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How to Select a Heating & Cooling Contractor

Your HVAC system is one of the most expensive systems in your home, and no matter how handy you are, it's best to work with a certified HVAC professional when making repairs or installing a new system. Whether you're in immediate need or planning for the future, take the time and make an informed decision when choosing a heating and cooling contractor.

Before you start your search, follow the steps below to help you make an informed decision. 

1. Know your HVAC system 

Before you contact anyone, take the time to understand your current HVAC system. Gather as much information as you can, including the brand and model, age of your heating and cooling systems and any previous repairs. Take note of any pain points your family is experiencing, like hot or cold spots, humidity issues, system start-up noises or rising energy bills. Having a handy list of concerns will save time and inform your contractor before they arrive at your home, and this may allow them to send specialized technicians to your home who are armed with the proper resources to fix your problems.

2. Start your research and ask friends and family for referrals

It's best to start your research in your inner circle. Ask your local friends, family and neighbors for recommendations on local contractors. You may even visit their home to learn more about their HVAC system and experience how their home feels. Similar to the car-buying process, you should also research and understand your budget and know how much you're willing to spend on monthly financing payments. Once you know this information, plan to ask your dealer about any financing and rebates they offer to assist with your purchase. Once you've built a short list, take your research online. Look for contractor reviews in your community Facebook or NextDoor groups and read reviews on review sites. You can also use certified resources like The Air Conditioning Contractors of America or the Better Business Bureau to help finalize your selection.

In addition to positive reviews, it's also important to know your area's requirements for certified HVAC contractors. During your initial research, check to see if their licenses are in good standing and if they have any additional certifications, like NATE, to validate a contractor's additional training. These certifications should be clearly listed on their website and if you're struggling to find this information, consider it a red flag. Once you've compiled a short list of contractors, reach out to the businesses you've considered hiring and schedule a consultation.

3. Know what to expect from your contractor visit 

HVAC contractors should visit your home to evaluate the right system for your home. Be prepared for them to review your outdoor and indoor systems, and make sure it's easy for them to enter an attic, closet or basement for your evaluation. You should also be ready to review your system's history as well as your list of concerns once they've arrived.

Once their evaluation is complete, your contractor will review their findings and recommendations with you. Don't be afraid to ask to see the actual parts or equipment that need replaced, either by taking a photo or looking at the system together. 

They will also need to provide a written, itemized estimate that outlines any and all items that need to be repaired or replaced.

4. Finalizing your decision

Before you sign off on an estimate, take the time to confirm this HVAC contractor is the best one for the job. To help solidify your decision, ask for a short list of homeowner references that you can call to hear about their experience. You'll also want to make sure your contractor has experience working with the HVAC brand in your home. While all HVAC systems have similarities, manufacturing brands will have intricacies that certain contractors will know and have experienced, and therefore, will know how to address. If you are considering a new system purchase, make sure that contractor has experience installing and maintaining the brand you prefer. With this information in-hand, you're ready to make an informed decision and hire a heating and cooling contractor. 

Once your HVAC system has been repaired or replaced, you've officially established a new relationship with your new HVAC contractor. Following your appointment, it's important that they provide you with any applicable product warranties and that you register your new product. You'll also want to consider signing up for any additional labor warranties, like Lennox' Comfort Shield Labor Warranty, which may be helpful should you need repairs in the future. Finally, most HVAC contractors offer service agreements that ensure your system is serviced regularly in the future. Be sure to explore the benefits of their service contract, as it may help extend the lifespan and overall efficiency of your HVAC system. 

Ready to start your search? Visit Lennox.com/locate to find a Lennox® dealer near you.

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