If your home’s climate control system fails, you’ll want the problem fixed quickly. Should you tackle the job yourself or hire a pro? Since heating and cooling systems have extremely complex equipment, it’s best to leave this task to a licensed, certified professional.

In this guide, we’ll explain the benefits of hiring an HVAC contractor, offer tips for finding the right pro and provide questions you should ask potential contractors.

Heating and AC Contractors
HVAC is an acronym for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. That’s a rather broad field of expertise, and some professionals specialize in specific types of equipment while others perform only installation instead of repairs or routine central AC maintenance.

For example, some homes have a central air conditioning unit and a heating source while others have a heat pump that handles both heating and cooling. While central AC and heat pumps are quite similar, the contractor you hire may depend on a few key differences.

Heating Contractor vs. AC Contractor
HVAC technicians are qualified to install, repair or maintain central air conditioning and heat pumps. However, since there’s wide variety in technicians’ specializations and certifications, you’ll need to ask each contractor if he or she is qualified to work on your specific equipment, such a humidifiers or heating sources.

For example, if you have a very unique piece of equipment, such as a cast-iron furnace, it’s best to seek out a specialty furnace repairman. Geothermal or solar systems also require the skills of a highly specialized technician.

Installation Technician vs HVAC Repairman
While most contractors perform both repairs and installations, some specialize only in one area. Some vendors may not perform installations at all, offering only air conditioner service and repairs. Along with installing the equipment itself, the installation process includes:

  • Determining the correct size to meet the demands of your home,
  • Installing ductwork using mastic sealant or metal-backed duct tape to make it airtight,
  • Setting the proper airflow rate to heat and/or cool your home,
  • Calculating the right amount of refrigerant to facilitate heat transfer.
  • Since installation is much more involved than repairs, smaller, one-man shops may not offer it as a service, instead focusing only on HVAC repairs and maintenance.

Independent Service Providers vs. Professional Companies
HVAC contractors comes in all shapes and sizes. While you can expect repairs and maintenance from both independent service providers or professional companies, the scope of their services may differ.

Professional Companies are more likely to offer:

Installation services,
24-hour availability,
Routine maintenance programs,
Wider variety of serviced or installed brands,
More specialty certifications,
Duct-work cleaning and maintenance,
Humidifier installation and service.

Independent Service Providers may offer:

Specialization in a specific brand or type of equipment,
Consistency in service provider,
Personalized working relationship,
Potentially lower rates.
Commercial vs Residential HVAC Specialists
Commercial and residential systems are fundamentally the same, but contractors may specialize in one type of system over another.

Commercial HVAC units are usually:

Located on a building’s roof instead of the ground,
A packaged system rather than a split system,
Modular instead of self-contained,
Complex to drain,
More focused on ventilation instead of only heating and cooling.
Residential central air and heat pumps are usually:
Made up of a split system, meaning one component is outside the home and another inside the home.
Easier to drain with only one or two external drains.
Intended primarily for cooling and/or heating. Windows handle ventilation needs.
Because of the inherent differences in the two systems, some providers specialize in either commercial or residential heating and cooling systems. When you’re ready to hire a pro, be sure to ask if he or she is qualified to service the system at your home or commercial facility.

Check Contractor License
While the specific type of contractor license required for HVAC pros will vary from state to state, be sure the contractor you select has the appropriate licensure on file with local and state agencies.

Promotional materials and providers’ websites will usually list the license number. Most states have an online directory, allowing you to search for contractors by license number.

Ask for Referrals
Ask any pro you’re considering hiring to provide contact information for previous clients. Local trade associations may be another referral source.

The Tradesman International website is a good place to connect with local trade association chapters. You might also consult friends and family when seeking a pro.

Consult Online Ratings and Reviews
Online reviews can be a good judge of a service provider’s quality. Reviews are a good place to determine if the contractor shows up as scheduled and completes the task in a timely manner.

Look for HVAC Certifications
Certificates indicate a provider has demonstrated expertise for the job.

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is the largest certification program for HVAC technicians. Techs can earn installation and service certifications in multiple areas.
HVAC Excellence Certification includes many types of certifications, including Employment Ready certifications to Professional Technician and Master Specialist certifications.
EPA 608 Certification is for all technicians who maintain, service, repair or dispose of appliances that contain regulated refrigerants like air conditioners. Technicians must also have an EPA certification to buy refrigerants.

If you live in the Greenville / Spartanburg area and need HVAC services, you can call Air Temp Control. Our number is on the home page or contact us page.

Source: https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/find-hire-hvac-specialist/