When shopping for an HVAC company in Los Angeles, CA, you obviously want to find one that’s both licensed and insured. However, it’s additionally important to think about the skills, experience, and capabilities of the business you hire. Whether you own a furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, or ductless mini-split system, you need access to HVAC technicians who can give it the model-specific care it deserves. To help you vet your options, the following are 9 skills and qualifications to look for.

1. Training and Certification for Handling Multiple Refrigerant Types

Refrigerant is the lifeblood of both heat pumps and air conditioners. When moving as a cold liquid, refrigerant absorbs heat to either lower indoor temperatures or route heat indoors. When traveling as a hot, high-pressure gas, refrigerant releases heat and humidity to reduce indoor moisture and alter temperatures before returning to a liquid state.

Throughout recent years, the standards for residential AC and heat pump refrigerant have changed significantly. Formerly the top choice for cooling systems, Freon or R-22 refrigerant was phased out in 2010 and has not been manufactured or imported in the U.S. since 2020.

Freon was replaced by Puron or R410-a. Puron is better for the environment given that it doesn’t contain ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). However, Puron does contain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that also take an environmental toll. As such, many modern heat pumps and air conditioners rely on a new generation of Opteon refrigerants.

All refrigerants require special licensing and training for safe handling. Whether your cooling equipment is old or brand new, it’s best to hire an HVAC company that can capably service your unit irrespective of its coolant type.

2. Expertise in HVAC Air Duct Maintenance and Cleaning

Few things have a greater impact on HVAC efficiency than the ductwork that supports it. According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), it’s best to have ducting professionally cleaned every two to three years. Professional air duct cleaning is a comprehensive, end-to-end solution that addresses:

  • Supply and return ducts
  • Duct plenums
  • Air handlers and coils
  • Blower motors and blower fans
  • Heat pump and AC condensate drains

Regular duct cleaning extracts tough and often tacky buildups of trapped debris that might otherwise inhibit airflow, increase the amount of energy that HVAC systems use, and diminish indoor air quality (IAQ).

Look for HVAC professionals that offer duct cleaning services. You should also make sure that your chosen provider can capably handle your annual HVAC air duct maintenance needs.

3. The Ability to Install Integrated IAQ Improvements

Both central HVAC systems and ductless mini-split systems offer temperature control, air filtration, and limited humidity regulation. However, despite these capabilities, your home heating and cooling equipment could fail to meet your IAQ or humidity regulation needs. If someone in your household lives with a chronic respiratory illness such as asthma, allergies, or COPD, you could require a whole-house air purifier, air scrubber, or sanitizing UV lights to create and maintain a sufficiently high IAQ.

Hiring an HVAC company that can help you select, install, and maintain integrated IAQ accessories can also help you prevent humidity-related problems like excessively dry indoor air and persistent mold infestations. Whether you need a whole-house humidifier or dehumidifier now or in the future, having knowledgeable HVAC technicians on your team will make this improvement much easier.

4. HVAC Air Balancing Services

Air balancing is an often overlooked HVAC service. It’s also essential for HVAC efficiency. During air balancing, our technicians strategically adjust vent positions to optimize airflow. This promotes efficient heater and AC operation and minimizes the likelihood of uncomfortable hot and cold spots throughout buildings. Choosing an HVAC company that offers air balancing is a great way to minimize stress-related HVAC wear, extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling equipment, and improve your home comfort. It can also lead to lower home energy bills.

5. Knowledge of Heat Pumps and Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Many HVAC companies work exclusively with furnaces and air conditioners. Some have only limited experience with heat pumps and a rudimentary understanding of ductless mini-split systems. As the State of California and the City of Los Angeles implement increasingly stringent regulations on the use of gas-fired appliances and tighten the minimum requirements for HVAC efficiency, it’s important to have access to these options.

In climates like Los Angeles’, both heat pumps and ductless mini-split heat pumps can operate year-round at efficiency levels as high as 400%. This means that they’re capable of producing four times as much heating and cooling energy as they consume in electric energy. Ductless mini-split systems provide the additional benefit of being installation-ready even in homes that lack HVAC ductwork. With these systems, there’s no need to pay for costly ductwork retrofitting projects. Plus, consumers can still enjoy reliable, whole-house climate control.

6. HVAC Zoning Capabilities

Be on the lookout for HVAC companies that offer zoning. According to the United States Department of Energy (DOE), HVAC zoning could decrease home heating and cooling costs by up to 35%. Zoning divides buildings into multiple service areas. This way, rather than heating or cooling entire homes uniformly, consumers can direct conditioned air to occupied spaces only. Not only does zoning eliminate the need to regulate temperatures in empty rooms or on empty floors, but it also allows residents to customize temperatures in their immediate areas. With an HVAC company that can zone your home, you can expect far fewer arguments over thermostat settings.

7. Extensive Industry Experience

Every HVAC company has to start somewhere and many newcomers to the industry have just as much to offer as older and more seasoned businesses. However, as you shop your options in providers, it’s best to look for contractors with solid track records, plenty of detailed customer reviews, and enough hands-on experience to correctly diagnose and resolve even the most complex HVAC and IAQ issues.

8. Service Awards

To further whittle down your options, consider businesses that have earned distinguished service awards. Service awards honor companies with consistently excellent customer support, workmanship, and products. For consumers, they’re great for identifying companies that value transparency, loyalty, competitive pricing, and lasting customer relationships.

9. Smart Device and Smart Feature Integrations

As HVAC technologies are always changing, you want HVAC technicians with skills that are always changing as well. While some companies might install programmable and standard thermostats with remarkable skill, it’s best to shop for providers that can handle smart thermostat installations. As per ENERGY STAR, even simply upgrading your standard thermostat to a smart one could cut your HVAC-related energy costs by as much as 8%. Look for companies and technicians that can help you enjoy this benefit and that can seamlessly integrate your smart HVAC features with other existing, smart home equipment.

We’ve served Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding communities for over 35 years. We offer outstanding heaters, heat pumps, AC, and ductless mini-split installation, maintenance, and repairs. We also provide HVAC zoning, integrated IAQ accessories, smart thermostats, and plumbing services. We’re a proud partner of Service Champions and a recipient of many distinguished service awards. To find out about our HVAC preventative maintenance plans or schedule an appointment, contact JW Plumbing, Heating and Air today!

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