For all kinds of home and business owners, choosing the ideal AC repair company isn’t a luxury, but a requirement. When an AC unit starts to fail it increases monthly bills. When a unit shuts down completely, it can create miserable living conditions. However, something that could be easily as miserable as a broken air conditioning system is a repair company that is unreliable, pricey or just incompetent at repairs.
Here are a few beneficial tips to manage the headache of not only a damaged AC but also of hiring a poor air-conditioner repair company.
Where to Locate Pro AC Repair
Although the best practice for locating quality residential or commercial services is generally to expand your search. Occasionally it’s better to keep close to home with AC repair. Speak with your friends, neighbors and read reviews. It’s common for someone you know or who lives nearby to have hired an air conditioning repair company at some point. While 24/7 repair services aren’t as critical for an air conditioner as they are with a furnace that malfunctions in the cold of winter. Finding local technicians generally offers a better chance for prompt and courteous service.
Picking a Knowledgeable/Respectable Company
Try to find the awards and certifications an AC repair company has won, 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. A large number of fellow home and business owners have experienced trial and error in locating a qualified AC repair company they can trust. Some never arrive to do the work; others reached the jobsite but failed to adequately address the problem, while a few particularly bold companies have charged 3-4x the industry median for basic repairs.
Thankfully, their unpleasant experiences are to your benefit as people usually aren’t silent about these situations. Check out online review sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List and find word of mouth inside 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 experience an occasional accident or mishap so it’s crucial to make sure they’re protected “just in case.” Depending on state ordinances, an AC repair company may have to own some sort of license and/or permits (apprentice, journeyman, master HVAC contractor) just to complete work on your home or business.
Having the needed licenses and permits will help you make sure the contractors are educated, experienced and up to date on HVAC codes. You are protected as long as the contractor is bonded, which in essence states there’s recourse if the company does not show up to finish the work or does work sloppily. Insurance also covers the home or business owner if the contractor’s work causes property damages. So making sure the company is licensed, bonded,and insured is extremely important.
AC Repair Company Intangibles
So what should you do if all local companies are fully licensed and all have largely positive reviews? There are several intangibles that can help make the decision simpler. Some things to consider include:
- Customer Service—Does the business answer your calls promptly and do they have a positive demeanor? Since these people will be in your home or business it won’t hurt having a contractor who knows the value of customer service.
- Free Estimates—Professional companies will generally always arrive at your home and offer a free quote on what repairs are necessary and estimated costs.
- Options—With HVAC units there’s usually an A, B and sometimes C route to take in getting your system back in shape. Avoid the company who only tries to sell you new equipment (although sometimes it may be the only remedy).
- Timeline—The sooner the company can get in to fix your AC the better, but unfortunately a quality company might simply be too busy. In some instances “first come first serve” will have to be the approach to take for the hire.
Average Air Conditioner Repair Costs
In actuality, there isn’t often “typical” AC repair costs. Repair costs will vary based on the most pressing needs/fixes for every HVAC System. This is a tough thing to consider when deciding on an AC repair company. Finding the specific problem your HVAC System is struggling with can 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 suggest you get around two to three AC Repair companies to provide an estimate.
Being Sure You’re Not Overcharged
Since repair costs can differ so greatly the simplest way to ensure you’re not being ripped off is by securing multiple quotes on a job. It’s best to work with at least three contractors for an estimate just to
- clarify which repairs are necessary and
- have an average price tag for the fix. It’s important to not only stay away from a price that is just too high, but one surprisingly low could feel like a red flag that the company may be a fly-by-night, “salesy” operation.
Of course, prompt preparation is the key for finding a dependable AC repair company you can trust job after job. Waiting until a system breaks down could leave you scrambling, which may result in higher costs and poorer service. In addition, the air conditioner should have maintenance service completed at least once each year to make sure it’s running normally and to uncover problems early. Once you find a company that excels at the standard stuff, they’ll likely be just as trustworthy for the emergency fixes as well.