Choosing the right HVAC contractor makes a difference in your system’s performance, dependability, and safety. And the right contractor will have licensed training. That training includes:
- Job experience in the field,
- Passing a qualifying exam along with a federal and state background check,
- Earning an EPA 608 license to handle HVAC refrigerants, and
- Carrying a minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance.
While the state of Ohio doesn’t mandate training for residential contractors, the ones who go through regular licensing renewal do so to protect you – the home or business owner – and the environment from physical and financial harm. Given the complexity of HVAC equipment, several industry groups have established certifications that exceed the state’s standards to help consumers find the most distinguished contractors in the field.
NATE (North American Technician Excellence) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying the best in the HVAC industry. It started in 1997 and quickly rose to become the leading certification organization in the HVAC industry.
Membership in the Air Conditioning Contractors Association (ACCA) provides access to a state-of-the-art body of materials concerning HVAC equipment and the latest developments in the industry with regard to comfort and energy savings.
Most HVAC contractors are locally based, and their reputation in the community is also important to consider:
- Better Business Bureau (BBB) status. This third-party organization provides objective reporting from consumers and rates the contractor from A to F.
- A list of references. An upfront, reputable contractor won’t hesitate to provide you a list of former and current clients.
- Factory authorized dealer status. A contractor who is a factory authorized dealer for a particular brand has shown that the company exceeds the manufacturer’s minimum standards for installation, maintenance, repair, and customer satisfaction. And some manufacturers take the authorization one step further and single out their best dealers.
NATE Certification: Quality and Professionalism
You may have noticed the NATE logo on the website of credible and well-established heating and cooling contractors, but what does it mean to you as a homeowner?
This non-profit organization assists in the professional development of technicians in the home comfort business, so NATE certified technicians are proven experts in their areas of specialty. And that means that if you see the logo, you’re in good hands.
How do contractors acquire certification?
NATE certifies technicians through monitored testing in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, and all their sub-specialties. Certifications can be earned in the areas of installation and service with higher-level accreditation in specialties like gas heating, ventilation, air distribution, Hydronics, HVAC efficiency analysis and more. And individual contractors can be certified in multiple areas if they can demonstrate their skills and knowledge.
To prepare for certification testing, contractors take part in continuing education courses, workshops, and apprenticeships. NATE connects contractors with professional education opportunities. Classes across the United States cover the basics as well as complex topics and the latest technology. Instruction also covers energy efficiency methods, including solar, geothermal and other green technologies. Training and testing of communication skills are included as well.
So what does that mean for the homeowner?
Because NATE certification is entirely voluntary, you can be sure that the technicians and businesses that choose to participate are the most motivated and dedicated professionals around. You can expect to receive the highest standard of service when dealing with a NATE-certified contractor.
Why Insist On NATE Certification?
Many other certification organizations provide training but do not have a thorough process for validating the technician’s skills. This is where NATE is different.
With nine different certifications for installation and service, NATE-certified technicians are not just good general heating and cooling technicians – they are specialists. NATE certifies technicians in:
- Air conditioning
- Air distribution
- Heat pumps
- Gas heating
- Oil heating
- Hydronic gas
- Hydronic oil
- Commercial and light commercial refrigeration
NATE Certified Technicians Afford Homeowners a Number of Benefits
The heating and cooling systems that keep your Northeast Ohio home comfortable throughout the year are a wonder of modern technology. But keeping them running effectively and efficiently can require a lot of expertise. You may not think there’s a lot of difference between the HVAC contractors you see in online searches, but there’s a lot that separates the experts from the rest. NATE certified technicians are the best choice when it comes to performing repairs or maintenance on your HVAC systems. And that comes with several benefits.
Long-term energy savings
By having your HVAC equipment installed by someone with expert knowledge, your heating and cooling will be able to run at maximum efficiency, adding up to a lot of savings on your gas and electric bills.
Fewer repeat visits
If you hire an HVAC contractor that’s not certified, they may not be able to complete the job correctly the first time. That means they’ll have to come back for tweaks and repairs, costing you more out of pocket. NATE technicians are proven to have fewer callbacks. This means that the job will be done right the first time.
A System at Its Peak Performance
Technicians with NATE certification are trained on the latest technologies and techniques for improving energy efficiency. You can be sure that your equipment operates with optimal performance so energy bills are lower and your home is more comfortable.
Expert advice and knowledge
Whenever you have a question about how to improve your heating power in winter or achieve high-efficiency air conditioning in the summer, you can count on NATE certified technicians to give you valuable information.
Fast and courteous service
Because NATE certified technicians know exactly what they’re doing every time they arrive at a job, they can usually finish their work quicker than their non-certified counterparts. When it comes to the comfort of your family, speed is everything. And NATE training and certification goes beyond just technical knowledge. NATE technicians also value the importance of excellent customer service, and it shows. Your technician will arrive on time, he or she will be courteous and professional, and your home will be left as clean as it was when they entered it.
Whether you own a home or a small business, having access to a certified HVAC contractor can provide much-needed peace of mind. If you’d like more tips for picking the right HVAC contractor or other issues related to your heating and cooling systems, contact us at Stack Heating, Cooling, & Electric today. We’ve been providing high-quality HVAC services to the Greater Cleveland area since 1976.