You’ll never encounter a heating and air conditioning company that tells you that they offer shoddy service. But there are plenty of companies that do. To distinguish the good companies from the bad and the mediocre, you have to ask a few questions.

The first question to ask is whether an HVAC company has the flexibility that you need. For example, if you want to install a certain air handler that the company won’t provide, that’s something that you want to know before a service person visits your house. Another important aspect of flexibility is whether the company can complete your project in a timely manner. Some companies rope in as many customers as possible without giving much thought to project length. A third important issue of flexibility deals with financing. If you can’t pay for the project with a check, you’ll need to make sure that the company offers agreeable financing.

The second question to ask is whether a company has the level of expertise that you need. For example, if you’re installing ductwork, the heating and cooling company should be able to mend your ceilings after installation. In many cases, homeowners are left to hire another company to do aesthetic repair work, which increases project cost. Another important issue of expertise is whether the company’s workers are NATE certified. NATE certification indicates that workers are formally trained in the best workable procedures. While the certification doesn’t “guarantee” superior workers, it at least indicates their superior expertise.

When you determine companies’ flexibility and expertise, it becomes easier to choose the right company. If you’ve found what you think is a great company but you want more assurance, check the company’s complaint record by visiting the Better Business Bureau (BBB) online. A company that resolves its complaints is typically a company that values its customers.

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