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All you want for Christmas ... is a good heating contractor?  

All you want for Christmas ... is a good heating contractor?

Photo: iStock

Heating & Cooling

Fed up with technicians who don't show up on time or don't know what they're doing when they arrive? Having trouble trusting your contractors because you've been burned by too many in the past? Afraid you're being overcharged for a big purchase like a new heating and cooling system?

Here are five ways to find a good HVAC contractor:

  1. Do your homework. Know which types of licenses and insurance Iowa requires for the specialists you need to hire. Also, learn about your HVAC system; the more you know, the more you can tell potential contractors.
  2. Ask your friends. If someone you trust trusts a certain contractor, you might, too.
  3. Check them out. Always call the contractor's references. If the contractor can't provide any, find a different HVAC professional. You might also ask what type of continuing education he or she participates in to stay up-to-date. Ask if the contractor has participated in Momentum Is Building, a building trades update conference our cooperative helps sponsor each year.
  4. Take your time. Don't rush your decision when hiring. And then, don't rush the contractors when they come over to give you an estimate. To make a fair evaluation, an HVAC contractor needs to spend some time inspecting the system you already have; checking out your ducts, windows and insulation; and asking you questions about your family's needs.
  5. Get it in writing. Ask for written, itemized estimates. Then, compare each contractor's bid for cost, energy efficiency and warranties. The lowest price isn't always the best deal. Before any work starts or money changes hands, sign the contract and insist that the contractor sign it, too.

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