Whenever we purchase a major appliance for our home, it requires that it be plugged into a wall receptacle in order to operate.

With few exceptions all refrigerators, big screen televisions, computers, microwave ovens, and George Foreman grilles, only require a steady supply of 120 volts to begin working. Every similar refrigerator for example, will work exactly the same when plugged into the proper outlet.

However, heating and air conditioning systems are quite different. These appliances require someone with technical knowledge and years of experience to install them properly.

But, will every company that installs a heating and cooling system do the work the right way? Some will, but others may not. It is a reality that some companies may not follow industry accepted installation practices or even local building codes.

Now, I’m not overlooking some of the good work that has been done by some local contractors. It just seems to me that lately, I’ve seen more substandard jobs than professional ones.

Many of these cut-rate “contractors” believe that homeowners won’t be able to tell the difference between a quality system that was installed properly, and one that was not – and they may be right!

I’ve seen some awful jobs over the years, and as a rule, the homeowners were not even aware that they were buying a poor quality job. They just knew that the initial cost was less. They didn’t know the differences between one estimate and another, until it was too late. They probably thought that they were buying “the same thing” as in the other proposals. In this business, as in many others, I believe that you’ll get exactly what you pay for.

My goal in writing this column is to assist as many homeowners as possible in learning as much about heating and air conditioning systems before they purchase their new systems.

Heating and air conditioning systems are complex. So, it can become confusing to any homeowner who does not have some previous knowledge
or experience in this area. With this goal in mind, I respectfully offer my assistance.

Choose a good brand and a reputable contractor. We all work hard to earn money, but this is not the time to save a few dollars. Make choices that you can live with for the next 20 years. Get detailed, and specific information about all aspects of the job, and what exactly is to be done. Hire a contractor that has been licensed by the State, and check their credentials with the Contractors State License Board at www.cslb.ca.gov.

Our next Homeowners Workshop will be held on January 29, 2005.

In February, the Workshop will be on Saturday, February 26th. If you are interested in attending either, please call Alex at (818) 886-2600 to make a reservation. There is no cost to attend. So join us for a cup of coffee and some useful information.

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