Whether you need to have your air conditioning replaced or repaired, hiring the right professional is extremely important. You need an air conditioning repairman who fully understands how specific HVAC systems work and how to deal with their various complexities.
A repair job by an unskilled or inexperienced person will not only cause your air conditioning to have more problems, it can also be a safety hazard to your family.
This article provides a guide on how to choose an air conditioning repairman. It includes what things you should look out for, the important questions to ask and what to avoid.
5 Things to Look For
Today, most people will start their search of a HVAC contractor on the internet.
A simple Google search of “HVAC repair” on your phone will provide you with HVAC technicians available in your area.
Look at reputable review sites, business directories and social media to see what other people are saying about them and their services.
Another option is to get referrals from friends and family. They might know a repairperson or two who have provided them with great services in the past.
Once you have your list of three or four good HVAC technicians in your area, it is time to start comparing them. Here are 5 most essential things you should look for.
1. Licenses and certification
It is very important for a HVAC contractor to have the right licenses and certificates. This indicates that he or she has the skills and experience to guarantee a good quality job. Contact your local area government or state government to determine what licenses a HVAC technician should hold. Most local governments will also have this information online.
Ask the contractor to show you license and certificate copies.
It would also be a plus if the contractor is a member of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Check their website at https://www.acca.org/ to see whether your bidder is a member. You can also check which ACCA members are in your area.
Accidents happen and can result in damage to your home or even injury to someone. To protect yourself and your home, only pick air conditioning contractors who are insured. Additionally, check that the a/c company has workers compensation insurance in case one of their workers is injured onsite.
There is no better indication of a good air conditioning repairman than happy customers. Ask the contractor to provide you with references from past clients. If a contractor is unwilling to do so or does not have any references, start looking elsewhere.
You can also check online for customer reviews and testimonials regarding a specific HVAC servicing company.
4. Pre-estimate inspection
A good repairperson will conduct a thorough inspection of the system before giving you a price estimate. Check that the a/c contractor you are considering offers a (preferably free) survey of your system before quoting an estimated price. This ensures the technician understands the make of the system, how it functions and what problems are present.
If you get a price quote before they even look at your A/C, then run away.
It is recommended that you get pre-inspections from at least three contractors. This will ensure that you will have at least three price estimates to compare.
5. Written Contract With You Bid
This is the final and one of the most important aspects of your considerations for a air conditioning repairman. A contractor who provides a word of mouth agreement is a major red flag.
Request a written contract and review it before signing. It is important to make sure that each party understands exactly what the job entails. A written contract is especially useful if anything goes wrong and legal issues arise.
Questions to Ask Your Bidders
It is advisable that you meet with at least three contractors before making a final decision.
By talking to them and asking them questions directly you will be able to gauge what to expect. Whether you meet the contractors face to face or ask them questions online or through email, here are 5 important questions to remember.
• Are you licensed and insured? – Ask to see copies of their licenses and insurance documents.
• How long have you been in business? – Generally, the longer a company has been around the safer it will be to chose them. Look out for companies that have been around for five years or more.
• What certifications do you have? – To deal with HVAC systems, contractors need various certifications. A good example is the EPA Title 8 certification to handle Freon refrigerant gas. Other important certifications include North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification and the HVAC Excellence certification.
• Do you offer pre-inspections? – An inspection should be offered before a quote is given. Most a/c companies offer free consultations and inspections.
• What is your experience with a specific system? – Different HVAC systems require varying expertise. For instance, your system may feature modern cutting edge technology or it may be using technology from several years ago. You need a technician who has handled your system before.
• Can you provide me with names of satisfied customers? – references are important in making the right selection.
• Will I get a written contract? – do not accept a spoken agreement. A written contract is legal and solid. Make sure it spells out all details concerning nature of repairs, mode and frequency of payments and refund policy among other issues.
What to Avoid
Look out for these warning signs when looking for an air conditioning repairman.
• No license or certifications. This is a major red flag. Do not even think twice if a contractor lacks a valid license and certifications.
• No proof of insurance. There is no guarantee that your family and home will be protected in the event of an accident.
• Quotes and recommendations without inspection. A contractor cannot simply give you a quote or recommendation without inspecting the system. If they do, then all they are after is money.
• Questionably low prices. If a company’s pricing is too good, check and double check the fine print. There could be expensive catches. Also ascertain that they have a reputation of quality work.
• Insistence on cash payments. All payments should be made to the company through a check or credit card.
• No written contract. You will have no legal protection when a problem arises.
The process of finding the right HVAC technician may seem long and demanding, but it is worth it.
The good thing is that when you find a good contractor, you are likely to stick with them for years.