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How to Decide on a Contractor for Your Home, a Basic Guide

Boiler installation

Did you know that traditional ductwork can have cooling losses that are as high as 40%? If you?re tired of losing money through old appliances in your home, it may be time to contact several local general contractors to see what sort of changes you can make. But how should you go about choosing a contractor for your home? Here are a few things you should keep in mind.

What You Should Do For Any Home Contractor: Period

Always:

  • Check to see whether they are licensed and insured to work. Otherwise, if something goes wrong during an installation, or if someone falls while working on your home, you could be left holding the bill.
  • Ask for a cost-estimate in writing so that services you assumed were covered aren?t tacked on later.
  • Always ask for past client references you can contact in order to get an honest opinion of the work they do.
  • Check out their rating and reviews with the Better Business Bureau. Avoid contractors with very low scores and a history of non-responsiveness.
  • Ask: does their work conform to any applicable state and local codes? They should be able to certify this.

Are You Looking for a Contractor for Your HVAC Systems?

The specifics you need to know:

  • An experienced contractor should do a home evaluation. It?s not possible to know what type of HVAC system is appropriate for your home, for example, simply by knowing its square footage. They should spend time assessing your insulation, duct system, windows and more.
  • If you want to keep your costs down, look for rebates on ENERGY STAR qualified equipment. ENERGY STAR appliances have helped American homes and businesses save about $2.4 billion since its inception in 1992.
  • It might be time to upgrade your system, not just get repairs. Instead of dealing with perpetual loss of energy through your duct system, for example, this can be mitigated by purchasing ductless mini split systems.
  • Choosing a contractor isn’t necessarily about going for the lowest cost option. A poorly installed system can inhibit your energy efficiency and cost you more in the long run, both in energy bills and in annual maintenance and repairs.

There’s no one right way to choose a contractor. In short, though, always make sure you do your research so that you’re not accidentally hiring a fly-by-night contractor who will poorly install your system, only to be unreachable when your heat doesn’t turn on or your heating bill is far too high to be normal. More can be found here.

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