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Choosing a HVAC Contractor? Find One That's Insured, Bonded and Licensed

One of the most important aspects you face when choosing an HVAC contractor is to verify that their credentials are valid. In order for an HVAC contractor to work in Texas, he or she must hold a license, have insurance and be bonded. Contractors and technicians in Texas have to work for at least 48 months in some capacity in the industry before applying for a license and must pass a test to demonstrate their knowledge. 

Insurance

The contractor must obtain an insurance policy that covers their liability should anything go wrong on the job site. This protects you from any damage that occurs at your home or to your property. They must also have Workman's Compensation insurance that covers their employees in the event of a disabling accident. Considering the hazardous nature of their work, verifying that policy is adequate to cover any damage to your home is a smart step before moving forward with the project.

Bond

The bond requirement protects you in the unlikely event that the contractor can't complete the job or if a misunderstanding comes up that can't be resolved. When you're choosing an HVAC contractor, make sure the documents you sign have the number of the bond and their insurance policy. 

License

Many kinds of contractors have to carry a license, but it's especially critical in the HVAC industry. The equipment they service and install is probably the most complex in a home. They have to work with high voltage electricity, combustible fuels and potentially hazardous refrigerants. 

Texas grants two types of HVAC contractor licenses. Class A contractors work on any size HVAC equipment. Class B contractors are limited to systems that provide 25 tons of cooling or less, and 1.5 million Btus (British thermal units). The exams cover the complete spectrum that ventilation, heating and cooling involves. Many HVAC technicians and contractors opt to fast track their careers in the HVAC industry by attending a state-approved program that will trim the work requirements by two years. 

Industry Certifications

Besides being insured, bonded and licensed, when choosing an HVAC contractor, ask if they carry any other certifications from industry groups. One of the most prestigious is earning NATE certification. The North American Technician Excellence program is a nonprofit organization that tests applicants for general knowledge and specialties within the industry. 

Their testing program is the most stringent in the industry, and only a fraction of those who apply gain the certification. They also require ongoing education and periodic testing to keep the certification active. They provide educational programs that help HVAC contractors stay on top of changes in the industry, which is always evolving to make HVAC equipment more energy efficient and safer. When you're choosing an HVAC contractor, one who has the NATE-certification is likely to provide you with greater satisfaction and service.

Another indicator of distinction is membership in the Air Conditioner Contractors of America (ACCA) organization. ACCA works with the NATE organization and members can take advantage of the extensive information and education that ACCA provides its members. They have developed standards for installation of heating and cooling systems that the U.S. EPA has recognized as exceptional. 

The installation process has an impact on your home's conditioning bills, almost as much as the energy efficiency of the equipment you select. A contractor who doesn't do a careful load calculation for your home, follow guidelines for installing it, and neglects ductwork inspections and testing, is neglecting a significant part of the installation process. 

Factory-Authorized Dealers

Another hallmark of top-notch HVAC contractor is being a factory-authorized dealer. Manufacturers of heating and cooling systems only choose the contractors who have the best service and performance records before designating them as a factory-authorized dealer. This honor assures you that the contractor understands the equipment thoroughly, because they receive in-depth training and updates on all the equipment they sell. 

To learn more about choosing an HVAC contractor, contact us to find an HVAC contractor in West Texas near you. 

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