When you’re looking for someone to perform maintenance on your home, it’s important to make sure you’re hiring the right person for the job. There aren’t many services where this choice is more important than when you’re fixing or replacing your HVAC system. Whether you have an older furnace or a cutting-edge mini-split, a well-functioning temperature control system is vital to maintaining a safe and comfortable home.
Not everyone claiming to be an HVAC contractor will have the expertise to do the job right. If the contractor does shoddy work and you need another round of repairs, it could make a sizable dent on your budget — and cause severe discomfort until the problem is solved.
Follow these tips to make sure you’re hiring a home heating contractor with the right expertise for the job.
1. Find out What Licenses are Required for Home Heating Contractors in Your State
Most states require contractors to have a license. It pays to do a bit of research about these requirements so you can avoid choosing someone who is not qualified for the job.
For example, Washington state requires HVAC technicians to have an electrician license. HVAC technicians must begin with a trainee license, go through an apprenticeship program, and build up experience and knowledge before passing the exam to become a journey electrician or higher.
2. Ask Friends for Referrals
One of the best ways to find a quality home heating contractor is to get referrals from people you trust. If they had a good experience, chances are you will too.
Ask friends, neighbors, coworkers, and any family members who live nearby. You can also contact a local trade organization or look at online reviews.
3. Get Proof of Insurance
HVAC services can be surprisingly hazardous. To keep yourself protected from surprise bills, it’s important to make sure the home heating contractor you choose has general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Don’t feel bad about asking for proof. A reputable home heating contractor will expect and be ready for these types of questions!
4. Ask the Contractor for References
You also don’t need to be afraid to ask contractors for customer references. This is a normal and expected question, and home heating contractors will not be offended if you ask.
Give at least a couple of customers a call to learn more about the contractor’s performance. Make sure to find out if the job was completed properly, on time, and within budget.
5. Look for Discounts and Special Offers on HVAC Systems
A new HVAC system is one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make as a homeowner. A discount can make a huge difference for your bank account.
Check for discounted prices, special offers, and any rebates that may be available on energy-efficient equipment. Energy Star is a great starting point for finding rebates in your area. In addition, you can ask contractors if they have any specials at the moment.
6. Get Itemized Estimates for Multiple Contractors
When you are comparing bids or proposals, make sure you’re taking expected energy efficiency, warranties, and other aspects of the project into consideration.
A higher price may be worth it if the contractor can give you a more efficient HVAC system. You’ll be saving more money on energy down the road, so the higher cost will pay for itself.
7. Ask for a Signed Proposal
HVAC services are usually major projects, and it’s important to make sure everything is done the way you need it. That’s why we recommend signing a written proposal with the contractor before the work begins.
A signed proposal should specify project costs, the job schedule, relevant model numbers, and warranty information. Having everything in writing will protect you down the road.
8. Know the Model and Maintenance History of your HVAC System
While you don’t necessarily need to know all the mechanics of your HVAC system, it does help to know what model it is so the contractor can look up any information they need.
A maintenance history can also provide the contractor with helpful information. For example, comparing the HVAC system’s current status with where it should be based on recent maintenance will help them determine whether any parts of your system are degrading or getting dirty faster than they should.
9. Make Note of Any Vents or Rooms that Seem to Get Less Heat
If one area of your home is always warmer or colder than the rest of the house, it’s quite possible there’s a problem with a portion of the HVAC system. Heat may not be evenly distributed between vents, or there might be a blockage.
Sometimes, warmer or cooler rooms are caused by external factors like air leaks or windows. But in other cases, a home heating contractor may be able to fix the problem — as long as you tell them about it.
10. Know What to Expect from the Contractor
A good home heating contractor will always begin by inspecting your current HVAC system. If they are installing a new HVAC system, they will need to know the size of your house, type and amount of windows, and level of insulation throughout your home.
The contractor should also inspect the duct system in your home for air leaks and insulation issues. To ensure your duct system meets manufacturer specifications, they should measure the airflow.
11. Choose Energy-efficient Products
Many home heating contractors sell HVAC products with different levels of energy efficiency. The most energy-efficient HVAC products may be more expensive upfront, but they will help you save on energy in the long run.
As a minimum, look for Energy Star qualified products, which meet energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ask contractors to show you projected calculations of savings from using energy-efficient heating systems.
Hiring a Home Heating Contractor in the Puget Sound Region
Paragon Heating and Home Comfort Solutions serves homeowners across Snohomish and East King Counties from Bellevue to Marysville. Our specialty is furnace installation and repair, but we also help with air conditioning systems, heat pumps, thermostats, water heaters, and more. We have a tradition of high-quality workmanship as well as exceptional service.
Our customer service hours are 8am-6pm Mon-Fri and 8am-1pm on Saturday, but we also take calls after hours for an additional charge. Contact us today by phone or email to get a quote.