can be part-time contractors operating out of their homes as a side business. Yes, they are licensed (which absolves the seller and manufacturer of liability for how the equipment was installed), but for the homeowner, being licensed should only be just the baseline expectation. After all, even bad contractors can get licensed.

So, while the installing contractor being licensed is the only thing that may matter to the manufacturer and seller, it’s should never be the only thing that matters to you as a homeowner.

Questions a homeowner should ask whenever selecting a contractor.

Here are just a few of the important questions you should be asking anyone installing heating and air conditioning equipment in your home:

  1. Will the contractor be around if problems arise in coming years?
  2. Will the installing company provide emergency service when your new equipment stops working?
  3. Will the installing company pull the necessary permits?
  4. Does the installing contractor have adequate insurance coverage if there is an accident on your property?
  5. Do they offer a comprehensive maintenance plan?
  6. Is their work guaranteed? If so, for how long?
  7. Will the contractor cover any future warranty costs until the manufacturer reimburses him—or is that your responsibility as the homeowner?

Typically, a contractor will only honor warranties for equipment they provide. By purchasing the equipment direct, you are typically the one responsible for all paperwork and upfront costs to provide warranty service. Finger pointing and passing the buck by online retailers are big reasons why many quality contractors will only install equipment that they sell and have been trained to properly install. Being in control of the entire process allows them to guarantee your complete satisfaction and, in turn, to protect their reputation.

What else might I want to know before trying to price HVAC equipment online?

Failing to work with a licensed contractor and to pull permits can come back to haunt you.

Even if you buy direct and are not forced by your local mechanical codes to select a licensed contractor in the purchase process, it’s still highly recommended. Concerns about safety and performance aside, a handy

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