There is never a circumstance where it is wrong to ask a question. Sincere inquiry is how we learn and how we keep ourselves out of a great deal of trouble.
If you are building a new home, remodeling or installing an HVAC system, you will be calling on your local HVAC provider. No doubt, there will be a few from which to choose, and at times it may seem overwhelming to know who to choose to do this important work in your home.
You want a skilfull company with good experience. You want a company that is up to date with the knowledge required to install and maintain the latest equipment. You want a good price and you want the best.
These questions will help you gather information for this all important decision.
How long have you been in business? The last thing you want is an unscrupulous set of people who have blown into the town for instance, after a natural disaster who want to make a quick buck and leave. Find out how long they have been in business. You want to get a sense off the depth of experience in the company.
On the other hand, if the company has been in business a long time, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have a good reputation. There are questions you can ask others about the company’s reputation.
Do you have a physical address? You want to know if they have a place of business where they have their central base of operations. Having a physical address also means they are established and will be in business longer as they are presenting themselves to the public as being in a stable place. Further, if you need to deal with someone in person for billing, warranty fulfillment, or any other issue, it is important to know where they have their business location.
What licenses do you carry? At the bare minimum, an HVAC company should have a local business license and any licensing required by the state in which they operate. This may be entitled the State Board of Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors.
What are your policies and standard practices in regard to your written quote? Do you offer a price quote guarantee? You don’t want to be surprised by an additional charge for something that happens during the time the company is working in your home. An accurate and consistent price quote also indicates to you the company has the professional skill to think through all the aspects of the work required and be able to accomplish those tasks within the price and time quoted.
Do you do drug testing at your company? What is your policy in regard to drug and alcohol use? You want a company that is going to send technicians to your home that can be trusted to be safe and competent.
Do you hire your employees directly or are they sub-contracted? Sub-contractors can do a good job, but you want to go with a company that does the work directly with hired employees. These employees will have the appropriate skill set and insurance coverages necessary to complete the job.
Do you offer an extended warranty? Some HVAC providers only provide the manufacturer’s warranty. Others offer their own extended warranty on parts and labor. Make sure you know what the company is offering.
Do your technicians wear a uniform and what is your overall dress code? You want people working in your home that are clean, polite, neat, and who care about how they present themselves.
If any additional permits or fees are necessary, are they expressed and defined in the price quote? Don’t be surprised by an extra out of pocket expense you were not expecting.
Do you have an office staff? Again, you want to be able to talk to someone in person to get your questions answered regarding any issue that may arise during installation, maintenance or repair of your HVAC system.
Who else will be on the jobsite in addition to your employees? Sometimes employees might bring a family member or a friend to see what their work day is like. Possibly, a technician might bring a person they consult with regarding special problems encountered at the job site. Make sure you know who is working on your project every day.
Do you carry Workers Compensation Insurance? Make sure this is provided as you don’t want to become liable for any accident on your property.
Do you provide an inspection checklist? After the installation, maintenance or repair procedure is finished, you want the company to go through an extensive, overall inspection to insure the unit is operating at peak performance.
Do you offer a no lemon guarantee? Sometimes, no matter how professional or competent the company, they receive a unit built by the manufacturer that is below standard and not working correctly. You want to make sure the company will absorb this cost and replace the unit.
What is your rating with the Better Business Bureau? The BBB is a great place to see if the company has had any complaints. If they have, did they resolve the complaints within an acceptable period of time.
What is your company policy in regard to pre-employment background screening? This is important as the employees will be in your home and working around your family and your possessions. You will want to keep convicted criminals out of your home.
Does your company offer a yearly service contract and will you remind me when maintenance is due? Life is complicated. Make sure the company will come out and service the unit for peak performance and let you know when it is time to do so.
Are you a member of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute? You could also ask if the technicians are certified by the North American Technician Excellence organization(NATE). These organizations create legislation, guidelines, standards, testing, and support to HVAC companies. Being members of these organizations indicates the company will be up to date with the latest installation, maintenance, and repair technologies available.
Are you able to provide references I can speak to regarding your work? Work with companies that other people respect and would use again. Ask around. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising.
Do you offer any rebates? Manufacturers sometime offer companies rebates they can pass on to the customer. Ask about these.
Do your employees clean up after each day of work? There is probably nothing more frustrating to a homeowner than to see debris and dirt building up over time. Choose a company that is sensitive to your home environment and respects it like you do.
What are the energy efficiency ratings of the equipment you are recommending to me? Everybody wants to save money and an HVAC system is one of the largest cost factors in a home. Use technologies and systems that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and have the Energy Star stamp of approval.
What manufacturer’s brand do you work with? Find this out and do some research. Find out for yourself about the manufacturer and their record of product quality.
How long will the project take to accomplish? Get this in writing. You want the work to fit into your life as much as possible.