June 2006
The Search is On

Tips for finding a reliable HVAC contractor

Energy is one of the world's hottest topics.

Listen to the radio and hear dozens of ads talking about reducing your energy bill. Turn on the television and watch ad after ad promoting sales on new home appliances. Look through today's yellow pages and find hundreds of listings for local heating and air contractors.

The same applies for The Walton EMC Gasette. Most issues include articles on saving energy and improving the efficiency of your home. Often, the newsletter covers topics on natural gas appliances. Each time, Walton EMC Natural Gas recommends that you hire a licensed heating and air contractor for: new gas equipment installations, gas equipment inspections or repair and home renovations.

But when we say licensed, what exactly do we mean? Terms like specialized and certified generally characterize a professional in the heating and air conditioning industry. The important thing is that you hire a contractor who you trust and one who will do the best job.

Consider these tips before choosing a contractor for your home's gas heating and ventilation needs.

  • Start with someone you trust.
    Ask your friends and relatives who they recommend. Most likely, they'll be honest and tell you which contractors are most reputable.

    Check your local business directory and TV, radio and newspaper ads. Look for contractors who promote quality service and products, not low prices.

    The contractor who works on your heating and ventilating equipment should be trustworthy. This individual ensures that your gas equipment is properly installed and maintained, while running safely, reliably and efficiently.
  • Stick with the professionals.
    Look for contractors who are well established. Does the contractor have a shop or office building? Consider how you're treated. You should know by your initial contact with the contractor if they want to continue a successful business.

    And remember, the quality of service you receive during your first interaction, represents the company and the service you'll receive in the future if there's a problem with your gas equipment or heating system.
  • Ask for references.
    It doesn't hurt to ask. Most dependable contractors will be glad to provide references. After all, references should have good things to say about the contractor. You can also call the Better Business Bureau to check the contractor's record. Any complaints should be reported.
  • Review training and education.
    Compare contractors' training and education courses. Has the contractor completed the required continuing education courses?
  • Is the contractor insured?
    This protects you, the contractor and their employees. Liability and workers' compensation insurance should also be up-to-date.
  • Is the contractor licensed?
    A state license is necessary to practice in Georgia. Check for any other business licenses that may be required.

Getting an Estimate

Keep in mind that you're the client. The contractors are in business to serve you. So it's in your best interest to obtain multiple estimates.

Be leery of anyone who offers an estimate over the phone without a house call first. A contractor should spend a sufficient amount of time surveying your home and its appliances before submitting an estimate.

During their initial visit:

  • did the contractor ask you about any problems with your existing equipment?
  • could the contractor offer detailed explanations or solutions to specific problems?
  • was the contractor aware of the latest technology and products in the industry?

When making recommendations, reputable contractors should be able to select the properly-sized equipment for your home based on the size of your home, not the size of your old equipment.

Once you receive multiple written bids, read the estimates thoroughly and compare prices, service and equipment listed. Consider all factors, not just price. Often the more experienced contractors charge more, but offer a more quality job.

Read other articles from The Walton EMC Gasette:
Increase Security and Light with Natural Gas
Spruce up your yard with the essence of natural gas outdoor lighting.
Read other articles from The Walton EMC Gasette:
Gas News
Most of the natural gas consumed in the United States is also produced in the United States. Learn more.
Read other articles from The Walton EMC Gasette:
Gas Up the Stove
This month's recipe features Awesome Apple Crunch.