INSURANCE AND LIABILITY
When considering an HVAC contractor, ask to see documentation that they carry general liability insurance to protect your property as well as workers compensation insurance on their employees. Lack of adequate insurance could be a major problem for you if someone is injured on your property. An air conditioning contractor should always have these types of insurance and this will save you from a claim against your homeowner’s policy in case of an accident.
Choosing an HVAC contractor should include checking with the department of licensing. Be sure that the HVAC contractor’s license is current and check if the department of licensing has a history of disciplinary actions or complaints published on their website.
Another source for finding a competent HVAC contractor is the local permits office for your municipality. The municipal inspectors know the HVAC contractors who do good work from the HVAC contractors who do poor work.
Once you identify and contact several HVAC contractors set up an appointment with each of them to visit your home. During the meeting the contractor should inspect your existing air conditioner and collect a wide range of information about your home, how many windows and type, which direction they face, and R-value of the insulation. The contractor uses all of this information to calculate the heat load to verify that the existing equipment is correctly sized and proposed equipment is also correctly sized. You should receive a written estimate. Some HVAC contractors represent only one line equipment and using these contractors has advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side the contractor has probably gone through specialized training offered by the manufacturer. Should there be any problems with equipment performance you may have additional leverage because you may be able to involve the manufacturer.