When looking for an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) Contractor, it can be a little overwhelming deciding who is the best choice for the job. HVAC companies tend to handle repairs, installation and maintenance of heating and cooling systems for homeowners, commercial businesses or both. If you follow these quick and simple tips, it could make the difference between hiring an amateur versus hiring an expert.
- research the possibilities
- check availability
- get a well-trained expert
- analyze a contractor’s website
- get the cheapest option
- compromise safety and efficiency
- ignore reviews and complaints
- settle for low quality HVAC equipment
- choose the biggest HVAC company
When thinking about hiring an HVAC technician, the best place to begin is researching different options near you. Many contractors will publish their service areas on Google and on their website. If you find a highly reviewed contractor in a suburb of a big city or the next town over, they likely will still serve your area.
Another important aspect to consider is availability and emergency. If an A/C unit stops working, you are going to want someone who can come and fix the issue right away. Most HVAC contractors are available 24/7 and will advertise emergency services. Good HVAC contractors will answer the phone at all hours and will be able to immediately respond with a time for a repair.
If a contractor isn’t available for a few days or a week, realize there are plenty of other contractors to choose from who will be more than available.
When choosing a technician, you want an expert who is going to be able to immediately discern the issues that you are having with your HVAC problem. Therefore, get someone who knows the lingo and understands the new changes that are occurring with energy efficient units. According to the United States Department of Labor, there are different licenses that an HVAC technician must receive before they are allowed to perform work. Check and see what testing your state requires and make sure that you are hiring a well-trained expert. Do you know what SEER is? Do you know what a heat pump is? Why is tonnage important? What is an AFUE? You are going to want to find a technician who knows this terminology, but more importantly knows how it affects your home and has experience performing repairs and installations.
Closely analyze a contractor’s website and realize if a website is difficult to use, has spelling mistakes and is missing key information, they likely aren’t going to perform a quality repair. The website should give background information about the company, industry associations, key brands and their experience being an HVAC engineer.
When researching different companies, do not choose a company because they have the best quote or the cheapest price. Often HVAC companies will have different sales or coupons that you can look into, but you are going to want to choose a technician based on the quality of the brands offered, the reviews from customers, expertise and more. Don’t settle for less, otherwise you could be having to replace your HVAC unit within a couple of years.
Being an HVAC technician can actually be a dangerous job due to electrical shock, chemical burns, and inhaling hazardous chemicals according to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the job can be dangerous, once again you want to choose a company who is focused on safety not only for themselves, but for you too. Most HVAC contractors will carry insurance for workers, yet it’s still a good idea to ask. As for units, make sure it is new and from a good brand. There are brands that are higher quality and at higher prices, and brands that aren’t. Don’t pay more for a lower quality unit that is less efficient.
Reviews and complaints should be read for any HVAC contractor, simply with a search in Google. Yelp will also have reviews from legitimate contractors. Unlike 5 or 10 years ago, reviews on these top sites tend to accurately reflect the business as it is near impossible for fake reviews to be created. Better Business Bureau is another good source for complaints and also tends to be accurate.
Most HVAC contractors repair all brands, while only installing a small selection of furnace and A/C units. Understand the prices and quality of different manufactures before calling an HVAC technician, as some could charge a premium for a cheaply priced unit. Many HVAC manufacturers also own a line of different equipment brands. Just like how a Ford and Lincoln make the same car, but have different aesthetics and pricing, a quality HVAC unit can be purchased for the lower price than a premium brand.
Being big isn’t exactly an advantage. Larger HVAC companies tend to prioritize commercial clients over residential, sending the most experienced technicians to commercial jobs. That could mean your residential technician has other priorities and is likely new or inexperienced. Don’t hesitate to settle on a family owned company, you’ll often receive lower prices, better service, and more experienced technicians.
Even though there are still many options to choose from when hiring an HVAC contractor, these simple tips will go a long way eliminating the companies whose sole intent is to get your money. This advice will help you to think about your options a little bit more carefully, and will help you to determine what is most important about an HVAC contractor.