As with most things, each commercial HVAC contractor is not created equal.
Although the Internet has made shopping for contractors easier, it can still be a challenge when choosing the right service provider based on web presence alone. After all, it’s still a “people” business, where a trustworthy relationship goes hand-in-hand with technical skills and contractor reputation.
When there’s so much at stake, making an informed decision on an HVAC contractor is key to long-term satisfaction with your system. Try these 7 tips to help make the choice a little easier.
Do Your Research When Hiring An HVAC contractor
Before picking up the phone to arrange a meeting with a prospective HVAC contractor, it’s a good idea to research more about the company, including details about past projects. Does the scope of these projects match yours? Did the HVAC contractor solve similar issues that you’re having? You can also read their testimonials and Google reviews to get a better understanding of their customer service history.
Check Their Licenses
Unfortunately, many HVAC contractors who claim to be licensed are actually working under the radar. In Ontario, having the proper HVAC license means that the contractor is fully trained and compliant under provincial standards to install, replace, and maintain commercial HVAC systems, as well properly handle gas components and refrigerants. Both the technician and company have to be licensed in Ontario. If you hire a contractor without a license, there won’t be any insurance or recourse with a governing body in the event something goes wrong. Ask to see proof of licenses and insurance if you’re still unsure.
Ask Them About The Latest HVAC Technology
Typically, HVAC systems last between 10 – 15 years. There have been a lot of energy-efficient and green innovations developed since your system was installed, and your needs will have likely changed as well. Your prospective HVAC contractor should be able to offer you options that will use less energy, reduce energy costs, and make system management more efficient. They will also recommend systems that match your current space requirements, as opposed to just going with what you already have. After all, system fit is much more important than loyalty to any brand or model.
Insist On Written Estimates/Quotes From Your HVAC Contractor
In an HVAC emergency, or when you’re just anxious to replace your system, it might be tempting to take a verbal quote over the phone just to get everything up and running again. However, there are too many factors that are unique to your system that make it impossible for a technician to give you an accurate price without them visiting your site. Whenever you’re dealing with an HVAC contractor, make sure they perform a full in-person survey of your system and needs before providing a written quote, itemized with everything that needs to be done and how much it costs.
Check Their References
Don’t be afraid to ask for references so you can get a qualified 3rd-party opinion. Be sure to ask the references about the HVAC company’s response time, quality of work, ongoing level of support, and overall level of service. If they share any serious concerns about an HVAC contractor, proceed with caution when deciding whether to sign a contract with them.
Compare Price vs. Value
At Springbank Mechanical Systems, we firmly believe that HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance should be considered investments as opposed to costs. A more expensive package might raise eyebrows at first, but it’s important to consider the long-term value you’re getting. For example, cheaper system components will likely need to be repaired and replaced sooner than premium parts, or provide inefficient heating and cooling that will increase your energy bills. It’s like the old saying goes: “Penny wise, pound foolish”, so don’t discount higher quotes without considering the costly financial effects that cheaper components will bring over time.
Ask About The Brands They Work With
Is the HVAC contractor an authorized dealer of reputable brands such as Lennox, Trane, Daikin, and Carrier? Or do they only offer products from lesser-known, secondary market companies? Major brands generally work with HVAC contractors who have a great reputation and credit history, so it’s usually safe to move these contractors higher up the list.
It’s also a great idea to take an in-depth look at what they offer in terms of ongoing maintenance packages. It’s essential for your contractor to check, clean, and make necessary adjustments on a regular basis to ensure long-term system efficiency and energy savings. Be sure to compare different packages from different service providers to see which works best for you.
If you’re considering switching HVAC contractors, give us a call anytime. We’re always happy to discuss your needs and show you how Springbank Mechanical Systems can help make your commercial HVAC system more efficient and bring you long-term energy savings.