Category Archives: Background Checks

Get Ahead Of The Crowd On Your Furnace And Heating

On a regular basis, I read HVAC industry publications and a forum. This week, I was reminded of another reason home and building owners need to plan ahead for their heating and AC needs. By planning ahead I mean basically two things: 1- interview and select the local HVAC service company you want to use when it comes times to repair or replace your furnace, boiler, heat pump or central heating system. 2- Get on an annual maintenance program with that local company. Before going further, I’ll drill into these a bit more.

Make Your Selection When Companies Are Not Busy
By selecting a local service provider ahead of time, you can make your selection when you are not in a hurry, and your local AC heating companies are not slammed with their seasonal spikes in business. Therefore, you should make your choice during a time of the year that is not hot or cold in your area. Or if it is hot or cold, try to make it after the first few days of hot or cold weather arrive, because that’s when more systems fail or previous failures get noticed.

Annual Maintenance Plans Prevent Emergency Repairs, Save Energy and More
Unlike extended warranties, that require a good bit of scrutiny to choose good values from poor ones, an annual maintenance plan on your AC heating system should pay for itself many times over.  The main benefits: 1– prevents small problems from turning into major repairs in the equipment or your home or building, 2– can save on energy or fuel costs and lower your monthly bills. 3– looks for gas leaks, carbon monoxide, and other potential safety issues.

Anyway, back to the HVAC forum from this week, here’s a summary of what I read: In spite of relatively high unemployment around the U.S., a surprising number of heating and air conditioning companies are having a difficult time find qualified technicians. Some HVAC  business owners even described going to high school vocational programs to start the selection and grooming process early for future technicians. The heating and AC company owners gave several possible reasons for this phenomenon. Their explanations included: candidates having necessary aptitude to work with their hands, increasing  need for technical HVAC training, physically challenging work environment (in attics, under floors, etc.), parental focus on white collar type training and jobs over skilled labor/ blue collar, and relatively low pay for the amount of training and type of physical working conditions involved.

The above facts, coupled with the topic of our previous blog about HVAC and plumbing vocational training in prisons, really convinced me that interviewing and selecting local service providers ahead of time and using their annual maintenance program is the way to go.  If you choose this route, there are many useful resources on this site to help you.

Why Heating A/C and Plumbing Contractors Do Background Checks On Their Technicians

Recently, I had the chance to meet with a long-time veteran of the home heating, A/C and plumbing business in a large western U.S. city.  He said something I knew a little about, but had never heard stated so directly.  He said:

Heating, A/C and plumbing are some of the main vocational training programs that are taught in prisons. That’s one of the reasons our company does background checks and drug addiction screening on all our employees…”

After a prisoner has served his or her sentence, having a productive job can help keep them from returning to prison. This, of course, is a good thing for a civilized society.  At the same time, home or building owners need to know that a technician who will be working in or own their property is both competent in HVAC and trustworthy.

Screening and background checks on employees could prevent a person with violence, molestation, or similar baggage in their past or present (particulary offenses with a high rate of recidivism) from getting a job at your local heating and air conditioning company.

What you can do to find quality heating and A/C service companies

So, in addition to the quick tips you will see on the pages of our website, before you have a contractor repair or replace your heating and AC equipment, ask if and how they screen their employees for undesirable history.

Background checks, like other overhead costs of technical training and certification, bonding, and insurance, can translate into higher bids or costs than companies who do not cover these benefits or protection for their customers. Of course, cost can naturally be divided into initial cost and longer term or unforseen costs. Generally, service companies with good infrastructure have better procedures.  This usually means they are less likely to make mistakes. And if they do make an error or if a defect in equipment presents itself, they have the resources to make things right.