Hiring the Right Contractor for Your Cooling-System Installation: A Portland Homeowner’s Checklist

Hiring the Right Contractor for Your Cooling-System Installation: A Portland Homeowner's ChecklistHave you decided to purchase or replace an air conditioner this summer? If so, make sure you also choose the right contractor for A/C installation. If you select an unlicensed or inexperienced contractor, because of their lower bid, the money you save now will be nothing compared to the money you spend in energy waste and unnecessary maintenance and/or repair costs later on.

Here are tips for choosing the right contractor for A/C installation:

  1. Is the contractor licensed/certified? The first step is to ensure the contractor is licensed and certified. In most cases, the contractor’s license number will appear on their website, business cards or letterhead. Ask if technicians are NATE certified, as this shows they’re well-educated and trained in their field.
  2. Did they perform professional load calculations? Prior to the mid-1990s, the standard method for sizing an HVAC system was using “rule-of-thumb” calculations: big house/big system. Now, load calculations are done very precisely, using the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Manuals J, S & D. An accurately sized system will save energy, provide better cooling and humidity control, and reduce utility spending.
  3. Was your duct system inspected? If you have a newer home (built within the last 10-12 years), the contractor may simply verify your ducts are sealed/insulated. However, if your home was built more than 10-years ago, your duct design may need to be updated. Don’t take a recommendation for a duct re-design as a sign the contractor is trying to dupe you. In fact, you may end up saving substantially in long-term energy costs.
  4. Did the contractor review your system’s venting system? This is important. Inadequate venting will waste energy and cause maintenance issues down the road. More importantly, it can compromise indoor air quality. Make sure they discuss whether or not your home is adequately vented for the new cooling system.
  5. Do they provide paperwork/manuals? A professional HVAC installer will provide homeowners with copies of checklists, calculations, manuals etc. so you have a copy of all documentation.
  6. References. Always check references. This is key to finding a company who can provide the type of service you’re looking for.

Need to find the right contractor for A/C installation? Please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling. We provide reliable customer service to homeowners in the Portland area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about hiring the right contractor and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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