How to Hire an HVAC Contractor
Check the licenses and training of a heating and cooling technicians
By Sylvia Cochran
HVAC contractors can deal with all of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs. Professionals in this field make it possible for home and business owners to enjoy a comfortable indoor environment year-round.
- What You Need to Know
- There are some standard licensing and certification requirements for HVAC technicians that give you a good starting point for evaluating HVAC service companies.
Call local HVAC contractors and ask if your home is in their service area. There’s no use considering an HVAC professional if you are too far away for their services.
Decide which HVAC professional communicates most effectively. Most homeowners want a contractor who will take the time to educate them about their options. Ask each contractor what he or she recommends for your HVAC system and decide if that advice seems reasonable.
You may want to look for contractors that are certified by NATE (North American Technician Excellence), an industrywide qualification that recognizes HVAC experts. Many states do not offer state licenses for HVAC workers, but technicians may be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency, which offers a universal HVAC examination.
Once a contractor has won your confidence, invite him or her to visit the property and prepare a written bid. This bid should include all of the material needed and associated costs, the time frame for the project, and information about required permits. You should also discuss how you will deal with unanticipated situations. The bid may be based on clear access for the vents, etc. and obstacles may arise. Be sure you understand how the contractor will deal with those situations and what the charges will be.
If you are satisfied with the bid, ask the HVAC contractor to provide proof of liability and workers' compensation insurance. Liability insurance protects your property against faulty workmanship. Workers’ compensation covers you if the contractor or his employees are injured on your property. If you want, you can verify with the issuer that the policies are current.
Sign a contract that spells out the duties of each party. Make sure it includes a detailed payment and work completion schedule and automatic lien release after the final payment. A lien release prevents a lien being placed against your house by the contractor. If there are subcontractors used during the project, be sure the lien release includes them too.
About the Author
Sylvia Cochran is a regular contributor to DexKnows, specializing in home and garden.
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