Whether you need a new system installed, old equipment replaced or just a seasonal tune-up, it is important that you deal with an HVAC company you can trust. Selecting a new HVAC provider can be challenging. There are often many businesses to choose from, and it can be difficult during the exploratory phase to tell whether an organization possesses the characteristics of trustworthiness, including:
Seek an Established Brand
The common advice is to seek an HVAC company that has been in business at least five or even 10 years. The idea here is to avoid the fly-by-night outfits and ensure that you choose an enterprise that will be there to stand behind its work. But there are new companies out their making names for themselves and old companies that manage to stay in business despite subpar customer service.
Instead of focusing on how old an HVAC provider is, emphasize how established it is. Longevity can certainly be part of that, but consider the experience of the ownership and the roots the company has laid down within your community and the other communities it serves.
Also, consider the business’s affiliations not just locally but within the HVAC industry at large. Local affiliations can include the Chamber of Commerce as well as business and trade associations relevant to your city and state. Manufacturer affiliations are quite informative as well.
If an HVAC company is a Lennox Dealer, for instance, then you know those technicians are competent since they have to meet certain training thresholds in order for a company to be recognized as such. Also, if an HVAC provider is a Lennox Premier Dealer, then you know that the dedication to customer service is such that Lennox is willing to vouch for and promote that business.
Be Aware of Regional Expectations
HVAC companies will vary from state to state and city to city and even county to county. Some of these differences are due to the regional needs of the homeowners those businesses serve. A homeowner in the Northeast, for instance, has heating and cooling concerns that are quite different than someone in the Southeast.
You may also want to contact your local Chamber of Commerce in order to identify the requirements and guidelines for local businesses in general and local HVAC providers in particular. You should know how much insurance is legally mandated and how much is recommended as well as which licenses and certifications are required and advised.
Request Insurance Details
Be direct in asking about insurance. A company that is sincere and values integrity will be forthright in disclosing amounts as well as showing you liability insurance forms, workers’ compensation documents, and other related paperwork.
Determine the scope of the coverage. You want to ensure that in addition to the company itself, all employees and subcontractors are insured. It is very important that workers’ compensation insurance covers injuries incurred on the job. Without that protection, the onus is likely to fall to your home insurance policy.
Ask About Licensing and Certification
In Maryland, HVAC contractors require an HVACR license and must present it to you upon request, and through the Maryland Department of Labor website, you can look up a license, check if it is valid and inspect all that it entails. An HVACR license has various tiers: apprentice, journeyman, inspector, limited, master restricted and master. Each tier has education and examination requirements and must be renewed, and the license tier dictates the insurance requirements. When hiring a company, you should expect that the owner of the business or at least the team supervisor holds a master license and that apprentices will never perform work without direct supervision.
Most well-established HVAC providers will have certifications beyond state requirements. Perhaps the most notable organization is North American Technician Excellence, which provides a wide range of HVAC-related certifications. If a company has NATE-certified technicians, you can have confidence in not just skill and training but in ongoing education and thus dependability and consistency. Many HVAC providers are certified with the EPA as well so that they can perform home energy audits and give clients confidence that equipment will be installed, repaired and maintained with energy-efficient performance in mind. Other notable trade associations include:
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America
- Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute
- National Air Duct Cleaners Association
- National Comfort Institute
Consider Reviews, Ratings and Referrals
A company’s reputation can inform you about its sincerity and all the other factors of trustworthiness. Begin this process with the Better Business Bureau. You can also check with the Maryland Department of Labor. An HVAC provider with numerous complaints is probably best avoided. A company that has earned BBB accreditation and a high rating, on the other hand, should instill you with peace of mind because you know that you will be dealing with a reputable outfit.
Request references from the company. Those references should be recent customers who have had major work performed, such as an installation. You can also find information on the internet through resources like Google My Business, Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and so forth. With online reviews and ratings, consider the perception as a whole rather than focusing too much on a particularly enthused or angry client. If you have neighbors, coworkers or family who have hired the company, then they, of course, can be an invaluable resource as well.
Pay Attention to the Details
This process can be involved but is worth the effort. As you progress, you may rule out certain companies before requesting a quote, and ideally, you should receive written estimates from at least three companies before finalizing your decision. Estimates are a great opportunity to interact with these companies. Professionalism is a choice, and when an HVAC provider is uniformed, courteous and well-spoken, it shows that the company is detail-oriented.
Getting three quotes gives you a clearer pricing picture. Beware of the company that underbids as much as the one that overbids. A company that underbids is more likely to cut corners and more prone to run into troubles regarding time and other resources. When considering an estimate, factor in customer care. Know going in about what kind of warranties, satisfaction guarantees, post-job support and so forth that a company provides.
A Trustworthy HVAC Company in Your Area
If you are a homeowner in Maryland, then Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating would love an opportunity to demonstrate why you can trust us. We are a locally owned and operated HVAC provider that serves Hanover and the neighboring communities. Our team is also Google Guaranteed and HomeAdvisor Screened & Approved. We offer commercial services as well as residential. Our team installs, replaces and maintains air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps, and our indoor air quality services extend to air purifiers and whole-house humidifiers. Call us today to learn more about these services and to schedule an appointment.