There are not many maintenance issues in a home that are more frustrating than problems with the heating and cooling system. Your HVAC system is complex and it is important that you find a service provider who is well-trained and experienced in diagnosing the problem and fixing your air conditioning or heating units. Working with electrical or gas heating systems and cooling systems that use toxic refrigerants like freon should be handled by someone who knows what they are doing, for safety reasons.

Not too long ago, air conditioners hung in windows and heaters were referred to as the “furnace”. Maintaining these units was relatively simple. Technology has made it essential that today’s heating and cooling, with its complex ductwork and ventilation systems, be serviced by competent, well-trained professionals. will help you find the best HVAC provider for your needs.

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Hire an HVAC expert who is licensed, insured and bonded

Only a licensed HVAC service provider has the necessary certifications to show that they have been trained in all aspects of repairing and maintaining heating and cooling systems. Many states and sometimes individual cities and municipalities require that contractors are licensed and certified. You should be familiar with the requirements in your particular area, and don’t hesitate to ask for proof of licensing from the provider that you hire.

A licensed, certified technician should be competent in understanding how all parts of the system, including electrical wiring, combustion, ventilation and exhaust, refrigerants and airflow, work together to supply heating and cooling to your home. Safety is of utmost importance to prevent injuries or even deaths, such as from carbon monoxide poisoning, which can occur if a system isn’t functioning properly or is incorrectly installed. HVAC companies should carry an adequate amount of liability and workers’ compensation insurance in the event that property is damaged or a worker is injured on the job.

Inquire about plumbing licenses

Heating and cooling repairs often require plumbing work to supply oil or natural gas to heating units, so make sure that the provider you hire has the necessary plumbing licenses or is able to provide a licensed plumber to complete the necessary repairs. Some areas license HVAC contractors specifically for performing this type of work, so if this is the case, make sure to inquire about the specific licenses that your HVAC provider holds.

Interview Several Companies if Possible

If your air conditioner conks out during the most sweltering days of summer or your heater goes awry during freezing winter weather, you may want to find an HVAC service provider immediately. However, if time allows, and particularly, if you plan to install major, costly upgrades to your heating or cooling system, research HVAC companies on, then interview several of your top choices prior to deciding which one to hire. Ask for references from a list of their recent customers and contact them to find out how satisfied they were with the work done, and if it was completed in a timely manner. Inquire if their HVAC units are continuing to work efficiently and if there have been any issues that have developed with the work that was done. Get an estimate of what the job will cost from at least three different companies.

Because repairing or replacing HVAC systems can set you back financially, the quote you get may heavily influence which company you hire. Get an estimate from at least three different companies. You may find that estimates vary widely between them. Determine what constitutes the difference in prices. You may want to opt for a less expensive unit that will operate to your satisfaction. However, make sure that the company you are considering provides every detail and scope of the job and a timeframe for completion. Get all of this in writing.

Find out what brands they carry

Companies often specialize in a certain brand or two and are often limited to a few brands they carry. After researching the various brands and their price comparisons, you may have a specific brand in mind that you want to purchase. Therefore, you may want to limit your choice to companies that carry or specialize in that particular brand. If your current system operates on a newer, energy-efficient model or design, or utilizes an older type of operating system, such as a steam-driven radiator, make sure you hire a company that has adequate experience and knowledge of that particular system.

Tax credits and rebates

Often, tax credits or rebates are offered on specific types of equipment, so it’s worth inquiring whether your purchase qualifies for any of these incentives. Be sure to get the necessary documentation that your federal, state, or local agencies require you to supply when applying for these benefits.

Payment schedules and installments

You may want to pay for the cost of your project over a period of time, particularly on a costly job for which you are purchasing new, expensive equipment. Find out what will be required for a deposit, and whether you can set up installment payments for the balance of the bill. Some HVAC contractors will provide a payment plan or line of credit through their company, but make sure you read the contract carefully so you know exactly what your financial responsibility will be.

Service Contracts

Many companies will provide service and maintenance plans on new or existing equipment. While this can provide the customer with peace of mind that their HVAC system will be regularly serviced and always in good, running order, make sure you read the contract carefully so you know exactly what the maintenance plan covers.

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