How to Find the Right HVAC Contractor

When you need heating and cooling help for your San Bernardino area home, hiring the right HVAC contractor is critical. A qualified contractor with the right experience guides you as you choose the right equipment for your home needs and ensures all work is done to the professional level you expect. 

Whether you wish to make planned upgrades or repairs, or need a contractor quick due to a sudden system breakdown, hiring the right HVAC contractor is important to the success of your project and your long-term home comfort. Evaluate potential contractors based on the considerations below from Sanborn’s before you choose a company to hire.

Finding the Right HVAC Contractor for Your Needs

If it’s time to replace your aging HVAC system or you’ve noticed some performance problems that require repair, start your search for a reputable San Bernardino HVAC contractor. You want the person you’re inviting into your home to be trustworthy and honest about repairs or services and the costs associated with them. You also need a contractor who is competent in the work they’re doing – whether it’s a simple repair or an entire system overhaul.

Doing your homework and hiring the right HVAC contractor now allows you to establish a trusting relationship and find a contractor you’ll be comfortable calling upon in the future if new work is needed. That’s one of the most beneficial aspects of making heating and cooling system upgrades or repairs ahead of a breakdown – you have time to do your research, which helps you make the right call.

Ask for referrals

One of the best ways to learn if a company is reputable is through referrals. Start your search for hiring the right HVAC contractor by seeking referrals from those you know and trust. Ask your friends and neighbors who they’ve used in the past and whether the work was completed on time and within budget.

Research the HVAC company

Learn as much as possible about the company by searching their website and talking with them over the phone or in person. Ask how long they’ve been in business, and meet the contractor in person before extensive work begins.

You can search company reviews on a number of online sites, including the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Google and Yelp. Remember, when you’re hiring the right HVAC contractor, look not only at the review but at the way the contractor responds to reviews. This tells you a great deal about a company’s customer service and willingness to correct issues.

Do your homework

Know what work needs done in your home so you can clearly tell the technician your specific needs. Tell them the make and model of your heating and cooling system, how old it is and its maintenance history. Do you have routine maintenance performed on it each year? If you plan to make repairs to your existing system, take some notes about what needs to be done, including any uncomfortable rooms or other problems you’re having with your system.

Are they licensed and insured?

Check that the HVAC contractor you hire is licensed. California HVAC contractors are required to hold a contractor’s license in order to install, repair and perform maintenance on home heating and cooling systems. They’re also required to display their license number on advertising material such as company websites, business cards and work vehicles. Look up the contractor’s license via the state’s database to verify it is current. 

Contractors should also be properly insured to protect you as the homeowner, as well as the company’s employees. This includes general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Ask the technician to show their proof of insurance to make sure they are covered.

Expect a home evaluation

If you’re hiring the right HVAC contractor for an expensive job – such as a new furnace, air conditioning system or an entire HVAC system overhaul – they should evaluate your entire home. This includes checking the size of the house, insulation quality and type of windows. They should also inspect the ducts and measure airflow. All of these aspects factor into the size and type of system your house needs.

Get a written estimate for repairs

The costs of an HVAC service call can quickly add up, so it’s a smart idea to request a written, itemized estimate. You can compare the costs with other companies that you’ve asked for estimates from before hiring the right HVAC contractor to perform needed repairs in your home.

Remember, the lowest price isn’t always the best, so use the estimate as a piece of the overall puzzle when hiring the right HVAC contractor.

Request the official proposal in writing

It’s a good idea to get everything in writing before work begins. This includes the projects costs, model numbers of the equipment and units, a scheduled completion date, time and information about warranties. When hiring the right HVAC contractor, a reputable company will not hesitate to provide you with this information and take the time to sufficiently answer all your questions.

Check references

If you’re serious about hiring the right HVAC contractor, ask the company you are considering to provide you with a couple of references to call. Ask the reference what type of work the technician performed, the customer service and whether the job was completed on time and within budget.

Look for warning signs

Just like with any profession, there’s a small percentage of HVAC contractors that aren’t reputable. If the tech is pressuring you to sign a contract or wants a large sum of money up front, those are red flags, and that contractor should be ruled out.

Hiring the Right HVAC Contractor for Emergency Help

When your heater goes out during a cold spell or your air conditioner dies in the middle of summer, you don’t have a lot of time to debate hiring the right HVAC contractor. Often, homeowners make the choice based on which contractor is available first in an emergency situation, if they have not already established a relationship with a contractor.

When you face emergency heating and cooling repairs, it’s important you know what to expect and what to watch out for.

  • Not all HVAC contractors offer emergency service, and those that do typically charge a premium for after-hours repairs. The service fee covers the cost associated with dispatching an on-call technician to your home. When scheduling emergency service, ask the representative if this fee also covers the inspection needed to diagnose your system problems. If not, get the price of diagnostics up front, too.
  • Be sure to have your system’s make and model number ready when you call. You want a company who works with your type of equipment and has compatible replacement parts on hand if needed. If you choose a company that does not stock these parts, your repair will be delayed and costs will increase as the contractor must order appropriate components. Ask the contractor if they use genuine OEM (original equipment manufacturer) replacement parts, as this may be required by your system’s warranty.
  • Verify the contractor’s California license. The state provides an online database to check contractor licenses. Contractors are required to display their license numbers on their websites and other advertising material, so it should be easy to find even when you’re in a hurry.
  • Once the technician has inspected your system, ask for an itemized, written estimate of the repair work being proposed. If any warranty is offered, including a labor warranty from the contractor, get these terms in writing as well.
  • Keep watch for red flags to protect yourself. If the contractor pressures you to buy other unnecessary equipment, demands pay before scheduling or completing needed repair work, or otherwise sends up warning signs to you, it’s best to choose a different contractor.

With Sanborn’s, You Know You’re Hiring the Right HVAC Contractor

Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating has served homeowners throughout Inland Empire for more than 37 years, providing reliable, quality workmanship for all HVAC system installations, repairs and maintenance. If you are looking to establish a relationship with an HVAC contractor and build a reliable connection you can count on now and in the future, we’d be happy to speak with you more about our company and the services we provide. 

Whether you’re in the market for a new HVAC system or you need heating and cooling repairs done quickly, call Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating today.