HVAC is a critical part of home construction in nearly every region of the United States. No matter where you live, it's likely that you'll use your air conditioner and heater through at least some of the year. The importance of heating and cooling to the modern American lifestyle means that your HVAC contractor is a critical member of your team when building a new home.

Your general contractor will often recommend or select subcontractors for various aspects of your project, but that doesn't mean you can't become involved. Whether you're choosing an HVAC contractor on your own or simply meeting with your general contractor's preferred partner, you'll need to keep an eye out for these three qualities that make for an ideal HVAC installer.

1. Design Experience

Installing an HVAC system in new construction requires different skills from upgrading existing systems or replacing old components. When you're building a new home, you'll need an HVAC contractor that can properly evaluate your home's cooling load, design ductwork, and work with other members of your construction team to ensure your system can function efficiently.

Choosing a contractor with experience in HVAC system design and new home construction is the best way to guarantee a reliable and efficient install. Asking questions about previous installs and discussing design issues such as system sizing can help you determine if your contractor has the skills necessary to build a new HVAC system from scratch.

2. Warranties

Most contractors offer labor warranties for a set period after installing a new system. Your original installer will likely be your primary HVAC point of contact for your new home, so you should make sure they stand by their work. Although manufacturer warranties protect you from component defects, an installer warranty shows that your contractor has confidence in the jobs they complete.

Note that you shouldn't expect your installer's labor warranty to extend as far as your equipment's manufacturer warranty. Most contractors offer warranties of a few years, which is typically long enough to discover any potential installation defects.

3. References

Most HVAC contractors should provide you with references from previous clients. You should strongly consider HVAC contractors recommended by your general contractor, but it's still a good idea to perform some independent vetting. Asking for references allows you to judge their previous work and see how prior clients may have viewed them.

Your home's HVAC system can potentially last for decades, so it's crucial to work with a contractor with the experience and skills to perform a proper installation. Taking the time to select the best contractor for the job will mean getting a system that can cool your home effectively without any surprise repair bills showing up in a few years.