Having a good heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor on call is a good idea for any homeowner — after all, you don’t want to be flipping through the phone book or frantically googling when your heat goes out in the middle of winter or your AC isn’t working on the hottest day of August. But there are so many HVAC companies out there that you might have trouble choosing the right one, even if you’re not under time pressure. Here are five questions that can help you suss out which company you should hire:
- How Do You Screen Workers?
When you let workers into your house, it’s essential that you feel comfortable about their behavior and background. A company that puts a robust screening system in place is a company you can trust.
- Do You Focus on Efficiency?
Not all HVAC systems are created equal when it comes to heating and cooling efficiency (and therefore, your hard-earned dollars). You should choose a company that has experience both in choosing high-efficiency equipment and installing it so as to maximize performance. The latter is an important skill, because the ideal installation for any system will vary depending on the architecture and unique aspects of your home.
- What If I Have an Emergency?
Choosing a very small business might be OK if you just need to get some work done sometime in the next month. But what if your HVAC system isn’t working in sub-zero or hundred-plus temperatures? At that point, delay caused by a lack of manpower could be not only frustrating, but dangerous. You should be very clear about what to do and what to expect should you have an HVAC emergency.
- Do You Offer Maintenance Plans?
A good maintenance plan can greatly extend the life of any heating and air conditioning system. Some of that you may be able to do yourself (and good HVAC contractors will give you some guidance and training on how to do so), but you’ll probably want some regular inspections and tune-ups, too. If a company will send you reminders when you’re due or give you a special price on preventive work, that’s a plus.
- What Are Your Certifications?
Many HVAC companies don’t have all the certifications that they should, so it’s best to ask up front about such matters. Licenses, insurance and warranties should also be brought up at this time.
Do you have any tips on what to ask HVAC companies before you choose one? Join the discussion in the comments.