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How to find the right Home Performance Contractor

9 Questions Homeowners Need to ASK Before Hiring a Home Performance Contractor.

If you are not satisfied with the Contractor's answers it might be wise to keep looking!

Choosing the right Contractor

1.     Do they have Insurance?

Does the contractor carry general liability Insurance of at least $1,000,000? Does the contractor carry Workers Compensation insurance on all his employees? Will the technicians working on your home be employees of the company or subcontractors? Ask for a Certificate of Insurance from the prospective contractor showing both workers comp and general liability insurance.

2.     Do they have a Contractor's License?

Are they a licensed general contractor?  Ask to see their General Contractor license.

3.     How's their Professional Reputation?

Are they listed with the Better Business Bureau and if so what is their rating?  You can verify this yourself at www.bbb.org.  Also check them out on Angie’s list and Yelp to see what other customers are saying about them.

4.     Can they get you all eligible rebates?

Are they listed on the Xcel Energy site and the Denver Energy Challenge website? (or whatever sites are viable for your local utility and rebate programs?)  If not you may be missing out on valuable rebates.  If you want to participate in these generous rebate programs your contractor must be listed.  If you plan to participate in the Denver Energy Challenge your contractor also needs to be licensed in the city of Denver.   Blackhills Energy also has a rebate program and your contractor must be listed in their air sealing and insulation contractors list in order to get rebates.

5.     How they will air seal your attic?

Attic air sealing is NOT AN OPTIONAL EXTRA, IT IS REQUIRED if you expect to get the results you are hoping for.  Air sealing should include wall top plates, bathroom fans, wire penetrations, plumbing penetrations, all thermal bypasses, flue pipes, attic hatch and any other leakage areas in the attic floor.  This is meticulous work but worth the time invested because when it comes to tightening up your leaky home, it’s all about the details.  This step needs to be completed BEFORE any insulation is added.

6.     Are they BPI Certified?

Are the contractor’s employees and owners certified by BPI (the Building Performance Institute) as a Certified Building Analysts?  BPI certified analysts understand how your home works as a system and are trained to follow industry best practices.  Hiring an underqualified contractor carries the risk of substandard workmanship leading to disappointing results and in the worst case they may compromise the safety of your homes systems and create problems with indoor air quality.

7.     Do they have the proper equipment?

Does the contractor have a blower door available to guide air sealing efforts? If you are participating in the “Home Performance with Energy Star” or the insulation rebate program from Xcel Energy this is essential equipment to assure that air leakage reduction goals are being met.  An infrared camera is also a very useful tool to help guide air sealing efforts.  Xcel Energy’s rebate programs also require combustion safecy testing so your contractor needs to have a gas analyzer and know how to use it.

8.     Are there any $ Surprises?

Will the contractor give you a firm price for this work and guarantee that the price you pay will be the same as what is on your bid? Nobody likes unpleasant surprises and if your contractor has done a proper job of inspecting your home before they give you a quote, any surprises should be their responsibility, not yours.

9.     What about Referrals?

Does the contractor have a list of past customers for whom they have done this type of work that you could call for a reference?  Will they give you that list today?

Asking these simple questions will help you identify the best contractor for your Home Performance project; whether you're just insulating your attic or doing a full energy retrofit. If you're not satisfied with any of the answers take your time to find a contractor that you're comfortable with before signing a contractor. This is your home we're talking about and it's worth taking your time to insure a positive experience and a job done right.

Comments

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wow, awesome article.Much thanks again. Really Great. Heefner

wow, awesome article.Much thanks again. Really Great. Servatius

wow, awesome article.Much thanks again. Really Great. Heefner

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I guess that finding a good house contractor would be lot of difficult work for many people. However, following your guidelines, one can make the process easy for him.

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I've been cheated over and over again by home repair contractors that either demand money up front and never return to do work or do such a bad job I wish that they hadn't returned. Some were even highly recommended to me, or had a 5-star rating on Service Magic. I even took one to court and I won! However, my house is falling apart, but now I'm so soured on these guys, I am very wary about hiring anyone now and I don't trust what others say. Unfortunately, contractors aren't required to be licensed in my state (NY). What can I do?

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In the event that you need to take an interest in these liberal discount programs your contractual worker must be recorded. On the off chance that you intend to take an interest in the Denver Energy Challenge your temporary worker likewise should be authorized in the city of Denver.

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