The purchase or repair of a furnace, boiler, central air conditioner or ventilation system is a major investment and, because of the direct impact on our daily comfort, this type of home upgrade or maintenance deserves careful consideration, research and expertise. More often than not, homeowners do not distinguish one contractor from another on anything but price. Due to safety concerns, as well as the increased costs of heating or cooling a home without the proper equipment, the lowest price is not always the best value.
To maximize your comfort, safety and peace of mind, and to minimize your operating costs down the road, be sure to deal only with qualified, professional contractors.
So how can you be sure a contractor is reputable and qualified?
There are some obvious red flags to look for when shopping for a contractor. Reputable contractors, for example:
• will not quote prices over the phone without first assessing your job on-site;
• will not request large cash advances prior to the delivery of any equipment or materials'
• will readily provide a full business address as well as a telephone number where the company can be reached;
• will be happy to offer the names and addresses of customers they have done work for in your area.
Your own due diligence is important to locating a reputable contractor. Prior to calling for a quote, research the contractors in your area by:
• using the contractor locator on www.hrai.ca (or contact the call centre at 1-877-467-4724). Member contractors will display the HRAI logo;
• visiting each contractor's website for a review of their services and the equipment they offer;
• making sure the contractors you deal with are properly licensed and insured to do the work that they do;
• speaking with the contractor's previous clients.
The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) requires its contractor members to carry relevant trade, fuel safety and applicable licenses as well as worker's compensation and liability insurance. You may be surprised to learn that many contractors simply don't bother with licensing or insurance. They may pass on lower costs to you up front, but you could end up paying much more over time, not only financially, but in terms of your family's comfort, health, safety and peace of mind.
A contractor's membership in HRAI does not guarantee a quality installation or service, but it will provide you with some assurance that they are properly qualified and insured to do the job right.
Courtesy of Newscanada
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