Choosing the right air conditioning contractor can be difficult. Thankfully, there are some signs of a high-quality contractor that are easy to spot…if you know what to look for. The professional contractor will, for example:
Have The Proper Licenses
It’s easy to check any contractor’s licenses, thanks to the Internet, and before picking up the phone and making a call, you should check out any HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) contractor. He’ll need to be specifically licensed to install HVAC systems, and he’ll also need to be specifically licensed to handle refrigerants, which can be dangerous to both the contractor and your family if mishandled.
Give You an Estimate Only After Inspecting Your Home
Proper air conditioning installation involves a lot more than installing ducts and putting a condenser outside. Your home will need to be looked over and, in some cases, substantial work will need to be done, and that can only be determined in person. For example, you may have significant insulation issues, which will significantly hinder the performance of a heating or cooling solution. So, only trust the HVAC contractor who asks to see your home before offering an estimate.
Provide References for Their Work He’s Done in Your Community
An experienced contractor has happy customers, and he’ll generally have the contact information for a few references you can reach out to. Look in particular for people who can talk you through the whole process from estimate to installation, and don’t be shy about asking questions.
Provide You With All the Paperwork
A respectable HVAC contractor won’t just tell you what he’s doing: He’ll provide it in writing, and other information as well. For example, all HVAC contractors are trained to use Manual J, a system that allows them to determine what system your home needs based on factors such as age, number of windows, and so on. The contractor should include these calculations as part of the paperwork.
Once a system is chosen for installation, he or she should also provide you with the documentation for that system, as well as a warranty. If you can’t get either, you might want to consider changing contractors.
Discuss the Details of the Job With You Carefully
HVAC contractors should also work out the details of the job carefully. You should sit down and set firm starting and ending dates, make sure you agree on exactly how much work is being done, and you should also have an itemized estimate of cost for equipment purchases and labor in advance. While you can’t set anything in stone, necessarily, your HVAC contractor should want to make everything as firm as possible, for both of your sakes.
Walk You Through Basic Maintenance
There’s no HVAC system that’s 100% maintenance free, but most are designed so that minor tasks can be done by the homeowner. Your HVAC contractor should walk you through what you’ll be expected to do to keep up the system, and what warning signs to look out for in case it may require them to come do a few repairs. Your HVAC contractor should also leave any maintenance manuals or documentation with you, so you know how to perform these repairs yourself.
Keep an eye out for these signs, and be sure to ask your friends if they recommend a contractor who did these types of things. If yes, you’ve probably got a good starting point for a great HVAC system. End