When hiring a technician to work on your HVAC system, you want to make sure you are getting what you pay for – a professional who will do the job right the first time and is trained to spot any possible issues. So how can a homeowner make sure they are hiring the right person for the job? Answer: by looking through our list of the right questions to ask your heating repair company.
Some of the most important questions should be asked when you are picking who to hire. Before you schedule the appointment you should ask:
- Is the company licensed to work on HVACs in the state and can they produce current certificates that show they have liability insurance and workers compensation?
- Is the company familiar with your brand of HVAC?
- Does the company provide technicians with training? Are they NATE certified? A NATE-certified technician means they have gone through training and testing and have received a North American Technical Excellence (NATE) certificate to prove that they are skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to your HVAC system.
- Do you guarantee service or repairs?
In addition to asking your pre-hire questions, it is also good to do a little research and see how long the company has been around, and see if they have a good reputation. A little homework can save you a lot of headaches, knowing you are hiring the right person for the job! Then you can ask them the right questions depending on if you are hiring them for a maintenance call or a repair call.
How well you know your own HVAC system will determine what other questions you ask the technician. If you are making a maintenance call, you will definitely want to ask the company exactly what the tech will be doing before they even walk through the door. This helps give you a clear understanding of what you are paying for, and makes sure it covers all the tasks you want accomplished.
Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air, says it’s important that homeowners know as much as possible about their own HVAC system and that the best way to learn is by asking questions.
He says the first question should be, “Do you mind if I watch you work and ask questions?”
Keith notes that service techs are people too, and many people don’t feel comfortable with someone watching over their shoulder and asking questions. “If the tech is OK with it,” he says, “then ask away, but realize that you are paying by the hour, so your Q & A session may cost you a few dollars.”
By asking questions, the tech may be able to offer you advice or tips for your specific HVAC, giving you knowledge that can end up saving you money in the form of a repair down the line.
If the nature of your call was to get a repair, Keith says it’s good practice to tell your technician right away what your unit is doing. Is there no heat coming out? Are there strange noises you’ve been hearing? What are the symptoms you are aware of? Once you inform the pro of some of the problems, they’ll be able to tell you what the next steps are. Keith says to make sure to also ask when they will have an idea of repair costs.
“Just like with your car, it may take some time to do the diagnostics before they can accurately estimate the repairs,” he says.
Lastly, remember that the only dumb question is the question not asked. You shouldn’t feel silly for wanting to learn more about your home’s comfort.