20 Questions to Ask Your Contractor – Part 2

Our last blog entry discussed 4 of the 20 important questions to ask your potential heating and air conditioning contractor before signing the dotted line on an installation of a central heating and/or cooling system in your home. This is an important topic, since what is done in your home will stay with you for a long time. A big factor to the success of such a major project is the quality of work done by the contractor you choose. If you only focus on what you will pay, you could end up paying more than you think in the long run.

Awhile back we posted a list of these 20 questions, but we’re reviewing them to make sure you understand just how important they are.

  1. Do you run a criminal background check on your employees? Sad as it is to say, not everyone out there is scrupulous. Some service and installation technicians have a history of theft or other crimes. But if the heating and air company you are thinking of hiring does a background check you can feel safer about who you invite into your home to perform the work.
  2. Will you guarantee my ultimate comfort and satisfaction? No installation will go without a hitch. As hard as we try there will be details that aren’t quite right at the end of the job. However, having a contractor that guarantees your ultimate satisfaction will help in two ways: They will try harder the first time to get everything right (no one wants to have to return if they don’t have to), and the WILL return if needed. Be sure to get their 100% satisfaction guarantee in writing!
  3. Will you use driveway protectors, mats, & drop cloths while working inside/outside my home? Installing a central heating and cooling system requires at least one vehicle to bring the equipment, tools and supplies, as well as foot traffic going in and out of your house repeatedly. Damage to your property could raise the total cost of installation dramatically. So make sure your contractor does their part to protect your home and yard.
  4. Will you clean up at the end of each day? Installing a furnace, heat pump, and air conditioning system may take a couple of days. Many contractors do not include a daily clean up as part of the job. But why detract from the beauty of your home and yard, even from one day to the next? A conscientious contractor will do their best to leave their work area as good as it was when they started, if not even better.
  5. Will you remove my old equipment and all debris from the premises? It may seem logical to you that old equipment is removed, but many contractors bring up the “disposal fee” at the end of the job. Protect yourself from hidden charges such as this by getting in writing that the disposal of your old equipment is included in the price of the heating and AC installation project.
  6. Will you provide NATE certified technicians to work on air conditioning/heating equipment? There are a lot of clever installers out there. But being street wise and knowing how to handle tools doesn’t automatically make a qualified installer. How do you know if the workers in your home are properly trained? Why take chances? NATE certification provides assurance. Avoid improper equipment set-up by requiring your contractor to assign NATE certified staff to the job!
  7. Do you have office staff to handle potential customer care situations? We’ve already said it, but even the best installations can have problems after all is said and done. So who is going to respond to your questions, comments, concerns or complaints? Does your contractor have a 24/7 hotline? You want the assurance that when you need help, someone will be there to field your call and get someone on their way to your home.
  8. Have you been in business very long? Industry statistics show that the majority of heating and cooling systems are installed incorrectly. But an experienced contractor, one that has been around awhile, will get the job done right.

Part 3 is coming up. So stay tuned.

Do you have a question about an upcoming installation of a central air system in your home? Visit our Ask an Expert page, fill out the form, and the resident expert here at GAMA Air will respond quickly with the answer.

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