Many homeowners relish the opportunity to make a comfortable living environment and enjoy getting acquainted with the inner workings of their home. However, there are some aspects of residential living that are so specialized and technical that they require the expertise of a qualified professional. At Home Improvement Leads, we understand that HVAC is a complex area that is best left to the pros, but we know how difficult it can be to find a qualified contractor who will do the best for you and your home. If you want to know whether you have a qualified HVAC contractor for your next home improvement project, we’ve come up with a few things to look for during your contractor search. Basic HVAC qualifications The qualifications obtained by contractors can and will vary, depending on their specific education pathways and experiences. Basic vocational training and on-site experience are essential for a qualified HVAC professional. If you want to be sure these qualifications are legitimate, you can do a basic background check of your contractor’s education and find out whether they are from reputable institutions or businesses. While your check will likely end with confirmation of their qualifications, it is important to remain aware that scams occasionally crop up in the contracting world and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Certifications and training As with education and qualifications, the certifications and training undertaken by HVAC contractors may differ slightly. However, the Environmental Protection Agency requires all HVAC professionals to undertake mandatory training on exposure to and work with hazardous refrigerants. The certification they receive from this training is labeled EPA 608 and should be one of the first things your contractor tells you when listing qualifications. If you have particularly specific or complicated HVAC needs, it is also a good idea to look for a contractor with specialized training in the areas you require. Licensing All contracting professionals need to be properly licensed in order to work. For HVAC professionals, this licensing is required on a state-by-state basis. Before you make any agreements with your contractor, check that his/her state licensing is current, up to date, and valid for the state you live in. If your contractor has moved around and worked in this field for a number of years, he/she may be licensed in a number of states, but if this list doesn’t include your state then he/she is not fit to work for you. Insurance Depending on your contractor’s employment status (usually either self-employed or part of a larger corporation), your HVAC professional should have several types of insurance to protect himself/herself, you, and your home. For most contractors, this includes business insurance, workers’ compensation, and damage and liability insurance. This information should be made clear to you before any work on your HVAC system begins, in order to avoid insurance issues in the event of damage to your home or anyone in it. Expertise A qualified HVAC contractor will understand and be up to date on the latest products offered, including Energy Star rated products and brands, the latest and best energy efficient units and their energy efficiency ratios, and maintenance instructions and tips. Your contractor should be able to convey this information to you as the consumer easily and without hesitation. If you feel as if your contractor doesn’t understand the ins and outs of your particular HVAC system, it might be a good idea to find someone with more expertise. References Although finding out about qualifications and training are essential steps to choosing a skilled HVAC contractor, there is nothing quite like a positive reference from someone who knows to help make your decision. If applicable, you can check with employers and other business professionals who can vouch for your contractor’s skills. Asking around to see if other homeowners recommend your professional is another way to get references. However, one of the best ways to find reviews of your contractor’s work is through social media: if your HVAC professional has an online presence, you should be able to easily find out everything you want to know.