Are you shopping for a heating or an air conditioning system? The following tips may be of interest to you before you make a purchase.

If you plan to purchase a heating or air conditioning system, ask your family and friends for recommendations of experienced and professional merchants.

Finding an experienced merchant

An experienced merchant :

  • will be able to guide you in choosing the appliance and answer your questions;
  • will be able to calculate the house’s heating and cooling load;
  • has received the appropriate training;
  • is an authorized dealer for the sale of the parts and appliances the merchant offers.

Beware of companies that give you only a telephone number to reach them. In case of a problem, you could have trouble tracking down the merchant.

Shop around with different merchants. Compare prices, appliance features, warranties offered, energy savings claimed, etc.

Check whether the merchant holds the required authorizations

Make sure the person who installs your appliance holds the appropriate licence or permit. This may be:

These organizations issue documents to an individual after verifying his or her professional competency. Please contact these organizations directly for more information on this subject.

Check whether the contractor has an itinerant merchant's permit

Are you doing business with an itinerant merchant? This type of merchant must hold a permit from the Office de la protection du consommateur and provide you with a written contract.

A person is considered an itinerant merchant if he or she tries to sell you a heating or air conditioning appliance outside his or her place of business, for example, if the person comes to your home without an invitation.

Getting information about a merchant

You can get further information about a merchant using the Get information about a merchant tool. By entering the name of a merchant into the tool, you will know :

  • if they hold a permit, in the case of an itinerant merchant;
  • if the Office has previously intervened with that merchant;
  • if the merchant has received formal notices from other consumers.

Getting information about warranties offered and after-sales service

Check out the length and coverage of the warranties offered. They vary from one manufacturer to another.

Find out about the quality of after-sales service. You can, if need be, ask for references from customers of the business.

Some merchants may request a down payment before delivering or installing a heating or air conditioning appliance. Here are tips on how to make your payments.

Making payments to a general contractor

If possible, do not provide a down payment to a contractor, or pay only a very small sum. Some consumers have lost money after a company closed its doors, for example.

Paying an itinerant merchant

Did you conclude an agreement with an itinerant merchant? A person is considered an itinerant merchant if they solicit your business outside of their actual offices, for example, if they come to your home without your requesting it.

This type of vendor cannot request or accept a down payment within the 10 days that follow the signing of the contract. Indeed, this delay is designed to allow you to cancel the contract, if desired. You should therefore refuse to allow the installation to be made before the end of that 10-day period to avoid any conflict.

If you already have the appliance at home, the merchant may ask for payment, but they are required to deposit that money in a trust account until the end of the 10-day delay.

Some merchants are exempt from this requirement, provided for in article 255 of the Consumer Protection Act. Refer to our tool Get information about a merchant to know whether the contractor you hire benefits from such an exemption.

An itinerant merchant offers to sell you a heating appliance (e.g. a heat pump) or solar panels. Beware of any claims from the merchant that the appliance will cost you next to nothing because you will save energy and benefit from government programs. Merchants are prohibited from making false or misleading statements.

Government programs and tax credits

Energy efficiency programs and tax credits that aim to encourage eco-friendly home renovations certainly do exist. However, the government bodies responsible for such programs do not hire representatives to sell you anything at your home or over the phone.

As a homeowner, it is up to you to determine whether you satisfy the conditions to benefit from such programs (eligibility criteria, eligible work, financial aid, etc.). Don't just take the word of a salesperson. His or main intention is not for you to benefit from a program, but rather to sell you an appliance.

You can obtain information on:

  • the Rénoclimat program from Transition énergétique Québec. This program will guide you through your residential renovation project in order to improve your home's energy efficiency. You will benefit from personalized tips following a visit from a Rénoclimat advisor, all at a low cost. You may also qualify for financial assistance for various renovations, such as the installation of a heat pump.
  • the RénoVert tax credit from Revenu Québec. The eligibility period for this tax credit ended on March 31, 2019. Any eco-friendly home renovation work agreements entered into after that date are therefore automatically ineligible.

Energy savings

A salesperson may try to lure you with claims of significant savings on your electricity bill with the appliance he or she is selling (heat pump, solar panels, etc.). You will probably have difficulty checking those claims... As a result, you can ask the salesperson to put those savings claims in writing on the contract. If the salesperson refuses to do so, the claims may simply be false promises.

You plan to install solar panels? Hydro-Québec offers a calculator to estimate what it would cost to install panels, how much energy they could produce in a year and how long it would take to recoup your investment.

Take the time to think things over

Generally speaking, an offer made today will still be valid tomorrow. Take the time to think things over. The Office recommends not signing a contract on the spot.

It is a good idea to ask the salesperson to give you a copy of the documents related to the contract he or she wants to enter into with you. You can take the time to read through them and assess the value of the offer with a clear mind. If the salesperson refuses to leave you these documents, this may be a sign that you're doing well to think twice about it...

Recourse options

If a merchant has given you false or misleading information, you can contact the Office de la protection du consommateur to report the merchant.

Concluding a detailed agreement with the merchant selling you a heating or air conditioning system is to your benefit. The more details your contract contains, the better informed you will be regarding what to expect.

Contract concluded in person

The Office de la protection du consommateur recommends that you always request a written contract from the merchant selling you a heating or air conditioning system. This will allow you to have and maintain proof of your agreement. A written contract will make it easier to assert your rights if you are not satisfied with the company's services.

The contract does not have to adhere to a specific form, except :

  • if it is an instalment sale (if you are financing your purchase);
  • if you are doing business with an itinerant merchant.

Useful information to be included in the contract

Make sure that everything that was promised by the merchant is included in the contract, along with all important details.

The contract should include :

  • the merchant’s name and address;
  • the license and permit numbers, if they are required;
  • the scheduled start and end of work dates;
  • information about the warranty;
  • a statement in which the contractor commits to abide by the municipal regulations and the National Building Code standards;
  • the contractor's liability insurance policy number and the name of the insurance company;
  • a detailed description of the work to be done, along with the type and quantity of materials to use (make sure to append the estimate to the contract);
  • the total cost and the terms of payment.

To ensure the work will be done within the specified time limits, ask for the following note to be added to the contract: " The work will be completed before or on (date); otherwise the merchant will refund the down payment paid by the client. ".

If the merchant promised you would benefit from energy savings, request that they include the exact reduction in consumption in the contract.

Check the length and the coverage of the warranty offered to you, and whether the installation of your appliance is covered by the warranty. Ask to have these items indicated in the contract.

Make sure to add a note mentioning the contract total includes the removal of construction debris at the end of the project.

Contents of a contract concluded with an itinerant merchant

Did you conclude a contract with an itinerant merchant? A heating or air conditioning system vendor is considered an itinerant merchant if they solicit your business outside of their actual offices, for example, if they come to your home without your requesting it.

The law prescribes that such a contract must be concluded in writing and that it includes all mandatory information. For further information, refer to the page What a contract with itinerant merchant contains.

A contract concluded with an itinerant merchant can be cancelled within 10 days.

For further information about cancelling this type of contract, refer to the page Cancelling a contract concluded in person.

Contract concluded by phone or online

If you plan on choosing a merchant over the phone or online, know that the law provides that a distance contract must be provided in writing.

Information to obtain before signing a contract

Before concluding a contract, the merchant must provide certain mandatory information. For example :

  • their name, address, phone number and, if available, their fax number and email address;
  • a detailed description of the products and services offered;
  • the total amount you will need to pay and, if it applies, the amount to be paid on periodic payments;
  • the terms of payment;
  • the start date of the appliance installation work;
  • the duration of the appliance installation work;
  • the cancellation terms, if they are provided for;
  • any other condition or restriction that applies to the contract.

Transmission of the written contract

The contractor must provide a written contract within 15 days after you entered into an agreement. This will allow you to verify whether the contract's contents correspond to the offer that was made to you. The contract must be presented in a way that allows you to hold on to it.

Content of the written contract

The contract must include your name and your address, the contract signature date, and all the other mandatory information the merchant must provide before you enter into an agreement.

The Office de la protection du consommateur recommends that you not sign any document before making a final decision to purchase a heating or air conditioning appliance. Contrary to popular belief, you do not always have the right to cancel a signed contract if you change your mind within 10 days.

For further information about cancelling this type of contract, refer to the page Cancelling a contract.

You recommend this page: https://www.opc.gouv.qc.ca/

Last update : November 22, 2022

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.