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A heating contractor installs and services Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment. They also sell, service, and install ductwork and other equipment like thermostats, furnaces, boilers, central air conditioners, and heat pumps. Specialized services like duct sealing, air balancing and energy audits are also provided by some contractors.
There are several reasonable approaches to finding a heating contractor. Since HVAC licensure requirements vary by state within the US, your needs will be different depending on where you live.
Licenses, Affiliation, and Education
Many professional contractors get NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certification, which is the leading industry-supported testing and certification program for HVAC technicians. A competent contractor must comply with state and local codes and regulations and carry the appropriate business and worker's compensation insurance. To get the state license, the contractor must pass the state licensing exam. This exam tests for knowledge related to the design, function, maintenance, and repair of cooling and heating systems. It also tests knowledge of state mechanical codes. Contractors carrying licenses must follow these mechanical codes, which are created to protect your home and equipment.
Licensed HVAC contractors are required by many states to carry liability insurance for their company. If there is damage to your property during the course of a contractor's work, this insurance compensates for it. Contractors may display their license number on their company's trucks, business cards, and advertisements. If you don't see a license number, ask for one.
What You Can Expect from a Good Contractor
A reliable contractor will be prompt and courteous. They should also display the skill and knowledge needed to design, install, and service the right system for your needs. He or she must be up to date with the latest developments in the field to be able to provide the right advice about maximum efficiency of your heating, cooling, and air conditioning system. They should be able to select the furnace, condensing unit, fans and blowers, air conditioning coil, and ductwork that are most appropriate for your home.
If you need a new system, your heating and cooling contractor should perform a load calculation and be able to explain additions or changes to your ductwork. Contractors also perform preventive and annual maintenance so your equipment gives you optimum performance. They also support the warranty on your equipment according to terms and conditions.
Good contractors think about more than just costs. They will be interested in building a good working relationship with you and ensuring you are happy with the service they provide. They will be concerned about your comfort and advise you on minor maintenance and troubleshooting issues. They will also train you on how to operate your heating system.
Contractor Resources by State