No matter the time of year, hiring an HVAC company is crucial. But how do you know which one to choose?
Panic might be the first response when the heating or air conditioning stops working. Watching the temperature rise indoors during the summer can be worrisome, as can watching the numbers drop during the winter. No matter the time of year, hiring an HVAC company is crucial. But how do you know which one to choose? Asking the following questions before hiring offers insights into how the company operates and whether they're worth hiring for the job.
Is Your Company Licensed and Insured?
Many local areas require licensing, so if it's needed, make sure the company is licensed. During the initial call to contact an HVAC technician, ask about insurance, too. Things can go wrong, and accidents can happen. The homeowner may be held liable for injuries or damages if the company isn't insured. It may also be a good idea to see if the company is bonded and if they have any certifications that might be required, such as licensing from the EPA to handle refrigerant.
How Much Experience Do You Have?
HVAC companies that have worked in the local area for many years are often a better option. Too many people end up paying for HVAC work, then lose the money when the contractor disappears. By working with a local company, especially one with years of HVAC experience, homeowners can be sure they aren't falling for a scam. They'll know the work will be done as expected, as the company won't want to risk its reputation by taking the money and not providing the services.
Can You Provide References?
Requesting references from previous customers is a good idea, as this can help determine if the company is trustworthy and capable of doing the job. It is better to avoid working with a company if they can't or won't provide any references to call. Along with checking references, it is important to check local reviews to see what others say about the company.
Can You Provide a Written Estimate?
An estimate should be done in person, as the company will need to see what repairs are needed or whether a replacement is necessary. Once they have the required information, they should offer a written estimate of the costs. This helps prevent misunderstandings and can be compared to the final invoice to make sure everything was done.
Is the Work Guaranteed?
Many companies offer money-back guarantees, but not all. Often, a new HVAC system will come with a manufacturer's warranty, but it's also a good idea to inquire about a labor warranty. If the installation wasn't done correctly, the labor warranty might cover any repairs needed to ensure the HVAC system is reinstalled the right way.
Can My System be Repaired, or is a Replacement Necessary?
Once the professional looks at the system, ask if repairs are possible or if it's necessary to replace the unit. A professional should be able to provide a clear reason for their recommendation, such as the age of the unit, making a replacement a better plan. If they recommend replacing the unit, be sure to ask why a replacement is the better option.
How Long Will the Air Conditioner Last?
Ask how long it should last, no matter if the current unit is being repaired or replaced. New air conditioners, with proper care, should last up to 20 years. The amount of time repairs will last can depend on the repair type and the HVAC system's overall condition. Sometimes, repairs are only designed to help the air conditioner make it through the season. If this is the case, it's essential to know, so it'll be possible to start saving for a replacement.
Will This Impact My Energy Costs?
Repairs may not have a significant impact on utility bills, though some can, depending on the type of repair. When the air conditioner is being replaced, it's a good idea to find out how the new unit will impact the home's energy bills. Depending on the efficiency of the new unit and the one being replaced, the size of the HVAC unit, and other details, it is possible to see significant savings for monthly energy costs.
When Can You Begin? When Will You Finish the Job?
It's easy to forget to ask when the job can begin. Though many repairs can be done the same day, it may take longer to get the right parts if they aren't commonly stocked or for the replacement unit to arrive and be ready for installation.
Ask how long the job will take, too. Estimations for repairs and replacements can vary based on parts availability, the job's complexity, and other issues. It is essential to understand how long it will take so plans can be made if it is extremely hot or cold outside and the HVAC system isn't going to keep the home at a comfortable temperature.
What Payment Methods are Accepted?
HVAC companies will generally require a percentage of the total estimate up front and the remainder when the job is complete for larger jobs. For more minor repairs, the total may need to be paid in full once the repair is complete. Ask what payment methods are accepted to make sure it is available when the job is done. Also, for larger jobs, ask about financing if necessary.
Are There Any Special Offers or Rebates?
Replacing an HVAC system can be expensive, but special offers may be available through the company or tax breaks, rebates, and other discounts provided by the government. These are typically available when purchasing a new HVAC system because it will be more energy efficient, though there may be requirements that must be met to qualify for the tax break or rebate.
It's easy to feel a little panic when the HVAC system breaks down, but finding a company to work with shouldn't be hard. Use the questions here when contacting any HVAC company for an estimate to make it easier to choose the right one to work with for the repair or replacement.