charities – Participate in local events to increase your brand’s recognition in the area. Helping out others might bring in more work too.
  10. Social Media Marketing – Networking on social media platforms is an excellent way to keep connected with your customers and get references. Understand your target market and upload relevant content.
  11. Local Search Listing – Google is the ‘it’ place for finding new customers, especially for home heating/air conditioning services. Use keywords that potential consumers would be searching for.
  12. Videos on YouTube – Create an account for your company and upload educational videos explaining products and services. People prefer watching videos to reading text!
  13. Paid Ads – You can opt for platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads where you can build Ad Campaigns through search, display and mobile network in the targeted locations. An effective campaign can enhance your business ROI and fetch you potential customers in the longer run.
  14. Customer Engagement – Keeping in touch with existing customers can bring in new ones, as well as increase repeat business. Keep details of when they’ll need your service again and contact them proactively.
  15. Stay Updated – Stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your field and new products or services that you can offer. Keep researching latest marketing techniques and methods too, both online and offline.

 

DanMcKee

Author Bio:

Dan McKee heads up the marketing efforts and provides digital marketing strategies to the marketing team at Service Champions in California.