As a homeowner, the last thing you want to do is hire a less-than-trustworthy contractor for your HVAC repair or installation.
But finding a good contractor in Kansas City can seem overwhelming because of the sheer number of contractors in our area.
We’ll try to make your search a little easier.
In this article, we’ll share 5 tips for finding a good contractor in Kansas City:
- Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured
- Ask if the contractor will pull permits
- Make sure the contractor only offers HVAC equipment with an AHRI Certificate
- Confirm they offer upfront pricing estimates—in writing
- Look for good customer reviews
Need an HVAC repair or installation from a quality contractor
Tip #1: Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured
First, let’s go over what each of these 3 terms mean:
In order to legally perform HVAC repairs and installations, an HVAC contractor (either an individual or an HVAC company) must obtain a license from the local government.
In the case of an HVAC company that has multiple technicians, the company as a whole will become licensed and the techs that work for the company will be covered under that license.
In order to become licensed, a contractor must pass an examination that proves they meet state standards for HVAC projects. And to maintain a license, a contractor must continue to pass periodic examinations.
So when you hire a licensed contractor, you know your HVAC project will meet all legal requirements and professional standards.
If a contractor is bonded, it means they purchased a “surety bond” from a third-party source. A surety bond protects you as the property owner if the contractor fails to complete a job, or if the contractor does the job incorrectly.
When you hire a bonded contractor, you know you’ll be financially protected if the contractor (or employee working for the contractor) messes up their end of the bargain or performs unethical work.
A contractor should carry 2 types of insurance:
- Liability insurance, which protects damage to your property caused by a contractor’s employee
- Workers’ compensation, which provides financial support to a contractor’s employee who injured themselves on the job
Note: If an HVAC company carries these types of insurance, the coverage will apply to any technician working for them.
How to know if a contractor is licensed, bonded and insured
The easiest way to know if a contractor is licensed and bonded is to see if they are certified by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
According to BBB accreditation standards, in order to be certified by the BBB a contractor they must “fulfill all licensing and bonding requirements of applicable jurisdictions.”
To know if a contractor is insured (and what types of insurance they carry), ask the contractor to provide proof of insurance. Then you can contact the insurance carrier and verify if the contractor is insured.
Tip #2: Ask if the contractor will pull permits
Before a licensed contractor starts work on a project, they will also need to get any required permits (called “pulling permits”) from the local government.
Pulling permits is important because it proves your HVAC repair or installation will be done according to local codes. If the contractor you hire doesn’t pull permits, you could run into trouble later on if you try to sell your home.
So as you are choosing a contractor to hire for your HVAC project, make sure you ask if they will pull any needed permits.
Tip #3: Ask if the contractor offers an AHRI Certificate on new HVAC equipment
The AHRI (Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Institute) is a third-party organization that provides certificates to verify if an HVAC product performs according to the manufacturer’s published claims.
The contractor you hire should provide an AHRI certificate with each new equipment installation to show that the advertised features of a particular HVAC unit are accurate.
For example, let’s say you want to buy a 16-SEER AC, and you see a particular brand advertises one of their AC models as a 16-SEER unit. However, that advertised SEER rating might only apply to certain sizes of that AC model.
For example, the model’s 2-ton units might operate as a 16-SEER unit but its larger, 3-or-4-ton units might operate closer to a 14-SEER unit even though they’re being advertised as a 16-SEER unit.
So if you were to go with the higher unit thinking you’re going to get a 16-SEER rating, then you’d essentially pay for efficiency you’re not actually going to get.
An AHRI certificate helps you avoid that hassle by verifying if the manufacturer claims are correct and in what situations they are accurate.
Tip #4: Confirm they offer upfront pricing estimates—in writing
Before you allow a contractor to do any HVAC repairs or installations, make sure they give you an upfront estimate in writing.
A written estimate is basically legal protection for you and the contractor that will hold both parties to their word.
Beware of contractors who don’t offer estimates in writing, or who give estimates over the phone without looking at your home and HVAC system. These estimates are just guesses, and won’t accurately reflect what you’ll pay for a real HVAC repair/installation.
Tip #5: Look for good customer reviews
A look at a company’s track record and reputation will help you know if a contractor does good, quality work.
Look at customer reviews on sites like:
Does the company have good ratings and reviews from customers? If so, that’s a sign that the majority of customers were satisfied with the contractor’s service. And that means you’ll also likely be satisfied with the contractor’s service if you hire them.
Need an HVAC repair or installation in Kansas City?
Not to toot our own horn, but we know we do quality work. And so do our customers.
So no matter if you need an HVAC repair or installation, we can help.