Choosing an HVAC contractor can be stressful. You’re trusting someone to come into your home or business, you’re paying good money to install or conduct maintenance on expensive equipment, and you’re hoping that everything is done properly, so that you don’t have any issues down the line.
7 Tips for Choosing a Reliable HVAC Contractor
Unless you already have a trusty technician on your speed dial, you have to rely on online reviews or word of mouth. But there’s only so much information you can gather from the experiences of others.
For the most part, people tend to leave online reviews when they’re angry. Think about it: When your air conditioner or heater is working, you likely go on about your day, taking it for granted, never thinking about writing a review.
To get a full picture, you want to do your due diligence and look into different aspects of the company’s reputation within the industry.
1. Check Their Licensing
Handymen are everywhere. Maybe they even learned how to install an air conditioning system from working somewhere or from watching other technicians do it. But unless a person is licensed by the Florida Department of Professional and Business Regulations, don’t even think about hiring them.
The State will only issue an HVAC license to technicians who meet the following criteria: They have the proper training and education, pass a background check and a written examination and are insured. All of these things are crucial to determine whether the technician is skilled and trustworthy. To find out the licensing status of a specific company, click here.
2. They Should Perform Diagnostic Testing Before Quoting a Price
Technicians may have ballpark figures for the cost of certain units and services, but unless they are familiar with your home’s structure, square footage, ducts, and insulation, it’ll be hard to give you an accurate estimate for the price of labor.
3. Ask About the Manufacturer’s Warranty
HVAC repairs can be very costly. Considering that installing an air conditioning and heating system is one of the biggest investments for your home, you want to make sure that you’ll have peace of mind for several years after your purchase. Always ask if a warranty covers parts AND labor, and whether you need to register the product with the manufacturer for the warranty to apply. Also, ask if they offer any extended warranties and if there are any factors that would void the warranty (such as hiring an unlicensed contractor or failing to provide regular maintenance).
4. Ask About the Contractor’s Warranty
In addition to the manufacturer’s warranty, you only want to do business with an HVAC company that stands behind their services. Make sure this is provided in writing, and that it lists the terms of coverage (such as improper installation, damage to the unit during transport or installation, or any other type of accidental damage on the part of the contractor).
5. Request Written Estimates
Misunderstandings happen every day. This is how lawsuits happen. Make sure that all of their terms and all of your expectations are in writing: the cost of parts and labor, taxes, payment due dates, a timeline for completion, brand to be installed, warranty terms, and deadline.
6. Ask About Their Energy Efficiency Practices
Energy efficiency is not just for hippies. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency amended the Clean Air Act to require newer models of air conditioning units to use greener refrigerant. And here’s a practical reason that will keep you interested: Energy efficient units translate to lower energy bills.
A good rule of thumb when purchasing an HVAC system is to verify whether it has the Energy Star symbol. This is the seal of approval from the Department of Energy.
7. Know That You Get What You Pay For
Yes, it’s good to shop around and to be savvy about saving money. However, an improper installation will result in a long list of costly issues. There’s no point in saving now if down the line you’re going to have an AC that doesn’t cool properly, a refrigerant leak, or an inside unit that’s not compatible with the condenser unit.
If you have several estimates and they slightly vary, you’ll know what the fair market value for the services are. If one of them is significantly lower than the rest, that’s a red flag.
Call HVAC Professionals in Broward, Palm Beach, or St. Lucie
At Sansone Air Conditioning Electrical & Plumbing, we have the state licensing, expertise, and experience required to install or provide HVAC services in your home or business. If you live in Broward, Palm Beach, or St. Lucie, let us help you make the right AC decision.