With shorter days already here, and cool nights on the horizon, furnace season won’t be far behind.
And whether your existing unit is nearing the end of its life, or you’d just like greater efficiency, getting the right model for your home and family needs is key, says Langley’s Taylor Gandy, from Gandy Installations.
And that starts with choosing the right contractor.
Operating in the Lower Mainland for over 60 years, Taylor continues the tradition of quality products and service his grandfather Charlie started in 1957, and dad Chuck continued. “We’ve grown significantly since then, we have 60 staff and 50 trucks, and in the last few years we’ve added electrical and plumbing divisions,” Taylor says. “I’ve tried to stick with the vision he had for the company, built on honesty and integrity.”
With that philosophy in mind, Taylor shares 7 key steps to ensure you get the right furnace for your needs, and your home.
- Check with Google to see what real customers say. Virtually every company will have some concerns shared by customers, but look at the volume, and how they deal with those concerns, Taylor suggests.
- Check business and consumer resources. Organizations like the Trade Ally Network and Better Business Bureau can offer valuable insights into a company’s customer relations history, highlighting potential issues.
- How long have they been in business? Have they just thrown open their doors or are they a long-standing local business with a proven record in the community?
- Do they have proof of all necessary coverages? Ask to see proof of contractor essentials, including insurance and Workers Compensation Bureau coverage. “They should be able to show you proof of coverage,” Taylor says.
- Did you call them or did they show up on your doorstep uninvited? Be wary of individuals arriving at your door unannounced to “assess your furnace,” Taylor says, noting that local utility companies and governments won’t arrive out of the blue to evaluate the efficiency of your furnace. “They’re not going to send someone around to look at your appliances,” Taylor says. “These are all red flags.”
- Will they size your home for the right equipment? If you’re considering a new furnace for your home, a contractor should be able to properly assess your home’s needs and match it to the right size of furnace, avoiding issues such as such as oversizing or undersizing which can have negative effects on your comfort and efficiency, Taylor says. Assessment should include factors such as the size of your home, dimensions of the ductwork, and even factors such as the type of windows in your home.
- Are they trying to sell you a financing option? Look closely at the proposal. It might offer low monthly payments, but a term that ends up costing far more in the long run. Ask also whether the model you’re considering qualifies for a rebate. “Financing can be a good thing – it can help you get an appliance you might not be able to afford all at once, or opt for a more energy-efficient appliance, for example – but consider whether you’ll see financial return over the course of the term and the life of the appliance,” Taylor says. “Don’t let them pressure you into signing a contract on the spot, if you need time to think about it, you should feel free to take all the time you need.”
“The big take-home is that the government or utility companies will never send someone to ‘inspect your furnace’ and you should not feel obligated to let ANYONE into your home,” Taylor says. “And when presented with financing options, be sure to weigh the benefits and downfalls and consider the savings you may be able to take advantage of by paying up front rather than financing or renting.”