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If you’re exclaiming, “I need my furnace fixed now!” you’re probably dealing with one of two situations: frustration at a previous heating contractor’s failure to solve your heating problems, or cold drafts creeping across your house in the sudden absence of central heat. Regardless of which position you’re in, you need a reputable HVAC contractor to get your heat running as soon as possible. But how do you find that company, say, within less than an hour? Below, we list some easy ways to discover reputable heating contractors in a short amount of time, and what to do once you find one.

Some Tips to Help You Stop Exclaiming, “I Need my Furnace Fixed Now!”

1. Check a List of Licensed Contractors in Your Area Online

The first step in hiring heating and air conditioning contractors is to only hire those that are licensed under your state’s licensing requirements. Finding an online list of licensed contractors in your state should be easy and quick, eliminating the need to ask a company to provide proof of their licensure.

2. Ask if a Contractor Has Insurance

You may be in a hurry, but shouldn’t hire a contractor that doesn’t have insurance. Otherwise, you could be left with the bill for any damages that occur during the repair or replacement of your heating equipment. Ask a company over the phone to show its proof of insurance when it arrives for the job. To be extra careful, you could also call the insurer and check if they have a relationship with the contractor.

3. Don’t Accept a Quote Over the Phone

Over the phone quotes are bad for two reasons: the contractors that give them often make a lowball offer in order to get into your furnace room, then raise the offer based on what really needs to be done; and no contractor can give a reasonable quote without first inspecting your heating situation. If a contractor quotes a price over the phone for gas furnace repairs, electric furnace repairs, or other heating issues, move to the next contractor.

4. Check a Contractors Record at the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

If you don’t have time to evaluate a company’s references, at least check its record at the BBB. If a contractor has unresolved customer complaints on its record, it’s best to go with one that doesn’t. Otherwise, you could become the next unresolved complaint.

5. Be Willing to Accept Replacement Instead of Repairs

No one wants to hear that they need a new furnace when they were expecting a bill for a repair. But if you’ve found a reputable contractor, trust their advice. If you keep repairing a furnace that’s exhausted its useful lifespan, you’ll soon spend more in repairs than you would on a replacement, not to mention the frustration that comes with continually repairing an unreliable furnace.