Staying cool in summer and warm in winter means having a reliable HVAC system, and today we’ll talk about the importance of regular maintenance, common HVAC repairs and emergency service, how to troubleshoot certain problems, and what to budget for them.
Average Hourly Rate for HVAC Service Call in the Halton Region: $75 – $150 per hour
Plus, how to find a trustworthy heating & air conditioning contractor in Halton, what to expect from a contractor, and how to decide if you should repair or replace your furnace or air conditioner.
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Summers and winters in Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Georgetown, and Halton Hills can be tough because the heat and humidity of summer is followed by a long winter with plenty of cold snaps.
Staying comfortable and safe for most of the year means running an air conditioner or furnace in your house, so you can imagine why it’s important to maintain your HVAC system and keep it running smoothly.
In fact, there are many benefits to a well-maintained HVAC system, and the first is that you’ll be less likely to find yourself in an HVAC emergency where you have no heat in the dead of winter or no air conditioning in the middle of summer.
Beyond that, a properly maintained HVAC system will also be more affordable to operate, should last longer, and will perform more optimally than a neglected furnace and air conditioner, and that’s why today’s discussion is all about HVAC maintenance and repairs in Halton.
What to Look for in a Halton Repair Contractor
HVAC maintenance isn’t something Halton homeowners have to worry about every day, so many people are unfamiliar with the qualities that are important in a contractor. While online reviews can point you in the right direction, they can also be misleading or even faked.
To take the guesswork out of finding a reliable specialist, we created an independent HVAC contractor certification program. Through this program, we vet HVAC contractors all around the country based on a number of factors, so you can use the program to find a pre-approved local contractor when you need maintenance or service in Halton.
Here’s what we look at when assessing HVAC professionals:
- What kind of experience do they have?
- Do they have a good reputation in the community?
- Are they involved in any disputes with customers?
- Do they have the right certification, licensing, and insurance?
- Have they gone through manufacturer training?
- Are they available for regular and emergency service?
- Do they have a fair and transparent quoting process?
What to Expect When You Request HVAC Services
Service calls can be intimidating because you’re inviting a stranger into your home and trusting that person with your HVAC system. Knowing what the process should look like can help put your mind at ease, so let’s look at how typical calls go:
First, you’ll call the company and explain what you need. For example, maybe you need an inspection, annual maintenance, or a problem fixed. They’ll ask all the necessary questions about the system to get an idea of what a technician might need to bring, and schedule an appointment.
During the service call, the contractor will inspect the unit, do any maintenance required, and diagnose/troubleshoot problems. Throughout the visit, the contractor should walk you through what’s happening, talk to you about problems and solutions, and answer your questions.
Ideally, the contractor will have completed any repairs by the time the service call is over, but he or she may also need to come back with special tools or replacement parts.
By the end of the visit, you may need to decide if you’re going to pay for a repair or upgrade to a new furnace or air conditioner, and now we’ll give you some tips about that.
Average Repair Costs for Major HVAC Components in Halton
HVAC repairs and replacements can range from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand, and the affected component can give you a good idea of what you’ll have to budget for different problems. Knowing the cost can also help you decide if it’s worth investing any money in your furnace or air conditioner, or if you’d be better off buying a new unit (we’ll talk more about that later).
To help you with budgeting, we’ve compiled a list of average costs for some of the most common furnace and air conditioner repairs, and broken the prices down by components:
|Thermostat, ignitor, or flame sensor
|$80 to $300
|Burner or gas valve
|$115 to $470
|Thermostat, circuit board, or blower fan
|$125 to $650
|$150 to $250
|Motor or heat exchanger
|$1,200 to $2,400
|Fuses, circuit breaker, or condensate drain line flush
|$75 to $290
|Refrigerant, drain pan, condenser fan, condensate pump, or circuit board
|$100 to $750
|$200 to $300
|Fan motor or condenser coil
|$400 to $2,900
|$1,300 to $2,300
How soon are you looking to buy?*
HVAC System Maintenance & Troubleshooting Common Issues
HVAC maintenance and repairs can be expensive, especially when larger components are involved.
For furnaces, one of the most important parts is the heat exchanger, and when this cracks or malfunctions, your furnace might stop producing heat altogether. Another important component is the blower motor, and when that breaks the furnace will stop blowing hot air.
In an air conditioner, the compressor is one of the chief components, and the unit won’t run if this is broken. While these repairs can be expensive, they are best left to a trained HVAC professional.
Note that you should ALWAYS hire a professional for any significant maintenance or troubleshooting, except for minor tasks like replacing your filter, or checking your thermostat. This is for informational purposes only.
Luckily, you can save a few dollars by troubleshooting more minor maintenance and repairs, so here’s a list of symptoms, causes, and possible remedies to common issues:
|What To Do
|Not enough heat
|Check thermostat settings
|Blowing cold air
|Change from On to Auto
|Clean/replace the filter
|Inefficient/not enough heat
|Clean/replace the filter
|Clean the flame sensor
|Top up the refrigerant/check for a leak
|Clean the drain line
|Clean/replace the filter
|Inefficient/not enough cooling
|Clean/replace the filter
|Too much cooling or not enough
|Check thermostat settings and location for outside heat/cold sources
|Clean the coils
Repairing Versus Replacing an HVAC Unit
We’ve talked a few times now about getting to a point when you’ll have to decide between investing in a repair or replacing your furnace or air conditioner. There are several things to consider when making this decision, including the age and efficiency of the unit, the cost of the repair, and warranty terms and conditions.
Here’s a more in-depth look at those factors:
|When to Repair
|When to Replace
|If the unit is under warranty
|The unit’s not under warranty and is old/inefficient/expensive to repair
|If the unit is less than 10 years old
|If the unit is 10 to 15-plus years old
|If the repair will cost less than 50 percent of a replacement unit
|If the repair will cost more than 50 percent of a replacement unit
|If the machine is high-efficiency
|If the unit isn't high-efficiency
The HVAC Services Market in Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Georgetown, and Halton Hills
Any HVAC technician working in Ontario must start his or her career with an apprenticeship, and after that must obtain a Certificate of Qualification to work in the field. In Oakville specifically, contractors also need a valid business license that guarantees they have insurance and security clearances.
Halton is made up of Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Georgetown, and Halton Hills, which have a combined population of more than 500,000 people. Each city in the region is further divided up into different neighbourhoods, like Bronte in Oakville, Burlington Beach in Burlington, Hornby Station in Milton, Marywood Meadows in Halton Hills, and Limehouse in Georgetown.
In Halton, the cost of HVAC maintenance and repairs will likely depend in part on where you live. Oakville and Burlington, for example, are more urban/suburban, and there’s more HVAC competition, which generally means lower prices. By contrast, Milton, Georgetown, and Halton Hills are a little more rural, so there are fewer HVAC companies, and that typically means slightly higher prices.
Most Halton homes have forced air furnaces powered by natural gas, but there are also homes that have propane furnaces or boilers, and you might find a few in the more rural areas that still have oil furnaces. The homes typically have central air for the summer, but apartments or older homes without ductwork might instead use heat pumps or ductless air conditioners.
Available HVAC Maintenance, Repairs, and Services in Halton
HVAC can be a competitive industry, so companies and contractors will often have sales, deals, and other incentives to attract customers.
But no matter what company you choose, any HVAC contractor should be able to help you with sales, sizing new units, installation, regular maintenance and tune-ups, troubleshooting and diagnosing problems, repairs, part replacements, and emergency service.
And it’s not just your furnace or air conditioner they can work with, but also:
- Water heaters
- Ventilation, HRV/ERV systems
- Ductless heat pumps
Major Brands and Products in Halton
There are hundreds of HVAC manufacturers and brands throughout the world, and some are more popular in certain areas than others. While popularity per se isn’t a major factor you should consider when buying a new furnace or air conditioner, it is relevant because these brands are often popular because they’re affordable, efficient, high-quality, or cutting-edge.
Throughout Canada and Halton, there are certain brands that are more common than others, and in Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Georgetown, and Halton Hills, you’ll often see names like:
- American Standard