For many home and business owners choosing the right AC repair company isn’t a matter of luxury or choice, it’s a necessity. When an air-conditioner starts to fail it drives up energy bills and a unit that shuts down completely creates miserable living conditions. However, something that can be equally as miserable as a broken AC is a repair company that is unreliable, pricey, or just incompetent on the repairs.
Here are some helpful tips to avoid the headache of not only a broken AC but also of hiring a poor air-conditioner repair company:
Where to Look For Quality AC Repair
Although the best practice for finding quality residential or light-commercial services is usually to broaden your search. Sometimes it’s best to stay close to home with air-conditioner repair. Talk to your friends, neighbors, and read reviews. Likely someone you know or live close to has had to use an Air Conditioning Repair company at some time. While 24/7 repair services aren’t as critical with an air-conditioner as they are with a furnace that stalls in the dead of Winter. Hiring local usually gives a better opportunity for prompt service.
Finding a Knowledgeable / Respectable Company
Look for awards & certifications a AC Repair Company has earned, such as:
- Are they NATE Certified?
- Are they an award winning, Factory Authorized Dealer?
- Are they a BBB Accredited Business and if so whats 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?
On top of awards & certifications, ask around. A lot of fellow home and business owners have gone through trial and error in finding a quality AC repair company they can trust. Some haven’t showed up to do the work, others made it to the job site but couldn’t adequately fix the problem, while still more have charged 3-4X the industry norm for simple repairs. Luckily their bad experiences are to your benefit as people usually aren’t hush-hush about these situations. Therefore check out online review sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List and seek word of mouth in your community about who you should hire and who you shouldn’t.
Make Sure the Company Is Licensed / Bonded / Insured
Even the best AC repair contractors will have an occasional accident or mishap so it’s important to make sure they’re covered ‘just in case’. Depending on state ordinances an AC Repair Company may need to have some sort of license and-or permits (Apprentice, Journeyman, Master HVAC Contractor) just to do work on your house or business.
Having the required licenses & permits will help you in knowing the contractors are educated, tested, and up to date on HVAC codes. You are protected as long as the contractor is bonded – which basically states there’s recourse if the company doesn’t show up to do the work or does work improperly. Insurance also covers the AC owner if the contractors work causes property damages. So making sure the company is licensed, bonded, and insured is critical.
AC Repair Company Intangibles
So what to do if all local companies are fully licensed and all have mostly positive reviews? There are some intangibles that could 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 doesn’t hurt having a contractor honed in on the importance of customer service.
- Free Estimates – quality companies will generally always come to your home and give a free quote on what repairs are needed and estimated costs.
- Options – with HVAC units there’s generally an A, B, and sometimes C route to take in getting your system back up and running. Beware of the company who only tries and sells you new equipment (although sometimes it may be the only remedy).
- Timeline – generally the sooner the company can get in to fix your AC the better but unfortunately a quality company may simply be too busy. In some instances ‘first come first serve’ will have to be the approach to take for the hire.
Typical Air-Conditioner Repair Costs
In truth there isn’t really a “typical” AC Repair Costs. Repair costs will vary based on the specific needs/fixes for every HVAC System. This is a tough thing to consider when hiring an AC repair company. Identifying the specific problem your HVAC System is having could be a wide range of things from something as simple as a clogged filter or something severe such as a defunct condensing unit coil. That’s why we suggest to be sure to get at least two to three AC Repair companies to give you an estimate.
Making Sure You’re Not Overcharged
Since repair costs can vary so greatly the only way to ensure you’re not being ripped off is by getting multiple quotes on a job. It’s best to bring in at least 3 contractors for an estimate just to a) clarify which repairs are needed and b) 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 extremely low could cause a red flag that the company may be a fly-by-night, “salesy” operation.
Of course early preparation is the key to finding a quality AC repair company you can trust job after job. Waiting until a system goes down could leave you scrambling which will could result in higher costs and poorer service. Plus the air-conditioner should at least have maintenance service performed annually to make sure it’s running up to par and to catch problems early. Once you find a company that excels at the routine stuff, they’ll likely be reliable for the emergency fixes as well.