This is not the time of year to have to call a HVAC repair contractor or be dealing with a faulty air conditioner. With temperatures soaring into the 90s and plenty of humidity to boot, life without a fully-functional HVAC unit can be downright miserable.
If you find yourself in this unenviable position you want a HVAC repair contractor that will fully fix the problem as fast as possible and with a minimum of fuss.
The question is, how to choose the best company for your needs. There are so many choices out there that it can make your head spin, even with a simple google search.
So, how do you pick the right HVAC repair contractor for you?
Here’s a checklist of questions to ask of any potential HVAC repair contractor:
Does the contractor carry your current brand of air conditioner?
Many companies only carry a few brands of HVAC systems, which could actually narrow your search on its own. It’s always a good idea to hire a contractor that carries the brand you already have installed – which leads to the next question…
Does the company in question have experience with your current model of AC?
It could end up being an even bigger pain to hire a company whose technician has never even seen your type of air conditioner, especially if it is of a specialty type, like a split system or a much older unit. Several younger technicians may not be familiar with older technology. With that in mind, look for a company with experience handling a number of different HVAC systems. Certainly, there are similarities between all air conditioners, but there are also nuances that could get missed and lead to bigger problems.
Is the HVAC repair contractor in question licensed, bonded and insured?
There’s an easy way to tell if any HVAC company is licensed in the state of Georgia. Simply visit the Secretary of State’s website here and type in the company name. If they are licensed, it is also a good idea to check and make sure their technicians are certified by the (North American Technician Excellence) NATE board, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring the knowledge of licensed HVAC technicians.
What is the reputation of the contractor?
You can determine this in a number of ways. First, there’s the good, old fashioned personal seal of approval. Ask family, friends and co-workers about any potential contractor and whom they utilize. Second, there’s the internet. This can be a confusing and contradictory method of searching – if you don’t know where to look. Check out Google reviews first. These are the most trustworthy and uniform method of public reviews. Yelp and sources such as these can be a help, but they can also “gamed” to an extent by companies to improve their visibility.
What kind of experience does the contractor in question have?
Ideally, you want a contractor that has experienced just about everything the HVAC industry can throw their way so that there’s no surprises hiding once they have begun work on your cooling system.
What kind of training do their technicians receive?
The HVAC industry is constantly updating and innovating, and those companies that are not in constant training are falling behind. And while you may have an older system that can be repaired simply, there are also plenty of additions, improvements and efficiencies you could be missing out on if your contractor is still doing things the same way he did 20 years ago.
Can you get an estimate in person and in a hurry?
It’s extraordinarily hard to be patient when you’re dealing with home discomfort in a Georgia summer. But if you’re serious about getting the right HVAC repair contractor you need to make sure any prospective company will come to your home, look at everything about your system (compressor, thermostat, ductwork, etc.), determine the problems and then write them down on company letterhead. NEVER trust a company willing to give you a quote over the phone without having seen your cooling system firsthand.
Does the contractor in question offer tax credits or rebates?
Some types of cooling installations and upgrades come with rebates or tax credits. And there are contractors with strong relationships with local energy companies and electric membership corporations that can only help you both when it comes to governmental rebates and in providing the most efficient system possible.
What kind of payment schedule does the contractor expect?
If you require a payment plan or apply for financing to help afford your repairs, make sure you understand all the fine print and are not hit with any unexpected costs or deadlines.
Finally, how does your first experience with the company rub you?
Even after answering all these other questions there is simply nothing like intuition. Sometimes you can tell a company/technician simply does things a certain way that you do not like. Perhaps they didn’t treat you or living space with the full respect you felt it deserved, or even their appearance may have put you off. Trust that. After all, ideally, you’ll be working with this contractor for the long haul, as HVAC systems require continuous maintenance and care in order to continue to run to perfection.
Answer all of these questions, which won’t take you very long, and you’ll be on your way back to full comfort, making all those frustrating hassles a distant memory.