If your heat or air conditioning suddenly stops working, what do you do? Panic? Try to fix it yourself? Truthfully, for a complicated system, it’s better to find an HVAC professional to help you get it up and running again. There are a lot of factors that come into play and only a knowledgeable, skilled professional can fix it.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right HVAC contractor to handle the job:

Be Prepared – When you call HVAC professionals to find out if they can fix your problem, you need to know what kind of system you have, how long it’s been in the home, and what happened to make you think it needs to be repaired.

Ask Around – Your friends, family and co-workers are likely to know an HVAC specialist that they prefer. Get a list from them and if you can find them, check out their websites to be sure they deal with your type of system. Not everyone works with every type of unit. If they do, it’s likely they won’t be well-versed on every single one since there are hundreds of different types of systems out there.

Meet Them – Set up appointments with at least three of the contractors you liked. Be sure to ask everyone the same types of questions; and be sure to ask for a written quote or bid on your repair or replacement needs. This way, you can evaluate them all fairly and not get confused.   

Service Agreements – Many HVAC specialists will offer something called a service agreement. Ask each of them if they do provide such an agreement. This usually includes periodic checkups on your system at regular intervals, which can help prevent future issues. The cost of signing up for these services in advance is often a lot less expensive than only calling when there is a problem.

Ask for References – Professional HVAC contractors will have no problem providing you with a list of references that you can contact. These references should be former clients that had similar work done to what you need. Once you get the references, call them to ask questions about the contractor’s work. A good way to get a feel for how satisfied they were is to ask if they would use that particular contractor’s services again.

Check the Facts – Call the proper authorities to ensure that the HVAC specialist carries the certifications, licenses and insurance that they should have. You should be able to get answers from your local Building Inspection and Licensing Department, usually located at City Hall.

If you follow this advice, you’re sure to find an excellent HVAC contractor that will fix your problems, as well as effectively keep it in tip top shape.