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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.

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.

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 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.

Are there ways to be safe if I hire an HVAC technician when social distancing?

If you decide to hire a technician for an HVAC repair or installation project, practice current social distancing guidelines. This may require remaining outside while the technician works or ensuring the technician can work in a sectioned-off area or outbuilding.

Comply with social distancing guidelines while the technician is performing work. Do not make physical contact with technicians, maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you at all times, sanitize all involved spaces and surface and pay using a digital platform instead of cash or a check.

Can I use digital payments to pay for central air conditioning services?

The use of digital payment platforms -- like Google Pay, PayPal, Zelle, Venmo and Square Cash -- is common among air conditioning technicians. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is improving the adoption of these platforms as a means of helping social distancing.

As you compare local air conditioning technicians online, contact them to see if they’ll accept digital payments. Also, discuss strategies for completing the job while complying with safety guidelines for reducing the risk of exposure.

Does an HVAC technician need to enter my home?

Because most HVAC systems are located in the home, it’s likely that an HVAC technician would need to enter yours when working on the projects. However, there might be exceptions. Some HVAC systems are located in garages or in areas of the house that are sectioned off. During the consultation, ask your technician if they'll need to enter your home.

When you contact local technicians, ask if they’ll perform a video call in place of a traditional consultation. Be sure to send all materials like photos and documents digitally, and comply with all relevant guidelines.

Do HVAC technicians offer remote or virtual services?

Because HVAC technicians need to be physically present to do their work, they have not conventionally offered remote or virtual services. However, with the importance of social distancing due to COVID-19, the need for remote capabilities is greater than ever. If you come across a profile that states the HVAC technician or AC professional is offering remote services, message the pro to find out what those services include.

Consult with your technician to see if the technician will be able to perform a video call consultation. You can find local technicians near you by searching online.

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