Not all HVAC contractors are made the same. That’s a given, but even the best contractor with the highest reviews might not be the right contractor for your specific facility or home. Choosing the right HVAC contractor is entirely dependent upon your needs, which is why researching your contractors will make all the difference between getting your air conditioner installed properly and getting ripped off.
Before you choose any contractor, take a look at our tips to help you weed out the troublesome ones from the ones who will keep your air conditioner in top shape.
How to Choose the Right HVAC Contractor
Check Your Contractor
If you want to be sure that your contractor is qualified and has high consumer ratings, you can always check the Better Business Bureau. Their website will show whether there are any complaints against the company.
Using the Contractor’s License Reference Site, you can also take a look at the licensing requirements for your specific state. This way, you’re able to investigate your potential contractor thoroughly. Some websites will also let you know about the licensing requirements by state.
Ask for Credentials
You are allowed to ask for your contractor’s credentials to be sure that they have the licensing and are bonded. See if they have all the permits to do the job, what kind of experience they have with maintenance, repair, or replacement of a system like yours.
You can also ask your potential contractor what kinds of systems they’ve had installed, or what they have experience with. Some contractors may specialize in a specific brand or model, and will be there to help you with any maintenance problems or questions over time.
Getting an Estimate
It’s a red flag when you get an estimate on repair over the phone. They may still be a good contractor, but there’s a lot to consider when it comes to an HVAC system. To see your ducting, the amount of registers per room, the insulation, windows, and all the other pieces of your system, they need to be there in person.
You’ll want a contractor that will come out to do a manual inspection of your air conditioner instead of trying to get your business over the phone. Someone trying to give you an estimate over the phone may just be trying to get your business without really putting in the time and gas required for a proper visit.
A New Model
You should never have a contractor who suggests replacing your HVAC with the same model as the last one. HVACs advance just as quickly as any other piece of technology, with the newer models bringing your energy efficiency up to date to decrease your energy bills.
Anyone trying to sell you an older model is likely trying to unload some of their inventory onto you instead of finding a unit that will fit your company.
While experience is important, it’s okay to give newer contractors a chance. Even contractors that have decades of experience still have to learn all the new technology and newer air conditioning models. Since the technology is always changing, newer contractors and older contractors are learning at the same rate. Of course, experience is important and will help your contractor respond more efficiently to your needs, but just because a contractor is newer doesn’t mean that they can’t help.
Price shouldn’t necessarily determine which contractor you choose. As tempting as it might be to go with the lowest bidder, it might cost more in the long run to go with someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing or who is just trying to undercut others.
Contractors who give you low bids may end up costing you more when you end up with a botched installation that you need a professional to come out and fix. If it seems too good to be true, go with someone who is more reputable in the first place. Remember to check their credentials too.
Sign Your Contract
When you begin to talk with your chosen contractor, keep everything in writing. This will allow you to keep track of everything that’s said and so that you know everything that you’re signing. Every bid should be written, even though some states do accept verbal contracts as something that is legally binding.
When you do sign that contract, make sure that you can see all the details and dates of the work, a breakdown of the labor and equipment cost, payment due dates, and the deadline when the project must be done.
We know that is can be difficult to find a professional HVAC contractor to install or repair your unit. You want someone who will suit your needs without over or undercharging you. If you’re wondering who to choose for your home or business, take a look at our tips to help you make your choice before you sign that contract.