There’s plenty to consider when choosing an HVAC company. Whether you need a one-off repair, want to install a new system, or are looking for a company you can trust for regular work, you need to know they’re reliable, professional and provide quality workmanship at the right price.
Here are 10 things you should look for in an HVAC company:
Making sure your HVAC company is bonded and insured means they’re not a fly-by-night operation and will be there later if something goes wrong. A certification means the technician has passed education and on-the-job requirements. It makes it more likely they’ll do the job right the first time, preventing costly and time-consuming follow-up work.
Elsewhere, if a contractor or worker gets injured in your home, the contractor’s insurance should cover it. If they’re not covered, however, they can pursue a claim against your homeowner’s insurance.
Assessing the scope and cost of an HVAC job is often complex. The size of your home and the condition of ductwork or components that you can’t readily see can all play a part.
With all that in play, why would a contractor give you a price over the phone or via email without ever seeing your home? Perhaps they’re just inexperienced. Or, it could be a bait-and-switch operation where they get the job with a low price and then discover more damage that costs you more to fix.
Any reputable service company should be able to provide at least three references. And, you should follow up with all of them. A few good questions for a referral are:
A great HVAC company gives you everything in writing. Before authorizing work, make sure your contract lists a deadline and the dates when the company will perform the work. It should also list due dates for payment, especially if there’s financing or an installment place. Finally, a good contract lists parts and prices, labor hours and the hourly rate.
Any good contractor, HVAC or otherwise, should have a location you can visit. Even if it’s an office space in a private home, an HVAC company’s home base can tell you plenty about the business, or tip you off that something’s wrong.
Having a dedicated office space tells you the company plans to stick around, unlike a fly-by-night scammer who may just have a business card and a van with some lettering on it. Instead, you can be more confident they’ll be around to honor warranties and handle any other work that comes up later.
Whether you’ve got a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient furnace, old steam-driven radiators, a multi-split heat pump system or a rare absorption heat pump, your HVAC company needs to know how to work on it.
Of course, any good service provider knows what they’re doing with all types of equipment. But, it helps if the company you’re choosing has experience with the brands or models your home uses. That’s especially so if your system is a little out of the ordinary.
An HVAC contractor who comes in with a low estimate thanks to cheap equipment is only helping themselves, not you. Sure, you may spend less money up front than if you went with another provider. But, those savings will evaporate when parts break or the entire system has a much shorter lifespan than a better-quality unit.
A quality HVAC company can offer - and install - state-of-the-art equipment. One way to tell is to ask for equipment that’s recognized by Energy Star for being efficient. If they can’t provide that, or discourage you from choosing one of those products, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Sure, sometimes there’s no other option but to replace a broken piece of equipment, no matter how big or expensive it is to buy a new one. However, HVAC companies often make more money on replacement versus repair jobs. And, unscrupulous ones will always make a replacement seem like the only option.
Before you get stuck with a larger bill than you should have, or a new piece of equipment that’s not quite right for your home, ask some questions. An honest tech can at least provide detailed explanations as to why they need to replace things. A company that dances around the subject may be hiding something.
This one seems obvious but is easy to overlook. HVAC companies, like any contractor, should be able to stand by their work. That means they should have no problem coming back out if there’s a problem with the job. And, the follow-up should be free of charge if the problem is due to a mistake they made.
Before you approve any work, ask about their guarantee. And, like anything else, make sure it’s in writing.