How do I choose the right company?
Choosing a company to install your heating and/or air conditioning system is an important decision.
It has long term implications on your utility bills, repair costs and the lifespan of installed equipment. We hope that these questions will help you interview installation companies and make a more informed decision.
May I see a copy of your state license and liability insurance card
You will be 100% responsible for damages if you hire a company who is not licensed properly or does not have business liability insurance. If a mistake is made which results in property damage, your insurance company will not cover anything if the company you choose does not have a these items.
Don’t make assumptions. Just because a company is listed on a manufacturer’s website or sends out marketing doesn’t mean they have meet all these requirements at all times.
Demand Proof.It’s your home, your investment and your life to protect. Every contractor should be able to prove these things at any time.
How can I be sure your installation will meet or exceed available efficiency, local codes and safety regulations?
You are looking for certifications that the installers have. Don’t settle for years of experience. The installer could have been doing it wrong for the past 10 years. Make it clear to the company that you will be requesting to see the installer’s EPA certification cards and training certificates from equipment manufactures.
What is your company policy regarding permits?
When the company obtains permits for the installation it allows a government official the opportunity to visit your home and inspect the installation. Each county has different rules regarding when permits are required. Call your local county permit office and talk to them about the requirements.
What is your complaint history with the Better Business Bureau?
The BBB is a great resource to help you find a good company to work with. Don’t just look at their score. You should dig deeper and view their complaint history. Avoid those with unresolved issues or a high level of complaints. Regardless of the size of the company you should never see more than 3 or 4 complaints over the past 36 months.
Are there Guarantees? Are there Warranties? Will I receive them in writing for my records?
Get it all explained. Ask lots of questions. Take notes. This is where homeowners spend a huge amount of time and money after the installation. Make sure that you understand when you will be serviced, what is not included, what is included.
If a company says they’ll take care of everything and just doesn’t have any documentation that’s a HUGE RED FLAG. Come on…think….ask questions.
Most heating and air conditioning companies (including Replacement Zone) only provide warranty support for the jobs in which they installed. That is why you must ask questions now. Later it will be too late.
Do you perform a computerized or manual load calculation on every job to ensure that I get the right size equipment?
Performing a load calculation or Manual J will help ensure that you get the right size equipment for your home. Rule of thumb methods are not accurate. Your home’s windows, doors and exterior walls must be measured as part of any load calculation. The orientation of the home is an important factor as well.
Sizing Equipment Too Big = higher utility costs, compressor failure, over humidification and comfort issues, air quality concerns can be created like mold and mildew.
Sizing Equipment Too Small = inability to fully satisfy load.
Energy Star talks about Load Calculations:
‘Installing the right size equipment for the home is essential to getting the best performance and comfort. Many homeowners believe that bigger is always better when buying new heating and cooling equipment. In reality, a system that’s too large will not keep your home comfortable because of frequent ‘on/off’ cycling. Incorrect sizing can also put stress on system components and shorten the equipment’s life. With an ENERGY STAR Quality Installation, your contractor will make sure that you get a system that is the right size for your home.’
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) answers a homeowner question:
Many original HVAC systems were not correctly sized. Traditionally the practice of builders using the low bid contractor, to install HVAC systems in new homes, resulted in corners being cut by those contractors. The only way to know if a system is sized correctly is to calculate the existing heating and cooling loads (unless the contractor installed the system and still has the original load calculations). I would avoid using any contractor not willing or capable of doing a Manual J, or an equivalent load calculation, on your home.
To help consumers, ACCA developed a consumer checklist and made it available for free download at our web site -- you can download the residential checklist here. I would recommend utilizing the check list to evaluate contractors.
Article from www.ACCA.org
Better Business Bureau