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What does a Heating Contractor do?

By Rachel Burkot
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A heating contractor installs and repairs heaters, vents and air conditioners and their related equipment such as ductwork, thermostats, boilers, furnaces and heat pumps. Some heating contractors are also trained and licensed to perform such tasks as sealing ducts and performing energy audits. If a heater or air conditioner breaks or is in need of any sort of maintenance or repair, a heating contractor is the professional to call.

Both heating and air conditioning contractors are usually certified with a North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification, which is the most respected award for heating and air contractors. A state licensing exam must be taken and passed before a heating contractor can perform work on a heating or cooling system. The exam tests the contractor’s practical knowledge regarding the parts, functions and repair techniques of heaters and air conditioners. Mechanical codes are also tested during the exam, which vary by state and ensure that the contractor protects clients’ homes and equipments while working on their systems. After passing the test, the heating contractor is granted a license to practice in the industry, and a major responsibility that comes with the license is the compliance with the codes and regulations.

Many heating air contractors are required to carry some form of insurance, whether business insurance, workers’ compensation insurance or liability insurance. This protects and compensates the heating contractor for damage incurred at a client’s home while the contractor was working there. Every heating contracting company should have a license number, which should be readily displayed on the company vehicle and on company advertisements or paperwork. This number tells the client that the contractor works for a reputable company.

A heating air contractor must be willing to put clients’ needs first and should always be courteous to clients. A high level of professionalism must be maintained during client visits, and it is the duty of the heating contractor to explain to the homeowners in layman’s terms what he or she is doing to their heating or air conditioning system. To perform the best service, the contractor must be constantly studying the latest trends in heating and cooling technology. He or she must also be able to choose the best equipment, depending on each client’s current system.

When a home needs a new heating or cooling system, the contractor should perform calculations and explain all factors that will go into choosing a new system to the homeowner. Successful heating contractors will build strong relationships with clients to build business and keep the customers happy. When contractors show their concern for clients and their comfort, they are likely to get repeat business from those homeowners.

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Discussion Comments

By Sporkasia — On Feb 13, 2015

I once had an old house that I had renovated, and I could not figure out why the heating bills were so high. I added every possible kind of insulation known to man, but still the house was costing a fortune to heat. As it turned out, there was a problem with the duct work and the heat was escaping and heating underneath the house. The heating contractor found the problem, sealed the ducts, and the bills dropped off considerably.

By Drentel — On Feb 12, 2015

@Feryll - A lot of the time, the problem with keeping an old house heated lies in the insulation or lack of insulation. In general, older houses have little to no insulation in the attics because years ago people didn't use attic insulation like we do today. And you can be sure that a 100-year-old house didn't have any insulation in the walls when it was built.

Of course, a good heating and air conditioning contractor can check out your heating and cooling systems, and also make recommendations on what you can do to lower heating costs, including figuring out whether or not you need to add insulation in your house.

By Feryll — On Feb 11, 2015

Our neighbors who live down the road from us bought an old two-story house that is more than one hundred years old. When the house was built, the only heating source was fireplaces. There are fireplaces in all of the rooms, but some of them have been closed off.

At some point in the past, one of the previous owners had a gas furnace installed in the house. There are vents in all of the rooms except one bathroom. Even with the vents and the gas furnace the house doesn't stay warm. They run the heat all of the time and the house is still chilly in most of the rooms. I think they need a residential heating contractor to give them some advice on what they need to do to keep the old house warm.

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