How Do I Choose the Right Contractor?
You're about to make a big decision - one that most people only make a few times in their lives. This pamphlet will help you with this process. Learn how the right contractor can make all the difference in making sure your new heating and/or air conditioning system will work even better than the old one, last a long time, save you money, and improve your comfort. Find out how to choose a contractor that will give you the knowledge to make an informed decision about the system you'll buy.
It's a system!
Buying a new furnace or air conditioner is not like buying a new refrigerator that you bring home, and simply plug into the wall. The equipment is only one component of a system that’s been custom designed, fabricated and installed into your home. Other components include your ductwork, registers, grilles, dampers, accessories and more. Each of these components should be evaluated together. Some contractors want to just change your box, take the money and run. NCI certified contractors take the time to evaluate the whole system so you can make a truly informed decision.
How do I decide?
Good information is critical when making any important decision. An NCI certified contractor carefully tests and evaluates your system using state of the art diagnostic instruments. Your understanding of the condition your home’s heating and air conditioning system will increase dramatically as he shares with you the specific knowledge he acquires as he tests. By investing a little time in understanding your system you will be much more comfortable making a decision based on this knowledge.
What difference does it make?
Millions of frustrated homeowners invest thousands of dollars each year in brand new equipment, only to discover they still have high utility bills, comfort issues, poor indoor air quality - even safety concerns with their heating equipment. No contractor can assure you comfort and efficiency by simply replacing your equipment. In order to fulfill their promises, they must test, adjust, measure and balance your system. These steps are what set NCI certified contractors apart from the rest of the industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
QUESTION: What’s the most important attribute I can look for in a contractor?
ANSWER: Trust. You can tell a lot about any contractor by how they deal with you before you “sign the contract.” Your participation in the buying process should lead you to trust them before you agree to do business together.
QUESTION: What kinds of things should the contractor be looking at?
ANSWER: Most of what you buy from a heating and air conditioning contractor is invisible. The list includes warmth, cooling, air movement, energy efficiency, safety, clean air, and most important, comfort. NCI certified contractors measure these invisibles and provide reports that assure that you get what was promised. Make sure your contractor has the ability to do this for you.
QUESTION: How can I get a low price?
ANSWER: You can always buy less. Remember, you’re the one who makes the decision about what to buy. But once you clearly see what you’re buying, you’ll often want more. Low price rarely assures long-term satisfaction– especially when buying a custom built product that you’ll have to live with for many years.
QUESTION: What questions should I ask my contractor?
ANSWER: There are the basic ones like "How much?" and "When will you be done?" and "What am I getting for my money?" But a good contractor should educate you until you are comfortable enough to make a good decision. Ask him what questions he would ask if he were you. Feel free to discuss your needs until you’re comfortable he is addressing them.
So how do I know I made a good decision?
You know you’ve made a good decision when you selected a contractor that helped you understand your system is more than just a piece of air conditioning or heating equipment that automatically works. When you find someone that takes the time to look at the whole system, the rest of the benefits usually follow. You can be confident the quality will be good, that he will do what he says he will, and you’ll get what you paid for. When a contractor provides measured results, you can be assured that you will get the comfort, safety and efficiency you paid for. Find someone who cares enough measure the invisible results of his work and you’ll know you made the right decision.