To keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer and to make sure fresh air circulates, it’s important that your home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems be maintained in top shape. Though there are some things a homeowner can do to help keep their HVAC systems running well (such as vacuuming air inlets and replacing filters), most jobs should be left to professionals. Here are some tips on how to hire a reliable HVAC company:
- Research Companies
Rather than picking a company at random or trusting to what an ad says, get some independent opinions. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, and check Yelp!, Angie’s List or Google for reviews or ratings. When you have some good leads, check the Better Business Bureau for complaint records. When you start talking to the contractor, ask them for references, and follow up with them. You can even ask the contractor to let you see examples of their work or references from past customers.
- Meet the Contractor Face-to-Face
A company representative should be willing to visit your home before work begins. It will give them an idea of what needs to be done and give you an impression of the professional. The representative should be well-informed, neat and clean, make you feel safe and comfortable and they should be able to answer any HVAC questions with expertise.
- Check Licensing, Insurance and Permitting
When asked, your HVAC technician should have copies of state licenses,proof of insurance and workers compensation. These assure you that the company has met the minimum required standards and that you’ll be protected should an accident or injury occur on the job. This is another reason why the cheapest company is NOT a good option – sometimes a low cost meant these steps are skipped, leaving you vulnerable. Another thing to check is building permit expectations in your county. Home Comfort Experts always “pulls” permits for every air conditioner or furnace installed. This protects you, the homeowner and allows officials to inspect our work. Check if the company you are considering does the same.
RELATED READ: How to Choose a Heating and Cooling Company
- Choose a Professional With Experience
Every home is different, so every HVAC installation is unique in some respect. The only way a professional learns how to handle the great variety of installation and maintenance demands is through years of experience on many different systems.
At Home Comfort Experts even our newest technicians aren’t promoted beyond the “helper” stage for three to four years of hands-on shadowing with one of our most experienced techs. So even our newest technicians give great service because they are associated with our company’s high standards and hours of training. With thelong experience and under the close guidance of a seasoned pro, each of our staff have seen hundreds, if not thousands of different systems before getting their hands on a single one. In fact, ALL our technicians receive an ADDITIONAL 250 hours of classroom training each year.Somewhere in your decision process, there should be evidence your chosen company can be depended upon. Further, a company that pays for reviews or offers raffle items for positive feedback, cannot be counted on as having great references.
- Find a Business That Will Give Written Estimates and Sign a Contract With You
Estimates must be itemized and in writing. No credible business will hesitate to give you a written estimate and sign a contract that includes the cost of materials and labor, start and completion dates, and payment schedules. Some people make it a policy to discard the highest and lowest bids, but we don’t recommend it. If everyone who’s bidding on a project has been pre-screened according to the above recommendations, then even the lowest bid should be representative of professional quality work, while the highest bid might provide the highest quality among several high-quality vendors, or might include some worthwhile extras that the others didn’t include.
- Look for After-Installation Support
Some HVAC companies offer deals on service contracts in connection with new installations. Under a service contract, (ours is called the Comfort Club) a technician will visit the home on a set schedule to check and troubleshoot the system, this is usually at a reduced cost and saves you money by keeping guarantees in place and systems working at top efficiency. These service contracts also make the homeowner a priority in case of emergencies and may also provide discounts for service that’s not covered by the agreement.
- Be Prepared
Before you make your first call, do a little work to help them help you. Be able to describe exactly what the problem is, and jot down the make, model and serial number of the HVAC system that’s not functioning properly.
If you’re looking for a qualified, experienced HVAC expert in Norther Indiana and Southwest Michigan, contact Home Comfort Experts.