Top 10 things in choosing a heating contractor

If you’re just looking for the cheapest piece of equipment, then a reputable contractor is not really what you’re looking for – there will always be a guy in his truck that will under quote a reputable company, but you will also assume all the risk if something goes wrong, or does not function properly. Will this company  return to your home to fix any issues, or for that matter return your phone calls?

Reputable companies have real business costs: they do not operate out of a basement or the back of their service trucks. They will pay government taxes, have various certifications, have substantial insurance coverage and, most importantly, are committed to helping you find solutions for your home comfort needs, and then will provide you with service, support and maintenance during the life span of your equipment.

The average life span of most quality heating equipment is 16 – 22 years, for air conditioning it is 12 – 15 years – HVAC contractors in North America have the second highest rate of failure after restaurants with an average life span of only 2-5 years. We’ve seen numerous heating companies collapse in over the years, most recently Coleman Heating in Maple Ridge, and their newly  formed ‘’ lasted a mere few months. BC Furnace has been in business since 1983, and has continued to grow due to sound business practices and loyal, happy customers.

The information that follows comes from a Gas Service’s website, and are some of their suggestions for consumers:

How do I ensure I’m dealing with a reputable contractor, and what are some other considerations?

Ask the contractor the following:
1) How long have they been in business?                                                                                                                                                                              Remember to check terminology, companies may claim 25 or 35 years “experience”, but has the business you’re signing a contract with really been in existence for that long?  BC Furnace has been in continuous business since 1983, with real people in a real showroom… not operating from a basement or garage!

2) What is the maintenance coverage on equipment and labour?
(All our installations come with 12 months parts and labour. After that, it depends on the manufacturer’s standard or extended warranty and/or which one of our own plans you choose. Remember some contractors will tell you they’re giving you 5 years parts and labour, but remember the stat from above.

3) Do they actually employ full time service technicians and have they been in existence long enough to prove to you they will be around when you need them.) How do I know if a contractor is qualified to install or work on natural gas equipment? BC Furnace’s techs are all fully qualified Gas Technicians.

4) How much liability insurance coverage does the contractor carry?
(This ensures that should there be a major issue you will not be stuck with the cost. Most reputable companies carry an umbrella of at least four million dollars worth of insurance.)

5) Does the contractor offer financing programs?
Most companies have to be vetted in order to provide these types of services. BC Furnace offers SNAP Financing, one of the best on the market.

6) Is the contractor local to your area or out of town?
(If a contractor is local to your area they will often have greater knowledge of the types of homes and mechanical systems in your area.)

7) Is emergency service available? BC Furnace has a 24/7 Emergency Line… smaller contractors will not have the resources to help you if there is a problem, they are only concerned about their next furnace sale.

8) Ask questions and compare not only their prices but the contractor’s experience, services offered, and neighborhood knowledge.

9) Consider three written quotes from reputable contractors and make sure you are comparing apples to apples – a cheap product is not the same as a premium product…and in our business you get what you pay for. Remember a written quote is not a scribbled note, but a contract on letterhead or a formal company document. Remember the lowest price does not always provide the best value.

10) Do you know the people you’re dealing with? Everyone knows that large companies can be very difficult to deal with and you may not get the personalized service you may like. Smaller companies may not be able handle your problems as quickly during the peak times of year, but we rely heavily on referrals and recommendations so we have a vested interest in trying to help you find solutions.