How to Find a Natural Gas Contractor

Finding a registered and reliable Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) contractor is important for your business, safety and comfort. Here are some tips to help you get started.

How do I find the name of a contractor?

Most people tend to find contractors through word-of-mouth. Consider asking neighbouring business owners, members of business associations or your local Business Improvement Areas for recommendations. You can also ask at stores or wholesalers that sell natural gas appliances like furnaces and fireplaces.

And remember to check the online or in your phone book. Look under the categories “heating contractors” or “natural gas contractors.”

How do I know if a contractor is qualified to install or work on natural gas equipment?

In Ontario, qualified HVAC contractors must be certified and registered with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA).

You can verify a contractor's registration, by calling the TSSA at one of these numbers, Monday-Friday, 8-5 (excluding holidays):

  • GTA: 416-734-3300
  • Outside Greater Toronto: 1-877-682-8772

You can also contact the TSSA at:

Questions to ask when you’re interviewing contractors

For any significant project, it is worthwhile speaking to at least three contractors that you would consider for the job. Before you ask them to provide an estimate for the work, you should ask them:

  • What trade associations they belong to
  • How long they’ve been in business
  • Their warranty and maintenance coverage on equipment and labour
  • How much liability insurance coverage they carry
  • Whether they offer financing or leasing programs if you’re interested in them
  • Local references that you could call to see if they were satisfied with the contractor’s work

Going through this interview process, will help give you a better impression of who you are hiring and how they propose to work with you.

Getting written quotes

It is very important that you get detailed written quotes for your project. You should be very clear about what’s included and what isn’t. Assume that if it’s not written in the contract, it’s not included.

You should also make allowances for contingencies—an extra amount in case you and the contractor discover during the project that extra work is required.

Get at least three written estimates outlining the work to be done and the total price. That will give you a good comparison for price and how the contractor plans to tackle the job.

Remember, the lowest price isn't always the best value, and the highest price doesn't necessarily mean great service.

What should be included in the contract?

In some cases, the estimate that’s provided also serves as the contract. In other cases, the contractor will write out a separate contract that you will have to sign.

Make sure you read and understand all of the terms and conditions, including the fine print, before you sign it.

Be sure that the contract is detailed and fully describes the project. At a minimum, the contract should include:

  • Job start date
  • All equipment and installation details including specific model numbers
  • Estimated completion date
  • Payment policy
  • Warranty details on equipment, parts and labour
  • A guaranteed price including all parts, labour and taxes
  • A hold-back amount that you will pay only once the project is completed satisfactorily. Typical hold-back amounts are 10 to 15 per cent of the entire project value.

Also, be sure that the contractor provides you with all product information such as instruction manuals, maintenance requirements and manufacturers' warranties for any new equipment they install.