How to Find the Best Heating & Air Conditioning Contractor
Whether your a new homeowner or an existing one, your goal is the find the best heating and air conditioning contractor to service your heating and air conditioning system twice a year. Once in the winter for your furnace and once in the summer for your air conditioning unit. So, how do you findthe best heating and air conditioning contractor?
Most people begin by asking their family and friends, or check their local yellow pages. While you might be tempted to pick a random name out of the phone book, you might accidentally hit on a poor or unreliable contractor. Many people have had success using online directories like SmartGuy.com, which lists thousands of local professionals many with ratings you can verify.
Regardless, here are a few things that will help you find a good heating and air conditioning contractor.
Do Your Research. Before even looking for a good heating and air conditioning contractor, be sure know the model of your current system, as well as its maintenance history. You will need this when speaking to the HVAC contractor.
Secure a few estimates. Ask for a complete estimate in writing from each of the heating and air conditioning contractors. The estimate should include a summary of labor, material costs, the specific brand of materials, and details of what the job entails. Obviously, do this before hiring them or paying them any money.
License and Insurance. Look into the license and insurance requirements for heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors in your state. You want to make sure that they are not only experienced, but licensed and carry the proper insurances, including liability and workers’ compensation insurance in case something goes wrong. Be sure to get a copy of each.
Look into references and past jobs. Ask for a list of past clients from each heating and air conditioning contractors and call them to see how they did, how long it took them and if they experienced any issues. Also, ask them if the air conditioning contractor stayed within his estimate. You might want to even ask them for references of a handful of jobs they did five years earlier to see how they are holding up.
Look into reviews. Before hiring the heating and air conditioning contractor, look and see if they have a BBB rating or SmartGuy rating. You can also enter the heating and air conditioning company’s name followed by the words “rip off” or “scam” and see if anything comes up. You might also find some information on their company at your state’s Contractors License Reference Site.
Tax credits or rebates. Depending on the actual type of home heating or cooling equipment that you are installing or upgrading, your new equipment may qualify for federal or state tax credits or rebates. Be sure to ask about any and all incentives that are available and make sure the project is properly documented to meet federal, state or local incentive requirements.
Request a detailed contract. Make sure everything that is discussed pertaining to job is in writing, both for the estimated bid and the contract. he contract needs to include all the heating and air conditioning contractors information, including: name, address, office and cell numbers, and license number, plus whatever details were in the estimate. It is important that the contract clearly states what is and is not included in the job. Keep in mind that a lowest price may not be the best deal if it's not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.
Ask about guarantees. Any good heating and air conditioning company/technician should be confident of his work and be happy to provide a guarantee after the job is done at little cost or no cost.
Finally, make sure to never give more than 10-20% in advance. You don’t want the money your paying him to go to bills from his last job, rather than for your materials. Also, don’t pay him the last 20% until the entire job is done to your approval.
When wanting to findthe best heating and air conditioning contractor, it pays to take the right steps.