Choosing a Heating or Cooling Contractor

Because not every heating and air conditioning company is the same, learning to choose the best HVAC contractors is critical. If the HVAC unit you’re currently using is more than ten years old, it might be time to find a local HVAC contractor. When you’re experiencing extreme heat or cold, a comfortable temperature inside is the goal. Air conditioning companies can help solve that issue. In this guide, we’re offering tips to help consumers evaluate local heating and air conditioning companies to find the best one.

Tips for finding the best HVAC company

Professional licensing

Licensing is critical for HVAC contractors since they work with complex parts of your home, including plumbing, electrical and gas lines. Many locales require professional licensing for HVAC contractors.

You can determine if a contractor has proper licensing by visiting their website. Can you see it marked on the majority of their site’s pages? If they’re posting literature, can you find the company’s licensing within that information? If not, then that’s an indication of needing to find a different local HVAC professional. You can also ask the contractor for proof of their licensing and certifications. Those who obtain these licenses have at least five years of field experience before the date on their application. If HVAC contractors don’t have proper licensing, then research alternatives.

Reviews and references

Think of searching for the best local HVAC contractor as interviewing prospects for a job. During that interview, for example, you’ll ask for references. That same practice applies when finding the best heating and air conditioning companies. Ask for at least three or more references from the contractor and then contact them. During these conversations, ask the references if the heating and air conditioning company could complete the job on-time and within budget. Then, ask if the contractor respected their property and completed a clean installation. It’s also essential to note if the customer’s unit was tested for maximum efficiency before the HVAC contractor left.

Your next step is to narrow your search down further by researching each HVAC contractor through the Better Business Bureau. That way, you can see their rating and if they have complaints. Use the internet to conduct searches for each heating and air conditioning company to see if they have ratings or complaints. Use reputable websites for this research. Otherwise, you may encounter fake reviews. Be suspicious of reviews giving high praise without details or negative reviews that fail to provide specifics.

Written, in-person estimates

It isn’t a good idea for consumers to receive an estimate from an HVAC contractor over-the-phone. The contractor can’t complete the necessary calculations during a phone conversation. They also can’t consider all of the factors required for installation when they’re on the phone with you. They must determine if there are enough registers in each room and if the ductwork needs work. Other factors include seeing what kind of windows you have installed in each room and determining the type of insulation you’re using.

Instead, air conditioning companies should visit your home to complete an inspection. During this inspection, they’ll offer the best heating and air conditioning advice and potential solutions. A professional HVAC contractor knows that the unit’s size that they’re giving you an estimate for is not based on the home’s square footage alone. They’ll use a set of calculations based on heating and cooling loads, equipment size, and ductwork. Following the evaluation, you should receive a written estimate. A contractor attempting to give you a verbal estimate is an indicator of inexperience or corner-cutting. While verbal estimates are legal in many locales, this leaves no written evidence should something go wrong or in case of a dispute.

Energy-efficient offerings

Every consumer wants the highest level of efficiency for heating and cooling their home. Shopping for an upgrade means finding the most efficient unit you can afford. Any professional HVAC contractor can install a unit so it runs efficiently. However, your goal is to get the most for your money.

Ask HVAC contractors if they offer models featuring ENERGY STAR ratings. Selecting ENERGY STAR products means they undergo rigorous testing according to the government’s program guidelines. According to ENERGY STAR, “Nearly half of all HVAC systems are incorrectly installed.” Therefore, they put together a guide to ENERGY STAR Verified HVAC Installation (ESVI) for both homeowners and professionals.

Name recognition

Aside from getting recommendations from people you trust, name recognition is another solid indicator of experience and quality. While it’s not a fail-safe that guarantees a problem-free installation, selecting a company that is well-known in your local area as the go-to HVAC service can be a smart move. A local company relies on its reputation, so one that has built a solid reputation servicing your area for many years has, at the very least, continuously provided satisfactory service.

How to Find the best local HVAC company

FurnaceCompare makes finding the right local HVAC contractors easy. You’ll find a list of professionally licensed heating and air conditioning companies in your area. You can then narrow your search to specific services like repair or replacement services. You can also select heating, cooling, or both. Complete the FurnaceCompare HVAC contractor form to find a local contractor today.


How do I choose a local HVAC contractor?

When you’re wondering how to choose an HVAC contractor, your best recourse is to conduct thorough research. Then, when narrowing down potential heating and air conditioning prospects, interview them. Instead of just choosing the lowest bid, although that can be tempting, instead speak to the contractors on your shortlist, get references from them and follow up on those references. Make a final decision based on your research, the company’s reputation, and what their references had to say.

Find a Certified Heating & Cooling Professional In Your Area

Contact a top-rated local expert to help with all of your home's HVAC needs.

Ready to get a quote from an HVAC contractor?

Let us know what type of service you need and we can connect you with a certified local HVAC contractor.

Please enter a valid name

Please enter a valid phone number

Please enter a valid zip code

There are no dealers in this zip code.

Please enter a valid email address

Please select repair or replace

Please select heating, cooling or both