Homeowners know you need to find a trusted HVAC company before temperatures become too extreme. If your house is already a little too hot or too cold, you are probably in the market for a heating and cooling expert now. Not to worry, hiring a reliable HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) company doesn’t need to be intimidating. Consider the following five tips that every homeowner knows about hiring HVAC companies:

1. You Should Know The Issue

Before reaching out to an expert, walk through your house and make note of particularly cold or warm rooms, as well as areas that are drafty or stuffy. Check out the manufacturer and model name/number on your current HVAC machinery. Pull out any old maintenance paperwork you have access to and familiarize yourself with any repairs that were completed. Read your machinery manuals. Check for simple solutions, like igniting your pilot light, or making sure your thermostat is switched to the cool setting. Make sure you can tell an expert exactly what your concern is. This will expedite the process, saving you money and hassle.

2. You Should Research Companies

Ask for referrals. Talk to friends, family, and co-workers to find a trusted HVAC company locally. Call or visit websites for HVAC trade service organizations, for names of providers in your area. Use an internet search engine to find a company with good reviews. Shortlist companies you are interested in. Make sure the companies you’re looking at have expertise in your specific machinery. Ask them how long they’ve been in business. Most states require HVAC contractors have on-the-job or training before becoming licensed. Since companies need to have a competent understanding the relationship between electrical wiring, refrigerant systems, combustion systems, and heating ducts in order to competently perform HVAC repairs, on-the-job training is crucial. You want someone experienced.

3. You Should Check Their Licenses & Insurance

Find out about license and insurance requirements for your state. Reputable heating and cooling contractors should have evidence of recent certification or recertification, such as NATE certification (North American Technician Excellence) or EPA certification(Environmental Protection Agency). Many state governments offer license look-up websites, so you can check the status of a HVAC contractor’s license without even having to contact the company. But any contractors you are considering should have the appropriate license and insurance information on hand and be eager to give you proof.

4. You Should Shop

Set up appointments with the HVAC companies you’ve vetted. Anticipate that they’re do a home inspection. Heating and cooling systems are some of the biggest expenses for a homeowner, and a good contractor will spend a good amount of time inspecting your home and assessing your needs. Your windows, insulation, and heating ducts can all affect the right size HVAC system for your home. In most cases, if a contractor is in an out of your house in just a few minutes, consider it a red flag and move on.

5. You Should Get it in Writing

Before you choose your contractor, make sure you get written proposals from those you are considering before getting started. This document should clearly state project costs, equipment model numbers, a job schedule, warranty details, and any other information pertinent to the job. It may seem like overkill, but due to the high cost of repairing, replacing or installing new HVAC equipment, it’s essential to get written estimates from a few different companies. That way you can compare costs and expert opinions on what is needed.

Take it from the homeowners who know: when you spend a little time and energy to find a trusted HVAC company, you will be rewarded with the knowledge that both your home’s temperature and your comfort are in good hands, giving you peace of mind for years to come.