This section of our site is designed to educate and familiarize the public and potential customer. We will update this section regularly with new info and real world situations and pictures, as we encounter them. Please contact us if there is any particular subject you wish to discuss. There is much to read and see. We hope you enjoy and find this section helpful. We are glad you are here.
Terms you should get familiar with:
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. The AFUE percentage tells you how much energy is being converted to heat. The higher the number the greater the efficiency.
The portion of your heating and cooling system that forces air through your home's ductwork.
British Thermal Units. The amount of heat it takes to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. The higher the BTU rating, the larger the heating capacity of the furnace or air conditioner.
The ability of a heating or cooling system to heat or cool a given amount of space. Heating is usually expressed in BTUs, cooling is expressed in tons.
The motor/pump that drives the air conditioning unit. It is responsible for pumping refrigerant throughout the system.
Part of the outdoor portion of a heating or cooling system, that releases or collects heat from the outside air.
A valve or moveable plate used in ductwork that opens and closes to control airflow. They are used to direct air to specific areas of the home.
A type of furnace that takes cool air from the top and blows warm air to the bottom.
Hollow metal pipes used to transfer air throughout your house.
Electronic Air Cleaner
An electronic device that filters out particles and contaminants in indoor air.
Part of the heating or cooling system located indoors, that cools and dehumidifies the air by converting liquid refrigerant into gas.
The major part of the furnace that transfers heat into your home.
A unit that handles both heating and cooling. In some climates, a heat pump may handle your heating and cooling needs more efficiently than a furnace and air conditioner.
A type of furnace, installed on its side, which draws air from one side, heats the air and then sends it out the other side.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. Measures the heating efficiency of a heat pump. The higher the number the more efficient the heat pump heats your home.
A piece of equipment that adds moisture to the air as it comes out of the furnace.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.
A chemical that cools air as it evaporates.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. SEER measures a unit's cooling efficiency. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency.
An outdoor unit that contains both a heating and a cooling system.
Refers to an air conditioner or heat pump that is combined with indoor components, such as an evaporator coil inside and a condenser coil outside your home.
A device that monitors and controls your temperature inside your home.
A type of furnace that draws cool air from the bottom and blows the warmed air out the top.
A ventilator captures heating or cooling energy from stale indoor air and transfers it to fresh incoming air.
Zoning allows you to control the heating and cooling delivered to specific areas of your house for a custom solution. Zoning can increase efficiency and comfort in the area of the house you use most often.
Things to know about your Contractor:
Our Spring HAIL SEASON often bring with them flooding, wind damage, other calamities that might require you to hire someone for home repairs. This is the prime season for unlicensed contractors, especially roofers, pool companies and landscapers, to come out of hiding, knocking on doors and offering their services. They say they've been working in your neighborhood, or they've noticed that something on your property is in need of repair, and that they have time to schedule you in. That's your first clue to be suspicious--most licensed businesses don't solicit customers door to door.
The most common construction services offered by these groups are roofing, small remodeling projects, air conditioning services, mold remediation and asphalt repair or paving services. Typically, these unlicensed repair people will not provide a written estimate. When the job is finished, they will often try to charge significantly more than you thought the job was going to cost, and they use pressure and scare tactics to get you to pay.
When storm damage occurs, it can be upsetting and stressful. Don't take the easy way out by hiring someone that might be working as a contractor illegally. The work they do may be of poor quality and overpriced. THE FOLLOWING TIPS WILL HELP YOU IN CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR FOR YOUR NEXT REPAIR:
- Beware of contractors or repair workers, including roofers, pool companies and landscapers, who unexpectedly show up at your home after a storm.
- Be wary of contractors who take a "quick look" around your property, then say you need a major repair.
- Be cautious of contractors who claim they are working in the neighborhood and have time to fix your house or have leftover supplies from another job.
- Get written estimates from several contractors.
- Make sure the scope of the project, the price and any other material terms are in a written contract.
- Request a list of references and check them before agreeing to hire a contractor.
- Never allow yourself to be hurried into making a decision. Reputable contractors will not try to pressure you into hiring them.
These unlicensed contractors come here from a variety of locations to take advantage of unsuspecting citizens.
Remember that "if a bid sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Any consumer who has been solicited by an individual purporting themselves to be a licensed contractor without providing their license number on their bid or contract should be warned that they are potentially dealing with one of these out-of state transient groups.
Bottom Line: If you need repairs on your home as a result of storm damage, or any other improvement or repair to your home or property, it's best to hire a licensed contractor and check on the business through TEXAS DEPT. OF LICENSING AND REGISTRATION WEBSITE
HOW TO CHOOSE A CONTRACTOR:
The cheapest bid is not always the best. Quality workmanship commands a higher price than shoddy work. Many homeowners hire the contractor with the cheaper bid, only to find out it costs more in the long run. Or, homeowners do not pay close attention to the bids, and hire the contractor with a long list of exemptions. This costs them more in time, money, and aggravation. To avoid these pitfalls, take the necessary time to review the quote and ask the CONTRACTOR questions. If they are evasive in responding, beware of hiring them for your project.
Get a referral from someone you know. People love updating their homes so you should have no trouble coming up with a list of contractors to call.
Hire a contractor who specializes in the type of work you need done. Someone you hire to install wood flooring or to build a deck should be a carpentry contractor, while someone you hire to install recessed lighting in your kitchen should be an electrician. There are many different trade certifications, so be sure to check the title on your contractor’s certification to make sure he or she is a specialist.
Check LICENSES and INSURANCE with your city’s Contractors Licensing Board. Ask the tradesman for copies of the following documents: Contractor’s Certification or License, Worker’s Compensation status and Liability Insurance certificate. A reputable contractor will have no problem providing copies of these documents.
Any Air conditioning work by law should be done by a licensed and insured individual or organization. The Air conditioning industry is not only regulated by the State but also the Environmental Protection Agency. There is also an EPA certification that all Air Conditioning Technicians must hold. It is OK to ask for this also. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT AN INDIVIDUAL SOLICITING OR PERFORMING AIR CONDITIONING WORK MUST BE LICENSED. IF A REGISTERED TECHNICIAN", OR A "CERTIFIED TECH" IS SOLICITING, "THIS IS NOT A LICENSE!" This is punishable by law with fines starting in the thousands!
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) would like to remind consumers that they should hire only a licensed air conditioning and heating contractor to work on their systems. Only licensed contractors are properly trained and have demonstrated that they have the skills and experience to service heating and air conditioning equipment. Licensed contractors also are required to carry insurance.
“If you hire an unlicensed individual to service your heating or air conditioning unit you risk more than just poor performance from that unit,” said William Kuntz, TDLR’s executive director. “Improperly serviced or poorly wired equipment can be dangerous, causing fires or emitting hazardous levels of carbon monoxide.”
Consumers also run a financial risk if they hire unlicensed, unqualified individuals. People who perform the work of a contractor but don’t have a contractor’s license rarely have insurance to cover the cost of the repairs should their work prove to be deficient. They also may not be willing to return to fix problems that their unlicensed workmanship has caused.
“This is a consumer safety issue,” Kuntz said. “To earn a state license, a contractor has demonstrated that he or she is experienced and has passed a state-administered test of their knowledge. Are you willing to risk your home and the health of your family to someone who is unwilling or unable to prove that they know what they are doing?”
TDLR offers these tips to help identify licensed contractors.
- State-issued license numbers, which begin with TACL, must be on all print advertisements, company vehicles, business cards, work proposals, and invoices. If no license number is evident, the contractor is most likely not licensed to work in the state.
- Consumers also can check the status of a license at the TDLR website (www.license.state.tx.us) or through TDLR’s customer service lines at 1-800-803-9202 or 1-512-436-6599.
- Consumers also can research a licensed contractor’s enforcement history complaint history on the TDLR website or by calling customer service.
- Consumers who are unhappy with the quality of the work performed or who believe a contractor is not licensed may report complaints against contractors on TDLR’s website or by calling TDLR’s enforcement division at 1-512-463-2906.
AFFORDABLE AIR IS LICENSED IN THE STATE OF TEXAS, LIC#TACLB027250E
Get at least three references for your contractor and call them. The contractor will likely give you references who had positive experiences, so be sure to ask them specific questions about workmanship that are important to you. You might be concerned about whether the contractor cleaned up his work area and kept to his time line or whether the final invoice matched the estimate.
Check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if complaints have ever been filed or are outstanding against the contractor.
Request a written estimate. Any contractor who does not provide you with a written estimate should be crossed off your list immediately. Get at least three estimates and then compare prices with what is included. Remember the lowest bidder is not always the best.
Sign a written contract. The contract should clearly spell out all the steps the contractor will take from beginning to end of your job, what supplies are included, the payment schedule and the time line for the project.
On the left is a supply plenum (duct box) made out of foam board. This material is very brittle and was leaking air in to the attic. With one push of my hand, this foamboard broke in to several pieces. "Keep in mind this is what was supplying the house with air."
Here is the difference in craftsmanship. ACRT repaired the deficiency with a metal supply air box, screwed to the air handler and properly air sealed.
On left is a severely undersized return on a 4 ton system. Proper duct size is extremely important for
Underneath is the correction made by ACRT. Correct duct sizing of the Return Air is key for volume, velocity and proper de-humidifying. This return is not only correctly installed and sealed, but this equipment now cycles off and on properly.