Finding quality HVAC companies
By Hannah McKenzie
Q: The central HVAC system at my home is 10 years old. I’ve never had an HVAC service contract and I expect to need repairs as the system gets older. How do I know I’m hiring a reputable HVAC company to do maintenance, repairs and eventually install a new comfortable and energy efficient system when I need one?
A: It can be daunting to find an HVAC company that you trust. The vast majority of HVAC professionals are honest and hardworking but, just like the caliber of food varies from Subway to a steakhouse, HVAC professionals have different levels of knowledge, skills and pay structures. It is important to find an HVAC company that fits your specific needs and desires.
Hiring an HVAC company for yearly routine maintenance not only gives you an opportunity to establish a relationship with them long before a new system is discussed, but also fosters a good life for your current system.
Routine maintenance is best done in late spring or early fall, as temperatures are not at extremes and HVAC companies are less busy. Maintenance may include: cleaning the coils and ensuring proper air flow, and checking the duct system’s condition, mechanical operations of system fan(s) and refrigerant charge. By performing maintenance before the HVAC unit breaks, you will know that most components are okay and it is only a matter of diagnosing and fixing the specific problem. If you wait until the unit no longer operates properly, you may be at the mercy of the technician’s diagnostic skills.
To find an HVAC company, ask friends and family who have had recent HVAC work done. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and read online reviews through social media or other group sources. Your local electric cooperative may also provide HVAC maintenance or replacement programs that include rebates, preferred contractors and homeowner comments/ratings.
If possible, find an HVAC company that specializes in your brand of equipment. A good technician can work on anything but a company that specializes in a particular brand is often able to purchase the parts cheaper than a company that does not sell that brand.
Request a technician who has attended a technical college or has been certified by a nationally recognized training provider such as North American Technician Excellence (NATE). Ask for his or her name and ID number, then contact NATE to verify that technician’s certification, knowledge and training.
Feeling confident about your HVAC company can ensure your HVAC system is getting appropriate TLC throughout its lifespan and especially during its later years. Next month, we will explore steps and considerations for HVAC repairs.
For more information about NATE, visit hvacradvice.com or call (877) 420-6283.
Special thanks to Chris Reynolds, HVAC technician and licensed HVAC contractor with Advanced Energy, for his information. Chris has six NATE certifications, an HVAC license and years of field experience.