If your HVAC system is already 10 years old or older you should be looking at a replacement in the next two years. On the other hand, if your system is relatively new, you’ll want to make sure it’s well-maintained. You’ll need to work with an HVAC contractor in either case.
Here are the most important considerations to make as you look for the right candidate:
License and Experience
Like most people, your HVAC system is likely one of the most significant investments that you have made in your home. HVAC contractors in most states are required to get a license, but they can only have one if they’ve had minimum industry experience of five years. Moreover, they need to be insured and bonded as protection for the insurer.
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 whether your prospect is certified by industry organizations like North American Technical Excellence (NATE). This helps assure you that the contractor possesses up-to-date knowledge and experience.
Furthermore, ask if they carry your equipment’s specific brand. 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 to be considered are the number and location of windows, the $-value of insulation and the home’s square footage. The duct segment should also be inspected for insulation, leaks and loose segments. At the end of the process, you should ask for a written estimate on paper, and you can use it to compare details like energy efficiency, warranties and costs with other HVAC contractors.
References and Reviews
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). Also check your prospects’ records at the Better Business Bureau, and spend time reading comments on reputable consumer websites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Ask people around you for referrals – friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. Local trade organizations make yet another good resource.
Special Promos and Rebates
Lastly, HVAC systems being a key expense, make sure to shop around for rebates on energy-efficient equipment. Any opportunity to save money, no matter how small, should be welcome.