How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Contractor for Me?

A7_homeowner_tips

Selecting a qualified HVAC contractor is an important, yet often daunting task. Whether your home’s heating and cooling system is in need of routine maintenance, emergency repairs or a total replacement, ensure you hire a qualified professional that best fits the job. Below are some of the important steps that may help you feel confident with your selection. 

1. Do Research


The internet may be a great tool to help weed out subpar HVAC service companies.  The following websites may offer insight into some of the heating and cooling contractors in your area:

  • Heating and cooling manufacturers’ websites often provide an independent dealer locator with contact information and key details for contractors near your location.
  • Websites like Nextdoor and Yelp may make it easier to locate local contractors, identify recommended companies, and read customer reviews.
  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), an organization that represents HVAC contractors, offers a searchable database of its contractor members.
  • Better Business Bureau provides accreditation and gives businesses a letter grade, from A+ to F, based on information it is able to obtain, including complaints received from the public.


2. Get Referrals


Referrals can give a homeowner perspective as to the type of experience they can expect from a particular contractor. Ask neighbors, friends, and family for referrals.

Contractors may also be able to provide customer references for you to contact to gather more information. Homeowners should “ask [the references] about the contractor's installation or service performance, and if the job was completed on time and within budget.”1

3. Read Local Contractor Reviews


Read reviews carefully. A quick glance at the number of review stars can often be misleading. Be sure to read the written comments and look for contractors with a good reputation for value, quality and customer service. Look for reviews that address::

  • Did the contractor address the problem? 
  • Did the contractor provide clear details of the problem to the homeowner?
  • Did the contractor resolve disputes in a timely, thoughtful, and respectful manner? 

Reviews may reveal a contractor’s commitment to customers’ satisfaction. Providing prompt solutions and addressing any errors is the mark of a good service company.


4. Qualities of a Good HVAC Technician


Every state has specific HVAC licensing, training and certification requirements. Your state may require that HVAC contractors be licensed, bonded and insured, while others may just require training and certification. This information can often be found online, but you should confirm the requirements for your location and the qualifications of the HVAC contractor prior to scheduling an appointment. Once you have scheduled a service appointment, there are a few things that you should pay attention to: 

Responsive:  Does the technician or dispatcher stay in touch with you by phone, text, or email leading up to the service appointment? Do they communicate any schedule changes in a timely manner?

Prompt:  Does the technician arrive within the specified time window or alert you if a problem forces them to miss the initial arrival time.

Appearance:  Does the technician appear “work ready” or are they wearing a dealer uniform? Many technicians certified through organizations such as NATE (North American Technician Excellence) wear patches on their uniforms. Does your technician have any certification patches displayed on their uniform?

Patience: Does the technician listen to your concerns, take the time to explain their findings and answer any questions you may have?

Meticulous: Depending on the nature of the appointment (emergency vs. annual inspection), a technician may perform a complete system evaluation and/or an inspection. This process can take time and should not just be a quick once-over. Upon completion, the technician should go over any concerning results.

Documentation: The technician should provide written or digital documentation of all the work done and/or provides price estimates for future services.

A good technician will be pleasant, professional, knowledgeable, courteous, patient and willing to answer your questions. Remember, your HVAC contractor provides a service — their job is to serve you to the best of their ability. If you are not happy with something, do not be afraid to ask them to fix it.

5. Think Long-Term Indoor Comfort

If you are looking to purchase and install a new heating or cooling system (or both), be sure you are working with a professional licensed HVAC contractor who is willing to provide a limited warranty for their labor and the installed products. Doing the job properly the first time may help eliminate the need for repeat visits, as well as ensure your system is running at peak performance for years and years. 

Many HVAC service companies offer maintenance agreements, which provide for scheduled maintenance of the HVAC system. This can be a worthwhile investment! Maintaining HVAC equipment efficiency can help ensure peak performance and may extend the life of the system.

6. Manufacturer Dealer Locator


Most HVAC manufacturers provide tools to assist homeowners in finding an independent dealer. Amana® brand’s dealer locator lists independent HVAC contractors who offer professional and licensed HVAC services by location, services provided and certification. These contractors typically offer a value-focused, flexible and informative approach to heating or cooling maintenance, service or purchases.


Find an Amana brand Dealer

By Jen (Anesi) Roby, former Legislative Editor at ACHR NEWS magazine and current Chief Editor for Plumbing & Mechanical. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (ACHR) NEWS is the HVACR contractor’s weekly newsmagazine and is the industry’s most trusted and utilized direct communications link to the HVACR buyer. www.achrnews.com/publications



1 ENERGY STAR. (2017, July). 10 Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor. Retrieved from Energy Star: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_contractors_10tips