Your HVAC system supports comfortable, clean air in your home, and most people find themselves quite miserable when it malfunctions or stops working. If you practice DIY routine maintenance, such as filter changes, you likely don’t have an established relationship with an air conditioning company. During the summer, many of the most established and recognized repair specialists have long wait times for a technician visit. So, how do you find an air condition professional to help?
Desperation can make it tempting to call the first repair contractor you come across, but doing so can hurt your wallet and your system over the long run. You need to know that the technician is an expert at diagnosing, repairing, and/or replacing your unit. Otherwise, you could end up paying for services that cause bigger problems verses solving existing problems. Don’t worry. The following tips will help do fast work out of finding just the right company for your air conditioner disaster. If you want to know more details and consult with a technician check the GMR Mechanical HVAC
Tips To Finding And Vetting An HVAC Company
1. Use Local Listings And Directories
Identify local HVAC repair companies with a local Google search using the keywords + your area. Local listing sites and directories, such as Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, U.S. AC Repair, Yelp, and so forth, are a great place to collect potentials and see what previous consumers have to say about a company’s service, pricing, and reliability. Make a list of those with the best reputation, but do keep in mind that reviews can be skewed both negatively and positively. Some companies pay for positive user reviews, and other companies may have a negative review caused by a customer with unrealistic expectations more than actual bad service. Use the info but do so with a grain of salt.
2. Vet Your List Of Potentials
Now, you dig deeper. The Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce and Department of Consumer Affairs can identify legitimate consumer complaints against a company. Contact your local state board of contractors and builders’ associations to determine if any local complaints have been lodged against a company. These entities will also be able to tell you what licenses and insurances are required of contractors in your state.
Never work with a contractor that doesn’t meet all the requirements. Without general liability insurance and workers’ compensation, you (the homeowner) may be legally liable for any accidents that occur on your property. Heating and cooling technicians should be certified by key organizations that validate knowledge and training, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and North American Technician Excellence (NATE.)
Determine the manufacturer of your existing air conditioner unit, and call that manufacturer to ensure that the companies on your list are approved and authorized by the manufacturer. This means that they meet that brand’s professional requirements and have the qualifications necessary to repair and install their products. Of course, if you suspect that your unit will likely need to be replaced, you should make the same call to your preferred replacement brand.
3. Make Contact With Your List Of Potentials
You’ve likely already narrowed your list down to a handful of potentials by the time you arrive at this step. It’s time to make initial contact. Take note of how the customer representative treats you. Are they pushy verses helpful? Are they concerned with scheduling services or listening to and answering your questions? How you’re treated before you’re a customer is a good indication of how you’ll be treated as a customer. If questions are met with marketing verses answers, it may be best to move ahead to a different prospect.
Your initial question should be to ask what manufacturers the company works with and whether they’re a full-service provider, meaning they service, repair, and install for the brand. Quality providers typically specialize in two to three brands. Any less means that the company is likely to keep a particular manufacturer’s best interest above that of their customer. Meanwhile, working with too many manufacturers can signal that the company isn’t invested in offering “mastery” service. You’ve heard the saying about being a jack of all trades and master of none? Given the company works with your brand, ask if the company can provide you with references. These are past customers who can attest that the company offers professional, on-budget, and timely service. Avoid companies unable to provide such recommendations.
Ask about service call pricing. HVAC companies often run specials and deals, especially in the off-season. But it’s a big red flag if one particular company is significantly cheaper than the others. You’ll find that reputable air conditioning technicians generally charge about the same for a service call, and their estimates won’t be far off from one another, either. Anything else signals that a company is cutting corners and/or planning to hide up-charges and fees in your service estimate. Speaking of the service estimate/quote… If you can obtain a sight-unseen repair quote over the phone from an HVAC company, then it’s a gigantic red flag. There’s absolutely no way that an air conditioning tech can offer you an accurate repair estimate or quote without examining the equipment and diagnosing the exact problem(s.)
Lastly, ask who will be conducting the service call and estimate. Will that be the same person performing the repairs? If not, are the subcontractors or follow-up technicians qualified, certified, and licensed? Will all workers have appropriate uniforms, identification, and have passed a thorough background check?
4. Know How You’ll Be Required To Pay
Good-faith deposits may be required if the job is custom or involves expensive custom work. Otherwise, most HVAC contractors require payment in stages or at the end of the job. Ask if the company will look for incentives, rebates, and/or credits for repairs and upgrades that your unit may need. The most ethical HVAC companies will show you the replaced parts upon payment exchange.
5. Does The Company Offer 24/7 Assistance?
Quality companies ensure that customers can contact them 24/7 for emergencies, particularly after a repair or new installation. Ask if you will be directed to an actual technician or only have an answering service available. Being able to reach a live tech is invaluable. In many cases, minor issues and questions can be solved over the phone without a service call appointment.
6. How Did Your HVAC Repair Estimate Go?
Once you decide on a company, you’ll schedule a service call appointment. The technician will do a thorough assessment and offer an estimate to repair and/or replace the HVAC system based on their findings. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Did the technician show up on time?
- Did he/she have the right tools and equipment for the assessment?
- Was the technician able to explain your air conditioner problem and their proposed solution is clear, concise, and understandable language?
- Did the technician discuss warranties, guarantees, and service agreement terms?
- Did the technician discuss factors that likely caused the problem and offer further assessment and solutions?
- Did the technician offer a written contract with project costs, job schedule, warranty info, parts, and so forth to begin work?
- Do you feel comfortable and confident with the technician?
The answers should all be yeses.
Are You Ready To Schedule Your HVAC Repair?
In closing, this should make finding and choosing the ideal HVAC service and repair technician a snap. Again, estimates between reputable HVAC companies shouldn’t be far off if they’ve done their job correctly and honestly. Minus vetting, expertise in your brand, and experience, the main difference in your selection comes from your comfort in how the service is delivered, which comes from a technician who is readily available to handle your problems and communicates with you.