Most days of each month, I read an HVAC industry online news group. In those, I read that even the most established brands of Air conditioner and heating equipment sometimes have defects, recalls, service bulletins, and so on. This is in spite of how well they are assembled at the factory or installed at your location.
Here’s our take on the situation: when your air conditioner system needs repair, which it likely will at some point, have yourself set to get it going again with minimal inconvenience, discomfort, and cost. To prepare for the day when your system goes on the blink, below are a few practical questions to consider when you are deciding which local HVAC contractor to install it and brand or model of equipment to buy (in that order of importance).
- How long has the contractor been in business under the same name, location and ownership?
- What training, certification, and experience do their technicians have?
- What is the relationship of the contractor to the brand(s) of AC and heating equipment they sell: Owned by them? Exclusive dealer? Independent dealer?
- How many service trucks and technicians do they have?
- Does the local contractor have 24-7 service?
- Do they charge extra for service after hours, weekends or holidays?
- What is the parts and labor warranty from the manufacturer? From the installer?
- If you sign up for a yearly maintenance plan, do you get preferential appointment times, pricing, or both on repair work?
- Do they have a good rating with minimal unresolved issues at the Better Business Bureau – BBB?
- When you search online for their company name, are the online comments generally positive?
- On this last point, online testimonials or rants, be aware of what we call the “wild west” effect. By that, we mean that, far too often, we see and hear about companies writing good stuff about themselves or even bad stuff about their competitors. And some real customers who take the time to write are not always objective.
- Not to worry. If you use most of the points above and ask your neighbors who they use, you’ll get a reliable composite of the companies you are considering.