Upgrading? How To Read The Underlying Messages In An HVAC Service Contract

Getting a piece of complex equipment serviced, repaired or replaced can be a frustrating experience, especially if you’re dealing with unfamiliar terminology. You might feel at risk of being charged for unnecessary work or parts. Knowing a few basic terms can help put you back in charge.


Here are a few common terms to help you translate a quote from a contractor or charges listed on your HVAC service contract. Most apply to a heat pump or central air unit:

  • Split system. A split HVAC system has part of the equipment housed outside your home and part inside.
  • Evaporator coil. This is inside your home, next to the air handler. This area also is where the air filtration is located. An HVAC service contract may call for the evaporator coils to be cleaned.
  • Condenser. The condenser is outside and expels heat or cold from inside the home.
  • Compressor. The compressor, housed in the outdoor unit, compresses and moves refrigerant through the system. Compressors are expensive. If yours goes out, it might be most cost-effective to replace your whole heat pump.
  • Fins. Located on the condenser coil, these can be damaged but are easily repaired.
  • Refrigerant. This is what runs through the compressor and evaporator coils. It is sold by weight. If it appears on your HVAC service contract, it’s probably because it’s running low.

Perhaps most important: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If the contractor can’t (or won’t) explain their quote to you in plain terms, maybe they’re not the contractor for you.

At Home Comfort Experts, we want you to understand what you’re getting when you hire us. If you have any questions about your HVAC service contract, please ask us. We’ll always take the time to explain. And, as always, feel free to contact us with any questions about your equipment or any other home comfort issue.

Home Comfort services the Mishawaka/South Bend areas of Indiana.

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