The best time to choose an HVAC company for your home comfort needs is before you have a heating or cooling emergency. Heating and cooling equipment are complex systems that also contribute to the ventilation and air quality in your home. Knowing how to choose an HVAC company, and taking the time to vet them in advance, will ensure you have a trusted resource when you need them most.
Each state has specific guidelines regarding licensure, bonding, insurance, and continuing education. In general, applicants must have two to five years of training with heating and cooling systems, as well as pass a written exam. This training is in place to ensure the contractor is knowledgeable in areas such as airflow, refrigerant, combustion systems, ductwork, and electrical wiring. In addition, the training educates the professional on critical safety issues. Because technologies evolve, a state may also require an HVAC contractor to complete continuing education courses in order to retain their license.
Before hiring an HVAC company, know your system's model and its maintenance history. It's also helpful to note rooms that feel uncomfortable (for example, too hot or cold). This information will help you save time, as you'll quickly determine whether or not the contractor is knowledgeable about your HVAC system and offers the services you need.
Ask people you trust for referrals and find out if the HVAC provider they chose completed the job on time, within budget, and was well-versed in the unique needs of those living in the Pacific Northwest. Humidity and mould are just two of the challenges many face in their homes.
Licensed HVAC contractors should have a state Construction Contractors Board number or a similar equivalent. If this number isn't readily available on a contractor's website, don't hesitate to ask for it. Then verify that the license is active through the respective state board. Similarly, verify the contractor's liability insurance coverage by asking for proof of coverage. Reputable HVAC contractors are happy to provide this information.
When hiring an HVAC company, you'll find that the best contractors stand by their work and will gladly supply at least three references. Call the references and ask about the job the contractor performed and their satisfaction with the overall project. It's also good to learn if the contractor arrived on time, performed the job by the deadline, and stayed within budget.
If you need a new heating or cooling system, a specialist may take measurements of your home and consider its insulation, windows, and ductwork. Obtain all bids in writing and make certain they're itemized and include details such as warranties.
While price is important when choosing an HVAC company, so is reputation. You can read reviews of the contractor on the Better Business Bureau's website, social media pages (such as Facebook), Yelp, and more. While not every company is perfect, reviews will reveal problems a homeowner faced and how or if the contractor addressed them.
After selecting your HVAC contractor, ask the professional to provide you with a written proposal that you both review and sign before work commences. A proposal specifies costs, job schedules, model numbers, warranty information, payment schedules, and other details that will protect you should a problem arise. If a contractor does not want to provide a written estimate or proposal, choose a different company.
HVAC systems contribute to the health and comfort of your home. Hiring the right contractor for your needs will keep your system in top shape and your costs lower.