Not all contractors will look at your home as a system of moving, interacting parts, so how should you go about finding and choosing one that does? While there are basic guidelines to follow when seeking out a contractor, you should focus on comparing home performance contractors based on credentials, references and experience.
Generally speaking, a qualified home performance contractor will:
- Help you solve problems in your home such as discomfort, indoor air quality and moisture issues.
- Teach you about combustion safety and how to prevent issues in your home.
- Help you take measures that will reduce your energy bills.
- Extend the longevity of your building and appliances.
- Lessen your carbon footprint.
- Use specialized tools to diagnose your home before making any suggestions for improvement.
Credentials show contractor’s interest in expanding knowledge
To avoid hiring some “Chuck in a truck” who does not have the experience he says he has, be sure to do your research before signing the work contract. Check on the contractor’s website or professional association websites to be sure that the company holds all the required licenses from state and local municipalities to complete the work. While licensing doesn’t guarantee a positive experience, it does indicate a degree of professionalism and suggests that the contractor is committed to his or her job.
Keep an eye out for contractors who have invested in course work and have passed rigorous tests to earn particular certifications. In terms of home performance contractors, the Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) offers 13 certifications that require extensive written and field exams to pass. If you are looking for someone who is knowledgeable not only about your home’s HVAC system but also your home’s building envelope and how all of these parts interact, you may be interested in a contractor who has a certification showing their knowledge has been put to the test.
You can check to see if an individual in your area is BPI certified by using our online locator tool, and you also have the option of locating a company near you that is a BPI GoldStar Contractor, meaning they have proven themselves to be among the best home performance contracting companies out there.
Referrals and references are important
As always, word of mouth and referrals from others who have had work completed by the contractor are also helpful to take into account when you are comparing different companies. Sites such as Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor allow you to read other homeowner reviews of the contractor, but you should also look on the company’s Better Business Bureau profile to see if there are any official complaints posed against the company. Company profiles on Facebook and other social media sites also include an option for customers to provide ratings and feedback on work completed.
Congratulations, you’ve chosen a home performance contractor! Now you can start down the road toward a healthier, safer and more comfortable home for your family.
Next steps involving your home performance contractor might include:
- Have a comprehensive home energy assessment completed on your home. Be sure you are present during the on-site inspection to express your issues with your home (i.e. one room always too cold, energy bills too high, etc.).
- Review the recommendations and improvements report with your home performance contractor.
- Discuss financing options if necessary.
- Accept the bid and get started on your home improvements.
- Your contractor will test the house at the completion of the project to be sure everything is working properly.
- Submit appropriate utility rebate and tax credit forms, if applicable.
- Enjoy your improved comfort, reduced maintenance and energy savings for the life of your home!