Hiring an HVAC technician? Here’s what to ask

HVAC Logo IconBy Tom MoorOctober 3, 2023
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Searching for “AC repair near me” may get you a list of HVAC technicians, but what’s the next step? Asking the right questions will help you decide on the best HVAC contractor for your needs. 

You’ve come to the right place – we’ve got your back! HVAC.com’s connected more than 100,000 homeowners with top-rated, local HVAC contractors. We recommend you ask the following questions when interviewing technicians. 

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1. Are you licensed and insured?

Most states require that HVAC technicians earn a license before working. This shows a minimum knowledge of the skills needed to do the job. 

In the 16 states listed below, there is no state-wide HVAC licensing requirement. However, these areas may have requirements at the county or city levels. In addition, states without a licensing department may require proof of apprenticeship or educational hours.  

MontanaNebraskaNew Hampshire^New York
PennsylvaniaSouth DakotaVermontWyoming

*General HVAC contractors do not need a state license unless they handle refrigeration.
^General HVAC contractors do not need a state license unless they are a gas fitter.

When researching an HVAC tech, check their license number with the appropriate licensing board in your region.

Note that any HVAC professional who handles refrigerant requires special certification from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Also, ask about insurance. The company must possess both worker’s compensation and general liability insurance. These coverages address unexpected financial risks in case there’s an accident when working at your home.

Bonding is also important. It means the business has money set aside to respond to any claims against it. Some states may require HVAC technicians are bonded to pay for potential accidental damages to your home.

2. How much experience do you have in the industry?

Working in HVAC for a short time isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but it may help you choose the right contractor for your project. Depending on the complexity of your job, you may prefer a more experienced professional.

Watch out for “pop-up” businesses that request upfront payment to begin work and never complete the job. Ask for the address of their storefront to ensure they’re based locally. Check reviews online.

Additionally, ask if they have experience with the brand of equipment you need help with. Some HVAC companies have brand affiliations and only work on certain types of equipment.

3. Can you provide references from past customers?

Talking to past customers can give you valuable insights when hiring an HVAC technician. Trustworthy businesses should have a portfolio of references willing to vouch for the quality of their service.

Consider it a red flag if a business can’t provide a reference or challenges your request.

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4. Can I have a written quote?

Getting the project scope and estimated cost in writing ensures you and your technician are on the same page. Don’t settle for an over-the-phone or online quote.

Don’t agree to engage with a technician until you’ve seen and signed a written quote. This will protect both parties from future misunderstandings and disputes. 

When the job is complete, request a detailed invoice that lists precisely the work completed.

5. Do you guarantee your work?

If you’re purchasing a new system, it will likely come with a warranty from the manufacturer. Some HVAC technicians may offer an additional labor warranty. This covers any future work necessitated by improper installation. 

If you’re hiring an HVAC contractor for a repair, ask if they guarantee their work. Companies that offer high-quality service should do this without an additional fee.

You may also want to inquire about refunds. Will the company refund you if you’re unsatisfied with the job? Or will they work with you to fix the problem?

6. When can you start and complete this job?

When you hire an HVAC technician, get a clear understanding of their timeline. Ask if they can start immediately or if you’ll need to schedule an appointment for the future. Also, ask how long they estimate the job will take. It’s important to have aligned expectations on timing.

Inquire about parts. Do they stock the necessary components for repairs? Do they need to order parts? Remember that supply chain issues may affect the HVAC industry, like many others today.

7. What methods of payment do you accept?

Don’t make assumptions regarding payment methods. Ask upfront and ensure you can deliver payment in the technician’s preferred style.

Some HVAC businesses may offer financing options on larger jobs. If this is something you need, inquire about it before selecting a contractor.

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Hire an HVAC technician: FAQs

What is an HVAC contractor?
An HVAC contractor is an individual who installs, maintains, and repairs HVAC systems. Air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, air handlers, and ventilation systems are considered HVAC systems. Job duties of an HVAC contractor may include:
•Troubleshooting and repairing HVAC equipment
•Inspecting homes for right-sized HVAC equipment
•Installing new HVAC equipment
•Providing maintenance service for existing HVAC equipment
Most states require some formal education and apprenticeship to earn an HVAC technician’s license.
How to find a good HVAC contractor?
On HVAC.com, we provide referrals to top-rated local HVAC contractors. Additionally, you may consider the following methods when hiring an HVAC technician:
•Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations
•Use social platforms like Nextdoor and Facebook to ask for referrals
•Read online reviews for local HVAC companies
What is the difference between an HVAC technician and installer?
How to prepare for HVAC technicians?
Before your HVAC technician appointment, make sure you:
•Clear a path, so your HVAC equipment is easily accessible.
•Plan to be home during your scheduled appointment window.
•If you want to purchase a new unit, research the best HVAC brands.
•Secure pets in their kennel or a closed room. 
•Prepare to pay at the end of the appointment. 

During your appointment, your technician may:
•Perform an overall systems check. 
•Conduct a safety evaluation.
•Clean any parts that require it. 
•Perform necessary repairs.
•Answer your questions.
•Schedule a follow-up appointment if required.
•Request payment.
•Provide a written report/invoice.
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