If you're hiring a heating contractor for work in your Chicago-area home, it's in your best interests to do your homework. Using a fly-by-night company with a less than stellar reputation can lead to faulty installation, repair and maintenance and cost you much more in the long run. These seven tips will help you hire a reputable, reliable HVAC contractor.
- Gather your facts. Prepare notes of problems you are experiencing, such as cold rooms or hard to cool places in your home. Compile and review any service records and owner’s manuals of your current system. Make sure the contractor carries and has proper insurance coverage. What you don’t know can cost you, so don’t be afraid to ask and research.
- Look for affiliations. A reputable contractor should belong to one or more associations, such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. Additionally, the technicians hired by the company should be certified by the North American Technician Excellence, or NATE.
- Ask for referrals. Friends, co-workers and family members who have worked with certain contractors can help guide your search for a reputable company.
- Expect an in-person evaluation. Beware of contractors who try to give you an estimate without inspecting your home to evaluate the actual work that will need to be done. The correct sizing of a new furnace, for example, requires an inspection of your current system, the existing ductwork and other factors, such as the insulation levels in your home.
- Ask for and call references. A reputable company will be happy to provide you with references. Call the references and ask about the performance of the company, including whether the work specified was done to the customer's satisfaction, within budget and on time.
- Get written, itemized estimates. Compare the estimates of two or more contractors, paying particular attention to the energy efficiency of the equipment, cost and warranties. The lowest price may not be the best choice in the long run.
- Ask for it in ink. Before the contractor begins work, ask for and sign a written proposal that specifies the cost of the project and supplies the model numbers of the equipment, warranty information and the job schedule.
For more information about hiring a heating contractor in Chicago, please feel free to contact us at Comfort24-7.com. All the dealers in our network are licensed and install Carrier or Bryant parts and products.