After you’ve made the decision to replace your heating unit, the next step should be to find a suitable and reliable Professional Heating Contractor. You are probably familiar with a number of heating businesses and contractors in your area, just from seeing their trucks around town, or hearing their commercials on the radio.
Before anything else, the first step in choosing one of these businesses or contractors should be to go online and find some reviews of their work. The most accurate reviews available are those on the Google search page, or facebook. Any reviews on the business’ site are generally hand chosen, to better reflect the business, but they may not provide any negative information. The best and most honest reviews will typically come from someone who you know that has worked with the company in the past, so make sure that you ask among your friends before you make any decisions.
The best idea is to choose multiple contractors that all have good reviews, and ask them all questions that you may not have been able to find on their website or their reviews. The first questions you should be asking are about their experience and qualifications. Any gas or heating contractor must have a gas ticket from Technical Safety BC, and you should ask to see it before beginning the project.
Along with their gas ticket, they should also be covered by Workers Compensation, and hold business liability insurance. Along with these questions, you should be asking what brands of equipment they will work with and install, and what they think will work best for you and your house. You should also inquire into how long the work will take to be completed, and get a price estimate. It may be helpful to ask the contractor who will be doing the install, as these jobs can take a full day or more, so it’s important to be comfortable with the team.
After you have gathered all of this information, take some time to consider all of the different options, and compare prices and the different options for equipment that have been presented to you. Make sure that you look at reviews of all of the equipment, and do your own research. A good resource for equipment information is the website Consumer Reports, as well as the brand websites themselves. Consumer Reports have released the latest report with consumer satisfacation and reliability of the equipment.
It is a good idea to write down the model number of the equipment, in order to compare quotes. Some contractors will leave this information out of their quote in order to install cheaper equipment at the same price to you, increasing their profitability.
You should also check the Fortis BC website, and look into rebates for certain products. You may be able to save a substantial amount of money if you choose to install an Energy Star certified product, or if you change to a natural gas furnace. A good contractor will help you through the application process for these rebates.
Once you have settled on a contractor, and have chosen the equipment for your house, you may need to file for a permit from your municipality. The regulations for permits change for each city, but your contractor should be well versed in the rules for your city, and should be able to file the permit for you. Fortis BC and the Safety Authority require a permit for each gas appliance install.
Now that you’ve done all your research, asked all your questions, and gathered a few quotes, it’s time to choose a contractor.
Points to consider when buying new equipment or choosing a new contractor:
- WCB, liability insurance, installing crews qualifications such as gas ticket, years in job. Equipment brands and model numbers. Features and benefits of equipment.
- Reviews of equipment and contractor. In many cases it’s not just the equipment it’s how it was installed.
- Air conditioning/heat pumps seer rating and DBA
- Consumer reports
- What is the company’s focus? (ie plumbing/heating or gas/heating)
- Rental of equipment- what are the terms of the contract, end date buy out and right of first refusal for future equipment purchases.
- Is any electrical work completed by electrial contractor.
- Does the equipment qualify for fortis rebates and who completes the rebate.
- Permit do I need one and who requests the permit