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. In contrast, if your HVAC system is newer, you likely want to ensure that it keeps running optimally by scheduling regular maintenance. In any case, you will have a need for an HVAC consultant sooner or later.
But while you will find a lot of HVAC companies today, they’re not all made equal. 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.
Come to think of it, your HVAC system is probably the highest-priced equipment there is in your home, and you want a guarantee that anyone who touches it is appropriately trained. In most states, proper licensing is required of contractors in the HVAC industry; to get it, a they need a minimum of five years’ experience in the field before applying for the license.
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 by itself won’t guarantee a contractor’s good performance, but it does reflect stability as a business, which in turn conveys that the contractor is likely doing his job well. Furthermore, you can ask them if they possess any certifications that HVAC technicians and companies normally have: certification by associations such as the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) adds to your peace of mind, knowing that a technician or contractor is updated with their education and experience in the HVAC business.
Technician training typically covers various aspects of the industry, especially two of the most crucial: refrigerant handling and air balancing. Check if the technicians have certification for handling refrigerants in the first place. According to Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, anybody who does not have such certification is prohibited from working 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. Remember that each system or manufacturer is unique, and a quality HVAC contractor will see to it that their technicians are equipped with the right training for optimal installations.