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How to Hire a Contractor for Energy Efficiency Projects
Choosing the right energy Contractors is an important consideration when planning energy-related improvements for your home. Start with a list of names that you gather from friends and neighbors who have completed energy-related projects. Ask managers of lumber, hardware, and appliance dealers who they trust to work on their homes.
Ask the best contractors on your list to give you a cost estimate or bid. Be as specific as you can about exactly what benefits you want from the job and what technical details are important to you. Note differences between the suggestions and comments each contractor makes.
The more informed you are about the details, the better a job you’re likely to receive.
Points to Remember
Note these suggestions:
- Prefer contractors that provide a complete range of energy efficiency solutions
- Accompany contractors on their inspections. Ask questions.
- Don’t purchase on price alone. When contracting for insulation, for example, compare both R-value and price.
- Compare the warranties offered by the contractors you’re considering.
- Get a written bid that includes all the important details.
- Work with the successful bidder to convert the details on the bid to a written, legally binding contract.
- Monitor the job for compliance with the contract.
- Help your contractor formulate a payment plan that insures you completion and performance, while being fair to the contractor. The payment plan should be part of the contract.
Avoid contractors who display the following characteristics:
- Willing to do the job at an unusually low price.
- Won’t provide references.
- Won’t provide a written estimate or contract.
- Requires full or substantial payment before work begins.
- Uses high-pressure sales methods.
- Asks you to obtain the necessary permits.
See The Homeowners Handbook to Energy Efficiencyfor simple practical energy-efficiency ideas.