5 Key Questions To Ask Your HVAC Contractor!


Whether you’re searching for an HVAC professional to install a new heating system or repair an undependable a/c unit, it’s always essential to do your due diligence. As HVAC System Pros knows, there are a couple of vital questions you must make before any HVAC installation or repair works. As the most relied on HVAC professionals for both domestic and business residential or commercial properties around the California, HVAC System Pros has come across nearly every question potential clients have had. If you have not currently included the following in your very own list, here are some relevant concerns you might wish to ask.

1. Exactly what sort of training and experience does the salesperson have who will be preparing the quote?

Lots of companies utilize sales people who have absolutely no background in the HVAC market. It can result in improper sizing, inappropriate or incomplete installations that might lead to problems down the road, eventually resulting in early system failure. Correct sizing and installation are ESSENTIAL to guarantee you are getting the most out of your system.

2. Exactly what is and is not consisted of in the quote?

Know, that one of the greatest differences in quotes (and what is often NOT STATED) is whether or not all the old components will be changed with the installation of the brand-new equipment. This includes parts such as fittings, pipelines, valves, adapters, dampers, security switches that connect to the devices have to be updated to match the specs of the new system. Although cutting corners by not changing them will lower the cost of the job (and the quote you are supplied), it COULD CAUSE early system failure and COSTLY repair work down the road.

The quote offered must STATE, in detail, whatever had to COMPLETE the installation. This includes obtaining licenses from your city, eliminating your old equipment from your home or business, all the parts and labor to finish the installation and replace old elements, and WRITTEN assurance and warranty info.

3. What Other Services Do You Deal?

Finding HVAC professionals who use routine preventative maintenance and cleaning company in addition to basic setups and repair works is important. Not just will it be simpler for you to get in touch with just one company, their familiarity with your system will improve any services they perform.

4. What are the Guaranteed Services and Installation you you offer?

A lot of times, the property owner is provided a manufacturer’s service warranty that is meant to make them feel protected. Nevertheless, in truth, these service warranties go over all the important things not covered and have nothing to do with the nature of the installation or your SATISFACTION.

5. Which Brands Are You A Licensed Dealership For?

If you’ve done your research study and have your eyes set on a particular brand name, don’t forget to ask if they provide it. Pristine A/c is a happy dealer for Mitsubishi, which produces incredibly innovative and environmentally friendly products.

For those in the New York City location who need to trust heating and a/c service, contact Cottam Heating & Air Conditioning online or by calling us. With our effectiveness, craftsmanship, and ensured client complete satisfaction, they cannot be beaten. We even offer complimentary estimates, so don’t be reluctant to call and approach us! (800) 734-8367


3 Things that happen when you DON’T maintain your HVAC system

You’ve probably heard it a lot. “Your HVAC system and your car have a lot of similarities”. Why do people so often make this comparison? Well because your car and your HVAC system have one very big thing in common, they both NEED proper maintenance! Think about it, you’d never drive your car 100,000 miles without getting it inspected and having your oil change. Same goes for your Air Conditioner and Furnace. Think about those hot summer days and brutally cold winter nights. Your system is getting quite a workout! By properly maintaining your system, you are actively protecting your home and family’s investment. So what happens when you DON’T maintain that investment?

  1. You are practically ensuring premature equipment failure. We hear it a lot from customers “But getting maintenance done on a system that’s working properly is expensive and what’s the point?”. If you let your system run day after day and season after season without having it looked at, the only warning you will have if something is wrong is minutes or hours before the system shuts down and you are stuck without any working heat or air. A good system can last anywhere from 10-15 years and without proper maintenance, you could significantly cut down on it’s life which ends up being more expensive for you and your family.
  2. Your system isn’t running at it’s highest efficiency. The short answer, it’s costing you more money. When one of our technicians comes to your home, they run through our 16 point inspection plan to make sure every nook and cranny of your system is performing at peak efficiency. That leads to your system heating up or cooling down your home in less time which means less expense!
  3. Breakdowns WILL happen. Much like premature equipment failure, breakdowns can be expensive! Not only can they be expensive and inconvenient, but the worst time to have a system breakdown is when you need it most, in the dead of winter. Most companies will guarantee that with regular and proper maintenance from a trusted contractor, you will NOT see a breakdown all season. We often receive calls from people who are upset that their system is failing them and when we ask when the last time they have their furnace looked at we get the same response, “Um, never?”. Bottom line? Maintenance prevents breakdowns!

If you want to know more about what Cottam can do for the comfort of your home going into this winter season, give us a call! (800) 734-8367 or visit us online at http://www.cottamhvac.com!

Back to Cool: 10 Ways to Prep Your Home for Lower Temps


You can shut your windows against the cold, but unless they’re properly sealed, they won’t keep it out. Weatherproofed windows offer more than just personal comfort—they’re a sure way to lower winter energy costs as well. To seal your windows, apply weatherstripping around the edges. For extra protection against the cold, consider coating the panes with insulating film to keep the cool air out and the warm air in.

Get Your Ducts in a Row

If you’re living with leaky ductwork, you might as well just put a hole through your wallet. Improperly sealed ducts can lead to the loss of as much as 30 percent of the heated air that passes through, which means that you may be paying for a whole lot more heat than you’re getting. Before you switch on the furnace this fall, take some time to identify any leaks in your ductwork. Call in a pro to test your system and make any necessary repairs. A little investment now can save you money and energy later.

Get Insulated

Everyone knows the secret to staying warm is bundling up. The same goes for your house: It needs adequate insulation to help it keep out cold air. Perform a basic check of your attic insulation to make sure you have enough. The amount of insulation your home needs will depend on the region in which you live and your home’s heating system. Consult a local expert, or refer to an online insulation map to help you determine whether or not to add more insulation to your home this fall.

Check the Fireplace

A crackling fire is a welcome sight when the temperature drops, but it’s best to kindle one only in a well-maintained fireplace. Before you light up this year, consider having the chimney professionally cleaned to remove built-up creosote and ash from the interior walls and venting portion of the chimney. As well, check the exterior of the chimney for cracks, and make repairs to the masonry using the appropriate materials. If necessary, add or replace the chimney cap to keep out branches, debris, or unwanted visitors of the four-legged or winged varieties.

Service the Furnace

A furnace will usually last between 15 and 20 years. If yours is getting up there in age, it may be wise to replace it now rather than risk a breakdown in the depths of winter. Look for an Energy Star-rated model that will run more efficiently, saving you money on utility bills in the process. Another bonus: You may qualify for up to $500 in tax credits if you upgrade to an energy-efficient unit, which could be a real boon come tax season.

Clear the Air

Perhaps the simplest and most budget-friendly thing you can do to prepare for cooler temps: Change your furnace filter. A dirty, clogged filter makes your system work harder to push air through, thereby overworking your system and driving up your bills. Change your air filters monthly to keep your furnace—and your wallet—happy.

Swap Your Fabrics

Cozy up to cooler temperatures by switching out your bedding and window treatments. Strip your bed of cool-weather linens, and break out the flannel sheets, wool blankets, and down comforters. Similarly, if your windows have been dressed with sun-loving sheers all summer long, consider switching to a thicker material that will do a better job of blocking the cold—think duck cloth, velvet, and other heavy textiles.

Prep Your Radiator

When not in use, a hot-water radiator will fill with air, and that can cause problems when you switch it on after months of inactivity. Before turning on your system for the season, bleed the lines of any air. To do so, switch on the heat and the radiator. Locate the vent at the top of the radiator, unscrew it, and let the hot steam escape. Once the trapped air is gone, water will begin to drip out of the radiator. Catch the water with a cup, and screw the vent cap back into place.

Drain Your Water Lines

Just as you need to bleed your radiator pipes of air, you need to bleed your backyard pipes of water. Autumn is the perfect time to drain a sprinkler system of standing water, which can burst pipes as it freezes and expands. Using either a manual or automatic drain valve or compressed air, remove the water from the pipes. When spring arrives, you’ll have no trouble getting things flowing again to keep your garden green all summer long.

Pack Up the Patio

Time to put outdoor furniture back indoors—for now. Wipe down plastic patio furniture, rub wicker with tung oil, and check metal chairs and tables for signs of rust. After the furniture is clean and dry, fold it up and place it in the garage, shed, or basement to overwinter. If you don’t have space to store patio furniture indoors, consider purchasing all-season covers made of vinyl or plastic that can provide a modest amount of protection from winter rain and sun.


On or Auto? That is the Question. Here is Your Answer.

Do you know what the difference the two settings (ON and AUTO) on your thermostat provides? These two settings refer to how your furnace or air conditioner’s fan will run. The fan is what helps drive air through the air ducts and into your living spaces.

It’s pretty obvious that “ON” means the fan is on 24/7/365, even when the air isn’t being heated or cooled…and “AUTO” means that the fan automatically comes ON or goes OFF when the air is being heated or cooled to a certain temperature (once your house reaches the temperature you’ve set on the thermostat, the fan stops running).

There are benefits to both positions for the thermostat: ON (or OFF) will let you save energy when you are away from home or use the system only when you want to. But, Choice Comfort Services actually recommends you set your thermostat to AUTO and here’s four reasons why:

  1. You will enjoy more comfort and less noise—If the fan is left ON, you’ll have to listen to it all of the time and you’ll probably never have a consistent temperature in your home.
  2. You won’t have to change your air filter as often—The fan left ON will continually pull in air through your return vents, right where your air filter is, so it’s going to get way more dusty over a shorter period of time. That means you will have to change your air filter more often.
  3. You’ll save on your utility bill—Running the fan in the ON position all of the time could add as much as $50 to your utility bill each month.
  4. Your system will need less maintenance or “early retirement”—Leaving the fan ON means your HVAC system is going to work harder, have more breakdowns or even worse, not last as long.

HVAC Tips for First-Time Homebuyers: 8 Things to Know About an HVAC System

Buying your first home is an exciting process. When you find the perfect home, you can’t wait to nest and make it your own. But with all the excitement, one important asset can often get overlooked: the HVAC system.

Your HVAC system is the mechanical heart of your home. It keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer—and it accounts for nearly half of all your energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. HVAC systems can be an large investment for your home, so determining the condition it’s in before you purchase a home can help you negotiate the price or be more prepared for future maintenance requirements.

Here are a few ways first-time homebuyers can learn more about the HVAC system in the home they want to purchase:

  1. Find out how old the HVAC system is.

Knowing the age of an HVAC system can help you budget for maintenance, repairs or even a replacement. Typically, HVAC systems last anywhere between 15 and 25 years. If the system in the home you want to purchase is 10-12 years old, you’ll likely encounter some repair costs in the near future.

  1. Find out what type of HVAC system it is—and if there are any add-ons.

There are several different types of HVAC systems, including furnaces, boilers, split heating/cooling and ductless. In addition, systems can be fueled by electricity, natural gas, oil or another type of fuel. Typically sellers will specify the type of HVAC system included in the home. Do a little research to understand how it’s fueled, as well as how much your utility bills will cost. Utility companies will usually provide historic averages of bills for any given house if you call for that information.

As for add-ons, these may include a zoning system, humidifier, dehumidifier, ventilation system, WiFi thermostat or air-purification system. All of these additions can be a big win for you since they enhance the comfort of your home.

  1. Find out the system’s energy rating.

The higher the efficiency rating, the less energy the system will use to heat and cool your home, costing you less money in energy bills. For air conditioners, you’ll want to look at the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER rating, and the energy efficiency ratio (EER). For furnaces, look at the AFUE, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating.

  1. Check the warranty.

Make sure the warranty is transferrable and it hasn’t been voided out by improper maintenance. Get the model number and serial number, and contact the manufacturer for warranty information.

  1. Ask to see the report from the last maintenance inspection.

Proper maintenance is key to ensuring the functionality and longevity of an HVAC system. Take a look at the last inspection to learn if any maintenance issues were recently addressed or could become a problem later.

  1. Don’t forget about the ductwork.

Dirt, dust, debris, mold and mildew can all build up in your ductwork, which can cause poor air quality, damage to the ductwork, strain to your HVAC system and higher energy bills. Ask to see the last inspection report for ductwork, too.

  1. Get a copy of the home evaluation report.

Many certified home inspectors aren’t qualified to determine the condition of an HVAC system. Ask for a copy of the home evaluation report from the inspector and get a second opinion from your HVAC contractor.

  1. Do your own visual inspection.

Does it look like it’s running properly? Are the vents connected well? Is there any visible signs of leaks? You may not be an HVAC expert, but having a look and asking questions is a must.

5 Ways Hiring an HVAC Professional Can Save You Money

A/C technician installing new heat pump & a/c unit, old unit worn out
A/C technician installing new heat pump & a/c unit, old unit worn out

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) projects may not seem all that difficult. However, many homeowners opt to hire a professional to ensure quality results on their HVAC system maintenance and upgrades.

Have you wandered the aisles of your local home improvement store trying to determine what you need for your home’s air conditioning or furnace? If you are unsure about what is wrong with your equipment, get a professional’s opinion or you could be spending money unnecessarily.

Even if you have considered replacing the system yourself, talk to some HVAC professionals before you go down the DIY road. HVAC professionals are the experts for all things HVAC. It is the job of the HVAC professional to know what to do and how to work with your HVAC system. Here are 5 ways hiring an HVAC professional save you money.

1. Before you make that first call to an HVAC professional, write down all of your questions and concerns. If you want to know if you should replace or upgrade your system, be sure to note your questions on the list. If you want to see if your system can handle central air conditioning, write it down so you remember to ask.

Having your questions written out allows you to take notes when discussing your potential HVAC project with the company. Some companies may not do what you need or want done. It is best to know before hiring a company that they can only do a portion of the needed work for your job. Having to hire an additional company can increase the overall cost of the job and prolong the completion of the project.

2. Select three HVAC installation companies in your area. Check their websites to make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured (regulations and licenses vary by state). By making sure they are properly licensed, bonded, and insured, it protects you, the homeowner, from injuries or mistakes made by the contractor while on your property.

3. Ask for a written quote from each HVAC installation company you contact. This allows you to know exactly what costs for parts and labor will be before the job is started. When comparing the three price quotes, look at how much each is charging for parts and labor.

Is it a fixed price for the project or is it by the hour? Per project rates mean the clock is not being watched. Per hour rates mean a 2-hour job could turn into a 6-hour job, sometimes due to unethical business practices. When in doubt, call the company back and ask for a more detailed quote and explanation of their charges.

4. HVAC professionals work with HVAC and electrical systems daily. It is what they are trained to do. While DIY techniques may work for some areas of the home, let the experts repair and replace the HVAC in your home or business.

5. Hiring an HVAC professional and having a professional installation of your HVAC equipment usually gives you a warranty on the equipment along with labor, depending upon your contract. Be sure to ask the questions before agreeing to the installation or repair work.

HVAC repairs and installation are not without some cost. The cost comes from the equipment being installed, the labor to have it installed or repaired, and the warranty for the equipment and possibly labor to have it replaced.

If you are in the market for an HVAC equipment upgrade or you know yours will need repairs, make the calls today for repair or installation quotes. This allows you to save if needed and to add the costs to your household or business budget.


Does cleaning your ducts mean a more efficient HVAC system?

Air duct cleaning isn’t often a service that HVAC companies offer to their clients but it doesn’t mean the two are unrelated. In fact, we often hear companies promise that your home gets cleaner air and better system efficiency. But is that true?

NADCA recommends that you get your ducts examined and cleaned every 3-5 years. A properly licensed and honest contractor will let you know when they come to your home if your home is actually in need of a cleaning. We have seen homes where children or adults have swept dust and debris into floor registers and later on that dirty air is circulated back into the home so we recommend at least having them examined from time to time.

Examining your ducts can also lead to solving potential problems with your HVAC system down the road. When dirt and debris get into your air ducts it does cause obstructions which restrict how much air gets circulated back into your living spaces. This can cause higher energy bills in homeowners futures.

If you experience any of the following symptoms in your home, we recommend you call air duct cleaners immediately.

– Mold: If your home smells musty or moldy, call your local trusted contractor to come out for an inspection. Mold develops when moisture is trapped and can be very damaging to your HVAC system.

– Insects or Rodents: If you have seen any evidence of rodent droppings or insect bodies it is time to have your ducts cleaned. Not only is it infecting the air you breathe but it could be an indicator of a much bigger problem.

Is duct cleaning worth it?

In order for your home to cool correctly and efficiently the air inside your ducts must circulate sufficiently. While there is no overwhelming evidence that it will help your system run more efficiently, having clean air inside your home is definitely worth considering. If you have any of the symptoms above or you notice that you see much more dust than usual, it doesn’t hurt to bring someone out to at least examine your current situation. Addressing any situations early can prevent you the homeowner from incurring big unexpected expenses down the road. You can help your overall home health by

  • Changing your filters on a regular basis
  • Schedule HVAC system tuneups every spring and fall
  • Make sure your thermostat is in perfect working order

New York: Are you ready for Fall?

thumbs-up-repair-guyFall is finally here, and winter (& possibly tons of snow) is right around the corner.  This past week on our Facebook page, we’ve posted a new tip everyday to help you prepare your home for the winter weather.  To make them easier to follow, I have posted this blog article so they will be in one, convenient spot for you.

Tip #1 – Have a programmable thermostat installed! It automatically controls the heat when you are away or at home, so you can cut down your energy use when you don’t need the heat.

Tip #2 – Is your house drafty? If so, you may need to seal air leaks and install additional insulation. Lucky for you, Glenmont has an energy auditor who can assess your house, and suggest improvements.

Tip #3 – Repair cracks in windows, caulk and weather strip leaky frames. Installing weather stripping helps keep cold air out of your home. If your window frames have gaps, cold air is leaking into your house. An energy audit can find these problems for you.

Tip #4 – Use drapes where your windows face the sun. Keeping them open during the day will allow the sun to naturally heat your home, and closing them in the evening will reduce the cold drafts at night. This will also keep your heating system from constantly working!

And your last tip – Tip #5 – Have a professional check your heating system! A simple maintenance to make sure everything is clean and working properly can save you up to 10% on your heating costs.

Hopefully, these tips will help you save money on your energy bills.

Don’t forget to call Cottam Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule your heating maintenance! (800) 734-8367

Tools to keep your home and family safe!


When cold and snow arrive, furnaces and fireplaces are pressed into service.

Each year, about 500 people die and 15,000 are hospitalized from carbon monoxide poisoning – a by-product of burning fuels like natural gas and wood. In many cases, the colorless, odorless gas accumulates due to a faulty furnace or poor ventilation.

Firefighters have responded to more than 1000’s carbon monoxide alarms so far this year. While many are due to faulty detectors or low batteries, in a dozen cases, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide were found.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, weakness, dizziness and shortness of breath. If several people in your home have similar symptoms, move outside to fresh air immediately.

Unlike smoke detectors, which emit a chirp when batteries run low, CO detectors emit a steady signal which people often mistake as an actual alarm. VanderHyde recommends checking the owner’s manual or the back of the detector to find out what signal your detector emits when batteries are low.

Carbon monoxide detectors cost between $25 and $50. If the detector plugs into a wall outlet, make sure it has a battery backup, he said.

One way to keep carbon monoxide from accumulating indoors is by keeping your furnace exhaust vent free of snow and ice. Also keep the air intake vent free of obstructions to prevent your furnace from shutting down.

Cottam Heating and Air Conditioning is the leading heating and cooling company in City Island, New York City and Westchester.  If you have any questions please give us a call at (718) 885-3328. You can also check us out on Facebook or Twitter