When you want HVAC done right, find the right HVAC contractor

Taking Care of Business

When you need heating and cooling replacement or repair services, choosing the right HVAC contractor for the job is the most important part of the process. It can also be the most daunting. If you work with the right company, then the quality of work will reflect that. If you work with the wrong contractor, however, you may be one of the 50 percent of homeowners who have an improperly installed HVAC system.

Sizing, measurement and design mistakes are the most common. An improperly installed HVAC unit will cost you more money and energy while supplying less comfort. You’ll be looking at a shorter lifespan and worse performance sooner than anticipated. For the cost you put into a new system, it’s recommended that you research and get written estimates, among other tips, in order to choose the best heating and cooling contractor for the job.

Some tips for choosing the right HVAC contractor

Do your homework: It’s important to do your homework first. Look for local HVAC companies on review sites, such as Google, Yelp and Facebook. Keep in mind that you can’t make everyone happy all the time, so also take a look at the less than stellar reviews. This will give you a strong indication how the company handles issues. The company should also have an A or higher rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and be popular with past customers. From there, ask your friends or your social media contacts for advice and referrals. Often a post on your Facebook timeline or a call to a good friend who is also a homeowner will yield great advice. Work with a contractor who has a good reputation for quality workmanship and customer service.

Certified, insured and licensed: Look for an HVAC company whose team is licensed, bonded, insured, background checked and drug tested. You also want to check for certifications such as EPA, NATE and manufacturer preferred dealers. These certifications ensure that you are working with a company that is top-rated for quality, customer service and the best of that brand’s representatives. HVAC companies are required to print their license number on their website and marketing materials. Do not hesitate to ask the company for its license number, criminal background checks and any additional drug testing or measures that help protect your family and property.

Shop around: Any reputable HVAC company will provide its customers with written estimates before any work begins. These estimates should be honest and fair. With upfront pricing you won’t be surprised by unexpected costs. Your contractor should walk you through all the costs and fees prior to the start of any repair or replacement service. Once you get your estimates, shop around. Speak with other highly rated contractors to compare costs and quality. Don’t just go with the lowest estimate, especially if the company is not well rated online. Spending more money upfront for quality workmanship saves you frustration and costs down the road. Read the written proposal carefully and make sure the costs are clearly explained before you sign anything.

A home evaluation is a must: Beware of a contractor who doesn’t come to your home to conduct measurements and a full evaluation. You should expect a contractor to visit your home to inspect your current system and perform measurements before any estimate is provided for replacement. After a full inspection, your comfort consultant will assess what size and type of unit is needed to meet the home’s needs. Your duct system and insulation will also need to be evaluated to find the best fit. The right contractor will spend time getting to know your home before the job begins to get things right.

Look for discounts and rebates: Working with a company that has special offers will help you keep costs down. Call your HVAC company and ask about any current coupon offers, seasonal rebates and current utility company rebates. Additionally, rebates are available on qualified ENERGY STAR® heating and cooling equipment. Since HVAC units are a large cost for homeowners, look for specials and rebates. Your comfort consultant should walk you through all of your rebate, warranty and other savings options.

Energy savings: Going green will never go out of style. Choosing an energy-efficient HVAC unit that meets the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is good for the environment and your bottom line. Look for ENERGY STAR®-qualified products and you’re ready to go. A good contractor can help you estimate your cost savings over time for each model. That way you can consider the best long-term option for your home, our planet and your wallet. 

Remember, when replacing your home comfort system, the key word is “comfort.” You want comfort you don’t ever have to think about. Spend some time, do your homework and find a contractor who is going to do it right and do it right the first time. 

About John Kennedy 13 Articles
John Kennedy is general manager of Art Newsome, Inc. and can be reached at 873-0345 or by email at jkennedy@artnewsomeinc.com.