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Hiring an HVAC Contractor and Keeping Up With Maintenance

Key Takeaways

  • To avoid unexpected breakdowns in an HVAC system, do routine maintenance to expand the lifespan of your unit. Many out-of-state landlords schedule an annual inspection of their HVAC system to ensure the tenants will always be comfortable with heating and air conditioning, especially in extreme weather conditions.
  • HVAC contractors specializing in heating, ventilation, and cooling require various types of job training. Depending on the contractor's region, they must meet different requirements and be licensed to perform complex HVAC electrical repairs.
  • Investing in a home warranty that covers the costs of appliance maintenance, repairs, and replacement may benefit landlords. The annual premium is typically under $1,000, and you pay a small service fee each time a contractor visits the rental.

Published on Dec 20, 2023 | Updated on Dec 20, 2023

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When the air conditioning quits working in the sweltering heat, or you have a faulty furnace that needs repairs when it’s cold outside, an HVAC technician can help diagnose the problems, make repairs, or remove an unrepairable HVAC unit to install a replacement. As a landlord, it’s important to interview these essential workers for when you need your HVAC units serviced.

Annual maintenance of an HVAC system

An essential goal for all landlords is to provide a comfortable shelter for their tenants during the winter or in summer’s stifling heat. You can take a few preventative steps to minimize the chances of air conditioning or furnace failure and extend the longevity of your HVAC system.

Most of these upkeep tasks can be done by the landlord, but if you manage multiple units or live far from your rental property, calling an HVAC specialist will be the best solution to ensure your furnace and air conditioning unit are in excellent condition. You can conduct regular cooling and heating-specific maintenance, according to Energy Star.

HVAC annual maintenance checklist for landlords:

  • Change the filter every three months
  • Look for leaks around the unit
  • Eliminate clogs in the water line
  • Remove dirt or debris from the outdoor unit
  • Observe humidity levels
Cooling maintenance:
  • Clean condenser and evaporator coils
  • Check refrigerant level
  • Adjust blower components
Heating maintenance:
  • Check gas and oil connections
  • Observe gas pressure and burner combustion

Common HVAC repair services

Just like a car or anything of value you want to preserve, your HVAC system is an investment. When you avoid regular maintenance, or your system is older and operating less efficiently, problems can turn up––this is when you call in a professional.

Customarily, you would contact a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning professional when the following problems arise:

  • Electrical problems
  • Issues with the ignition or furnace fuse being blown
  • Leaking refrigerant lines
  • Malfunctioning thermostat
  • Poor airflow
  • Water leaks
  • Suboptimal temperature distribution
  • Furnace repairs and replacement

How to find a reputable HVAC contractor

The Better Business Bureau caters to people in the States and Canada who are looking for potential contractors. Landlords can also turn to online reviews to get a good sense of the quality of work the contractor provided to other property owners. Most customer reviews are honest, stemming from their experience, and will help you come to an informed decision.

All HVAC technicians must hold a special certification to work in the United States, though proper licensing requirements may vary in each state. Most Canadian HVAC technicians need a vocational education and additional training to work in heating and cooling services.

How to review cost estimates

Some of the critical factors in deciding which contractor you want to hire for HVAC maintenance, repairs, or installation are how much experience they have, whether they are certified to perform complicated tasks, and what their cost estimate breakdowns are.

When reviewing a quote, look for the following items when applicable:
  • Summary of the work needed
  • Appliances, including brands and model numbers
  • Labor costs
  • A timeline to accomplish the job
  • Regulatory compliance statement (some contractors include this in quotes to avoid legal trouble)

Look for itemized estimates when reviewing a quote after the contractor conducts their inspection.

Many landlords take out a home warranty for their rental property to help cover the costs of repairs and replacements for a single appliance. Homeowners can pay bundles of services that will cover the cost of technician maintenance, repairs, and replacements. The homeowner pays an annual premium and set service fee each time a contractor visits the property. A home warranty annual premium can cost between $644 and $740, as reported by This Old House.

Factors that can influence costly repairs

When the estimate is higher, it’s normal to wonder why the repair or replacement is so expensive. Here are some factors affecting the price of HVAC repairs:

  • Age and condition of equipment
  • Size and complexity of HVAC unit
  • Energy efficiency of unit
  • Complexity of service/repairs

FAQ: How to hire an HVAC professional

HVAC includes all heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Generally, if your furnace fails or the cooling system needs repairs, you would contact an HVAC professional to assess the problems and implement repairs.

Most professional contractors have liability insurance to protect themselves and their employees from some of the inherent risks of doing repairs related to any type of construction or electrical unit.

Landlords are in charge of making sure that the heating and cooling systems work properly in the rental home. In addition to thermal comfort, some other routine maintenance that a landlord is responsible for includes calling quality contractors for mold and bed bug infestations, some lawn maintenance, and major appliance repairs.

Our final thoughts

The landlord is responsible for finding service providers and ensuring the tenant has proper heating and cooling in their home. If you’re new to managing properties, learn more about resolving rental property maintenance issues.

Learn more about Maintenance

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