Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - The most important part of preparing your home’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system for cold or warm weather may be selecting a qualified contractor. Finding one who is trained to maintain, repair and/or replace the components of your system is key.

To help you select a contractor who is certified in heating and air-conditioning and who can professionally service your cooling system, the experts at the York® brand of Johnson Controls offer these suggestions:

• Educate yourself about HVAC systems. Understanding the basics can help you when interviewing a potential contractor.

• Ask friends, co-workers, real estate agents and home improvement specialists for recommendations. Advertisements can also direct you to a contractor.

• When interviewing a potential dealer, check for membership in professional organizations, such as NATE (North American Technician Excellence) and ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America).

• Ask to see state and local licenses, certification for refrigerant handling, and proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Be certain these documents apply to the contractor, as well as any technicians or subcontractors the contractor employs.

• Research the range of services that a contractor offers. Does the list include scheduled maintenance, repairs and 24-hour service?

• Consider the number of years a contractor has been in business. In many cases, a reputation for quality, reliability and dependability grows with the length of service to a community. A good contractor will visit your home to conduct an on-site inspection and ask questions about your cooling needs and concerns before making any equipment or service recommendations.

• Ask for and check references. Consider them in conjunction with other information you have gathered in your research.

By following these simple suggestions, you will most likely find the contractor who best meets your needs, both in terms of technical expertise and professional integrity.

To learn more, and to find a contractor near you, visit the York website at www.york.com.