Being a homeowner is still a part of the American dream for a lot of people. I’ve spoken to a number of customers who absolutely DREAD the maintenance issues that come up. Today, I want to provide a few guidelines on how to go about hiring a contractor to repair or maintain your heating and air conditioning system.
The most important thing to know is what questions to ask. Anyone can hang out a shingle as a heating and a/c repair company. I cannot tell you the number of jobs we go on where we have to “fix” or “clean-up” the shoddy work of some guy who just got out of school, but has very little real world experience. Don’t get me wrong, book knowledge is important. But I once heard it said, you need 10,000 hours “in the field” before you can be considered an expert. We’ll been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since June 1, 1993 – for 23 years at the time of this post.
Here are some questions you should ask before having someone come out to your home….
Questions to Ask a Heating and Air Conditioning Repair Professional
What licenses do you have to service your customers?
Many states require HVAC contractors to be licensed and many state governments offer license look-up websites where you can check the status of a HVAC contractor’s license. It’s also often the case that individual cities and municipalities have their own specific requirements for HVAC contractors.
Since heating and cooling work may also require repairing or installing plumbing to supply oil or natural gas to heating equipment, an HVAC contractor may also be required to hold a separate plumber’s license or have a licensed plumber on call. However, some jurisdictions license HVAC contractors specifically for this line of work. When getting an estimate, be sure to ask not only if a company is licensed, but also what type of license it holds.
If your furnace has just died in sub-zero temperatures or your air conditioner has gone kaput on a sweltering day, you’ll probably be glad to hire the first repairman who comes to your house that day. But, if you’re planning a major or costly upgrade to your home’s heating, air conditioning or air ducts, it’s worth the time to research and interview several companies before hiring one.
When interviewing air conditioning repair candidates, don’t forget to ask about:
Licensed, bonded and insured: Many states and municipalities mandate that heating and cooling contractors meet minimum education and on-the-job experience requirements, as well as pass written exams in order to be licensed to work in the heating and cooling industry.
In order to qualify for and continue to hold that license, HVAC companies frequently need to hold a minimum level of insurance and bonding. Any professional that works in your home should carry liability insurance to protect the homeowner in the case of accidental damage or injury.
References: A professional heating and air conditioning company should have a list of recent customers that you can refer to in order to verify that the company in question performed the work in a timely manner and to the customer’s satisfaction. One of the things we’re most proud of is our reputation. We make customer satisfaction our #1 priority. Heck, online reviews are everything today for a company like ours. We encourage you to check us out on our website and on the various websites where you can see what our customers have to say about us.
Estimates: Due to the high cost of repairing, replacing or installing new HVAC equipment, it’s essential to get at least three written estimates from three different companies.
The project’s cost is likely your most important consideration – and costs may vary widely from one company to the next – but it’s also very important to ensure that the project’s overall scope, details and completion dates are thoroughly documented. At least an estimate when it comes to dates. After all, things do happen. But we always have an estimate of how long a job is going to take us. It’s part of being a professional with 20+ years experience.
Brands carried: When seeking estimates for new or replacement heating or cooling equipment be sure to ask prospective companies what specific manufacturers or equipment brands they carry. Unlike other home improvement contractors, HVAC companies often only carry a small selection of brands. If you’re doing your own price comparison research on new equipment, you may need to limit your hiring choices to companies that specialize in your equipment brand of choice.
One great thing about us having so many years experience, we know the trends of what’s happening TODAY with certain manufacturers. Just because someone had a great name 10 years ago, doesn’t always mean the quality is the same today. There are less well-known brands we’ve started turning to because their units are performing better for our customers.
Experience with your system: If your heating or cooling systems features cutting-edge energy-efficiency design, such as a geothermal system, or relies on an old-school operating system, such as steam-driven radiators, make sure the company you choose has relevant experience with your particular system.
Tax credits or rebates: Depending on the type of home heating or cooling equipment you’re installing or upgrading, your project may qualify for federal or state tax credits or rebates. Be sure to ask about what incentives are available for your project and make sure the project is properly documented to meet federal, state or local incentive requirements.
Service contracts: If you’re hiring a company for maintenance or having new equipment installed, enrolling in a service company’s service contract program may give you added peace of mind. Service contracts are just that, a contract that ensures your HVAC system is serviced regularly by the company.
While having your equipment professionally maintained on a regular basis may extend the useful lifespan and improve its efficiency, as with any contract, make sure you know what you’re paying for.
This post has give you the insight to take a more intelligent approach to hiring the right person or company to come to your home. As always, we’re available to service your home if you live in our service area within Gwinnett county.