Many of us rely on our HVAC systems, and if they stop working as intended, it can be a shock. Taking time off work to deal with an HVAC problem isn’t an option for most of us, and you need to be sure about the people working in your home when you’re not there. It’s also important to know that the HVAC specialist you choose can work on your equipment safely and that they will be available if something goes wrong. Like any industry, the HVAC sector has its fair share of fraudsters and poor quality contractors, so how do you separate the good from the bad? In this article, we will look at nine key questions that you need to ask a potential HVAC specialist before you choose to hire them.
- Are You Licensed?
Working on heating and cooling equipment requires specialized training. You don’t want an amateur handyman working on your HVAC system that represents a significant investment. It’s all too easy to damage critical components if you don’t understand how an HVAC system works. This can lead to a more expensive repair bill or even an entire system replacement in extreme cases. Check the licenses that your prospective HVAC contractor holds on Angie’s List, which has listings for each state if you don’t want to ask in person.
- Are You Insured?
Every good HVAC company will have insurance to cover potential damage caused during the work. This is essential because accidents happen, and even a careful HVAC specialist can make a mistake. As a professional HVAC company, you can expect them to repair or replace any damaged heating and cooling equipment gratis. But, if damage has been caused to other parts of your home, you need to know that the company has adequate insurance coverage to put things right again.
- Do You Have Background Checks?
When you meet a representative of an HVAC company, it’s not likely that it will be the same person working in your home. So, it’s important to find out if the people that will be working there have gone through a background check. You want to feel safe, and you want to protect yourself against potential threats such as theft. Don’t hire an HVAC company that doesn’t carry out background checks on its technicians and sub-contractors.
- How Do You Process Payments?
Having everything in writing before the installation or repair begins makes good sense. This is particularly important when it comes to the costs and when the payment is actually due. No reputable HVAC company will ask for the entire amount before the work begins, and this is a good sign that you should avoid working with that company. But, on a larger job, it’s common to require a downayment before work begins, and other HVAC companies will want full payment on completion. Many HVAC companies also have finance to help their customers budget for a larger job. If you’re interested in this arrangement, get all the details before work is started to ensure that you can meet the requirements of the financing.
- How Long Will This Take?
There are many different types of services offered by an HVAC company, and the length of the job will be affected by a number of factors. If you need a full HVAC system replacement or a complicated repair, it’s important to understand the timetable. A larger job can take days or possibly weeks to finish, and this can be disruptive to your home life. It may be possible to schedule the work when you’re away on vacation if the HVAC technicians don’t need to enter your home.
- Do I Have a Correctly Sized Unit?
This may seem strange, but you may be surprised to learn that HVAC units come in a variety of sizes to suit different sized homes and businesses. If you’re experiencing problems with short cycling when the unit turns on and off again quickly or cold spots, you may have an incorrectly sized unit. This can cause significant wear and tear on the heating and cooling equipment leading to frequent repairs and an earlier than expected replacement. Incorrectly sized units also have an impact on energy efficiency leading to higher utility bills. When you speak with your prospective HVAC company, ask them if they perform load calculations and get them to check your unit.
- Do You Have a Maintenance Plan?
Your HVAC system is complex. It has electronic, electrical, and mechanical parts. Like your car, it needs regular maintenance, but many people neglect their system until it stops working. This is the wrong approach. If you become proactive and get some regularly scheduled maintenance, your system will be more efficient and less likely to fail when you need it most. If you have a newer HVAC system, you may even void the warranty if you don’t have your heating and cooling equipment maintained. When an HVAC specialist inspects and maintains your HVAC system, they can identify minor issues and fix them for you before they develop into larger problems. If your HVAC company has a maintenance plan, this can be a good deal depending on the price and what they include. Make sure to get some details in writing before you commit to joining an HVAC maintenance plan for extra peace of mind.
- Are There Rebates of Tax Credits?
If you replace your HVAC units or ducts, there may be rebates and tax credits available. The savings that may be on offer could surprise you, and any money that you can save will be welcome. This information is also useful if you’re trying to evaluate the costs of a repair versus a potential system replacement.
- What is Your Warranty?
Always ask your HVAC company about the kind of warranty that you will receive after a repair or a system replacement. The length of a warranty and what it covers can vary a great deal depending on the company. It may be possible to extend the warranty period to get some extra years of coverage, which may be a worthwhile investment. Before you commit, make sure you have a full understanding of what is covered in the warranty and what isn’t.
If you want to hire a reputable local HVAC company, get in touch, and we will be happy to answer all your questions.