When your heating and cooling system breaks down, it can be tempting to call the first HVAC contractor you see advertised. However, it’s important to take the time to choose a reputable and qualified contractor who will do the job right. Here are seven factors to consider when choosing an HVAC contractor.
Experience is always the number-one factor when choosing an HVAC contractor. An experienced contractor will have the knowledge and expertise to properly assess your HVAC needs and install the right system for your home or office. Make sure to ask potential contractors how long they have been in business and for references from past clients.
Black-Haak, a heating and cooling company serving Wisconsin’s Fox Valley and the surrounding areas, recommends that you research a contractor’s experience by asking for referrals from friends or family or checking online review sites.
If you receive any negative reviews, ask the contractor how they plan to address the issue. You can also visit the Better Business Bureau’s website to check for any complaints against a potential contractor.
2. License and Insurance
Any reputable HVAC contractor should be licensed and insured. A license indicates that the contractor has met the qualifications set by the state in which they operate. Insurance protects you and the contractor in case of accidents or damage during installation.
Be sure to ask to see proof of both license and insurance before hiring a contractor. If something goes wrong during installation, you’ll be glad you chose a licensed and insured contractor. Otherwise, you may be stuck footing the bill for repairs or damages.
It’s also important to ensure that your contractor has workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance protects you if one of the contractor’s employees is injured while working on your property. If a contractor does not have the proper insurance, you could be liable if someone is injured while they’re working on your home.
You can verify a contractor’s license by checking with your state’s licensing board or department of consumer affairs. Most states require HVAC contractors to be licensed, but the requirements vary from state to state.
While you don’t want to choose the cheapest contractor you can find, the cost is still an important factor to consider. Get quotes from several different contractors before making a decision. Be sure to compare not only the price of the equipment but also the cost of installation and ongoing maintenance. With HVAC systems, you often get what you pay for, so be wary of any contractor offering deals that seem too good to be true.
There are instances where some contractors may low-ball their estimate to get the job. To ensure you’re getting a fair price, ask the contractor for a breakdown of the estimated costs. This way, you can see what you’re paying for and verify that the price is reasonable.
Additionally, ask about hidden fees or extra charges before agreeing to hire a contractor. Some contractors may charge extra for permits or cleanup, so you’ll want to be aware of these costs up front.
If you find out that a contractor is charging significantly less than the other estimates you’ve received, be sure to ask why. There could be a legitimate reason for the lower price, or they could be cutting corners somewhere. You don’t want to decide solely based on cost, but it’s still an important factor to consider when choosing an HVAC contractor.
Some contractors charge a diagnostic fee just for coming to your home and assessing the problem. Be sure to ask about this fee so that there are no surprises later on.
Be sure to ask about warranties on equipment and labor when choosing an HVAC contractor. Most reputable contractors will offer some warranty on their work. The length and terms of the warranty will vary depending on the company, so be sure to get all the details in writing before making a decision.
Also, inquire about what kind of warranty the HVAC equipment offers. Many manufacturers offer extended warranties on their products, saving you money in the long run if something goes wrong. If a contractor doesn’t offer any warranty on their work, that should be a red flag.
It’s also a good idea to avoid contractors who only offer verbal warranties. Get everything in writing in case you need to use the warranty down the road. Failure to do so could result in you paying for repairs out of your pocket.
When choosing an HVAC contractor, be sure to ask for references. A reputable contractor should have no problem providing you with a list of satisfied customers. Follow up on these references and ask questions about the quality of work, customer service, and overall experience. If a contractor is unwilling or unable to provide references, that’s a red flag. You may want to consider working with someone else.
Be sure to ask about the contractor’s schedule before making a decision. You’ll want to know how long the project will take and when they’ll be able to start work. If you have a specific timeline, ensure the contractor can meet your needs.
Also, find out if the contractor works with other clients simultaneously. You don’t want your project to be put on the back burner in favor of other clients. Make sure that you’ll have the contractor’s full attention during the duration of your project. This is a critical factor as you want the job done right and promptly.
Make sure that you’re on the same page with the contractor before work begins. This means clearly understanding the scope of work, the timeline, and the cost. Keep records of emails and texts, and be sure to document everything.
Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that the contractor is easy to communicate with. They should be responsive to your questions and concerns throughout the project. If you’re unable to get ahold of them or they’re difficult to work with, that’s a red flag.
You should feel comfortable communicating with your contractor from start to finish. After all, this is someone you’ll be working with closely on a major project and who you’ll be giving a lot of money to. If you don’t feel like you can have an open and honest relationship with them, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
Work with the Experts
Choosing the right HVAC contractor doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these simple steps, you can rest assured knowing you’ve made the best decision for your project.
Black-Haak has been proudly serving Appleton, Grand Chute, Greenville, Kaukauna, and the rest of the Fox Valley and northeast Wisconsin since 1956. In addition to our wide array of heating and cooling services, we offer electrical panel, wiring, and switch installation repair, maintenance, and service. We’re also your go-to company for the installation and service of generators, geothermal heating and cooling systems, water tanks, and more. Contact Black-Haak today for more information and to schedule your appointment.