5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Furnace Contractor

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Whether it is for an initial furnace installation or to handle your furnace’s annual maintenance needs, you are likely to need the services of a furnace contractor at some point. A quality furnace is a significant investment that adds value to your home and offers comfort in the cold winter months. Therefore, your choice of contractor is important.

Unfortunately, not all furnace contractors are created equal and you will often not get the same quality of service from one to the next. Many people that learn the hard way after spending a significant amount of time and money only to receive mediocre workmanship. It is somewhat understandable, since the average homeowner is not an industry insider, so many people are unaware of what they need to consider if they are to make the right decision.

The good thing is that as long as you are aware of some basics, you do not need to be an HVAC expert to hire the right furnace contractor. To get the best ranked furnace contractor, make sure you appraise and score potential contractors on the following five factors.

1.   Proper Licensing

Your furnace is probably one of the most expensive items in your home. You have to be certain that whomever you entrust with installing or maintaining it has all the required training and licensing.

Check that the contractor you hire has the required licenses as per your local laws. In many jurisdictions, a license application is only accepted once the contractor has met a minimum number of years of experience. There will also be requirements around insurance and bonding meant to protect furnace owners from the cost of accidental damage or injury.

2.   Experience

Just because a furnace contractor is licensed does not mean they have the experience you need to be assured of a quality job. Establish what the contractor’s experience in furnace installation and maintenance is. While longevity is a good thing, it does not necessarily mean the contractor with the most experience is the most suitable or competent.

Check if the contractor has any additional technical certifications or education. Ideally, the contractor you hire not only understands the basics, but also knows what needs to be done to optimize the performance of your furnace, as well as your energy use. Also, make sure the contractor has experience with the specific brand and model of furnace you have.

3.   Home Evaluation

If you are looking to have a furnace installed, the contractor should offer to do a home evaluation that determines the best solution for you. Some of the factors they should take into consideration include the home’s square footage, the number of windows, the direction the windows face and the insulation’s R-value. The contractor should check the duct systems for any loose segments or leaks, as well. 

Once they have completed the evaluation, the contractor should give you an itemized estimate for your review. Note that the least expensive furnace may not be the best, given that any savings you make on the purchase could be quickly eroded by higher energy costs and more frequent repairs.

4.   Referrals and References

What better way to know the actual quality of a contractor’s work than to hear what their past and present customers have to say? The contractor should be willing to offer references from previous clients. However, you should not stop there. Chances are the contractor will only provide references that will only have good things to say about them. So you have to dig a little further to see if there are any past customers ready to talk to you about their experience.

The best referrals are those that come from your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. They are unlikely to be biased toward the contractor, and will give you an honest breakdown of whether the contractor is reliable or not.

5.   Online Reviews

Contractors who have been around for a while will have had people talking about them somewhere on the internet, either on sites such as Google reviews or Facebook reviews, for example. Beware that some of the most glowing reviews may be fake. Also, not every scathing review is necessarily accurate. Read as many reviews as you can so you can gauge the general sentiment. If most reviews are negative, it is unlikely that the majority of people are wrong. 

Run the contractor’s name through the Better Business Bureau to get a feel for the kind of complaints past customers have had. Visit similar forums to see if there are any persistent problems that have come up from working with that furnace contractor.

Do Not Be Taken In by Catchy Advertising

A furnace is a complex system with multiple electronic and electrical parts, as well as flammable fuel. Your choice of a furnace contractor should not be based solely on their ability to roll out exciting advertising campaigns. Once all else is done, it is going to be the quality of their work that determines whether or not you will get value for your money.

About The Author: Written By Clayton R.
Photo by Dave Goudreau on Unsplash

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