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. 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. In any case, sooner or later, you’re going to have 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 have to choose wisely and you can only do that when you choose informed. There are several factors to take into account before hiring an HVAC service provider, but nothing can be as critical 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. 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.
Aside from a state license, they should also have a minimal level of bonding and insurance.
Once you have considered licensing, take your prospective contractor’s experience into account. On its own, longevity doesn’t guarantee that a contractor is a good one, but it does show that they have stability as a business, and that they must be doing something right. On top of that, you can ask them regarding the certifications that HVAC contractors and technicians are expected to have: certification issued by such organizations as the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) work to ensure that a technician is abreast in terms of education and industry experience.
Technician training can cover several areas of the industry, but most importantly, the air balancing and handling of refrigerants. 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. Technicians these days also need to be trained in testing and balancing installations with the goal of increasing efficiency and comfort; the National Comfort Institute’s certification in air balancing is considered a training standard that homeowners need to be aware of.
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.