The Essential Steps in Hiring a Quality HVAC Contractor
An HVAC system can be a significant investment, and there are few things as bad as an air-conditioner that cannot beat the summer heat. The last thing you need to be told by an HVAC contractor is that everything must be replaced because the ducts are incorrectly routed, and the AC unit is rated for a space a third of the size. You can prevent this scenario by following our recommended steps when hiring an HVAC contractor:
1) Ask for Referrals
Find the HVAC contractors in your area by asking for referrals from neighbors, friends, and colleagues. If possible, ask them if you can have a look at the installed HVAC system and note the quality of the workmanship, the efficiency of the airflow, and the (lack of) noise from the vents and the AC unit. Also, ask about how the installation affected the utility bill. Keep asking for referrals until the list contains at least four recommendations, and note the reason when someone refers a non-local contractor.
2) Check Online
Armed with your list of possible contractors, check out their websites for details about licenses, experience, and insurance. Frankly, if someone doesn’t have a website, cross them off the list because they’re not serious about business. Reputable contractors all have websites, and they all flaunt their credentials for the world to see. You’ll quickly learn what licenses are required by state law and who are the regulating bodies. Write down the license numbers and check them for validity. Also, ask for proof of insurance.
3) Ask Potential HVAC Contractors for References
For those HVAC contractors who check out as currently licensed, bonded, and insured, ask them for local references. Sometimes these will be the same people who referred you to the business, but when not, you should contact them and similarly ask them about their experience with the HVAC company. Ask the same question as you did when asking for referrals. People will, in general, be very cooperative because they will gladly either promote a good company or badmouth a stinker.
4) Ask About Any Deals
Now would also be an excellent time to check if the contractor’s preferred AC equipment is ENERGY STAR rated and if they have any specials going that will save you a few bucks. There are slow times of the year, and contractors usually lower their installation rates to keep the work constant.
5) Make Sure The HVAC Contractor You Hire Is Friendly and Professional
The list should now have been whittled down to no more than three possibilities. Check out each company’s place of business. Is it clean? Are the staff friendly? If the premises are dirty or look like a junkyard, then you can be sure of how your house will look after they’ve installed the HVAC system, especially in the areas where you don’t usually look, such as the paths of the ducts in the ceilings. Know also that if you experience a problem with the AC, then it will be those rude staff that will not help you.
6) A Quality HVAC Contractor Should Be Thorough
Two companies left, right? Friendly staff, fully licensed and insured, decades of experience, spotless premises, and the trucks are always washed. Well, now is the time for a site inspection and home evaluation. A truly experienced HVAC contractor will measure all the rooms, note distances, and, most importantly, ask about what is expected from the installed system and any natural temperature differences that have been noticed. If you have an old system already installed, the inspection should also include a thorough assessment of its efficiency and necessary recommendation.
7) Fair Estimate Without the Upsell
Armed with all the details, the HVAC contractor must present you with a written and itemized estimate for the job. An alternative or two should also be presented unless you’re replacing an existing system or have already decided which HVAC system should be installed. Still, don’t mind the contractor who tries to upsell you a more capable HVAC unit.
8) Ask About Rebates and Incentives
Discuss with the AC contractor the benefits of an ENERGY STAR Verified Installation and any rebates and incentives offered by your state regarding energy efficiency and environmental responsibility and how these might be claimed.
9) Obtain a Written Proposal
Obtain a written proposal from the contractor who impressed you the most with his knowledge, friendliness, and price. The proposal specifies all costs, job schedules, layout plans, model numbers, warranty information, payment schedules, and other sundry details that will protect you should a problem arise.
10) Refer Your HVAC Contractor to Others in Need
After having the work done, remember to pass on your overall satisfaction with the HVAC contractor to your neighbors, friends, and colleagues. They’ll appreciate your honesty.
There is also a shortcut to finding the best HVAC contractor, and that is to contact us for the job. Our credentials are on our website, along with testimonials from satisfied customers. We also feature a blog packed with informative articles about everything to do with AC systems.