If there’s one thing we have no shortage of here in the Baltimore / Annapolis area, it’s heating and air conditioning contractors. The problem is, as with anything, it can be tough to sort through the best HVAC companies and the ones that are going to rip you off (it pains us to say that there are companies that will do that). So what’s the secret? How do you choose the best HVAC when your furnace is busted or you need your air conditioner replaced?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing an HVAC contractor is that you should never go in based on price alone. Time and time again we see people getting swindled out of hundreds of dollars (remember the air duct cleaning scams?) because they chose the lowest cost HVAC company and they turned out to not be legit.
Top 5 Tips for Finding the Best HVAC Contractor
Do your homework – before you call for HVAC service, there are a couple of things you should look into. First, figure out the license and insurance requirements for your area. In Maryland, those requirements are as follows:
- Master license – in order to obtain a Master HVAC license, the contractor must have been a licensed journeyman and have 3 years of active experience under the director of an HVAC master. In addition, the contractor must have worked a minimum of 1,875 hours in the year prior to applying for the Master License and must pass the Master exam with a 70%.
- Limited license – the requirements for obtaining a Limited license are similar to those for a Master license, except only 1,000 hours of work are required in the year prior to applying for the license.
- Journeyman license – to apply for a journeyman license, the contractor must have been a licensed apprentice for at least three years and must have a total of 1,875 hours worth of training. In addition, the applicant must pass the journeyman exam with a 70%.
Insurance requirements for HVAC contractors in Maryland are as follows:
- The contractor’s name must appear on the insurance certificate.
- The general liability coverage must be at least $300,000.
- The property damage liability coverage must be at least $100,000.
- The combined amount of the general liability and property damage insurance must be at least $400,000.
- The insurance certificate must show the policy number and expiration date.
The best HVAC contractors will be fully licensed and insured – that’s one way to know if they’re reliable.
Ask for referrals – ask around your neighborhood for referrals and contact local trade organizations in your area. They’ll be able to give you accurate reviews of their experiences with different HVAC contractors. You can also call some local HVAC companies and ask for customer references, then call those references. Ask the references about the contractor’s service performance and find out if the job was completed on time and within budget.
Find out what service contracts they provide – the best HVAC companies will offer a variety of different service contracts. This means that they really care about providing their customers with the best service possible.
Find out what kinds of tools the HVAC contractor uses – although a contractor that uses the latest HVAC tools and technology may seem more expensive up front, it’s only because they’ll be able to provide a much better service than one who makes limited use of new tech.
Find out if the contractor provides documentation – documentation of HVAC service is basically a guarantee that your job will be done properly. Any company that provides written documentation of their service is comfortable enough with the job they do that they are willing to be held accountable for it.
When it comes to HVAC service in the Baltimore / Annapolis area, you really do get what you pay for. If you’ve been looking for a heating and air conditioning contractor, you can follow all the above steps, or you can just call All Seasons Heating & Cooling!