Choosing an HVAC contractor to work on your home or business is an important decision. You want a quality contractor but at the same time an affordable one. However, not all HVAC companies are created equal, as it’s a good idea to spend extra time finding one that best meets your needs and that falls within your budget. Keeping a few simple things in mind can help you find a quality contractor and the right price to ensure the job is done right.
Here are a few of the main items to remember before hiring an HVAC company to tune up or maintain your heating or cooling system. Or if your HVAC system breaks down, and you can’t afford a new one, there are free air conditioner units from charities.
Using an HVAC company with an excellent reputation can save you a lot of stress and frustration. One of the best ways to find a quality HVAC contractor is to ask for referrals from friends, neighbors that have s similar heating and cooling system or family members. Checking out The Better Business Bureau or looking at online reviews can also help you determine if an HVAC company has an excellent or less than stellar reputation.
There are also various websites that give ratings, including Google reviews, Angies List, Yelp, HomeAdvisor and others. However please keep in mind that studies show that many reviews are Fake. An independent company, Fake Spot, shows that between 30 to 50% of online reviews are fake, and this will impact HVAC company reviews too. This is why asking friends, family, or neighbors may be a better option.
2) Expertise and Knowledge
Another important item to remember is the expertise and knowledge of an HVAC company. Checking out their website can help you determine their experience and if they specialize in a specific service. An HVAC contractor with years of experience in the industry will often do a much better job compared to someone brand new with minimal experience. This expertise leads into number 3 below.
3) Proper Licensing, Insurance and Certification
Verifying the proper licensing while also looking at the proof of insurance and bonding is critical before hiring an HVAC contractor. Also, be sure to get the certification of the technician coming to the home or business, as he/she should be certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE).
Each state has different regulations that determine which documents are necessary for an HVAC company. Ask the company if they are regulated and ask for proof/certification of it. These documents will give you legal protection while also showing that a contractor is staying in compliance with these rules.
Ask the HVAC contractor for proof of insurance as well. They should have general liability coverage. As if the technician is hurt at your property doing their maintenance work, it should be crystal clear that the technician and company in insured.
4) Fair Pricing
The cost of using HVAC services are often wide-ranging, whether you need repairs, installation, or maintenance. A general tune up can cost $200 to $400, which can be costly for a low-income family. However paying for regular maintenance will extend the life of your heating and cooling system.
Receiving two to three estimates is always a good idea before hiring a contractor. Hiring the cheapest service available isn’t always a smart decision that can cost you more money in the long-term. Looking at multiple estimates can help you determine a fair price. Some HVAC companies will also offer a maintenance plan, which means there may be an upfront annual contract to pay for lower tune ups, savings on parts and more. Or find other ways to save money on HVAC work.
5) Government Assistance
This too will depend on the state as well as the household’s income. Some states may offer grants or financial help to pay for HVAC work as part of LIHEAP or weatherization. Most of this type of help is for low income elderly households. If the government assistance comes from a community action agency, they often partner with approved and licensed HVAC companies. Those no-profit organizations have done the screening and reviews needed, thus making the process of choosing an HVAC company easier. Read more on weatherization paying for HVAC tune ups.
Hiring an HVAC contractor with experience working on a wide range of makes and models is always a major plus. Versatility makes it easy for an HVAC contractor to perform repairs and maintenance in an efficient manner. Ultimately, this makes their job easier, and it can also save you money.
Problems with your air conditioner or furnace can happen over time due to a variety of reasons. A system that breaks can not only be costly to fix (especially for a lower income family), and if the system breaks during the winter or summer months (extreme heat or cold) it can be a health risk for an older homeowner or someone with a medical issue.
Reaching out to an HVAC company to take care of these problems (pro-actively) can save you a lot of time, money and energy. Regular maintenance will also save you money over the years as it will extend the life of your system. Always taking the extra time to research your available options is important to ensure you are more than satisfied with using their services.