(Gray) — You may have already cranked up the heat in your home, but have you serviced your HVAC system? With winter temperatures here, now is a good time to do it, but the Better Business Bureau told our national investigative team you need to be careful with who does the job and how.
The Better Business Bureau said if you currently have an HVAC system, it’s critical that you maintain it for efficiency because heating and cooling your home is among the largest energy expense and you don’t want to get ripped off.
If you keep your HVAC system up to date, it will extend the life of the system and save you money. That means getting it checked annually by a qualified technician. The fall season is a good time to check the furnace by doing routine maintenance, replacing disposable filters or cleaning permanent ones, but if you decide to hire a contractor to do the job, take note.
“Typically, consumers will overlook, maybe the reputation of the company if they don’t do their homework first. We often encourage consumers to do their homework and do research and we encourage them to go to bbb.org, look at the ratings, look at the customer reviews, look at the complaints,” said Sandra Guile with the Better Business Bureau in Washington D.C.
Guile said if you do the research, typically, you’ll get a trusted company that will give you quality service, but if you don’t, contractors could take advantage of you.
“Some of them may even portray themselves, ‘As an additional fee, we’ll clean out your duct work’ and they may pretend like their putting a camera down your duct work to show you how dirty it is and for an additional fee, they’ll be more than happy to clean that out. I would certainly read the fine print on that,” Guile noted.
Read the fine print and the BBB said the technician should be doing the following to make sure your heating system is working properly by:
- Turning the thermostat on and off
- Checking the filters and furnace for a cracked heat exchanger.
- Inspecting burners for rust
- Looking for gas leaks, obstruction and proper clearance at the roof jack.
- Cleaning and adjusting pilot assembly and all safety cut-offs.
When having your furnace cleaned, the BBB said you should also ask the contractor to do a carbon monoxide test. This odorless gas can be deadly, so you should also consider installing a carbon monoxide detector to protect you between service visits. If you need repairs, get multiple written job estimates, but if it comes down to replacing your system, make sure to include a full description of any additional work.
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