Evaluating an HVAC Contractor’s Qualifications
Has your HVAC system been running for at least a decade? You’re probably thinking of replacing it in a few years. If your HVAC system is newer, on the other hand, you will likely do everything to ensure that it runs well by scheduling periodic maintenance. Either way, time will come when you’ll need to hire an HVAC consultant.
However, though you will surely find a lot of HVAC companies these days, none of them will be exactly the same. You must pick wisely and that you can do only if you are well-informed. There are many factors to consider before hiring an HVAC contractor, but none as crucial as qualifications.
Besides, your HVAC system is likely the priciest equipment in your home, and you need assurance that whoever touches it has necessary training. States often require HVAC contractors to have a license; to have one, they need no less than five years of industry experience prior to the date of application.
If you live in a state in which HVAC contractors need not be licensed, choose an insured and bonded contractor anyway, so you will not be liable for accidents or damages that occur on site.
After considering licensing, check your potential contractor’s experience. Longevity alone isn’t a guarantee that a contractor will perform well on the job, but it does indicate stability, which in turn suggests that they are doing things right. Moreover, you can inquire about the certifications HVAC contractors and technicians are supposed to have: certification by organizations like the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) helps ensure that a technician is up to date with his education and experience in the industry.
Technician training often extends to all important facets of the industry, especially refrigerant handling and air balancing, which are considered to be two of the most vital. Do the company even have certification for refrigerant handling? Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, people who have no such certification must never be allowed to handle the coolant. Today’s technicians must also have training in the area of testing and balancing installations to maximize comfort and efficiency; the National Comfort Institute’s air balancing certification provides a training standard that all homeowner should know.
Lastly, ask your potential contractor what top brands they carry, and whether their technicians are trained to work with such brands. Keep in mind that every HVAC system or manufacturer is different, and a reputable contractor will always make sure that their technicians have all the necessary training to optimize installations.