Selecting the right contractor can make a huge difference in the quality and performance of your heating and cooling system—and your comfort level—for years to come. Many HVAC companies advertise, but how can you tell which one is best suited to match your needs? Here are a few pro tips to help you get started.
1. Verify licensing and certification
Before hiring any contractor, ask to see their proof of licensing and insurance. An up-to-date license shows that they are trained and qualified to offer heating and cooling services in your area. Insurance covers any accidents or damage that might occur during the project; otherwise, you could be held liable.
In addition, look for NATE Certification. The North American Technician Excellence provides industry-standard certification courses and tests, and technicians must demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the latest heating and cooling systems to qualify.
2. Ask around for referrals
Talk with family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers to see who they’ve hired in the past. How was their experience with the contractor? Would they hire that contractor again in the future? Would they recommend that company, or would they suggest looking elsewhere?
By asking people you know and trust, you can get a good sense of a contractor’s quality, reliability, and performance.
If you’re not able to gather solid recommendations locally, try an internet search for the “best HVAC contractor near me.” Examine the reviews closely: How many people have submitted detailed reviews? Specifically, what did people love or hate about the company? What ratings did that contractor receive?
Generally, having more reviews with more specific information indicates a more accurate overall rating. Look for heating and cooling contractors with mostly positive reviews and an average rating of 4 stars or higher on a 1 to 5 scale, with five being the best.
3. Ask for references
When you have identified one or more potential HVAC contractors to work with, ask each company to provide customer references. These previous customers have already consented to receive calls and answer questions from prospective clients like you. Before you begin making calls, prepare a list of questions, including:
- Did the contractor arrive on time and follow a predetermined schedule?
- Are you happy with their service?
- Did they behave professionally?
- Did they clean up before leaving your home?
- Was the pricing transparent, or did they add hidden or last-minute charges?
- Did they test your system to make sure it functions properly?
4. Consider how the contractor determined your needs and price estimate.
Before making recommendations or a price quote, the contractor should visit your home to evaluate the size and insulation, the existing HVAC system, and your family’s needs and preferences. For optimal performance, the HVAC system should be sized correctly for your home. This includes factors like the amount and quality of insulation, your home’s age and layout, the number and condition of windows, and the condition of the ductwork.
Also, consider whether the contractor provided a written, itemized price estimate. There should be no hidden fees. However, sometimes the contractor might come across a previously unknown but related issue that should be fixed; this is not uncommon, and it is reasonable to charge appropriately for the parts and labor. However, they should not perform any additional work without first obtaining your consent.
The heating and cooling system is a major and integral part of your home. By using these tips, choosing an HVAC contractor can help ensure that your family remains comfortable and safe. At Update Heating and Cooling Services, your best interests are our top priority.