⭐ What you Need to Know to Find a Good HVAC Company
Let’s start by listing out everything that you will need to consider before hiring the perfect contractor:
- Parts Warranty
- Labor Warranty
- Ratings & Reviews
- Schedule or Availability
- HVAC Equipment Brands
Now what we need to do is review each of the above topics so you’ll be able to understand what to look for.
⭐ Years of Experience as an HVAC Company
Some people will argue that experience is irrelevant regarding the quality of an HVAC contractor’s work, but I never leave anything to chance.
When it comes to experience, there’s a lot to be said for HVAC technicians that have “seen it all,” and when it comes to your home or business, you want to make sure that the work being done on your HVAC system is not only done right but that the right work is being done.
What I mean by that is that one HVAC contractor might tell you that you need a certain size of air conditioning system while another HVAC company tells you something different…who should you believe?
I’m not going to say that you should believe HVAC contractors with more experience, but that would be a good starting point.
On that topic, I would recommend going with HVAC contractors that don’t just tell you their opinion but the one that can explain why a certain HVAC system is best for you.
If experience is lacking when it comes to the HVAC companies in your area, then try to think about which HVAC contractor is not only the most prepared but the one that brings documentation and reasoning for the HVAC system they present to you.
If HVAC companies can back up their choices with professional and easy-to-understand material, you should be comfortable hiring any of them.
As a side note, ask them to see the back of their service vehicle.
If it’s organized and clean, there’s a better chance your job will be given the same level of care.
⭐ Confirm Your HVAC Contractor is Licensed
Who even knows what licenses HVAC technicians need?
You could be living in Texas or Toronto; whether it’s a different country, state or province, it’s understandable that licensing requirements will differ.
So, how can you determine if HVAC companies are legit?
One way is to call a few larger companies and ask what licenses they have.
Since they’re a larger company, they should be more aware of the risks of working without the proper licenses.
From my experience, larger companies like to list their licenses and certifications because they believe most smaller companies can’t compete with their certifications.
This isn’t always the case, though, as many small companies and independent contractors take a lot of pride in being the best Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning company in their area.
The second way, which might be a little more time-consuming but more concrete, is to contact your local municipal office and ask them (often, Google will have the same answer).
As an example of what to look for, HVAC contractors in Canada require a refrigeration and air conditioning license and a natural gas and propane contractors license.
Some contractors may only have one, which means they can only perform certain HVAC services (NG & P for heating).
Another aspect to consider when researching HVAC companies is what size of equipment the contractor can work on with their license?
For example, in Ontario, there are three natural gas and propane licenses (G1, G2, and G3).
Each of these licenses allows the technician to work on equipment rated up to a certain BTU rating.
Here are some links for where to check on contractor licenses:
⭐ Top HVAC Companies Are Highly Insured
This is a tough one to explain.
Does the contractor show you that they have insurance? Do you simply believe them or confirm that the insurance is valid?
I hate to say this, but HVAC contractors out there purchase insurance, show you their certificate, and then cancel it to save money.
Now, in my experience, they will be poorly rated on Google or won’t even have a Google Profile.
🛑 PRO TIP: If a heating and cooling company doesn’t have a Google Profile, run the other way.
As a homeowner, you need to be diligent in confirming the validity of the insurance, and if you ever have a doubt, you should be wondering what it is about the contractor that is giving you doubt.
The HVAC industry is full of quality contractors.
You just have to ensure that you’re hiring one of them.
If you’re unsure, don’t risk it and take your time by checking references.
Another thing to consider is that the best HVAC companies carry the highest amount and type of insurance.
For example, one might have $2,000,000 in liability insurance, and another might have $5,000,000 in liability…and that’s just one variable.
We always recommend that you not only compare apples to apples but that you also reach out to your insurance broker and ask them about what they would recommend for contractor insurance.
In Canada, there are associations like HRAI in which all HVAC contractor members must have valid insurance.
So you can always choose to work with contractors that are HRAI members.
In the US., the association is called ACCA.
⭐ HVAC System Parts Warranty
The standard for manufacturer part warranty is ten years, while some HVAC system brands offer a lifetime warranty on certain high-value components.
It’s not cut and dry, so you must understand which components are the most important to your system and usually the most expensive to replace.
☑️ Main Air Conditioning & Heat Pump Components
- Condenser coil
- Evaporator coil
- Condenser fan
☑️ Main Air Handler and Furnace Components
You want to make sure that these components have good parts coverage.
But, remember that if one of these parts fails, the part will be covered, but the labor may not.
The best HVAC companies offer extended parts warranties and usually include a minimum one-year labor warranty on any HVAC system they sell and install.
⭐ The Best HVAC Company Includes a Labor Warranty
Another tricky one.
If you’re looking to hire the best heating and cooling company, they will probably include a labor warranty, but the trade-off is that the HVAC systems they sell will most likely be more expensive.
As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.
So you’ll really need to balance what’s important to you.
When buying an HVAC System, consider:
- Ratings & Reviews
- Labour Warranty
Do you see the pattern here…this entire article is written to help you make the best choice for your needs.
So, just ask yourself…do you want the best quality HVAC system and the best warranty, or are you willing to sacrifice warranty or quality to get a lower price.
There’s no shame in wanting a lower price; you just need to understand that you get what you pay for.
🛑 PRO TIP: never purchase an HVAC system from a heating and cooling company that doesn’t have reviews unless you are actually willing to check at least five references.
As a starting point, the best HVAC companies generally start their labor warranty at 90 days and then increase it from there.
In my opinion, if you’re looking to find the best HVAC technicians, don’t settle for less than a one-year labor warranty.
⭐ The Best HVAC Contractor has Five Star Ratings & Well Written Reviews
When it comes to the new world of business, trust is being built on the backs of ratings and reviews.
No matter the experience someone has, the licenses, the warranty, or anything else, if an HVAC contractor has 1,000 five-star ratings, most people will be confident that they are good at what they do.
We preach to other HVAC contractors that providing first-class customer service, fair and transparent pricing, and quality craftsmanship will help them get great reviews, but not all contractors even ask for reviews.
So, in a way, I’m talking out of the side of my mouth, saying that ratings are number one but that you can still find a great contractor without ratings.
I’m going to use a hockey analogy to describe my thoughts on ratings and reviews; Sydney Crosby gets paid top dollar because everyone knows how good he is, but he’s been around for a while and has tons of 5-star ratings.
But what about an up-and-comer, someone that’s just as good but doesn’t have the reputation Sydney has?
Well, the fact of the matter is that you’ll be able to pick him up for less.
Tying this to finding the right HVAC company, you can get great contractors for a lower price, but as they get more and more reviews, they’ll attract more customers and thus be able to charge more for their time.
Now, hockey has hoards of scouts that go out and learn as much as they can about new hockey players, and that’s what gives a team confidence when it comes to hiring one, but you don’t have scouts, do you?
Well, that’s where companies like Google come in.
They help you make intelligent decisions when it comes to buying air conditioning systems, furnaces, heat pumps, or even complete HVAC systems…let companies like Google be your scouting team.
⭐ Why Does an HVAC Company Have an Open Schedule?
Scheduling an HVAC contractor has the stereotype of being a nightmare.
What day, what time, will they show up on time, or do they say, “I’ll be there between 8 am and 5 pm?”.
Well, one of the things most people know but don’t understand is that contractors are in short supply, which means they have a lot of customers pulling on them from every direction.
But you’re right, how’s that your problem?
It’s not your problem, but it is important to understand when hiring a contractor and setting up the job schedule and expectations.
For example, most contractors want to be paid a portion upfront, a portion in the middle of the job, and a portion at the end of the job.
Our recommendation is to tie those payments to how complete the job is and the timeline.
You could easily say, “I’ll give you 20% upfront, 20% when you complete the job to this point by this date, and if you don’t complete it by that date, then that 20% gets pushed to the next payment schedule.”.
If an HVAC contractor is confident they’ll be able to keep the schedule, then they won’t have a problem agreeing to the terms.
With all of that said, you do need to understand that the contractor will want the material expenses covered as soon as possible, so if you can do that while holding them to a timeline, then both parties will see the terms as a win.
✅ PRO TIP: Newer companies are still getting their name out there and will still have availability for emergency services. And older, more established companies might have availability for HVAC services because they just hired a new HVAC technician from a neighboring town.
⭐ HVAC Systems Brand
One of the most asked questions about purchasing a new HVAC unit is, “What are the best brands?”.
If a heating and air conditioning contractor tries to tell you which brand or unit is the best before finding out your needs, you should run.
When it comes to deciding on a brand, there are so many considerations it’ll make your head spin.
⭐ What to Consider When Choosing Your HVAC Units Brand:
☑️ Where Is It Manufactured?
This is really a preference variable… some people like to buy locally-made products, and others don’t care.
My opinion is to buy locally, the product and support will have more care put into it, and you’ll keep your money in your community.
☑️ Are Spare Parts Readily Available?
You might be able to save a thousand dollars by buying a particular brand.
Still, when it breaks down, you’ll need parts quickly…and it’s common knowledge that some brands are better than others at stocking excess inventory.
So ask each of the contractors you talk to how their suppliers are at stocking HVAC spare parts and see if a particular brand stands out as the best.
☑️ What is the Efficiency Rating?
You might purchase a natural gas furnace, propane, electric, or oil-fired furnace.
Although the efficiency rating is critical, you also need to weigh the cost of the fuel.
For example, most people in my hometown use natural gas because it’s cheaper; even though electric is considered more efficient, it would be significantly more expensive to run (in my hometown).
So, always consider how the energy efficiency rating will affect your monthly utility bills before deciding on the price.
☑️ Manufacturer Ratings & Reviews
This is pretty basic but should still be checked.
And don’t just read the good reviews; read the bad ones to see how the manufacturer responded to the negative review.
That can say a lot about how they deal with customer service issues.
This is entirely based on your preference; you might be more comfortable buying a brand name like Carrier or Trane and willing to pay extra for it, but that’s up to you.
Don’t get me wrong; they have some incredible units that are definitely worth the investment, but as smart as it would have been to invest $1,000,000 in Amazon 20 years ago, I didn’t have $1,000,000 to invest, so buy the best product you can for the price you can afford.
☑️ Model Number – Will It Be Discontinued?
Just ask your contractors how often new models come out.
This isn’t a huge variable, but it could sway your decision.
For example, what if a particular refrigerant is getting phased out, and all AC systems will use a new refrigerant next year?
Before buying a system that will be out of date in a year, you might want to know that.
The answers you get to this question will almost always be biased.
So, ask as many people as possible, check as many websites as possible, and decide, based on what you’ve learned, don’t just trust one person.
✅ My Opinion: most furnaces and air conditioners are assembled using the same parts, so the brand doesn’t really matter to me.
I’m more concerned about the support I’ll get if something goes wrong (local HVAC supplier, years in business, etc.).
This isn’t just a timeframe; there’s a difference between a “10-year warranty” and a “10-year warranty on major components”.
Talk to your various contractor options about what’s included in their warranty.
You need to weigh each of those variables to determine what’s best, but the contractor should help you make a smart decision.
Most contractors sell both premium and budget brands, so ask what the pros and cons are for each.
⭐ Contractor Location
Where is the contractor located?
This may not seem that important to you as the customer because why would you care how long it takes them to get to your place; although it may not show in the quote, I promise the contractor has accounted for it.
Another reason to consider their location is when you have a problem and need them to come and repair it under warranty, it will take them a lot longer to get to your place to get the system repaired.
All in all, it’s important that a contractor drives as little as possible.
They’ll be more productive and profitable, and those savings will be passed on to their customers.
Plus, buying local keeps money local, which is good for your community.
We’ve given you a solid overview of the variables you should consider when looking for HVAC services, and hopefully, you’ll be able to use them before going out for quotes.
If there is one thing I would want you to remember, it’s that you will have no idea if you’re getting a good deal or a good product if you don’t get multiple quotes and review each of the contractor’s profiles thoroughly.
If you’re still unsure who to hire, reach out to our support team, and we will help you make an intelligent decision.
Want to learn more about your home’s HVAC system? Feel free to check out our other HVAC articles!