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HVAC Repair / Services- How To Find The Right AC Company

It never fails that just as the weather hits triple digits, the air conditioning starts blowing hot air through the ducts. Alternatively, just as the first few snow flurries hit, the furnace decides to mysteriously malfunction.

When a central heating and cooling unit stops working correctly, finding a good HVAC contractor can add additional stress to an already difficult situation.

Whenever news stories report on unethical contractors, the victims often share one key trait: they seldom have more than a passing familiarity with the work they hired someone to do. When it comes to choosing a good HVAC contractor, consumers can protect themselves by attaining at least a basic understanding of HVAC systems and how they work. Web-based resources abound to provide basic laymen-level instruction on the specifics of HVAC systems, but they can vary widely depending on the model and the type of system. More on this webpage
The best resource for learning about an HVAC system is the owner’s manual; this should have been given to the homeowner when the new unit was installed. If the manual is missing, examination of the unit should reveal the manufacturer and model number. A new owner’s manual can be ordered from the manufacturer, and some manufacturers make their owner’s manuals available online. You might actually be able to solve the problem by following this step first.

Understanding the Legalities

Contractors should have appropriate licensing, insurance, and be bonded. Many states require licensing for all HVAC contractors, but in some states, apprentices are not required to be licensed. While apprentices are legally obligated to work under the direct supervision of a licensed HVAC professional, some less ethical companies may send their apprentices to work unsupervised. Homeowners should make certain that the HVAC technician performing their repairs and maintenance is personally licensed by the state. Even when the state does not require licensing, a technician who is licensed will be a better choice for quality repairs.
Insurance may be required by the state in order to meet contractors’ requirements, but large projects should also be backed by a surety bond. A contractor’s insurance will generally pay for any damages to the home or business caused by the contractor, either through negligence or accident. A contractor’s bond will reimburse homeowners for any breach of contract committed by the contractor. For example, if a contractor accidentally breaks a window with a toolbox, that damage would be paid by the insurance. If, on the other hand, a contractor takes a down payment and then disappears before completing the job, the down payment can be reimbursed by the bonding company.

Someone You Know
By far, the best way to find an HVAC contractor is to ask friends and family members for references. If the contractor has a history of doing high-quality work ahead of schedule and below budget, a homeowner can be fairly certain that the contractor will do similar work on his or her own home. If a homeowner doesn’t have friends or family members who can provide references, they can check with other home repair professionals they may have had dealings with. In the absence of home repair professionals, a homeowner can seek a referral from a trade or professional organization that deals with home contractors.

When choosing a contractor, especially for a large job, homeowners should not hesitate to request references, and to check those references thoroughly. Additionally, homeowners can check with their local Better Business Bureau to determine if the HVAC contractor has had any complaints against them. In some states, homeowners can check with the state licensing board to determine if there are any complaints against the contractor.

The Evaluation and Estimate
Most contractors will not be able to give a price quote over the phone. Contractors will often spend a lot of time evaluating the HVAC system and its efficiency. In addition to checking the HVAC system, some contractors will check for your current level of insulation, weather-stripping on the windows, and the quality of windows and door seals. After completing the evaluation, an HVAC contractor will provide an estimate.

When getting the estimate, look for a written, itemized estimate, and get a contract in writing before allowing the contractor to begin any work. For larger projects, a contractor should provide clear deadlines, specific part items and model numbers of any parts. The homeowner’s responsibility is to examine the work, to ensure that any parts used are the parts specified, and to ensure that the project continues on schedule.

Ask for Alternatives
In some cases, a contractor may attempt to have the homeowner purchase a new HVAC system to replace their existing model. While this may be the best option, it may not always be feasible to replace the HVAC system immediately. A good contractor can usually provide an alternative that would help the homeowner get by until the system can be replaced.

If a replacement model is called for, an HVAC contractor should be able to provide alternative models in a variety of price ranges. Any time HVAC replacement is required, multiple contractors should be consulted in order to allow for comparison of estimates. When a homeowner needs a replacement or a new system, homeowners should make sure to check the energy requirements of any models they are considering. HVAC systems that have met the Energy Star guidelines are more energy-efficient and can provide substantial savings on heating and cooling bills in the long run.

Request Further Information
HVAC contractors should be able to answer questions from homeowners, but homeowners must know which questions to ask. Homeowners should ask about maintenance schedules, filter changes, and suggestions to improve the energy efficiency of the home. The contractor should demonstrate any procedures for the homeowners that the homeowner does not understand. Contractors should also provide homeowners with any documentation that they may need in order to maintain their HVAC systems appropriately.

Millions of people rely on their HVAC systems to keep them comfortable in all kinds of weather. Choosing an HVAC contractor can be an intimidating prospect, but a good HVAC contractor will be able to ensure safety and comfort for all members of the family.

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