What to Look for When Hiring an HVAC Company

Posted on: May 28, 2014

A message from Joe Dowd, president of Dowd’s Mechanical, Heating & Air Conditioning

Avoid bad HVAC companies—here’s what to look for in a contractor:

  • Proper Licensing – In the state of Pennsylvania a contractor must have a license to install and service heating and air conditioning equipment. Dowd’s Mechanical, Heating & Air Conditioning is licensed in PA (license number PA001939) and NJ (license number 13vh04128000). And did you know? In Philadelphia you must have a warm air license as well to install any type of gas heater. Our warm air license in Philadelphia is 29121.
  • Manufacturer Certifications – The manufacture requires their top dealers to meet proper training and testing, so be on the lookout for their certifications—you can look for them on manufacturer websites. At Dowd’ Mechanical, Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re proud to be a certified Trane Comfort Specialist, a Mitsubishi Diamond Dealer, and a Rheem Top Contractor.
  • Properly Trained – When you invest in an HVAC system, you want to be sure you’re investing your money in a contractor that is properly trained to install your system—otherwise you can end up spending a lot more in the long run. It may be more money to go with the properly trained contractor, but you’ll benefit from a problem-free system for years to come. At Dowd’s Mechanical, Heating & Air Conditioning, we get at least 100 calls a year to fix problems from improperly installed systems. Don’t be one of those unhappy people—get it done correctly the first time.
  • Better Business Bureau RatingThe trick here is to look for companies with the fewest number of complaints. When you see a company that has a very low number of complaints, they are probably going to be your best bet! You’ll be able to rely on them for a quality installation.
  • Fully Insured – Ask for a copy of their insurance before you start work. If the HVAC contractor doesn’t have insurance and somebody gets hurt in your home, you will be on the hook for the legal ramifications. Workman comp insurance is often the biggest one that contractors neglect to carry. The contractor will pull the permit and sign off that he is the only person working on the job. This is legal; however, any of his helpers and other personal are not covered. This is how contractors get away without having workman comp insurance. The reason why they don’t have insurance is simply the cost. We pay over $25k a year for workman comp insurance, but it’s a price we’re happy to pay to keep our employees safe.
  • Physical Address – This is very important! A company that has a physical address is one that you can depend on to stick around—and it’s usually a bad sign if your HVAC contractor doesn’t have a physical mailing address or only has a PO Box. If you would like to find Dowd’s Mechanical, Heating & Air Conditioning, we are located at 1327 Adams Rd., Bensalem, PA 19020 Suite F.
  • Recent Projects – Check out some of the projects your HVAC contractor has recently completed. We post a lot of big projects that have been recently completed, and you can feel free to contact us about any of them. Check out our recent projects here »
  • Incorporated State Violations Check out the state website for any pending violations and judgments against the company—if you are a commercial customer check Dunn and Brad Street. You can find out the company’s credit score and lawsuits and liens against that company. Usually companies that have no complaints are the good guys.
  • Extended Warranties Almost all manufactures have outsourced their warranties to a third party. The biggest one is AIG—yes, that AIG. A lot of the most reputable companies are the ones that hold their extended labor warranty in house. The third party insurance companies often don’t pay the proper money to the contractors to make the repair properly. That is why we stopped doing insurance companies’ repair work over seven years ago. We hold all of our extended warranties in house.
  • Avoid Big Box Stores Big box stores use sub-contractors. How do we know this? We have done work for them—and those big box stores charge an extra 6.5 percent to make a profit on their installations. Skip the middle man and save at least 6.5 percent on your job by hiring a contractor that has the same certifications from the manufacture, and you will get the same quality work for a cheaper price.

I hope these recommendations help you in choosing the correct HVAC contractor. If you are in Philadelphia, PA or the surrounding areas and are looking for a company that meets all the above, give us a call at 215-752-3638 or contact us online.

Regards,
Joe Dowd
President, Dowd’s Mechanical, Heating & Air Conditioning