With cooler weather just starting to settle in most parts of the country, the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with is a broken furnace or boiler, which can quickly leave you feeling left out in the cold. Yet, many American homes have aging heating systems that need maintenance. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, one in four furnaces in U.S. homes today is more than 20 years old – the typical life expectancy of a furnace is about 15 to 20 years. To ensure your home heating equipment is running safely and efficiently, and will last throughout the winter, Lennox Industries, a leading provider of customized home comfort systems, recommends scheduling a regular maintenance check-up by a quality home heating and cooling contractor. Here are five tips to help homeowners choose the right professional to perform preventative maintenance or install new equipment:
1. Dial a friend. Recommendations from friends, neighbors or family members are a good place to start. They also can tell you which contractors to avoid if they’ve had a bad experience in the past.
2. Look for a name-brand affiliation. It’s best to go with a contractor that is a dealer of name-brand heating and cooling products, as many of the nationally known manufacturers offer training and technical assistance to their dealers. For example, Lennox dealers can take advantage of special technical and product-specific training, which helps ensure quality service, maintenance and installation of equipment.
3. Run a background check. Contact the Better Business Bureau, which provides impartial information regarding companies and their track records for resolving complaints. Also, make sure the company is licensed and complies with local regulations in your area. You also want to ask whether the dealer’s technicians are NATE (North American Technician Excellence Inc.) certified. NATE is the leading certification program for technicians in the heating and air conditioning industry.
4. Ask lots of questions. Inquire about the firm’s expertise, how long they’ve been in business, how they train their technicians, and whether they offer a service guarantee. You want to be certain all labor and parts are covered to the fullest extent. If looking to purchase a new heating system, ask about the products that are available, the various energy efficiency ratings and the latest innovations that have been introduced.
5. Be mindful of money matters. Before hiring a contractor or service provider, be sure to get a written estimate up front that outlines the specific work that is to be done, the exact cost and a timeline associated with completing the work. In addition, ask about financing options and special offers. Always avoid companies that charge you just for providing an estimate, and never agree to pay the full fee for a project up front. Most reputable companies will allow you to pay a portion of the fee at the start of the project, with the remainder due upon completion.
For more information about Lennox home comfort products, visit www.Lennox.com or call 1-800-9-LENNOX.