Guide to Energy Efficiency 5 - Heating and Cooling Contractor Guide to Energy Efficiency 5 - Heating and Cooling Contractor

Whether you want to schedule an annual equipment maintenance check-up or you've decided that you need to purchase and have new heating or cooling equipment installed, you will need to hire a contractor.

The following sections will help you find the right contractor, get quality and value from the contractor and your new equipment, and get a signed agreement on the work to be done. Many of the following recommendations also apply if you choose to work with a contractor to make other home improvements such as home sealing or ductwork.

How do you choose the right contractor?

A reputable contractor should:

  • Perform an on-site inspection of the job you want done and provide a detailed bid in a timely manner.
  • Demonstrate to you that they are licensed and insured to repair or install heating and cooling equipment (many states require this).
  • Be able to provide their certification for refrigerant handling, required since 1992.
  • Have several years of experience as a buisness in your community.
  • Provide examples of quality installation of energy-efficient heating and/or cooling equipment work, with names of customers that you can contact.
  • Complete and submit the warranty information card on your behalf.
  • Ideally, have service technicians who are certified to professionally install and service heating and cooling systems. For more information about technician certification contact your local HVAC trade association.

Get Quality and Value

Have the contractor:

  • Show you a layout of where the equipment is going to be installed.
  • Determine the size of your new equipment using ACCA/ANSI Manual J®, or an equivalent sizing calculation tool.
  • Check refrigerant charge using pressure and temperature measurements.
  • Explain the financial benefit of installing ENERGY STAR qualified equipment.
  • Diagnose and repair your duct system, if needed.
  • Provide financing for the purchase, if necessary.
  • Explain the warranty on equipment, parts and labor.
  • Clearly explain the benefits of regular maintenance and help you set up a schedule to keep your system operating at it's best.

Sign an Agreement Before Work Begins

Both you and your contractor should sign a written proposal before work gets started. The agreement or proposal should:

  • List in detail all the work that is being contracted.
  • Specify all products by quantity, name, model number and energy ratings.
  • Provide manufacturer's warranty, equipment documentation and contractor installation warranty information (if applicable).
  • Give the payment schedule. State the scheduled start and completion date.
  • Describe how disputes will be resolved.
  • State the contractor's liability insurance and licenses if required.
  • Outline paperwork and permits needed for the project.

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