How to Select a Heating and Cooling Contractor?



Homeowner HVAC reviews

Whether your home’s heating and cooling system is in need of routine maintenance, emergency repairs or a total replacement, selecting a qualified HVAC contractor is an important, yet often daunting task. To ensure you hire a qualified professional that best fits the job, there are several important steps to take.


Do Research

 

A little internet research can go a long way in weeding out subpar HVAC service companies. 


  • Heating and cooling manufacturers’ websites often provide an independent dealer locator with contact information and key details for contractors near your location.
  • Websites like Nextdoor and Yelp may make it easier to locate local contractors, identify recommended companies, and read customer reviews.
  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), an organization that represents HVAC contractors, offers a searchable database of its contractor members.
  • Better Business Bureau provides accreditation and gives businesses a letter grade, from A+ to F, based on information it is able to obtain, including complaints received from the public.

Referrals

 

Ask neighbors, friends, and family for referrals. Referrals can give a homeowner insight as to the type of experience they can expect from a particular contractor. Similarly, you can ask contractors for customer references and contact them to gather more information. According to energystar.gov, homeowners should “ask [the references] about the contractor's installation or service performance and if the job was completed on time and within budget.”


Read Reviews

A quick glance at the number of review stars can often be misleading. Be sure to read the written comments and look for licensed contractors with a good reputation for value, quality and customer service.

  • Did the contractor address the problem?
  • Did the contractor provide clear details of the problem to the homeowner?
  • Did the contractor resolve disputes in a timely, thoughtful, and respectful manner?

 

Reading reviews may provide a homeowner with insight as to a contractor’s commitment to customers’ satisfaction. Providing prompt solutions and addressing any errors is the mark of a good service company.


What to Look For in a HVAC Contractor?


Your state may require that HVAC contractors be licensed, bonded and insured. This information can often be found online. Once you have scheduled a service appointment, there are a few things to pay attention to:


Communication:
  Does the technician or dispatcher stay in touch with you by phone, text, or email leading up to the service appointment? Do they communicate any schedule changes in a timely manner?


Punctuality:
  Does the technician arrive within the specified time window?


Appearance:
Does the technician appear “work ready” or are they wearing a dealer
uniform?


Certification:
Many technicians are certified through organizations such as NATE (North American Technician Excellence), and these patches are often displayed on their uniforms. Does your technician have any certification patches displayed on their uniform?


Patience:
Does the technician listen to your concerns, take time to explain their findings and answer any questions you may have?


Thoroughness:
Depending on the nature of the appointment (emergency vs annual inspection), a technician may perform a complete system evaluation and/or an inspection. This process can take time and should not just be a quick once-over. Upon completion, the technician should go over any concerning results.


Documentation:
The technician should provide written documentation of all the work done and/or provides quotes in writing.


A good technician will be pleasant, professional, knowledgeable, courteous, patient and willing to answer your questions. Remember, they are a service company — their job is to serve you to the best of their ability. If you are not happy with something, do not be afraid to ask them to fix it.


Value and Service Expectations


It is important to seek the best value for your particular home’s need. If you are looking to purchase and install a new heating or cooling system (or both) from a contractor, be sure you are working with a professional licensed HVAC contractor who is willing to provide a limited warranty for their work and products installed. Doing the job properly the first time may help eliminate the need for repeat visits, as well as ensure your system is running at peak performance.


Many HVAC service companies offer maintenance agreements, which provide for scheduled maintenance of the HVAC system and equipment. This can be a worthwhile investment. Maintaining the efficiency of your equipment and components can help ensure peak performance and may extend the life of the system.


Manufacturer Dealer Locator


Most HVAC manufacturers provide tools to assist homeowners in finding an independent dealer. Goodman’s dealer locator lists independent HVAC contractors who offer professional and licensed HVAC services by location, services provided and certification. These contractors typically offer a value-focused, flexible and informative approach to heating or cooling maintenance, service or purchases.


cta-outline_find-dealer
 

By Jen (Anesi) Roby, former Legislative Editor at ACHR NEWS magazine and current Chief Editor for Plumbing & Mechanical. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (ACHR) NEWS is the HVACR contractor’s weekly newsmagazine and is the industry’s most trusted and utilized direct communications link to the HVACR buyer. www.achrnews.com/publications