When you face problems with your HVAC system, whether with the heating, cooling, or ventilation components, you need the services of a reliable HVAC contractor. This is the professional that will perform air conditioning repairs, ventilation system repairs, and furnace repairs.
Looking for a good HVAC contractor takes some time. Identifying the one company you want to hire takes even more time. Read through this guide for our step-by-step suggestions.
Take these five steps to find heating and cooling companies in your area.
If you follow the steps above, you’ll generate a list of HVAC company names. The next step is to narrow that list down to three names. (These three are the ones you will call and schedule estimate visits with.) To narrow your initial list to three companies, follow these steps.
After completing the above steps, look at the information you’ve gathered and select the best three companies as your top candidates.
Now that you have your top three candidates, it’s time for a person-to-person conversation with each one and an estimate visit.
In the initial phone call, find out if the air conditioning and furnace company is licensed and insured; if technicians are background checked, drug-tested, and criminal-checked; if the company has been in operation for five years or more, and if it is A+ rated with the Better Business Bureau.
Next, describe your job (ac repair, ac replacement, furnace repair, furnace replacement, etc.) and set up a time at your home for an estimate visit. Find out the name of the contractor or technician who will be doing the estimate.
Pay attention to details from the start of the visit to the end.
When the technician arrives, note if he or she drove a marked company vehicle, is wearing a company uniform, and carrying a visible identification tag. Look at the tag and make sure the photo matches the face and that it is the person whom the company representative said would be coming out.
Remember that this person will be entering your home. It is simply being safety-conscious and proactive to verify identity.
At some point in the visit, if you did not ask the following questions in your initial phone call, ask them now:
It is important to know the details of a company’s guarantees, so we dedicate a section of this guide to that topic.
Before any work begins, make sure you understand all guarantees that cover air conditioning repair, new air conditioning units, new furnaces, furnace repair, heat pump repair, and ductwork cleaning.
Technicians may make mistakes and newly installed equipment may be defective or may underperform. Guarantees should cover these events. Know the details.
Typically, companies have money-back guarantees for certain situations. Make sure you get these guarantees in writing; know exactly what they cover, how long they last, and how much of your money you actually get back.
Look at the warranties on newly installed equipment. All new equipment should be fully warrantied, including parts and labor, for a certain amount of time.
Guarantee for properly sized equipment: Your technician should install the size of a unit that is correct for your space and J load calculations. If it is incorrect, the guarantee should provide for a replacement to be installed free of charge.
Temperature guarantee: Whether it is an air conditioner or a furnace, your equipment should perform to standard temperatures. If it does not, a guarantee should provide for repair or replacement.
Property protection guarantee: If your property is damaged in the course of a company’s work, whether indoors or outdoors, a guarantee should provide for repair or replacement. This can include walls, doors frames, wood flooring, carpet, tiles, furniture, lawn, and shrubs.
At some point in your process of searching for and vetting heating and cooling contractors, pay attention to these last considerations.
Interacting with an HVAC contractor is easier when you know the basics of your HVAC system. Here is an overview of HVAC systems and components.
The “H” in HVAC stands for Heating. The heating part of your system warms air temperatures with a heat pump, boiler, geothermal unit, or furnace. Yours may be powered with electricity or fueled with gas, fuel oil, or propane.
When you speak with a technician about an issue with your heat, he or she will want to know what type of heating unit you have, the manufacturer, and the dates it was installed and last serviced.
The “V” in HVAC stands for Ventilation. Ventilation has to do with air quality and air circulation. Ductwork is what transports cool air throughout the house. Air filtration units govern air quality.
Ductwork should be monitored for cracks and leaks; it should also be cleaned periodically.
Air filtration systems should be checked monthly. Mechanical systems that utilize filters to trap pollutants should see regular replacing of the filters. Electronic systems make use of a charged surface that collects oppositely-charged pollutants. These systems should be checked periodically to make sure they are holding the charge.
The “AC” in HVAC stands for air conditioning. Your air conditioner may be a split ac system, a mini-split system, ductless, geothermal, or central ac system. Or you may have a heat pump which converts hot air to cool air.
Split, or two-part, systems have units inside and outside the house. An evaporator coil is inside the house, generally installed on top of a furnace. The outdoor equipment comprises a fan, condenser coil, compressor, and electrical components.
As with the heating and ventilation components of your HVAC system, when issues arise with your air conditioning, it helps to know what you have. Record the type of air conditioning unit installed in your home, the manufacturer, the installation date, and the date it was last serviced.
When you are knowledgeable about your HVAC system, at least at a basic level, you can maintain it better. A well-maintained HVAC system will perform optimally for years.