Educational Consumer Tips

Heating & A/C Contractors

Author: Better Business Bureau

When choosing a heating or A/C contractor, consider the following:

Bids for extensive repair or replacement of systems should be submitted in writing. Estimates should always include a full description of the services to be provided and if a trip charge will be assessed. If a system is to be replaced, the estimate should include a full description of additional work required for the installation of ducts, registers, electrical wiring and repair of adjacent surfaces.

Compare more than the cost when examining the bids. Check the size of the equipment each contractor recommends. Ask each contractor to explain how the estimate of the required heating or cooling capacity and equipment was determined.

Check warranty offered: What does it cover? How long and who will honor it? Always keep a copy for your records.

The contractor you choose should provide at least one call back free of charge after installation to check the system. See that this is in the written agreement. Find out if a service contract is available providing you with an annual inspection and maintenance. Check your owner's manual for details on routine maintenance you can perform.

Read the contract thoroughly and understand it before signing. Be sure to keep a copy.

Always ask for identification from any individual claiming to be an inspector or a representative of a utility company.