At Frontdoor, we take professionalism and expertise seriously when it comes to hiring the best Experts and Pros in the industry. And Jeff Ault, HVAC Expert, is no exception.

Q&A With a Frontdoor HVAC Expert

Can you tell us about your background and what inspired you to pursue a career in HVAC? Do you have any experience in other home maintenance or repair areas?

I started out in a warehouse, shipping out HVAC testing tools and equipment for a leading HVAC manufacturer. From there, I went into technical support for the tools — answering questions and helping technicians that use the tools. From there, I decided I wanted to get out of the office and into the field using the actual tools, so I went to trade school and here I am now!

What do you enjoy the most about the HVAC field?

I’ve always enjoyed the simple pleasure of fixing the system [for customers]. I would arrive and the customer would be so stressed out that it wasn’t cooling, and then see that stress leave as I was able to fix their issue with ease.

What memorable or challenging project have you worked on? How did you tackle the problem?

This past summer, I was called by a friend of my brother’s who was looking for someone trustworthy and honest. I was the fourth person that had come out. The other three said they needed a new system and [one of them] even changed out a part that didn’t resolve the issue. They had a zoning system and the guest room would not work consistently. After I inspected the system, I found that the motorized damper had failed. This was causing the system to freeze over, which eventually led to the whole house not cooling. I replaced the motor for a few hundred dollars and the system has been working great ever since.

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How do you stay updated on the latest industry trends and innovation?

As a current licensed contractor in the state of Arizona, I read all of the articles sent to me by manufacturers with their updates and what’s to come. They also provide trainings that I watch in my downtime.

What are your predictions for the future of HVAC Systems?

As the government pushes to get away from fossil fuels, I believe we will see less and less gas furnaces being installed and more heat pump systems in their place. Also, with technology advancing, systems will essentially become computers. With that will come more advanced self-diagnosis all from an app that will connect to the unit’s control board. This is already happening, but I believe it will only advance.

On HVAC Care

What are your top HVAC maintenance tips?

The best thing a homeowner can do is replace your filters when they’re due, flush the coils out on your outdoor unit with a water hose, and take a shop vac to your drain line to help prevent any clogs.

What is a common misconception or mistake people have about HVAC?

A lot of times people don’t understand that the indoor and outdoor units work hand in hand. If the outdoor unit is not running, then the problem may be coming from the indoor unit. Another common issue I see is that one particular area doesn’t cool as well as others. Typically, it’s not the equipment, but rather a design issue with the ductwork.

Frontdoor expert

I tell customers that, much like your car, you replace it before it breaks down because you want it working when you need it most.

Do you have any examples of how technology can impact how we take care of our homes?

Many smart thermostats these days have built-in alerts that you can activate such as maintenance, filter replacement, humidifier/dehumidifier, and indoor air quality and UV light replacement reminders. I’ve seen products come out where a contractor can hook up a monitoring device and get alerts if something isn’t right, which means they’ll know your system isn’t working right before the homeowner might even realize.

What do you tell people is the #1 reason to upgrade their HVAC system?

I tell customers that, much like your car, you replace it before it breaks down because you want it working when you need it most.

On Working at Frontdoor

Have there been any Frontdoor video chats that have stood out to you so far? Tell us about a memorable interaction.

I spoke with a member whose air conditioning wasn’t coming on. It was a younger gentleman that, it appeared, didn’t have much disposable income. After going through everything, we found that a wire coming from the thermostat to the indoor unit had come loose on the control board. The system wasn’t even getting the signal to turn on, even though the thermostat said it was on. Once he reattached the wire, everything came on and he had cold air. He was very pleased that we got it fixed over the phone and it cost him nothing. It’s very unusual for a wire like that to come off. It turns out, a family member was looking at the unit during the winter and must have accidentally knocked it off.

What’s your customer service mindset when joining a video chat? How do you help members ease their stress?

My mindset is to be happy and excited to walk them along diagnosing their equipment. Once they see that it’s something basic – usually, but not always – you can hear the relief in their voice that they fixed it themselves and didn’t have to call someone to come to the house.

What’s your favorite Frontdoor feature?

I like the drawing feature that helps me direct members where to look. It makes it very easy to pinpoint exactly where they should be looking.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Frontdoor?

Working from home is nice and much better than being in hot attics. I also enjoy collaborating with the other Experts on various topics. Typically, when you’re in the field it’s just you, the truck, and the radio.

Outside of Work

Beyond your professional life, what are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy playing golf when I can, smoking meat, and spending time with my family.

What’s your favorite home gadget or feature?

I like my smart doorbell. I just learned that it can play funny away messages so when my kids get near it, I always go to my phone and play a funny message.

What is your all-time favorite book, TV show, or movie? Why?

The mini-series Band of Brothers is my all-time favorite. I’ve always enjoyed any material on the World War II era. It’s simply fascinating what they endured at such a young age.

Tell us about your family and pets. How do they contribute to your work-life balance?

I’m married to my beautiful wife, Courtney, and together we have two kids: a 2-year-old son named Archer and a 5-year-old daughter named Millie. We also have a 10-year-old mixed breed dog named Bogey and a 6-month old miniature Australian shepherd named Daisy.

What’s your favorite season? What do you enjoy most about that time of year?

I’ve always enjoyed summer because that’s when I typically made most of my income out in the field. But also going to the lake and river to relax in the water.

What’s one item on your bucket list that you’re determined to accomplish?

I would like to go to Scotland, the home of golf, and play at St. Andrews Golf Club.

Jeff is one of many trusted and vetted Frontdoor Experts eagerly waiting for the chance to walk a Frontdoor member through their next home repair or maintenance challenge. From HVAC to plumbing, and everything in between, you’ve got questions and we’ve got answers.

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To learn more about Jeff and many of our other Experts, head on over to the Meet the Expert section.

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