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20 Questions to Ask Potential HVAC Contractors | HVAC Bid Tips

May 15th, 2018

Complicated home systems require advanced training and expertise. And one of the most complicated systems in your home is the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.

While the equipment certainly matters, it’s much more important that you hire a licensed, certified professional to conduct the work. Not only is comfort and efficiency important, safety is a serious concern. With carbon monoxide, toxic refrigerants, electricity, and natural gas, you want to make sure you hire the right HVAC company.

According to Energy Star (sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy), “more than half of all new systems in U.S. homes do not perform to their rated efficiency as a result of improper installation.”

No matter what the manufacturer promises in terms of comfort and efficiency, it won’t matter if the unit wasn’t installed properly to begin with. Improperly installed systems can lead to reduced performance, comfort problems, insufficient dehumidification, poor airflow, and indoor air quality problems.

When contractors are bidding for your business, it’s important to know what to look for. Don’t just focus on a piece of equipment. Use these HVAC bid tips to get a properly installed and maintained HVAC system that meets its rated efficiency and comfort levels.

20 Questions to Ask When Shopping Around for New HVAC Contractor

When you are shopping around for a new heating and cooling contractor, ask the following questions to each contractor:

HVAC Equipment

  1. Will you inspect the whole HVAC system, including electrical components and ductwork?
  2. Will you measure the home and follow Manual J guidelines for sizing new HVAC equipment? Learn more about HVAC sizing and load calculations.
  3. Will you provide proof of licensing and insurance to repair and replace heating and cooling equipment?
  4. Will you provide proof of HVAC certification and referrals that span several years? Ask them for recent referrals and examples of quality HVAC work.
  5. Will you complete and submit any warranty information, local rebates, and paperwork on my behalf? If not, will you provide me with information on any warranty or rebate programs for which I am eligible?
  6. Will you leave behind all upfront pricing, bids, documentation, sizing calculations, certifications, and necessary records in writing?
  7. Will you provide me with clear communication about your HVAC system, how to operate it properly, and tips for making sure the system is operating at its best?


  1. Will you evaluate the HVAC system’s air balance by measuring the supply and return ducts?
  2. If insulating air ducts, will all duct leaks be sealed first?
  3. Will you test the air ducts to make sure leakage does not exceed recommended levels?

Verification, Guarantees, and Maintenance

Before any works get started, make sure you and the contractor sign a written proposal. Read it carefully before signing and consider asking the following questions:

  1. Are all the work details listed along with where the equipment is going to be installed? Does it include start and completion dates, contractor’s insurance policy, and license number(s)?
  2. Will you specify the makes and models of the equipment, including model numbers, names, quantity, manufacturer warranties, documentation, and energy ratings?
  3. After work is completed, will you leave all the owner’s manuals, documentation of installation procedures, AHRI certificate, and any records of measurements and testing?
  4. Is the payment schedule confirmed and in writing?
  5. Does the proposal include documentation on how disputes will be resolved (what does the satisfaction guarantee entail)?
  6. Will you outline all paperwork and permits that are required for the project?
  7. Will you include a fresh filter as part of regular maintenance?
  8. Will you clean the indoor and outdoor components during regular maintenance?
  9. Do you offer a HVAC maintenance plan?
  10. Will you replace or repair any damaged components onsite?

When you receive a written proposal, make sure you read the entire thing! You can also get a lawyer or someone else to look over the agreement with you.

If you’re unsure about anything related to HVAC bids, load calculations, or anything else related to replacing, repairing, or installing HVAC equipment, don’t hesitate to contact Service Champions. If you are replacing an HVAC system, we will perform a full load calculation and present you with replacement options before any work begins.

Related Resources:

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