HVAC contractors have to meet specific requirements concerning licensure, insurance, and certifications on the type of work that is supposed to be done. The guidelines may vary greatly from one state to another.
1. Check out the insurance
We should point out that each of the requirements matters a lot. For instance, if the techs have a valid insurance policy, this will matter a lot in case of injury or accident. Don’t hesitate to verify the contractor’s liability insurance coverage. In many states, technicians are required to enroll on continuing education courses, which is also important as technologies evolve very fast nowadays.
2. Make sure the license is active
Why is a license important? Contractors need to meet specific requirements to get one (including training, experience, and insurance). As the HVAC system is among the most expensive equipment people have in their homes, it’s essential to work only with the contractors who meet the guidelines.
If you work with a licensed firm, it has a state Construction Contractors Board number or another valid alternative. Typically, this information can be seen on the company’s website. If it’s not the case, contact the contractor and inquire about the number. Now, you’re ready to check out the number through your state’s board and make sure the license is still active.
3. Check out certifications on specific types of work
Some of the things to be checked may include:
– certification through North American Technician Excellence or a similar organization
– certification required for a tech to have the right to handle refrigerant
– whether the techs are trained to test and balance installations (the standard is provided by the National Comfort Institute’s certification in air balancing)
– whether the technicians have training and experience with a specific brand. Each manufacturer is unique. This means that working with an LG air conditioner, for instance, can be somewhat different than working with a Carrrier air conditioner.
4. Write down what exactly you need
To begin with, do you already have an HVAC system or do you need to have it installed?
If you need a new HVAC system, write down square footage of the office or home and R-value of insulation. Also, take into consideration the number of windows and which way they face. All these, of course, can’t replace professional home evaluation.
With this information, you’ll be able to shop around for bids from several companies.
For the existing system, you’ll need to write down the brand and model as well as important facts regarding its maintenance history. Check out whether any rooms feel hot or cold.
If you think there’s just a minor problem, you might want to tackle it on your own using online guides for specific brands and equipment. For instance, if you own a Lennox furnace, check out for an error code and look for it in the list of Lennox furnace error codes. There’s a chance you’ll solve the problem on your own in just a quarter of an hour.
The same approach can be used for air conditioning systems: refer to LG Air conditioner error codes or a similar guide for another brand for DIY advice.
5. Ask whether you’ll get a home evaluation and written proposal
To make sure the most suitable solution is chosen, a contractor needs to do a home evaluation, including a thorough inspection of the duct system. Also, the contractor will need to work with industry software known as Manuals J, S, and D (this depends on the type of equipment that will be installed).
Having performed the evaluation, the firm should provide a precise itemized estimate (at least, via email. This will give you a chance to compare costs, warranties, and energy efficiency of the equipment provided by different contractors and brands.