All contractors are not the same. Who you hire to install or repair your furnace or air conditioner can be just as important as what equipment you purchase. Choosing a contractor who is skilled and experienced, as well as trustworthy and reliable, is critical to ensure that your equipment will operate reliably, safely, and at peak efficiency. The quality of work this person performs will directly impact your home’s comfort, air quality, and safety.
So what is the best way to ensure you select a qualified HVAC contractor? If there is a contractor you have worked with before that you trust, go with that person. If not, asking family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations is a good place to start. You can also check with local trade organizations or look for a contractor who is a Lennox Premier dealer or who is NATE certified.
Other factors to consider include:
- Do they have professional affiliations, such as being a member of NARI?
- Do they have longevity and a proven track record in the industry?
- Do they have the licensing and certifications required by the city or state?
- Are they fully insured and bonded, including liability and workers’ compensation insurance?
- Do they have positive reviews on Google, Angie’s List, and Facebook?
- Do they stay up-to-date on the latest industry technologies and innovations?
- Do they offer financing options? The ability to offer financing indicates that they have earned a high level of trust from the business community. In contrast, banks and manufacturers will be unlikely to extend financing options to poorly-run companies.
The manner in which a contractor operates their business can also tell you a lot. A good contractor will:
- Assess and diagnose the problem in person. Never hire a contractor who provides an estimate over the phone without seeing the problem first-hand.
- Perform a thorough survey of your home and base their proposal on a heat-load calculation. This will include looking for air leaks, measuring air flow, and inspecting your insulation and duct work.
- Ask questions about any heating and cooling problems you’ve had with your old equipment and provide options and explanations that you can easily understand.
- Avoid using your current equipment, which may not be properly sized for your home, to size your new heating or cooling system.
- Provide you with an estimated annual operating cost for the equipment they are recommending.
- Provide a written proposal that includes the recommended equipment, work to be done, prices, and labor costs.
- Offer 24-hour emergency service.
- Provide you with referrals upon request. Be sure to actually call those provided references.
- Be prompt, courteous, and professional.