Choosing the right HVAC contractor in the Metuchen, NJ, area can be a challenge. This is particularly true if you’ve never done it before or you’re selecting a company for a major install. To help make this process easier, let’s explore a series of tips that can point you in the right direction of the professional who is perfect for the job you need completed.

1. Research

It’s important to know about HVAC license and insurance requirements in your state. New Jersey requires HVAC companies to have a local presence in the state and active licensing that the organization must renew. A company must have certain levels of liability insurance in place.

The state of New Jersey does not require licensing for individual HVAC technicians. Master HVAC certification is available. It requires completion of a Department of Labor approved HVACR apprenticeship or an equivalent bachelor’s degree. Master HVAC technicians must maintain their licenses. If you have an HVAC system installed, it should be a master installer who is overseeing that work.

2. Referrals

You may want to start with referrals if you’re in search of an HVAC company. These can include recommendations from neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family. You can also get lists of reputable HVAC contractors through trade associations and your local Chamber of Commerce.

3. Be Wary of Referral Services

Referral services are companies that generate leads and sell them to contractors. Some operate in a dishonest manner to conceal who they are and what they do. If dealing with them involves multiple steps and them passing you off to a contractor, it’s likely a referral service.

4. Check Reviews Online

The Internet is a great resource. You can easily see if a company is a BBB member, whether they’re accredited, and what their rating is. You can also find reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Angi, which was formerly Angie’s List. Perhaps don’t put too much stock in overwhelming praise or several angry reviews. But if you find a pattern of customer dissatisfaction, it’s probably an HVAC contractor best avoided.

5. Gravitate to Established Contractors

This is a bit easier in New Jersey since the state requires a local presence. In other words, an out-of-state company without a local presence can’t legally offer to replace your HVAC system. But experience and years in business matters, too. In this area, there are many businesses that have served the region for decades. It doesn’t mean that a young company with a couple of years under its belt is bad. But it may not be the provider you want to rely on to replace your furnace and air conditioner setup.

6. Certification and Ongoing Education

Many HVAC providers achieve certifications that go well beyond what the state requires. Through the Clean Air Act, the EPA provides certification by passing an EPA-approved test. There are many prestigious manufacturer certifications, such as through Carrier, Lennox, and Trane.

North American Technician Excellence is the nation’s largest non-profit certification organization for HVAC. It partners with organizations like the EPA, ACCA, and National Comfort Institute to maintain high standards. Contractors and customers prefer NATE-certified technicians because they’re career tradespeople who have proven knowledge and skills.

The NCI also recommends favoring companies that provide their technicians with an ongoing education. HVAC is a quickly and ever evolving field. Continued training is necessary to stay up to date with the latest technological innovations, new practices, and current HVAC codes.

7. Schedule an In-Home Consultation

Most HVAC companies will provide you with an initial in-home consultation without charge or obligation. If you intend to replace your system, this may include a full inspection and taking measurements. This is also an opportunity to get a feel for the company. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the person that you’re dealing with.

This is the time to ask questions. Tell them about why you’re scheduling the work and what you hope to achieve. If you have rooms that are less comfortable than others, discuss your issue. This is important information for them to know. Does a technician instill you with confidence? Or does it seem like the focus is maximizing project costs?

If it seems relevant, the EPA recommends discussing Energy Star. A potential HVAC company should be able to help you strike the right balance between upfront and month-to-month costs. They should also be able to assist with local energy rebates and the federal Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit. Turn to us for HVAC maintenance!

8. Request to See Licensing

ACCA advises asking a contractor to see their company licenses and certifications. Most companies will be glad to provide you with this documentation. New Jersey even requires companies to do this with a main state license. For this reason, many companies have the license number in bold print on their work trucks.

9. Meet With At Least Three Companies

If you’re a new homeowner who doesn’t have much experience choosing an HVAC professional, meet with at least three companies. Multiple experiences will provide context for how you feel about a particular company. If you’re hiring for a major install, then get three estimates at the very least. This is true whether you’re a new or seasoned homeowner. Several sets of numbers will give you a much clearer picture. You’ll know which bids for HVAC labor and equipment are too high and too low based on the range you receive.

10. Ask for References and Follow Through

Request several references that are reasonably local to you and that involve work relevant to your project. Any reticence to provide such references is a big red flag. The next step is to follow through on them. Homeowners are often eager to tell you about home improvement experiences that exceeded their expectations and those that didn’t.

11. Estimates

Both the EPA and ACCA recommend requesting an itemized estimate in writing. If the contractor is unwilling to provide it in writing or wants to wait for itemization, this is a warning sign. Compare all the proposals you receive carefully. Consider not only your upfront costs but also your warranties and energy efficiency estimates.

When you agree to hire a company, have everything detailed in writing. The final proposal should include every detail that was discussed. If the final price could fluctuate, the contract should explicitly state how and why. The proposal should also include a job schedule, model numbers, and full warranty information. You should sign it, and a representative of the company should sign it. That protects everyone involved should any aspect of the project unfold in a manner other than promised.

Local HVAC Contractor in Metuchen

First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is an ACCA member and BBB-accredited company that’s proud to employ NATE-certified technicians. We’d love to be your HVAC contractor in Metuchen and throughout the surrounding areas. Our team installs, maintains, and repairs all ducted and ductless heating and cooling technologies. We have indoor air quality experts that install air purification and humidity control systems.

First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has plumbers for water and gas installation and repairs. Our plumbers also install and repair fixtures, toilets, garbage disposals, water heaters, and water treatment systems.

Call First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Meet the team here!

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