10 Tips for Hiring the Right HVAC Contractor
If your house is too hot or too cold, you are probably in the market for a heating and cooling expert, but most homeowners are overwhelmed by finding a reliable contractor. If you are searching for the right HVAC contractor for your needs, consider these 10 tips:
1. Take stock of your HVAC needs. Make note of particularly cold or warm rooms or areas that are drafty or stuffy. Check out the make and model of your current furnace and air conditioner, as well their maintenance histories.
2. Do your research. Find out about license and insurance requirements for your state. Be sure that any contractors you consider have the appropriate license and insurance.
3. Ask for referrals. Talk to friends, family, and co-workers to see who they would recommend. Call or visit websites for HVAC trade service organizations, such as Air Conditioning Contractors of America, for names of providers in your area.
4. Call references. Ask potential contractors for customer references, and then call them. Ask if the contractor provided reliable service, considering the contractor’s performance with installation and service, as well as the contractor’s timeliness and ability to finish the job on budget. Testimonials are powerful indicators of a contractor’s reliability.
5. Check out potential contractors’ accreditations. Reputable heating and cooling contractors should have evidence of recent certification or recertification, such as NATE certification (North American Technician Excellence)or EPA certification(Environmental Protection Agency) .
6. Research potential contractors’ histories. Make sure that the contractor’s license is current and that he has a local address.
Most local governments also keep track of disciplinary actions and complaints, so it is wise to see if any potential contractors have outstanding complaints or disciplinary issues against them.
7. Ask any potential contractor about Energy Star equipment. Products with the Energy Star qualification meet very strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. Since Energy Star equipment is energy efficient, a new furnace or air conditioner with this qualification will save you money on your utility bills in the long term, but a knowledgeable contractor should also offer available rebates on these products, helping you save money in the short term too.
8. Anticipate a home inspection. Heating and cooling systems are some of the biggest expenses for a homeowner, but a bigger system is not always better. The right contractor will spend a significant amount of time and energy inspecting your home and assessing your needs, including your windows, your insulation, and your duct work, in order to determine the right size system for your home.
9. Get written, itemized estimates. Compare all aspects of the contractors’ proposals or bids. Beyond just the final cost, you need to compare energy efficiencies and warranties. The lowest bid may not be the best deal if the equipment is not efficient—which will cost you more in utility bills—or if there is a limited warranty—which could cost more in repairs or a replacement.
10. Get it in writing. When you finally choose your contractor, sign a written proposal before he gets started. This proposal should clearly state project costs, equipment model numbers, a job schedule, and warranty details.
Spend the time and energy to ensure that your HVAC (heating and air conditioning) contractor is the right choice, and you will enjoy years of climatic comfort in your home.
One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating Charlotte offers air conditioning and heating repair in Charlotte, NC.