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Lindstrom Air, a locally owned and operated business since 1975, would like to help consumers who are considering purchasing a new air conditioning system this summer be sure the contractor they choose is reputable, licensed, and qualified to do the best work.

“A new air conditioning system is long-term investment. Homeowners should do their homework to ensure they’re working with a contractor who knows what they’re doing and will be there before, during, and after the sale to meet all the customer’s needs,” says Joe Canosa, General Manager of Lindstrom Air.

Canosa goes on to list the things that a homeowner should look for in a contractor:

  • Reputation.  If you don’t know anyone personally who has used the contractor, contact agencies such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List to find out about their service record. Ask for references from past customers and call them. Do an internet search for reviews other customers have posted.
  • Legal. The contractor should abide by all state and local codes and regulations. They should apply for any necessary permits for you, and carry all necessary licenses and insurance.
  • Professional Affiliations. Reputable contractors will belong to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Also, technicians should be certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE). Affiliation with ENERGY STAR is also desirable.
  • Proper training. Technicians should be trained in up-to-the minute laws, methods, technology, and design.
  • Accurate estimate. Their estimate should be near in cost to others, neither extremely high nor extremely low.   An informed homeowner gets at least three estimates and should look out for any contractors with extremely low bids.  You get what you pay for, in this case. Choose the contractor who will do the best work with the best equipment and the best service after the sale.  It’s worth a few extra dollars to ensure you’re working with the best possible contractor.
  • Professional. The estimator should be prompt and courteous.  They should ask questions about each home’s unique situation and each customer’s needs.
  • Complete, binding estimate. Your estimate should be in writing and give the total cost for equipment, installation, and labor costs. It should be itemized.
  • A cooling load calculation should be performed before any estimation of equipment needed and pricing is done. The new equipment’s size should not be determined by the old equipment’s size due to possible previous improper sizing and energy efficiency improvements of the past few years. A good calculation tool is the “Manual J”, which is endorsed by ACCA. They should also make sure your ductwork is in good condition and compatible with any new cooling system that is installed.

Cooling and heating contractors live and die by their service, knowledge, and reputation. “The burden is on the customer to find the company that is the best in their area for cooling,” says Canosa. 

For tips from EnergyStar, visit http://www.energystar.gov/?c=heat_cool.pr_contractors_10tips

To learn more about ACCA and its members, visit www.acca.org.

January 7, 2013