Choosing the Right HVAC Contractor

Each three‑year HVAC Optimization Maintenance Agreement is designed to optimize the performance of your HVAC system and provide preventative maintenance to ensure the benefits — longer equipment life, lower energy bills and improved indoor air quality and thermal comfort — persist over time. As you prepare to invest in a higher standard of HVAC performance, it’s important to find a contractor that you feel can meet all of your (and your facility’s) specific needs. Use the questions below to start the conversation with potential contractors so that you can find the one that’s right for you.

The Fundamentals

Get some background on the contractor’s business.

  • How many customers have contracted with you for five (5) or more years?
  • How many customers do you currently have enrolled in the SCE HVAC Optimization program? How long have they been participating?
  • Please describe your typical customer and provide three (3) business references for long‑term customers. Are any of these customers currently participating in HVAC Optimization?
  • To which HVAC industry associations, committees or societies does your firm belong?
  • How many technicians do you have?
  • Does your company specialize in any specific industries or building types?

Who Will Be Doing the Work?

Be sure their technicians are current with new HVAC Optimization maintenance processes and upgrades and possess the necessary training and industry certifications.

  • What can you tell me about the skill level, years of experience and training of the service technicians who will perform work on my building?
  • How does your company encourage its technicians to earn HVAC industry certifications?
  • What forms of ongoing training does your company make available to its technicians?
  • Who in your company will be responsible for coordination, planning, and execution over the life of the Maintenance Agreement?

What’s included in the Maintenance Agreement?

Explore the contractor’s experience and approach to developing your unique Maintenance Agreement.

  • Please provide a detailed maintenance plan as part of the contract, stating what tasks and services will be performed and at what frequency.
  • How do you determine which inspections and tasks should be done and how often?
  • How will you assess my building systems prior to our signing a Maintenance Agreement?
  • How will you customize the standard agreement to fit the requirements of my building systems?
  • How will you monitor my equipment’s performance and condition indicators? How do you plan to communicate any adjustments to the Maintenance Plan over the term of the agreement?
  • What is the maximum response time for emergencies? When would we see additional costs/charges for emergency service calls? What are those costs?
  • What HVAC system parts are provided under the contract? Do those parts and filters comply with manufacturer standards?
  • To participate in the program, all eligible units need to function at an optimal “baseline” condition within six (6) months of signing the Maintenance Agreement. Will the units included in our agreement require many repairs to get everything to the required baseline?
  • What does it mean to bring equipment to baseline and why does the program require it? Do most customers require repairs to get to baseline?
  • Will you provide us follow‑up reports and information regarding energy savings, incentives paid and work performed? At what frequency will you provide these reports?

Digging Deeper.

Uncover the contractor’s knowledge and experience with maintenance standards and key energy upgrades.

  • Can you tell us about what maintenance Standard 180 recommends? What are Standard 180’s main goals/objectives? Which groups participated in its development?
  • What do you think are the most important parts of Standard 180 and how do they relate to my building?
  • Are all of my units eligible to participate in HVAC Optimization? Please explain the criteria for eligibility.
  • What SCE incentives are available through the HVAC Optimization program to offset the additional cost of performing Standard 180 maintenance recommendations?
  • Can you describe why economizers are important? How do they help improve indoor air and lower energy costs?
  • What experience do your company and technicians have with advanced HVAC efficiency technologies (this can include energy management control systems, digital economizer controls and variable speed drives)?
  • How often do your technicians receive training in economizer diagnostics and refurbishment?
  • Why do you believe the HVAC Optimization program will improve our thermal comfort, air quality and energy efficiency?