How to Choose The Right HVAC Professional
The purchase and installation of a new HVAC system is much more than a run-of-the-mill, buy-and-sell transaction. You’re about to invest in an appliance responsible for providing, governing, and ensuring a comfortable home over the next 15 to 20 years. Let’s just say it should be something more well thought out than nabbing the right guy to clean your gutters. You’re in the market for efficient equipment AND a knowledgeable, honest professional who can correctly install the new HVAC in a timely fashion, plus conduct annual maintenance perhaps, in the years to come. There are certain “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to finding the right HVAC technician or company and this blog aims to walk you through the confusing, and sometimes intimidating, process of pinpointing the right outfit for your job.
First things first: ask around. Hit up family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to inquire whether they’ve had any HVAC functions performed lately. How did they feel about the quality of the task accomplished? The overall professionalism of the workers? You can also peruse online community forums you may be a member of, such as your hometown’s Facebook page. Check local business directories. Scour review sites like Google, Angie’s List, or Yelp (however, always take these online review aggregators with a grain of salt.) The local Better Business Bureau (BBB) can yield some gems. After all this cursory research, you should be able to winnow down the prospects to 3 or 4 companies that pass muster.
Now it’s time make contact. Find out whether each company is Licensed, Bonded, and Insured. A licensed HVAC technician has the know-how and authorized certification to manipulate gas lines and manage certain electrical and plumbing operations - potentially dangerous stuff. And, were some calamity to occur, insurance should protect injured workers and cover any damages to your home or unit. If a potential contractor isn’t current in terms of coverage and licensing cease all contact and correspondence.
Next, ascertain which manufacturer's products they do installations for. Just as you wouldn’t take a Ford pickup truck to a Volkswagen mechanic, it’s preferable to find a technician who’s well-versed in the background and developments of the company that makes a unit. Cutting-edge advancements are rapidly changing how air conditioners and heaters operate and a serviceman should be fluent in the “smart home” technology of today.
Get an estimate. Never settle for a price over the phone. A contractor must gather data in-person to properly estimate the heating and cooling specifications of a home. This process is known as a load calculation. It entails an inspection of the existing furnace and ductwork, the orientation and layout of the house, square-footage, number of floor levels, insulation status, number of windows, and so on. Try to get a bead on what your monthly utility bills would look like by implementing a newer, more efficient HVAC model. Make sure the estimate, or bid, is in writing and includes: price of new unit, labor costs, supplemental work [e.g. thermostats, ductwork, (de)humidifier, air purifier, etc.], project timetable, and permits (if applicable). Along with the written estimate, request some customer referrals and contacts. These can prove invaluable because an unincentivized third-party can relate their experiences unedited and without fear of reprisal.
If one of the bids seems outlandishly high (or low) find out why. Perhaps the contractor believes the project is bigger in scope and more labor-intensive than the others. Or conversely, one outfit missed some details in their inspection. And don’t necessarily opt for the lowest bidder; you get what you pay for - saving money now may cost you later because of shoddy work and material. Only after you’ve completed all your homework and you’re pretty comfortable with the contractor and estimate should you hit the “go button.”
A final piece of advice is to click the Find Help tab at the top of this website or click here. The sponsor of this blog is Allied Air and their trusted dealers are listed and located by zip code.
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