Top Five Considerations for Choosing an HVAC Contractor
If your HVAC system is already at least a decade old, you should be ready to replace it in the next 24 months. On the other hand, if your system is relatively new, you’ll want to make sure it’s well-maintained. You’ll have to work with an HVAC contractor in any case.
Below are the most crucial points to consider when looking for the right candidate:
License and Experience
Like most people, your HVAC system is probably one of the priciest investments you’ve made in your home, and it’s important that the people who touch it are trained and qualified. Most states require proper licensing for HVAC contractors, and to have a license, a contractor needs at least five years of experience in the field. On top of that, contractors should also be bonded and insured for the protection of the customer.
When it comes to experience, longevity by itself makes no guarantee of competence, but it does tell you that the contractor is doing something right. Ask your prospect about having North American Technical Excellence (NATE) certification or any certification from a similar organization. This helps assure you that the contractor possesses up-to-date knowledge and experience.
Additionally, ask them whether or not they work with the specific brand of your equipment. As you probably know, every manufacturer is unique, and technicians should have knowledge and training specific to the brand for optimal results.
If you’re planning to have a new HVAC system installed, your potential contractor should thoroughly evaluate your home to know what heating and cooling solution is best for it. Some of the most crucial factors that will affect the final recommendation include the home’s square footage, the R-value of insulation, and number of windows and their location. The contractor should also check the duct system for any loose segments, leaks and insulation. After the process, you should receive a written and itemized estimate that you can compare with estimates from other contractors, focusing on costs, warranties and energy efficiency.
Client References, Reviews and Ratings
Ask for client references and speak to these people to get an idea of how the contractor does his business. A contractor who refuses to give references, is hiding something (and you’re better off finding another prospect). Check your prospect’s record with the Better Business Bureau and take time read reviews on Angie’s List, Yelp and other trusted consumer websites. Ask for referrals from those around you – relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and so on. Local trade organizations can also be a good resource.
Special Offers and Rebates
Finally, considering that an HVAC system is a major expense, take time to shop around for rebates on energy-efficient equipment. Any opportunity to save money, no matter how small, should be welcome.