Choosing the Right HVAC Contractor: Key Questions to Ask When Replacing Your Furnace

Replacing your home's furnace is a significant investment and choosing the right HVAC contractor is crucial to ensure a smooth and efficient installation. To help you navigate this process, here are essential questions to ask potential contractors. These inquiries not only ensure transparency but also help in building trust and understanding between you and the contractor.

1. Unexpected Delays and Additional Costs

Question: What happens if something unexpected and time-consuming happens during the installation? Will you charge me extra?

Why It's Important: No installation is immune to surprises, and it's essential to understand how these will be handled. This question helps clarify whether you might be facing additional costs if the project encounters unforeseen complications, such as the discovery of outdated wiring or other structural issues. A reliable contractor should provide a clear outline of their policy on unexpected issues, including how they handle extra charges. Ask for details on any potential scenarios that could increase the project cost and whether these would be communicated to you before proceeding.

2. Handling Permits and Inspections

Question: What can go wrong during permit city inspections?

Why It's Important: Permits and inspections are a critical part of the furnace installation process, ensuring that the installation complies with local building codes and safety standards. Discussing this with your contractor can give you an idea of their familiarity with local regulations and their ability to navigate the bureaucratic aspects of the installation. Understanding common hurdles in this area can also prepare you for possible delays. It’s helpful to ask how the contractor has handled past inspection issues and what steps they take to mitigate the risk of failing an inspection.

3. Incentives and Rebates

Question: How do you help me with incentives?

Why It's Important: Many local governments, states, and utility companies offer rebates and incentives for installing energy-efficient furnaces. A knowledgeable contractor should be up-to-date on available offers and should assist you in applying for these incentives. This question will help you understand how proactive the contractor is about saving you money and maximizing your investment in energy efficiency. Ask for examples of incentives they have helped other homeowners receive.

4. Sizing and Equipment Selection

Question: How do you size and select equipment for my home?

Why It's Important: Proper sizing and selection of your furnace are vital for ensuring optimal performance and energy efficiency. An oversized or undersized unit can lead to increased wear and tear, higher utility bills, and a less comfortable home environment. A competent HVAC contractor should explain the process they use to determine the appropriate size for your furnace based on factors such as square footage, the layout of your home, insulation levels, and climate. Ask about their methods (like Manual J calculations) to understand how they tailor their recommendations specifically to your needs.

5. Warranty and Service Guarantees

Question: What kind of warranties and follow-up service do you offer?

Why It's Important: Understanding the warranty on both the furnace unit and the installation work is crucial. A good warranty will protect your investment, while a service guarantee offers peace of mind, knowing that the contractor stands behind their work. Ask about both the length of the warranty and what it covers.

6. Maintenance and Service Plans

Question: Do you offer ongoing maintenance service plans?

Why It's Important: Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your new furnace. Some contractors offer service plans that include periodic checks and maintenance. Knowing these options up front can help you manage the long-term costs and performance of your heating system.

7. Licenses and Insurance

Question: Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

Why It's Important: This is a fundamental question that ensures you are dealing with a reputable and legally compliant contractor. Licensing shows that the contractor meets certain industry standards, while insurance protects you from liability in the event of accidents or damage during the installation.

8. Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

Question: What energy efficiency standards do the equipment you install meet?

Why It's Important: With rising energy costs and increasing environmental awareness, ensuring your new furnace meets at least the minimum government-recommended energy efficiency standards is crucial. This not only helps reduce your carbon footprint but also lowers your energy bills.


Selecting the right HVAC contractor is as crucial as choosing the furnace itself. By asking these questions, you can gauge a contractor's experience, reliability, and customer service orientation. Remember, a good contractor will not only be willing to answer all your questions thoroughly but will also encourage you to ask them. This process is about ensuring your peace of mind and securing a comfortable, energy-efficient home for years to come.

Subscribe to stay updated.

Thank you!
You've subscribed successfully.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.