Even with best-in-class inspection procedures and consistent attention to balancing of air flow throughout the HVAC system, components still break down or wear out and must be repaired or replaced. Some of these tasks are very simple and can be carried out in-house, but most (particularly major failures) will require the services of one or more outside professional mechanical, heating, cooling, or plumbing contractors. This is particularly true when replacement or repair involves the use of expensive or specialized equipment you do not have in-house. Even when an HVAC system component repair or replacement can be handled in-house, you may often choose to bring in a contractor. In some cases, there may be service contracts in place. In effect, a service contract means that the services of the contractor have already been paid for so there is every reason to make use of the contractor’s services. In other cases, the use of a contractor to address a replacement or repair of HVAC system components may mean faster results. This could be important, especially in occupied buildings in which the component failure deprives occupants of heated or cooled air in work spaces. It is worth remembering too, that the use of a contractor always means that you and your staff can attend to the many vital building maintenance tasks for which you are responsible, rather than putting everything on hold while you address a repair or replacement of HVAC system components.
If you decide to employ a contractor, and no service contract is in place, you will need to choose a contractor. This will generally be a matter of consulting historical files or lists to find out which contractors have performed similar services in your building in the past. If you find you must utilize a contractor unknown to you, invest the time it takes to talk with the contractor in advance and satisfy yourself that he or she appears to be knowledgeable and professional. Make sure you see applicable insurance, licenses, and references and do not contract until you have checked references. A few minutes of checking can eliminate expensive “do-it-again” costs and sometimes even higher legal costs in cases of service failure that can only be resolved by litigation.
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