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Whether you need to hire a professional heating service to repair your furnace or to replace it, you’ll do well to avoid some common mistakes that homeowners routinely make when hiring heating contractors. While most heating contractors are reputable, there are also those that care more about instant money than developing a customer base. Below, we list four mistakes that people commonly make in association with these types of contractors.

1. Not Determining Whether a Company is Actually a Professional Heating Service

Although it seems audacious that a company would take out a professional ad in the phone book or over the Internet when it isn’t professionally licensed to perform HVAC work, this routinely happens. In some cases, unlicensed outfits have lots of official knowledge from having worked with a legit company. But you can never be sure, making it better to insist on HVAC licensure. After finding out the licensing requirements in your state, check with the necessary state or local organizations to ensure a contractor is licensed.

2. Hiring a Company that Isn’t Insured for Damages

The likelihood of your property being damaged during a furnace installation or repair is slim. But it has been known to happen, and to disastrous ends. Companies that carry insurance are prepared for such occasions, while companies that lack insurance aren’t. If you hire the latter and they damage your property, expect to be left with no option but to pursue the matter in court. Then expect to be left with no option but to sell your settlement for less than face value to a debt collector, because companies rarely pay for damages willingly when they don’t carry insurance.

3. Accepting an Evaluation After Being Cold Called

The only types of contractors that engage in cold calling to secure in home evaluations are those that aren’t established and those that commit scams, and it’s tough to tell the difference. In the case of the latter, a contractor will inspect your furnace and state that it needs repair or replacement, whether it does or not. In a best-case scenario, you’ll end up paying for nothing. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll end up with improperly performed repairs or an improperly installed furnace, which won’t bother the cold caller, as their goal is often your money and nothing else.

4. Not Getting Everything in Writing

From the time it will take to complete the project to the type and brand of materials to be used, getting every aspect of your furnace repair or replacement project in writing is key to ensuring that everything ends as expected. Because companies aren’t bound to honor verbal agreements, they sometimes extend a project’s length or use other than discussed materials when they aren’t bound to a written contract. Even if you hire a company that your friends or relatives claim is extremely honest from firsthand experience, getting everything in writing will ensure that the company stays that way.