What to Consider When Hiring HVAC Contractors
Buying a new HVAC system is one of the biggest purchases a homeowner will make, so it’s important to carefully choose an HVAC contractor. He or she can ensure the system you purchase is appropriate for your home – and your budget. Finding an experienced contractor whom you trust will make the entire process go smoothly. Keep these tips in mind when hiring an HVAC contractor.
Get names of three contractors. Talk to friends to see if they have a contractor they would be willing to recommend. That’s a good place to start. You can also choose a contractor who advertises regularly in your area – that suggests, at the least, the contractor has the money to pay for the ads. If you’re having trouble getting a few names, check with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America or the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association to get the names of local HVAC contractors. Meeting with several contractors makes it easier for one to stand out from the others.
Meet contractors in person. If a contractor offers an estimate over the phone based only on your description of your house, move on to other options. A qualified contractor will first go through your home to determine the cooling-load calculation. Experienced contractors will not rely on the size of your old unit and instead will make that determination themselves after thoroughly inspecting your home and asking questions about any issues you had with the previous system. Make sure that you get an estimate in writing and make it clear that you will seek estimates from other companies as well.
Check out the contractor. Ask the contractor to show his or her license and proof of insurance. Be certain to ask for the names of a couple of recent customers. Do not accept any excuses for not receiving referrals. If a contractor can’t provide the name of a satisfied previous customer, it’s time to move on to other options. Call two customers and ask about their experience with the contractor. Find out if the contractor is a member of the Better Business Bureau and ask about the volume and status of complaints against the company.
Rely on your gut. Armed with information about your three choices, experts say it only makes sense to put a significant amount of weight into your assessment of the contractor, based on the time you spent together. That, combined with the estimate and your review of the contractor’s background, should help you to make a solid, reasoned decision.