Choosing a Contractor
The following tips can help you make an educated decision and receive quality service:
From information gathered over many years,
- Before making your choice, call your local Better Business Bureau and affiliated state and community agencies for a company history of complaints and resolutions to make sure the dealer is reputable.
- Ask for references: Current customers are an excellent source of information and are often willing to share their experience
- Ask for a certified HVAC technician. Keep in mind that not all states require certification.
- Your contractor should be licensed, well trained, and experienced to provide quality installations. Ask your contractor about his or her training, experience, and membership in contractor associations. Ask if he is insured and bonded.
- Good contractors own and use refrigerant recovery equipment and are certified to handle refrigerant in cooling systems. Ask for proof of certification.
- Contractors should know how to properly size your home heating and cooling system (e.g., determine whether you need a two-ton or three-ton cooling system). Don’t use a contractor who wants to size your unit solely on the square footage of your house. Contractors should calculate equipment size using computer software or professional guidelines such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s “Manual J.” To gather necessary information, the contractor should spend at least a half hour poking around your house, taking measurements, and asking questions. He or she needs to measure ceilings, floors, windows, and walls, and check insulation throughout the home. Systems that have been sized properly to fit your home provide better humidity control, cycle on and off less frequently, and cost less than oversized systems. Insist on getting a copy of the load calculations. These can be useful for comparing bids.
- Ask your contractor about the maintenance requirements for your new system. Have your contractor select an install location that provides for ease of maintenance. Make sure the inside coil can be reached for cleaning. Depending on the model, the contractor may need to install an access panel. Most contractors offer maintenance agreements to keep your system running smoothly for years to come. The coil should be cleaned every two years. The air filter should also be easy to remove and should be cleaned or changed whenever it is dirty. (This can be monthly during peak season.)
- Always obtain a written contract or proposal before allowing your contractor to install a new system and be sure to ask about warranties.
- Remember, the contractor who gives you the lowest bid may not be the best choice for you. Paying slightly more may get you better equipment and better service. Carefully evaluate a contractor’s proposal to ensure you get the equipment and service that best meets your needs.
- Ask about the warranty length, what it covers and if there are extended labor warranties available.
The Consequences of Choosing the Wrong Contractor:
By selecting a qualified heating, cooling, and plumbing contractor,
you will avoid many of the common home improvement hazards including:
- Frequent system breakdowns
- Improper installation
- Unsafe and/or inefficient operation
- Shortened equipment life
- Lack of timely service
- Unusually high energy bills
- Voiding of factory warranties
- Building code Infractions and penalties
Alford Mechanical, Inc. is among North Carolina’s most trusted home comfort specialist, and we encourage our customers to do their homework. We’re confident that, in the end, we can earn your business and help you avoid the consequences of choosing the wrong contractor. We hope to earn your business.
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