You come home to discover that your heating and air conditioning unit has given up. It won’t turn on. You’ve changed the filters. You put new batteries in the thermostat. Nothing changes. It’s time to call an HVAC professional. But how do you choose the right person for the job? This is a large investment and it is worth doing your research to avoid costly repairs, inflated electric bills, or having to replace the unit again in a few years.
When choosing a professional to replace your AC unit, most people use contractors that are referred by family and friends. The contractors have a working relationship with the person giving the reference, so you have a better understanding of the experience that you will get while working with the contractor. You should still do some research on the professional to be certain that they are going to be the right person for your particular situation.
Air Conditioning Contractors of America
Research on an HVAC contractor usually begins with an internet search. The ACCA, Air Conditioning Contractors of America, have a website where you can narrow your search down by travel radius of your zip code, the types of work performed, and market specialties. This allows you to look for someone accredited, close to home, that focuses on units that are residential, versus commercial. The ACCA uses the American Standards National Institute (ASNI) as their basis for accreditation of their contractors. This means that every contractor that they suggest has been through rigorous training to ensure that they are installing your system according to national standards and regulations.
North American Technician Excellence
Another resource to help find an accredited professional is through the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) website. NATE also runs rigorous testing on their contractors to ensure quality and depth of knowledge. NATE certified technicians will carry cards and sometimes wear patches on their clothing to show that they have gone through the necessary training. The NATE website also has a place for you to locate companies that hire at least 25% of NATE certified technicians, and you may request one to come inspect your job.
Last, but not least, is Angie’s List, a website that allows you to find and rate dozens of technicians in various professions. The secret to Angie’s List is to use their License Check feature. This allows you to check the licensing on a prospective contractor in your state. Once you search for your state and the services (HVAC) that you require, Angie’s List will provide you with a list of licenses that the contractor needs to have in order to be considered licensed to work in the state. Then Angie’s List will direct you to a search site, where you can enter the name of your prospective contractor and check their credentials. This allows you to check the contractors that your family and friends recommended, as well as any contractor that you stumbled upon in your Google search.
Searching for an HVAC professional does not have to be a chore. By using these resources, you can find a contractor that is both professional and efficient to meet your needs.