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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a HVAC technician during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To set up a safe consultation or appointment with an HVAC technician during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by comparing technicians in your area in an online search. Message or call technicians to ask whether they can perform a consultation over the phone or even over a video call. This way, they can assess the problem without increasing the risk of virus transmission by visiting your house. 

If it turns out the service is essential, you’ll need to follow CDC guidelines as well as local government guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with an appliance specialist during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The best way to set up a consultation or appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic is virtually, with no in-person contact. After messaging the appliance repairman, you can ask to set up a video chat or phone call to discuss what work needs to be done. Make sure to ask them how they handle payments, keeping in mind that paying in advance may be safer than handling cash or credit cards until the pandemic is over. Ask the professional what procedures and precautions they have in place to ensure safety during this time. 

Are there ways to be safe if I hire an appliance repairman or specialist when social distancing?

If you decide to hire an appliance service specialist or repairman, check your local news for community guidelines and follow the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing. Discuss safety protocols with the appliance repairmen before they enter your home. And when they enter your home, stay at least 6 feet apart, don’t shake hands, sanitize all involved surfaces and use digital payments instead of cash or a check. 

If you decide to postpone the work, consider buying a gift card from them or paying for future work. This is a great way to give back to the community, as many small businesses and individual contractors are feeling the economic effects of social distancing. 

How can I find out if an appliance repairman or specialist is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

The definition of an essential provider varies based on state, city and local guidelines. Visit the official government website of your state or city to see which services are considered an essential in your area.

For more information on a national level, read CISA’s publication on critical infrastructure workers. However, note that not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure. 

Can I install central air myself?

While you may be able to do some preparation work for central air installation, you should hire a licensed contractor to complete the project and handle the air conditioning refrigerants. 

Also, unless you have the proper credentials, you risk making common mistakes when installing central air. This may include installing the wrong-size furnace, improperly installing ductwork and exhaust systems, and incorrectly managing drainage.

To ensure your central air is installed correctly, contact the best HVAC pros near you and start getting free estimates today.

Is it worth it to install central air?

Depending on where you live, it might be worth it to install central air. Central air makes your house comfortable on hot summer days. And although it’s hard to predict if adding central air will increase your home’s value, prospective homebuyers will certainly notice if it’s missing.

Another advantage of central air is that it can help dehumidify your home. Not only will it make your home more comfortable and enjoyable, but it can also  help prevent mold from growing or spreading.

Contact the best HVAC contractors near you to learn more about the central air installation process and to start receiving free estimates.

How can I find out if an HVAC technician is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

Currently, governments on both the federal and local levels are updating guidelines on what qualifies as an essential service. To see whether an HVAC technician is considered an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic, check your city or state’s government website. 

For federal guidelines, check CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 page, which identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors during the crisis. But note that not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.

How do I find a good HVAC or AC contractor?

Performing an online search is the quickest way to locate the best HVAC or AC contractors near you. This makes it easier to view multiple top-rated pros quickly and efficiently.

Start by looking at the contractors’ ratings and reading the customer reviews. Pay attention to reviews that mention details about the HVAC contractors’ quality of work. Did they complete the job on time? Did they overcharge? Were they communicative with the customer throughout the process? 

You should also review any photos of past projects that customers (or pros) may have uploaded. Looking at before-and-after photos of air conditioners and HVAC systems will give you a good idea of how skilled the contractors are.

Next, check whether your state or city requires HVAC and AC professionals to be licensed. If so, anyone you work with should comply with these requirements. 

Once you’ve chosen a few potential contractors, ask for free estimates. Compare their quotes, and choose a HVAC contractor who is qualified, affordable and reputable.

Does central air add value to a home?

A central air unit or HVAC system may add value to your home. Or, if you’re in the process of selling your home, it may help you close a sale.

The Remodeling Impact report found that 20% of realtors have suggested that home sellers replace their HVAC before attempting to sell their homes, and 7% said this project did help close a sale. 

Talk with an expert to figure out if adding an HVAC system is a good idea for your home. And contact the best HVAC pros near you to get free estimates so you’ll know how much this project will cost you.

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