4 helpful tips for hiring a heating contractor

October 16, 2014

Whether it's to install a more efficient home heating system or to maintain an existing one, tackling the replacement or upkeep of your heating system can be very technical. Moreover, the work has to meet specific safety standards. That's why it's important to give the task to a certified heating contractor trained to do the job right. Here are four helpful tips for finding one you can trust.

4 helpful tips for hiring a heating contractor

[Photo Credit: iStock.com/IndyEdge]

Making the right choice

Choosing a heating contractor is as important as choosing the system itself and ensuring it's well maintained, both for your comfort and peace of mind. Otherwise, your heating bills could potentially reach dizzying heights. In fact, Natural Resources Canada reports that heating is the biggest expense on Canadian household energy bills and accounts for nearly two-thirds of the energy used by an average family. So how does one go about choosing a heating contractor?

1. Ask for referrals

You’re bound to have a friend, relative or acquaintance who has had work done on their home heating system and can give you a referral.

  • The advantage of word-of-mouth recommendations is that friends and family tend to share their impressions honestly.

Whichever method you use to get in touch with a professional, be sure to ask them for references from previous clients.

  • Although you can also use online reviews to determine if a heating contractor has a solid reputation, keep in mind that reviews you see on a company's website don't always reflect the whole range of opinions. Check other websites, such as Angie's List, Trusted Pros and even YP.ca for independent reviews.

If a company or person you contact seems reluctant to provide referrals, walk away. It suggests that he or she may be hiding something they don't want you to discover.

2. Check their credentials

When it comes time for choosing a heating contractor, it’s essential to hire a licensed professional.

  • Be sure to check the company’s reliability, qualifications and insurance so that you’re well protected in the event of damage to your home.
  • Good professionals also typically suggest that they carry out regular maintenance of the system that they have installed.

Hiring a competent contractor right from the start will pay over the long term, as you could be dealing with him or her for years to come. What's more, you want to be assured that the company who will be doing work for you is likely to be around for a long time, and not simply disappear overnight.

3.  Compare quotes

Beware of contractors who give quotes without even coming to your home. That's a guaranteed red flag you must avoid!

  • A professional worthy of the name will inspect the premises first and then suggest the most cost effective heating solution.
  • If it's maintenance services that you're seeking, ask about the price and what the service contract includes.

Before making a choice, contact several contractors to compare their services, as rates fluctuate significantly from one contractor to another.

4.  Be open to other possibilities

Competent contractors are professionals who share their expertise. In other words, if they think you’re not making the right choices, they should tell you.

  • Don’t eliminate contractors who dare to disagree with you. A good home heating specialist should be able to suggest alternatives that are suited to your situation if you're looking to replace an old or inefficient heating system.
  • If you feel something you've been told isn't quite "right," even if it's simply for servicing your home heating system, trust your gut and ask around to see how other professionals respond to your questions.

When it comes to hiring a heating contractor, are you better off choosing the one who offers the most competitive price or who has more experience? That’s up to you. But before signing a contract, whether to ensure your heating system runs reliably all winter or to replace an outdated one with something that will save money in the long run, be sure you’re hiring someone who will respond to your specific needs.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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