Updating your heating and cooling system doesn’t have to be an insurmountable task. In fact, it can save you considerable money over the long term if you just know where to start.
You’ll need to be aware of license and insurance requirements for contractors in your area. It is also beneficial to be familiar with your current system and maintenance history. This will allow you to better communicate your heating and cooling needs to potential contractors.
Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to start making calls. Referrals from friends, family, and co-workers are a good place to start. Also check with local trade organizations for members in your area.
Ask for customer references, and follow up with phone calls about the contractor’s performance. Did they complete the work on schedule and stay on budget? These are important factors in choosing an HVAC contractor and firsthand experience is invaluable.
Are the technicians NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certified? Is the contractor a member of a professional association, such as RACCA (Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association)? Check the Better Business Bureau for reports on companies you are considering, and be sure the companies are in good standing.
Ask your contractor to calculate your savings with ENERGY STAR products. ENERGY STAR-qualified products are engineered to meet stringent EPA guidelines, which can mean considerable long-term savings for you.
Don’t hesitate to ask about special offers and rebates.
Remember, bigger isn’t always better, and significant time should be spent inspecting your current system in order to best assess your individual needs. A good HVAC contractor will consider the size of your home, insulation level, windows, and duct efficiency before offering a solution. Be knowledgeable, but remain open to suggestion. Your HVAC contractor is an expert in the field.
Get written, itemized estimates, but remember, a lower price today may cost you more in the long-term. Professional contracting firms charge more because they offer the best service.
Finally, a reputable contractor will ask you to sign a written proposal before beginning the project. Clarifying budget, schedule, model numbers, and warranty information beforehand is in everyone’s best interest, and allows you to proceed with confidence in yourself and your HVAC contractor.