Installing a new HVAC system is a significant investment in your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. To ensure that your HVAC system functions optimally, be sure to choose the right company for the installation. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to make the right decision.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to select the best company for your HVAC installation needs.
Research HVAC Companies
Try to find companies in your area that have good reviews. Be sure to look at reliable, third-party sites rather than website testimonials pages.
There are different kinds of sites where you can find HVAC companies. General business directories will, of course, have listings. There are also sometimes specialized listings for different types of services.
You should also ask around people you know to find out who the most trusted names are in the area. Getting personal recommendations can be more valuable than anonymous ones.
Evaluate Experience and Expertise
Once you have a list of reputable companies, the next thing you should do is evaluate them to determine who has the highest level of experience and expertise.
In doing this, there are certain things that you should look for specifically:
- Any potential contractor should be fully licensed. Licenses vary from state to state, so you should be sure that whoever you pick is qualified to work in your state.
- There are a number of certifications that technicians are required to have. These include the following:
- EPA 608 Certification. This particular certification is a part of the Clean Air Act. It came about because of the need to deal with refrigerants that can contribute to greenhouse gas buildup.
- NATE Certification. While not a requirement, NATE (North American Technician Excellence) Certification serves as an additional stamp of approval for HVAC technicians. It is offered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The certification involves four different levels and indicates knowledge of HVAC fundamentals, electrical and controls, comfort and airflows, installation, and service.
- HVAC Excellence Certification. This certification is an umbrella certification. It is designed to serve as a stamp of approval for technicians who might be moving from one state to another and need to prove their knowledge in the new location.
Request Quotes and Estimates
The next step should be getting quotes from potential contractors and comparing them. Even if most of your recommendations are for one company in particular, it is a good idea to contact multiple contractors and compare the quotes they give you.
Be sure to ask for an itemized list of services that the potential contractors will complete. In doing this, there are many different factors that you will need to take into consideration. Getting quotes will allow you to make more informed side-by-side comparisons and be sure you are choosing the right company.
After you’ve chosen a company that has the right qualifications and presents a reasonable offer for the cost of a new HVAC system, you will have to think about financing options. For many people, getting a new system is a major expense and not one that they can pay for upfront.
Therefore, you will have to consider different options for financing. Among the things you should look into are the following:
If you find yourself facing budget constraints for your HVAC installation, you can explore options for contractors who offer HVAC financing solutions to their customers. This financing can make it more manageable to invest in a high-quality HVAC system, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of improved comfort and energy efficiency without straining your budget.
Before making a decision, be sure to inquire about the terms and conditions of the financing, including interest rates, repayment plans, and any associated fees, to ensure it aligns with your financial goals.
Using a standard credit card could be an option for you. As mentioned above, though, you should be sure that you will be able to make payments in a timely manner. Otherwise, you will not only see your interest increase, but your credit score will go downhill as a result.
The best thing to do if you choose this option is to look for a credit card with a low APR. It might also be possible to get an upgrade to an existing credit card specifically for the purpose of doing home renovations.
FHA 203K Loans
The Federal Housing Administration has a category of loans specifically for low-income people that can be used both for buying a house and for different types of home improvement loans. HVAC systems fall into this category of loans.
FHA 203K loans have very specific requirements. You must have a minimum credit score of at least 500. The minimum down payment required when you first receive your loan will be proportional to your credit score. If you have a score of 580 or above, for example, you will have to pay 3.5% of the cost as a down payment. If your score is lower than this, however, you will have to pay substantially more as a down payment. Read the requirements carefully before you apply.
Check References, Warranties, and Customer Support
You should also ask your chosen provider to give you references so that you can double-check their service standards. Even if you did research on the company in your initial searches, this will help solidify your options. Also, you should make sure that your new system includes liability insurance and at least a year-long labor warranty. This will help protect you from unnecessary costs if you have issues early on with your new system and require maintenance.
In addition, you should check to make sure your chosen company offers solid customer support and maintenance when necessary. When you look through reviews, be sure to look for these features in particular. A company that does a great job with installation but then becomes unavailable when you need them in the future is not a reliable one.
Energy Efficiency Considerations
Look for a system that includes an Energy Star certification. Energy efficiency is measured in what is known as the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. It is a ratio of the cooling output of an air conditioner and heat pump throughout a typical cooling season divided by the energy it uses in Watt-Hours.
A SEER of 14.5 or more is considered acceptable and warrants the Energy Star certification. If you get a system with this certification, you will be contributing less to environmental problems and also saving money on your energy bills.
As mentioned above, choosing an HVAC company can be a complicated process, especially if you are unfamiliar with the details of these systems in general. But if you carefully lay out all the steps involved and be sure that you are systematic in your research, you should be able to find the right company and financing option for you.