For many home and business owners, finding the ideal AC repair company isn’t a luxury, but a requirement. When an air conditioner starts to break down it drives up monthly bills. When a unit shuts down entirely, it can produce awful living conditions. However, something that might be just as miserable as a broken air conditioner is a repair company that is untrustworthy, expensive or just incompetent at repairs.
Here are several useful tips to escape the headache of not only a broken AC but also of hiring a poor air-conditioner repair company.
Where to Locate Pro AC Repair
Although the best practice for finding quality residential or commercial services is usually to widen your search. In some cases it’s best to keep close to home with air conditioning repair. Talk to your friends, neighbors and check out reviews. It’s common for someone you know or who lives nearby to have called an air conditioning repair company at some point. While 24/7 repair services aren’t as crucial for an air conditioner as they are with a furnace that breaks in the middle of winter. Choosing local technicians generally offers a better chance for swift and courteous service.
Selecting a Knowledgeable/Respectable Company
Try to find the awards and certifications an AC repair company has acquired, such as:
- Are they NATE Certified?
- Are they an award-winning, Factory Authorized Dealer?
- Are they a BBB Accredited Business? And if so, what's their rating?
- Are they a registered contractor with Austin Energy?
- Are they AHRI Certified?
- Are they an ENERGY STAR®Partner?
- Are they a member of ACCA?
In addition to awards and certifications, ask around. Lots of fellow home and business owners have experienced trial and error in identifying a quality AC repair company they can rely on. Some never arrive to do the work; others reached the jobsite but could not adequately resolve the problem, while a few particularly bold companies have charged 3-4x the industry average for basic repairs.
Thankfully, their unpleasant experiences are to your benefit since people generally aren’t hush-hush about these situations. Spend some time on online review sites including Yelp or Angie’s List and seek word of mouth in your community about who you should hire and who you should avoid.
Make Sure the Company Is Licensed/Bonded/Insured
Even the number one AC repair contractors will have an occasional accident or mishap so it’s important to ensure they’re protected “just in case.” Depending on state ordinances, an AC repair company could be required to own some kind of license and/or permits (apprentice, journeyman, master HVAC contractor) just to complete work on your home or business.
Having the required licenses and permits will help you find out if the contractors are educated, experienced and caught up on HVAC codes. You are protected as long as the contractor is bonded, which in essence states there’s recourse if the company doesn’t show up to do the work or does work sloppily. Insurance also covers the home or business owner if the contractor’s work leads to property damages. So making sure the company is licensed, bonded,and insured is critical.
AC Repair Company Intangibles
So what should you do if all local companies are fully licensed and all have generally positive reviews? There are several intangibles that may help make the decision easier. Some things to consider include:
- Customer Service—Does the business answer your calls promptly and do they have a generally good demeanor? Since these people will be in your home or business it can’t hurt having a contractor who understands the significance of customer service.
- Free Estimates—Reliable companies will generally always come to your home and share a free quote on what repairs are needed and estimated costs.
- Options—With HVAC units there’s usually an A, B and sometimes C route to take in getting your system back up and running. Beware of the company who only tries to push new equipment (although sometimes it might be the only remedy).
- Timeline—The sooner the company can get in to repair your AC the better, but unfortunately a quality company could simply be too busy. In some occasions “first come first serve” will have to be the approach to take for the hire.
Common Air Conditioner Repair Costs
In actuality, there isn’t really “typical” AC repair costs. Repair costs will differ based on the particular needs/fixes for every HVAC System. This is a hard thing to consider when picking an AC repair company. Finding the specific problem your HVAC System is wrestling with might be a wide range of things, from something as simple as a clogged filter to severe problems such as a defunct condensing unit coil. That’s why we advise you get at least two to three AC Repair companies to provide an estimate.
Ensuring You’re Not Overcharged
Since repair costs can fluctuate so widely the ideal way to ensure you’re not being ripped off is by finding several quotes on a job. It’s best to bring in at least three contractors for an estimate just to
- distinguish which repairs are necessary and
- know an average price tag for the fix. It’s important to not only beware of a price that is way too high, but one surprisingly low could cause a red flag that the company may be a fly-by-night, “salesy” operation.
Of course, early preparation is the simplest way for finding a professional AC repair company you can trust job after job. Waiting until a system breaks down may leave you scrambling, which may result in higher costs and poorer service. Plus, the air conditioner should have maintenance service handled at least once each year to make sure it’s running normally and to catch problems early. Once you find a company that excels at the routine stuff, they’ll likely be equally as dependable for the emergency fixes as well.