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10 Unique Questions to Ask Your Next Gresham HVAC Partner

May 28th, 2024 | 6 min read

By Daphne Hunt

With summer right around the corner, it's time for family and friend gatherings, 4th of July celebrations, and the many other exciting, unique events hosted by the city of Gresham like the Farmer's Markets and Saturday Night Basketball. Keeping your HVAC system in prime condition is crucial to hosting all your summer gatherings and visitors. You've probably noticed an increase in discussions about choosing the right HVAC partner – but what exactly should you look for, and whyAn outdoor shot of the city of Gresham behind trees, buildings barely visible past the branches. does it matter to you as a Gresham resident?

Selecting the right HVAC partner is essential for maintaining the comfort and efficiency of your home. Asking the right questions and understanding what to look for in an HVAC contractor can save you from costly repairs, inadequate systems for your home, and potential discomfort during peak seasons. Our team of experts at A&E Plumbing, Heating and Air understands the importance of a reliable HVAC system, especially during the soaring temperatures that an Oregon summer boasts, where sustaining a cooler temperature isn’t just about comfort, but safety.

In this article, we’ll explore the critical questions to ask your HVAC partner, why it’s crucial to make informed decisions, and how to ensure your home’s HVAC system can handle the increased demand of summer festivities, ensuring you enjoy a worry-free season.

Why Asking Questions Matters

Asking detailed questions helps you gauge the contractor’s expertise, reliability, and professionalism. It also provides insight into their familiarity with your specific HVAC needs and their approach to problem-solving. By committing to a thorough vetting process, you can ensure that the contractor you choose is not only capable but also aligns with your expectations and standards. 

Here are some essential topics to consider, along with why they are important and what to look for in the answers.

1. Asking About Specific Experience

Why It’s Important

HVAC systems vary widely between brands and models. A contractor familiar with your specific system is more likely to diagnose issues accurately and perform repairs efficiently. This expertiseA man and a woman are deep in a conversation in a very relaxed environment, like an HVAC-regulated kitchen. ensures that your system receives the precise care it needs, potentially extending its lifespan and improving its performance.

What to Look For

Look for contractors who can demonstrate specific knowledge and experience with your system. They should be able to discuss past projects and common issues they’ve encountered with similar systems. Additionally, ask if they have manufacturer certifications or specialized training related to your HVAC brand.

2. Requesting Case Studies or References From Recent Jobs

Why It’s Important

Case studies and references provide real-world evidence of the contractor’s ability to handle projects similar to yours. They allow you to see the contractor's work quality, how they solve problems, and how they interact with clients.

What to Look For

Detailed examples of previous work, ideally with contactable references, can offer reassurance about the contractor’s reliability and quality of work. Look for case studies that include specifics about the challenges faced, the solutions implemented, and the outcomes achieved. 

Check out these questions -- they serve as a great place to begin to get the conversation started:

  • Do they have any case studies that include your specific Gresham or Portland neighborhood?

  • Can they prove they've handled the Gresham climate?

  • Do they work with businesses you trust?

3. Inquiring About Training and Certifications 

Why It’s Important

The HVAC field is continually evolving with new technologies and methods. Continuous training ensures that technicians are up-to-date with the latest advancements, allowing them to provide the most efficient and effective solutions for your HVAC needs. Technicians who are regularly trainedAn A&E tech stands before a room of other HVAC techs, teaching about HVAC best practices within A&E. can also troubleshoot and resolve issues more quickly, reducing downtime and enhancing the overall performance of your HVAC system.

What to Look For

Look for contractors who invest in regular training and hold up-to-date certifications from recognized industry bodies. These certifications often indicate that the technicians are knowledgeable about the latest industry standards and best practices. Additionally, inquire about any specialized training programs the technicians have completed, as this can be a sign of their commitment to maintaining a high level of expertise.

3 Specific Certifications to Ask About:

1: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Certification: Required for technicians who handle refrigerants. The EPA Section 608 certification is mandatory and demonstrates a technician's ability to safely manage refrigerants.

2: NATE (North American Technician Excellence) Certification: A nationally recognized certification that covers various HVAC specialties. NATE-certified technicians have proven their knowledge in the HVAC field through rigorous testing.

3: HVAC Excellence Certification: This certification offers various specialized programs that validate a technician’s skills and knowledge in different areas of HVAC, including heat pumps, gas heating, and air conditioning.

4. Insisting on a Home Evaluation Before Hearing About Recommended Systems

Why It’s Important

A proper home evaluation ensures that the recommended system fits your specific needs and home environment. Without this thorough assessment, you risk ending up with an HVAC system that is either overpowered or underpowered for your space, leading to inefficiency and potential discomfort.

What to Look For

Contractors should conduct a comprehensive assessment, considering factors like your home’s structure, insulation, and window placement. They should also evaluate the current system's performance, airflow patterns, and potential areas for energy loss to make an informed recommendation.

5. How Your HVAC Partner Calculates the Correct Size of Equipment

Why It’s Important

Properly sized equipment is crucial for efficiency and longevity. An oversized system may cycle on and off too frequently, leading to wear and tear, while an undersized system might run constantly,An HVAC actively technician works on an HVAC mini duct, tools in hand, his back to the camera. struggling to maintain the desired temperature and increasing energy costs.

What to Look For

Contractors should perform detailed load calculations rather than relying on rough estimates based on square footage. These calculations should consider factors such as the size of your home, the number of windows, the amount of insulation, and the local climate to ensure the system is tailored to your specific needs.

6. Checking Warranties on Equipment and Labor

Why It’s Important

Warranties protect against future issues, giving you peace of mind that any potential problems will be addressed without additional costs. They also reflect the contractor's confidence in the quality of their work and the reliability of the equipment they install.

What to Look For

Look for comprehensive warranties that cover both equipment and labor for a reasonable period, typically ranging from one to ten years. Ensure the warranty details are clearly stated in writing, including what is covered, the duration, and any conditions or exclusions that apply.

7. How Your HVAC Partner Handles Project Documentation and Oregon Permits

Why It’s Important

Proper documentation and permits are essential for legal compliance and ensuring the quality of work. Without the appropriate permits, you risk facing fines, having your project shut down, or encountering difficulties when selling your home in the future.

What to Look For

Contractors should handle all necessary permits and provide detailed documentation of the project. This includes keeping you informed about which permits are required, such as the City of Gresham Mechanical Permits (which is specific to Gresham and are required for any HVAC work within the city limits), the timeline for obtaining them, and any inspections that need to be scheduled. Additionally, a reliable contractor will maintain thorough records of the work performed, ensuring that everything is up to code and meets local regulations.

8. Requesting a Written Estimate

Why It’s Important

A detailed estimate helps you understand the full scope of the project and prevents unexpected costs. It ensures that all aspects of the job are accounted for upfront, providing a clear financialA man sits in his car with a clipboard in hand, presumably filling out the paperwork to get an HVAC written estimate for his client. picture and helping you budget accordingly.

What to Look For

Clear, itemized estimates that allow for easy comparison between contractors. The estimate should break down costs for equipment, labor, and any incidental expenses, giving you transparency and the ability to make an informed decision.

9. Asking About Emergency Response Time

Why It’s Important

In the event of an HVAC system breakdown, quick response times are crucial to prevent further damage to your system and to avoid extended periods of discomfort, especially during extreme weather conditions. An HVAC contractor who can respond promptly to emergencies helps minimize potential repair costs and ensures your home remains comfortable and safe.

What to Look For

Seek out contractors who offer 24/7 emergency services, ensuring they can be reached at any time, day or night. Additionally, ask for their estimated response time to gauge how quickly they can address urgent issues, which is a key indicator of their reliability and commitment to customer service.

10. Asking How They Ensure the Safety and Security of Your Gresham Property While on the Job

Why It’s Important

Ensuring safety and security during the project protects your home and family from potential risks and accidents. A contractor who prioritizes safety demonstrates professionalism and care, reducing the likelihood of property damage or injury during the installation or maintenance process.

What to Look For

Contractors should have clear protocols for maintaining a safe and clean work environment, such as using protective coverings and proper disposal methods for materials. Additionally, they should conduct background checks for employees to ensure that trustworthy individuals are working in your home, along with implementing secure work practices to prevent unauthorized access or accidents.

How A&E Plumbing, Heating and Air Can Help You Choose Your Next HVAC Partner

Selecting the right HVAC partner plays a key role in maintaining your home's comfort and efficiency during the hot, busy months that summer brings. By asking the right questions and knowing what to look for in an HVAC partner, you can avoid costly repairs and inadequate systems, ensuring your home stays cool and comfortable.

While we hope you choose us as your HVAC partner, these essential questions will help you find the ideal HVAC partner for your home, even if you decide not to work with our expert techs at A&E Plumbing, Heating and Air.

Download our free list of questions to take with you to your next HVAC consultation to ensure you make the most informed decision, rooted in transparency and honesty, from any company you decide to welcome into your home.

Of all of the questions noted in this article, probably one of the most important was the subject of warranties and guarantees. Not only are they your safeguard against company-responsible equipment failures, but most of the time, the cost is completely covered!

Here at A&E Plumbing, Heating and Air, we have several warranties and guarantees that were created solely with you in mind to keep your home safe all year long. Read our article, "What Warranties Does A&E Plumbing, Heating and Air Have?" to better understand the coverage options we offer exclusively at A&E when you choose to work with us. 

Daphne Hunt

Daphne Hunt, an avid writer with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Mass Communication, thrives on crafting articles and fiction from her quiet home in The Dalles, Oregon, where she lives with her partner and three kids.