If your HVAC system is at least 10 years old, you may be looking at getting a new one in the next two years. If your system is relatively new, on the other hand, you should keep it maintained properly. You’ll need to work with an HVAC contractor in either case.
Below are the most crucial points to consider when looking 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. Most states require proper licensing for HVAC contractors, and to have a license, a contractor needs at least five years of experience in the field. On top of that, contractors should also be bonded and insured for the protection of the customer.
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 whether your prospect is certified by industry organizations like North American Technical Excellence (NATE). This is added assurance that the contractor’s HVAC knowledge and experience are up-to-date.
Furthermore, ask if they carry your equipment’s specific brand. 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. Some of the most crucial factors to be considered are the number and location of windows, the $-value of insulation and the home’s square footage. The contractor should inspect for insulation, loose segments and leaks in the duct system as well. After the process, you should be given a written an detailed estimate that you can use to compare costs, energy efficiency and warranties with other contractors.
References and Reviews
Request for client references and talk to these people to get a picture of their experience with the contractor. If the contractor won’t give you any, that’s a red flag. Also check your prospects’ records at the Better Business Bureau, and spend time reading comments on reputable consumer websites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Ask your friends, neighbors or coworkers for referrals. Local trade organizations make yet another good resource.
Rebates and Discounts
Finally, considering that an HVAC system is a major expense, take time to shop around for rebates on energy-efficient equipment. Any opportunity to save money, no matter how small, should be welcome.