As summer rolls around, one of the biggest items on your list, especially if you live in the South or Southwest, is making sure you have a functioning air conditioner. Maybe you’re building a new home and are trying to get an HVAC unit installed before the heatwave hits, or maybe you’re looking at replacing an old, worn out system.
Either way, you’re going to want a top HVAC company.
Trying to pick the best HVAC company can be a tricky business. Knowing what separates the reputable companies from the disreputable ones can mean thousands of dollars saved–or lost. Read on to learn about a few of the things you should look for when choosing an HVAC company.
Variety of Quality Products
One of the quickest ways you can tell a quality HVAC company from a sketchy one is the variety and quality of products they offer. Top HVAC companies will have a variety of reputable products available. Less reputable companies may only have one or two brands available, and they may be lower quality products.
Ask your HVAC company to see the full line of products they offer. If they offer fewer than three products, or if you’ve never heard of any of their brands, it’s probably best to go with a different contractor. Reputable manufacturers include Trane, Lennox, Carrier, Mitsubishi, Daikin, and Honeywell.
As well as well-made products, you also want your HVAC contractor to have well-qualified teams. A sure red flag is your contractor’s work team being made up of a bunch of guys who only work odd jobs and have no formal certification. If you’re going to have a group of people working on a multi-thousand dollar investment in your home, you want to be sure they know what they’re doing.
Ask your HVAC company for a list of its workers’ credentials. You want at least most of them to have an engineering background, years of experience, and some sort of certification. If the company doesn’t have any such qualified people, or if they won’t show you the credentials, it’s time to look for a different contractor.
Just like you want the people who will be working on your house to be well-qualified, you also want the HVAC company itself to be properly certified to work on your house. If a company does not have some sort of professional certification, it is likely their work will be too low-quality. They may not even be qualified to meet the building codes in your area.
Before you begin work, ask your HVAC company to see some sort of proof of certification. This may take the form of a contractor’s or a journeyman’s license. They should also carry proper insurance and offer you a turnkey proposal that includes all required local and state permits.
Affiliations and Awards
Another good way to check that your HVAC company is well-certified is to ask about the professional associations they are affiliated with and the awards they have won. Depending on your profession, you may have some professional organization you belong to that helps keep you up to date with the latest standards in your industry.
You should expect no less from your HVAC company.
Ask your contractor for a list of any professional organizations they are a part of. When they give you the list (and if they don’t, you should find a new company immediately), do some research into the organizations. Find out if the organizations themselves are reputable (one, in particular, you should look for is a membership in the Air Conditioning Contractors of America), and if they are, see what they have to say about your potential HVAC company.
Surveys Your Home Before Giving an Estimate
One sure sign of a disreputable HVAC company is that they will try to give you an estimate for the work before they’ve ever come out to look at your home. This may not seem like a big deal, and at the time, it can seem very tempting because their price will likely be significantly lower than other estimates you get. But working this way can lead to one of the oldest scams in the book.
Contractors who give you an estimate for work before seeing the specifics of the job will likely give you a lowball price that will seem very tempting. Then, once you’ve signed a contract and work has begun, the price will start going up–and up and up. You’ll wind up paying way more than you bargained for and way more than you have to, so make sure your contractor pays you a visit before quoting you a price.
Has a Physical Office You Can Visit
How would you feel if, when you got ready to buy a car, the salesman told you that he doesn’t work in a physical office? Let’s say they offered to sign the title over to you and have you pay them in cash. Then they’d bring the car to you, but you’d never visit their showroom.
It’s a good bet you wouldn’t take that deal. Having an established physical space to operate out of is a hallmark of reliable business, and your HVAC contractor should be held to the same standards.
Make sure you go visit your contractor in their place of business before you sign a contract. If they don’t have an office you can visit, that can be a good warning sign that it’s time to look elsewhere. If they do have a physical office, paying them a visit there can tell you a lot about how well the business is doing, how much attention to detail and perfection the contractor demands, and the general operating atmosphere of the company.
Finally, your contractor should be looking to save you money at every opportunity. Whether that is getting you the best bang for your buck in terms of the unit you buy or offering you estimates of monthly energy costs, they should be making sure that you get the most out of your system.
This should include being able to provide you information about an energy-efficient heating & cooling system.
Energy-efficient systems, in addition to being good for the environment also, as the name suggests, use less energy, saving you money on your electric bill every month. It’s a win-win situation, and it’s something your contractor should be knowledgeable about. Ask if they have any EnergyStar-certified systems, as that is the industry standard for energy-efficiency in home appliances.
The Best HVAC Company in Your Area
If you’re looking for a good HVAC company or any other sort of contractor, visit the rest of our site. We have consumer and business resources with lists of HVAC companies, as well as a variety of other high-quality contractors. Come find the best HVAC company in your area today.