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How to Choose a HVAC Contractor

You depend on your home heating and cooling equipment to keep your family comfortable throughout the year; when that valuable equipment needs to be serviced, your professional HVAC contractors should be just as dependable. To make sure your HVAC devices run as efficiently as possible for years to come, you need to choose the right HVAC contractor. Keeping a few things in mind will help you find the best contractor for the job.

NATE Certification

Many fields require professionals to seek independent certification, and the HVAC industry is no exception. By far the most highly regarded certification in the industry comes from North American Technician Excellence, Inc. or NATE. NATE certified technicians have demonstrated a high degree of proficiency in installation, maintenance and repair after completing rigorous training. Because these commercial HVAC contractors and technicians are familiar with all makes and models of heating and cooling equipment, they are great choices for most jobs no matter what type of equipment your home has.

Factory Authorization

The biggest manufacturers in the HVAC industry, Carrier and Bryant, award certain highly capable contractors with factory authorization. To become a factory authorized dealer, a licensed HVAC contractor must demonstrate consistent customer satisfaction as documented by third-party customer surveys. Furthermore, factory authorized dealers are required to employ a certain percentage of NATE-certified technicians, which means they have the same degree of technical proficiency and familiarity with all makes and models that the NATE program requires. Finally, factory authorized dealers must demonstrate consistent brand loyalty, which means they are experts on Carrier or Bryant systems. Looking for factory authorized dealers is a great way to find a commercial HVAC contractor, especially for installation jobs. These dealers are also great sources for replacement parts such as filters.

HVAC Installation

A new heating or cooling system is an investment in the future of your home and family; to ensure the best possible return on that investment, you need a great HVAC contractor to install the new equipment. When looking for someone to set up your new heater or air conditioner, be wary of companies that offer you a quote before coming to your home. Great HVAC installation starts with a full load calculation to determine exactly how much heating or cooling power your home needs; if the contractor offers to sell you a system based on the size of your existing equipment or just quickly calculates the capacity using your home's square footage, look elsewhere.

Again, factory authorized dealers make the best installation professionals. Because they specialize in a particular brand of equipment, they know the manufacturer's specifications and can make sure every piece of equipment they install meets those exacting standards. Furthermore, factory authorized dealers have demonstrated a commitment to customer satisfaction, and that commitment shines through in their installation services. To find the right heater or air conditioner for your home, you need an HVAC company that is willing to work with you, and factory authorized dealers are always happy to do just that.

Repair Services

When your all-important furnace or air conditioner suddenly shuts down, it can be tempting to just find the nearest available HVAC contractor and go from there. In reality, the best policy is to find the best available contractor to make sure your comfort equipment gets back in working order as soon as possible. Even if your repair need is not an emergency, one good option is to look for companies that offer 24/7 emergency repair services. Offering those services shows that the company in question cares about its customers and takes repair work seriously.

Whether the repair project promises to be big or small, look for a company that will start the process off on the right foot with a free estimate. When comparing prices, be sure to ask about overtime charges; while extra overtime fees are not necessarily a problem, some companies abuse them to offer deceptively low prices. Finally, don't forget to look for NATE certification. Because certified technicians have demonstrated proficiency with all makes and models along with a high degree of repair competence, they are the safest choice for any repair job.

General Tips

In some ways, choosing an HVAC contractor is no different from choosing a professional in any other field. Look for a company that has an office or shop, as this demonstrates a strong intent to stay in business. Better yet, visit the office in person and take a look at its condition and overall cleanliness. Go to the company's website and see whether it is well-written. If an HVAC company takes other aspects of its business seriously, you can rest assured that the services you receive will benefit from the same attention to detail.