Avoid HVAC Scams with These Expert Tips

By Paul F. P. Pogue, Angie's List

Do your homework and check references to avoid shoddy service, like the poor filter replacement job shown here.

Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Barbara L. of Kingwod, Texas

Repairs and replacements to your heating and A/C unit can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Before you sign the contract, consider these tips from experts in the field to avoid getting scammed.

When in doubt, get a second opinion
A reputable HVAC company won't mind if you ask for a second opinion. Strongly consider calling in an additional set of eyes before you commit to a repair or replacement job costing thousands of dollars.

Get the quote in writing
Know exactly what work you need to have done, and request that the contractor submits an estimate in writing.

Look for certification
Certification from a trade organization, such as North American Technician Excellence, indicated the provider completed a certain level of training and agreed to abide by an industry code of ethics.

Recognize a too-good-to-be-true offer
Whole-house air duct cleaning for $49? A super-low price, but only if you sign up right away?

Very low prices should wave a big red flag that something's not right, and you might be setting yourself up for a bait-and-switch. An offer of a free furnace with the purchase of an A/C unit could mean you're paying for a highly overpriced A/C unit. Here's a better look at how much an air duct cleaning should cost.

Keep up with regular service and maintenance
You wouldn't drive your car for years without an oil change, and neither should you leave your HVAC unit unattended. Regular cleaning and checks can help you build a relationship with a reliable contractor and ferret out little problems before they become big ones.

This article originally ran on AngiesList.com. Click here to see the original article.

One of the best ways to avoid scams is to know how your system works. Angie's List's infographic, Solving the Mysteries of Your HVAC System, can help!

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