If your HVAC system is already 10 years old or older you should be looking at a replacement in the next two years. On the other hand, for a newer system, you’ll want to keep it well-maintained. You’ll need to work with an HVAC contractor in either case.
The following are the most important considerations you should make as you search for the right candidate:
License and Experience
Like most people, your HVAC system is likely one of the most significant investments that you have made in your home. In most states, HVAC contractors are required to get a license, but not until they have acquired a minimum experience of five years in the industry. On top of that, contractors should also be bonded and insured for the protection of the customer.
In terms of experience, longevity doesn’t guarantee an excellent job, but stability is a sign that the contractor has been doing something right. Ask your prospect about having North American Technical Excellence (NATE) certification or any certification from a similar organization. This helps assure you that the contractor possesses up-to-date knowledge and experience.
Additionally, ask them whether or not they work with the specific brand of your equipment. 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. The final recommendation will mainly be based on such factors as the R-value of insulation the number and location of windows, and the square footage of the home. The duct segment should also be inspected for insulation, leaks and loose segments. 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 Testimonials
Ask for client references and speak to these people to get an idea of how the contractor does his business. If the contractor won’t give you any, that’s a red flag. Check your prospect’s record with the Better Business Bureau and take time read reviews on Angie’s List, Yelp and other trusted consumer websites. Ask for referrals from those around you – relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and so on. Another good resource are local trade organizations.
Rebates and Discounts
Finally, knowing that HVAC system are quite a large expense, don’t forget to shop around for rebates on energy-efficient equipment. Any opportunity to save money, no matter how small, should be welcome.