HVAC systems are one of the most important, intricate, and expensive systems in the house. As such, it is imperative to hire only the best crew to work on it. Whether you are looking to install a new system or replace an existing one, you must ensure that you call on the right HVAC contractor, who has sound knowledge of HVAC systems, is well trained, has all the required permits, is reliable and not highly expensive.
Searching for HVAC contractors online or merely choosing one based on cheap pricing will cause you more harm than good. Do not get attracted by fancy advertising either. Also, in case of a sudden malfunction in your HVAC system, when you need HVAC technicians on an urgent basis, it is easy to put your system in the hands of an inadequately trained person or one who will charge exorbitant fees, just because they provide immediate services.
To stay away from scammers and to avail reliable installation or repair services, you should focus on hiring a good HVAC contractor.
Here are some tips that can help you choose the right person for the job; and save your time, money, and energy.
Find a contractor through personal recommendations
Look for an HVAC contractor through reliable sources. These include contacts that your friends, relatives or colleagues might have, or people they may have hired before. You will be able to get honest reviews about the crew’s work, reliability, and timeline as well, when you speak to your peers.
The contractors and crew who will be installing or repairing your HVAC system, will be visiting your home regularly and spending a long time working there. It is necessary that these people be carefully vetted.
Even local business bureaus can help you find a reliable contractor for your job. Once you shortlist a few, make sure you ask for referrals and recommendations from their previous clients, so you can get a better idea of their work.
Check the contractor’s authenticity, credentials and ratings
Anyone dealing with HVAC installations and repairs must be formally trained for the same, have sound knowledge and experience in working with different types of systems. The HVAC agency that you plan to hire must be able to show proof of work permits and local licenses, training certifications of the crew and also insurance papers. Always ensure that the people working for you have insurance. This is important in case they suffer any injury while working at your place.
Vet the HVAC contractor and the crew that will be working for you
Do some background check on the contractor before beginning work. Ask around to know how reputable a company it is. Check for online reviews on various sites, not just their own. See their previous work record, personal, and property insurance and ask for quotations.
Ask for a home inspection and evaluation
Every house has a different design and so does its HVAC system. Before you sign a contract with an HVAC contractor for installation of new systems or replacements of the old ones, insist on a home inspection and evaluation. An HVAC company representative must visit your house, check the designs and space, suggest to you the best possible systems suitable for your requirements and mainly check ductwork, windows, and R-value of insulation.
Sign a contract before work begins
Do not commit to anyone or let any crew into your home before you sign a legal document. A work contract is important for both parties to understand and state their requirements and expectations in terms of work, timelines, and remuneration. Once a contract is made, go through it carefully and discuss with the contractor, in case something seems ambiguous or has not been included. You must only sign the contract, once you have finished negotiations on pricing, labor costs and other expenses and have mutually agreed on the final amount.
Avoid fraudsters by recognizing certain warning signs
There are many HVAC companies that offer rock bottom prices, instant services, freebies, and the like. Do not fall for such offers. Everything comes at a cost and doing a bit of market research to understand the prices of new systems, parts and maintenance will help you stay away from scams.
Always choose local businesses, who are known in the area for long. They will have the local permissions for operating in the region. Also, check their physical presence. Avoid contractors that ask for full payment upfront, who urge you to sign contracts immediately or those who offer really low prices. There is always a catch.
Be thorough with the paperwork
Once the work crew is in your house or your HVAC system has been purchased, there is not much room for renegotiating or changing your choices. So be thorough with all the paperwork- from the contract to work permits, insurance details, warranties, project plans and timelines, bills and invoices. Keep a record of all these and your correspondence with the HVAC company, till the end of your project, so either of you can refer to it in case of a problem.
For the same reason, it is advised to have all correspondence and dealings with HVAC contractors in writing. Having it on record, whether on paper or digitally, will ensure that there is no miscommunication or misunderstanding about the products and services to be provided and paid for.
Don’t rely on just one company
Do not rely on just one HVAC contractor. Study your options carefully. Ask for service details and quotations from multiple companies. It is possible that certain contractors offer services that others don’t or deal with only certain HVAC system models. If your system is very old or you plan to install the latest version and the company is not well-versed with it, you may have a problem.
Make an appointment with multiple contractors or companies, read their service agreements, compare pricing, check licenses, and insurance offers. This will help you match the right company to the job at hand.