Assessing the Qualifications of an HVAC Contractor
Is your HVAC system a decade old or older? You may be planning to replace it in the next few years. Then again, if your HVAC system is newer, you must want to make sure that it continues to work right by scheduling consistent maintenance. Either way, time will come when you’ll need to hire an HVAC consultant.
However, while you will find many HVAC companies out there, none of them are created equal. You need to choose smart and that is only possible when you choose educated. There are many factors to consider before hiring an HVAC contractor, but none as crucial as qualifications.
Besides, your HVAC system is most likely the priciest equipment you have bought for your home, and you want to be assured that anybody who lays a hand on it is appropriately trained. Most states need HVAC industry to have a license, which they can obtain only after gaining a minimum of five years’ experience before their application date.
If the work will be done a state where HVAC contractors don’t need a license, work with an insured and bonded contractor anyway, if only to free yourself from liability in the event of on site damages or accidents.
Once you have considered licensing, take your prospective contractor’s experience into account. 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 typically covers various aspects of the industry, especially two of the most crucial: refrigerant handling and air balancing. Make sure the technicians are certified to handle refrigerants in the first place. Section 608 of the Clean Air Act dictates that a person without such certification should never be allowed to work with 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.
Finally, ask your prospective contractor if they carry top brands, and what training their technicians have with these brands. Note that HVAC systems and manufacturers are unique, and a good HVAC contractor will always make it a point that their staff is well-equipped with all the relevant training that help ensure quality installations.