Assessing the Qualifications of an HVAC Contractor
Is your HVAC system a decade old or older? You’re probably thinking of replacing it in a 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. In any case, you will have a need for an HVAC consultant sooner or later.
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 certainly lots of factors to look into before hiring an HVAC contractor, but none as vital 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. 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 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 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. Make sure the technicians are certified to handle refrigerants in the first place. Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, people who have no such certification must never be allowed to handle the coolant. Technicians nowadays should be trained in testing and balancing installations to ensure comfort and efficiency; the National Comfort Institute’s air balancing certification is now viewed as a standard for training that every homeowner does well to know.
Finally, find out what top brands are carried by your potential contractor, and the extent of training that their workers have for the said 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.