BBB Tip: Buying and servicing your heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems

Texas residents are already experiencing triple-digit temperatures this year, with meteorologists forecasting a continued heatwave across the majority of the Lone Star state. Whether recently arriving to Texas or a seasoned resident, it will be important to stay cool during record-breaking temperatures this summer. With approximately three months remaining of summer, chances are high that the current heatwave will not be the last of this year. Unfortunately, many Texans are finding out that their air conditioning units are unable to keep up with their needs and may be searching for a reputable business to either service their current unit or install a new one. While many considerations consumers should take into account when hiring a HVAC contractor are similar to when hiring any other contractor, there are a few that are specific to heating and cooling.

Heating and cooling systems are among the largest energy expenses in a typical home, which makes it important to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible. The cost for any appliance, including air conditioning units, includes three components the purchase price, the cost of repairs and maintenance, and the cost to operate it.


Before purchasing a new unit, conduct an energy audit to help you detect energy waste, gauge the efficiency of your current system, and determine if conditioned air is moving properly. Many utility companies offer free or low-cost energy audits, but you can also hire a specialist to do a more comprehensive audit. Keep in mind that hiring a specialist will most likely cost more money, but their experience is often invaluable when purchasing new systems.

Take steps to weatherize your home to keep cold air in and hot air out, or vice versa in the winter. Check the caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows, as well as wall and ceiling insulation. Weatherizing your home may be all you need to help your air conditioning unit maintain a cool temperature indoors and will help reduce energy demands. A properly weatherized home may also enable you to install a smaller, less expensive system to achieve the same results.

Consider energy efficiency from the start of your decision-making process. All air conditioning units must meet minimum energy efficiency standards set by the Department of Energy, but many products beat the standard resulting in less energy used to operate and run the system. Be sure to check if your energy provider offers a cash rebate or tax break for buying and using energy-efficient products and take that into consideration when comparing the energy efficiency and operating costs of different systems.

After installing your new system, the contractor should provide at least one call-back service free of charge to check it is operating properly. Double-check that this service is included in the written agreement. Many contractors also offer service contracts which often include a limited number of service calls per year and emergency repair service. If you decide to participate in a service contract, be sure that it describes what parts and services are provided and that it doesn’t duplicate coverage that you already have under the warranty of your new system.


Keeping your system well maintained will prolong the life of the system and save you money. Spring or early summer are the best times for servicing cooling systems, while summer or fall are the ideal times for servicing your furnace. You can also do some routine maintenance yourself by replacing disposable filters or cleaning permanent ones. Before calling a HVAC contractor, check your system’s model and spend the time to understand the license and insurance requirements for contractors. Find more information about licensing requirements and verify your contractor has a valid license, as recognized by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, by searching the contractor’s name at

If you need repairs, be sure to get multiple written estimates for the job. BBB recommends obtaining an estimate from a minimum of three contractors before settling on a final decision to help consumers understand the standard price for the project and have an informed discussion with their chosen contractor. Estimates should include a full description of additional work required for the installation of ducts, registers, electric wiring and any other work needed.

Find trusted, vetted HVAC contractors near you at and review more home maintenance tips at