Your HVAC system is like your car. Your car needs routine maintenance to keep it running well over the years. Your heating and air conditioning system needs routine maintenance to function during the heat of summer and cold of winter.
You also need a qualified HVAC contractor if you are installing a new central heating or air conditioning system. Central HVAC installations are generally outside the realm of DIY projects for the average person.
So you go online and you will soon find two dozen contractors servicing and installing air conditioners and heating systems.
How do you find the right HVAC technology for your job?
Generally speaking, each state will have specific requirements regarding licensing for HVAC technicians and contractors. For example, in California, if you service, install, and / or repair heating and air conditioning systems, you must be licensed by the State Contractors Licensing Board (CSLB).
Make sure an HVAC technician is properly licensed in your state and meets all the basic requirements for doing business in your state. For example, most states in the US will require an air conditioning and heating company to be licensed and adhered to.
Request references and references
In the age of Yelp reviews, people tend to forget about good referrals, but referrals are one of the strongest ways to find a good service company. Your neighbors, your co-workers, and your family most likely have central air conditioning and central heating systems. And all of them have used an air conditioning and heating technician to repair or service their system.
So ask them for a reference.
When calling potential heating and air conditioning companies, be sure to ask for references. Asking for references is standard operating practice when it comes to any type of service business. That goes for construction, plumbing, or HVAC.
If a company is unwilling or unable to provide references? Do not use them.
If a company gives you references? Make sure to call them. It sounds obvious, but many people ask for references and then don’t follow up to make sure those references are valid.
Get estimates in writing
For larger jobs, like a major heating system overhaul or a new air conditioner installation, be sure to get a couple of estimates from a couple of different companies.
The general rule of thumb says: Get 3 estimates. For major jobs, you may want to get more than three. Make sure each budget is written and detailed. If a company gives you a quote for a central air conditioning installation and it consists of a single item “AC Installation” and a flat fee without taking into account labor time, parts, etc., you probably don’t want to bother from them.
What if you just need routine air conditioning and heating maintenance? An in-person estimate can be a bit extreme. References, assignments, and telephone estimates may be sufficient. But you will still want to get the service agreements in writing.
Most HVAC companies offer annual service plans or service contracts in which a technician will come in twice a year to service your air conditioning and heating system (i.e. furnace) for a fixed fee. Those fees typically range from $ 50 to $ 100 a year.
Don’t be swayed by brands
Manufacturers of air conditioners and furnaces spend a lot of money and time on marketing. Marketing that is largely designed to give you the impression that Furnace Y is better than Furnace X. The truth is, brand name matters a lot less when it comes to HVAC.
What makes the difference? The competence and experience of your HVAC company and its technicians.