When you have a home HVAC system that needs emergency repairs, routine maintenance, or even a complete replacement, it’s essential that you choose a qualified HVAC contractor, but this can be a daunting task. There are several important steps you can take to ensure that you hire the right professional for the job.
Do Your Research
An internet search can be a great way to eliminate any HVAC companies that aren’t on the up and up.
The websites of manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment will often have key details and contact information for quality HVAC contractors in your area. These websites can make it much easier for an individual to read customer reviews in order to find quality local contractors for their HVAC needs.
Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is an organization dedicated to representing HVAC contractors; they have a database of their member contractors which can easily be searched. This organization gives accreditation to contractors as well as letter grades ranging from an A+ to an F, based on the information they can obtain, such as complaints the contractor has received from previous customers and/or the public.
Ask friends, family, and neighbors for a referral to an HVAC contractor they have used and trust. A referral is an excellent way for a homeowner to gain a bit of insight into what they might be able to expect from a specific HVAC contractor. Similarly, if you find a contractor you’re interested in using, ask them for a list of references that you can contact in order to get more information regarding their experience with the heating and cooling contractor. Homeowners can ask these references a variety of questions including whether the job was done on budget and if it was completed on time.
A quick look at the number of review stars a contractor has received can be misleading. Do a quick search for something like “Furnace Repair,” or any similar searches to pull up reviews. Make sure that you read the comments and choose a contractor that has an excellent reputation for providing quality work, exceptional customer service, and a good value for your money.
- Did the contractor take the problem seriously?
- Did the contractor give the homeowner a clear explanation of the problem?
- Did the contractor work to quickly, thoughtfully, and respectfully resolve the problem?
A homeowner might be able to get more insight into an HVAC contractor’s commitment to providing customer satisfaction just by reading through some reviews. You can find out if the contractor works to provide a fast solution or if they address problems professionally; this is a sign of a company interested in quality service.
What Should You Look For When Searching For An HVAC Contractor?
Many states require HVAC contractors to be licensed, insured, and bonded. This information is often available online. Once you schedule an appointment for HVAC service, there are some additional things you should pay close attention to:
Communication: Do you receive communication from the dispatcher or technician by phone, email, or text in the time leading up to your appointment? Do they give you timely updates of any schedule changes?
- Punctuality: Does the HVAC technician arrive within the scheduled window of time?
- Personal Appearance: Does the technician arrive looking like they are ready to get to work, or do they have a company uniform on?
- Certifications: Many HVAC technicians have certifications through various organizations, like North American Technician Excellence (NATE), and patches designating these certifications can often be seen on the technician’s uniform. Does the uniform of your service technician have certification patches?
- Patience: Does your service technician listen to concerns you have, or do they take the time to explain their findings and answer your questions clearly?
- Thoroughness: Depending on what type of service appointment you’ve scheduled (whether it’s an emergency or something like a routine annual inspection), the service technician might perform a complete evaluation or inspection of your HVAC system. This is a process that can take a bit of time, and it should be thorough, not just a glance. Once the evaluation is complete, the HVAC technician should discuss with you any results that they find that might be of concern.
- Documentation: Your service technician should give you written estimates as well as documentation of any work they have done.
A good HVAC technician will be professional, knowledgeable, courteous, pleasant, patient, and willing to provide answers to all of your questions. Keep in mind; they are a service-oriented company — it’s their job to ensure that you get the very best service possible. If there is anything you aren’t happy with, don’t hesitate to ask them to make it right.
Service and Value Expectations
When it comes to taking care of your home, it’s important to find value for your money. If you are planning to have a new HVAC system installed, it’s essential that you work with a licensed HVAC professional who stands behind the products and work they offer by providing a limited warranty. A contractor who can do the job right the first time can help eliminate the hassle of having to schedule repeat visits; they can also make sure that your HVAC system is functioning at its best.
Many HVAC contractors offer maintenance agreements that provide regularly scheduled maintenance for your HVAC system. These types of agreements can be a great investment. When you maintain your HVAC equipment properly, it can help ensure peak performance and efficiency, which will also extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling equipment.
Manufacturer Dealer Locator
Most manufacturers of HVAC equipment will provide tools to help homeowners find an independent dealer. For example, Goodman’s provides a list of independent HVAC contractors offering licensed HVAC services that are listed by type of service, location, and certification. These HVAC contractors typically offer a flexible, informative, and value-focused approach to buying, servicing, and maintaining heating and cooling equipment.