Choose a heating contractor before winter arrives

Hiring a heating and air conditioning contractor can be a tough job. To help, your BBB has a directory of BBB Accredited contractors with experience in the field. A recent study in 2016 by IBIS World found there are 447,200 employees specializing in heating and air installation in the United States. With winter on the way, it’s recommended you have your heating system checked out.

It’s important to have your HVAC system checked out even if everything seems to be working fine. A quick check can confirm your system is fine or it can uncover a problem you weren’t aware of. A typical inspection includes cleaning the blower and filter system, including belts and pulleys, as well as replacement of the oil filter and examining the regulators and other controls.

More than 3,700 complaints were filed with BBBs across North America regarding heating and air contractors last year.

Here are some tips to help you find the right contractor:

• Talk to your friends and get recommendations.

• Get several quotes and compare prices.

• Ask contractors for references and call them.

• Verify the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured as appropriate.

• Ask if the contractor belongs to any professional organizations. Look for these logos and BBB logo on the company’s website and other promotional material.

• Determine if contractor will pull required permits.

• Avoid contractors offering a price without looking at your current system.

• Look for Energy Star products that can offer long-term savings on energy costs.

• Ask if 24-hour emergency service is offered.

• Get a written contract detailing the work. Don’t sign anything until all blanks are completed. And, make sure warranties and guarantees are included.

• Never pay in full up front.

Even though selecting a heating and air contractor can be a daunting task, using your BBB can make it easier. Your BBB can help weed through the many contractors in the Miami Valley and find the best one for you by providing lists of BBB Accredited companies and Business Reviews on ones you’re considering. People can have bad experiences when they don’t do their research and just randomly choose a contractor. Contact your Better Business Bureau at or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.