Don’t roll the dice on your next furnace

Don't Roll the Dice

The furnace you were told six months ago it was on its last legs and ‘could die any minute’ has finally stopped working. You have to get it fixed … or else!

How do you select the right furnace contractor to replace your home’s unit? Buying a new furnace or A/C is a big investment and you don’t want to roll the dice and choose the wrong contractor. Selecting a quality furnace is important, but even more important is choosing a reliable contractor who will be there when you need them.

Here are 5 tips to help you find the right HVAC contractor:

  1. Read online reviews – Especially Google which does not require payment from the contractor like other review sites. It’s the fastest way to learn the positives and negatives about a potential contractor
  2. Experience counts – Sure, you’ll need to evaluate the opinions and reviews of previous customers but also consider the contractor’s level of experience. Having years of experience means years of problem solving and providing good recommendations. An experienced contractor knows how to select the right unit that fits your needs, install it so it’s code-compliant, and can then service the system for years to come. A little wisdom goes a long way! Beware of the cheapest guys who may be new in the business. Many of these folks simply place a sticker on their pick-up truck and are suddenly “in business”. Check into how long they’ve been installing systems and get some references if you can. The new guys often price themselves cheaply to get their business going and that means they could do a faulty installation, creating warranty issues with the manufacturer. Plus, a year or two down the road when you have service problems, their phone may be disconnected and their website has disappeared.
  3. Consider how the contractor uses technology – The heating and air conditioning industry has embraced technology on many levels.  The new equipment in your home will be technology driven and use the latest, most energy efficient design.  And the best contractors are using technology to access thousands of installation and service manuals via the web on their iPad devices.  Scheduling can be done over the web and all service report data is stored in databases, allowing it to be accessed at any time and at any place. Technology-driven contractors also are versed at all of the web-enabled devices for monitoring and adjusting your home’s climate.  Look to them for recommendations as to which web systems are best for your needs and budget. And remember, when it comes to servicing your system, a quality contractor can look up your equipment’s service history so diagnosis of problems will be faster and less costly. “One man” contractors often don’t have the wherewithal to use technology to benefit their customers.
  4. Ask a lot of questions – including if the contractor is licensed. Don’t hold back. Everything should be answered from costs and payment plans, to installation date and length of time it will take, warranty, rebate claims, code compliance, building permits, inspections, electrical or gas line work. etc.  Ask about everything … is the contractor licensed? Do they have skill sets in handling gas lines, refrigeration and plumbing? All of those disciplines may be involved in your project.
  5. The lowest bid is not always the best bid – You get what you pay for. Think beyond the cost of the system itself. Do you trust the people and company that is submitting the estimate? Often, the cheapest estimate is from a company that is short-cutting key steps in the installation process to save themselves a buck or two. As the saying goes, get three bids!

As a final thought, take your time. Again, ask a lot of questions and demand that each contractor’s estimate explain everything in writing. Make sure you fully understand the terms of the contract and/or purchase agreement. Don’t forget to ask around and check with the Better Business Bureau about any complaints the contractor may have had.

Getting the right HVAC contractor is a critical element necessary for ensuring the worry-free life time reliability of your furnace.

Get started by checking out Stramowski’s reviews on google.