If your HVAC system is already at least a decade old, you should be ready to replace it in the next 24 months. If your system is relatively new, on the other hand, you should keep it maintained properly. You’ll have to hire an HVAC contractor either way.
Here are the most important considerations to make as you look for the right candidate:
License and Experience
As with most people, one of the biggest investments you’ve probably made in your home is your HVAC system. 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 your prospect about being certified by North American Technical Excellence (NATE) or any similar organization. This is added assurance that the contractor’s HVAC knowledge and experience are up-to-date.
In addition, ask them if they carry the specific brand of your equipment. As you may know, manufacturers are unique, and their equipment requires brand-specific knowledge and training for optimum installation or maintenance.
Assessing Your Home
If you’re thinking of a new installation, the contractor should assess your home thoroughly to determine the best heating and cooling solution. The final recommendation will mainly be based on such factors as the R-value of insulation the number and location of windows, and the square footage of the home. The contractor should also check the duct system for any loose segments, leaks and insulation. 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 Testimonials
Ask for client references and call these people to know more about their experience with the contractor. If the contractor won’t give you any, that’s a red flag. Take time to read comments on popular consumer websites like Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor, and check with the Better Business Bureau. Ask for referrals from those around you – relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and so on. Local trade organizations can also be a good resource.
Rebates and Discounts
Finally, knowing that HVAC system are quite a large expense, don’t forget to shop around for rebates on energy-efficient equipment. It’s always great to have an opportunity to save money, no matter how small the amount.