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How to Hire an HVAC Contractor for an Air Conditioner Repair

Most homeowners will have to deal with an air conditioner repair at some point. AC units are complex appliances that are essential for hot summer months, so when a unit is not functioning properly, it can impose a large burden. Since there are numerous HVAC companies of varying competence at your disposal, the hiring process can be a challenge. This is a crucial decision, so before you hire an HVAC contractor, read these tips to help make the right choice.

Before You Hire an HVAC Contractor

Begin the Process as Soon as Possible

It may be tempting to put off air conditioning repairs, especially if you think they’re an unnecessary expense. In reality, if a unit is neglected, problems become worse and cooling costs increase. Maintenance of your unit is an essential part of owning an AC system. Ignoring repairs could lead to dangerous defects or even a total system failure. Since these problems tend to increase in urgency, you might end up cutting corners and settling for a inferior service to receive emergency repairs.

Check Testimonials, Reviews, and References

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Research companies within your area. Services like Google Reviews and Yelp allow homeowners to check out other customers’ experiences with contractors. Sort through reviews and look further into the companies with the highest reviews. Take note of what former customers enjoyed specifically and if anyone reported undesirable incidences. After online research, choose a few companies to contact and ask for references. A few questions to ask the references include:

  • Did they show up on time?
  • Did they finish when expected?
  • Were the technicians friendly and professional?
  • Did the end cost match the original estimate?
  • Would you hire this company again?
  • Ensure the Company is Licensed, Insured, and Bonded

    This is the most important step to take before you hire an HVAC contractor. Technicians are required to hold permits and licenses that authorize them to work on AC units. Bonding guarantees you are able to pursue a company if they do not show up or their work is insufficient. Proper insurance assures that you’re covered if the technicians cause damage to your property. Before hiring a company, make sure you request proof of all three of these certifications.

    Warranty Policy

    warranty policy

    A company that takes pride in their abilities will always guarantee their work. This will provide you with peace of mind knowing that your unit will function properly, and if it doesn’t, the technicians will return for free. Ask potential companies how long they guarantee their repairs and if they provide free supplemental services if necessary.

    Get Estimates

    Once you’ve finished the first few steps, now it’s time to weigh your options. Ask a few different companies for an estimate on the cost of your repair. It’s best to choose companies that provide free estimates so you can receive enough to make the best choice. Make sure you receive a written, itemized estimate so you have proof of the agreement should anything change. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t just choose the cheapest company, but the company with a reasonable price and the best reputation. Be sure to carefully consider your options.

    When the Technicians Arrive

    First Impression

    When the technicians arrive at your home, check that they arrive in a van with the company logo on the side. If an unmarked vehicle shows up with little to no tools and parts, you can be almost certain its a scam. In addition to scoping out the vehicle, take note of the technicians. Are they clean, uniformed, and professional? Do they seem ready to work and caring about their duties? Are they disheveled, rude, or disrespectful? If you are put off by the technicians, ask them to leave and quickly contact the company with your concerns.

    Ask for Identification

    Allowing practical strangers into your home can be intimidating. Make sure the company provides you with the names of the technicians that will be working on your repair. When they arrive, ask for their identification. If the identity does not match, contact the company and do not let them work on the unit. If there is a change in technician, they should let you know before they arrive.

    Payment Scams

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    A trustworthy HVAC company will not ask for the total payment before the repair. Upfront payment is a sure sign of a scamming business looking to make a buck, so if they demand it, send them away and contact the company. This is why it’s so important to receive an estimate in writing that details the payment schedule.

    Pushing Extra Costs

    If the technicians start pressuring you to buy new parts for the unit, stand your ground. They should indicate all necessary replacement parts in the written estimate and contract. Technicians may take advantage of everyday people who do not have experience with HVAC units and try to persuade them to spend money on things they don’t need.

    After the Repair

    Written Summary and Guarantee

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    A trustworthy company will provide a detailed report of all services done to your unit in case you need to contact them for a follow up visit. This report will allow you to show them what work was done so they can better understand how to remedy any issues that may come up after the repair. As mentioned before, its best to work with a company that is comfortable guaranteeing their work and offering free returns.

    Rate and Review

    After the repair is completed and has held up for a while, help future customers looking to hire an HVAC contractor by rating and reviewing the company online. If you had a poor experience or any concerns, make sure you indicate that. Provide feedback both for other customers as well as the company. A company may take your feedback and use it to improve their services. The Internet is a fantastic resource for homeowners seeking out assistance, so make sure you contribute, no matter what your experience was like!

    Looking to Hire an HVAC Contractor to Repair your Unit?

    hire an hvac contractor

    Drew Green Heating & Cooling has nearly a decade of experience serving Lake County, the North Shore, and Northern areas of Chicago. All of our technicians are professionally trained and certified and take great pride in their work. We provide free estimates, 24/7 emergency services, and free return guarantees. If you’re in need of an AC repair, don’t suffer in the heat—contact us today!

    Air Conditioner Maintenance: Why It’s Important to Service Your AC

    An air conditioning system is an important investment for a homeowner. If properly cared for, a central air conditioner should last 15-20 years. Air conditioner maintenance is a crucial measure that helps ensure the cooling unit operates at peak performance and lasts as long as possible. Not only does having an HVAC company service your AC decrease the risk for stressful repairs or a costly replacement, but it prolongs the system’s life-span and energy efficiency.

    When Should You Service Your AC?

    Summer is obviously the most important time of year when it comes to air conditioning. The last thing you want is your AC to breakdown during sweltering heat, so you should schedule annual air conditioner maintenance during the spring. Even if you haven’t noticed any problems, a yearly inspection is still highly recommended. The key to effective upkeep of a home investment is prevention. The best course of action is to not wait until the system is malfunctioning to have a professional inspect it. The longer you delay a checkup, the worse your air conditioner’s performance will be. For every year a unit goes without being serviced, it loses 5% of its efficiency. Over time, that loss can add up quickly and lead to larger issues and the massive headache of burdensome repairs or a total replacement.

    The Cost of Air Conditioner Maintenance

    wallet and credit card

    Typically, a routine service visit will cost around $70-100. This payment is minuscule compared to the costs it helps prevent. Repairs due to negligence can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.If your unit is ignored for long enough, you might need to replace it which will probably cost thousands.

    In addition to repairs, consider the indirect cost of your energy bill. The harder a unit has to work to keep you home cool, the more energy it guzzles up, leaving you with painfully high electricity bills. In fact, a unit that’s running correctly and efficiently can reduce energy costs up to 25%. So while it may seem like you’re saving a quick buck by letting your unit go unserviced, in reality you’re creating long-term financial hardships.

    How Does an HVAC Company Maintain an Air Conditioner?

    There are a handful of steps an HVAC company should take to service your AC. These measures help identify potential problems as well as give the unit an overall tune up.

    Filter

    A clean filter ensures that the air in your home is fresh and that the rest of the unit is protected from dirt, pollen, and dust. A dirty filter puts strain on the system and causes it to work extra hard, leading to higher energy usage. An HVAC company will replace the filter or clean it if it’s reusable. While a filter can be taken care of during yearly servicing, it’s recommended you check it every month or so and replace or clean when needed.

    Coils

    The evaporator coil is responsible for absorbing the heat from inside the home and the condenser coil pushes that heat out. Since the evaporator coil also removes humidity from your home, it tends to hold moisture and is therefore susceptible to trapping debris like dirt, pollen, and dust. This buildup can also interfere with the condenser coil’s function. Cleaning the coils thoroughly maintains your system’s cooling and dehumidifying ability.

    Drain Line

    The drain line allows the moisture collected by the coils to be expelled. If the drain is blocked or dirty, the proper flow of condensation is inhibited. Not only can this result in mold or algae growth, but humidity will be unable to exit the home causing a muggy indoor environment and possible water damage. Having the drain regularly cleaned will help decrease the risk of clogging and the issues that come with it.

    Condensate Pan

    The moisture that flows out of your unit through the drain line is then deposited onto the condensate pan. Cleaning the pan removes buildup of mold and algae that not only creates unpleasant odors, but causes backups and clogs in the drain line. A technician should also do a visual inspection of the pan to check for tiny holes caused by erosion. These holes lead to leaks and require replacement of the pan.

    Refrigerant

    If your AC is blowing warm air instead of cool, this is indicative of an insufficient amount of refrigerant. Refrigerant allows your unit to cool the air so without it, the unit is ineffective. By checking your refrigerant level, a technician can discover if you have a leak causing refrigerant loss and can remedy the problem.

    Leveling the Unit

    service your ac

    Your outdoor unit may end up leaning to one side and becoming uneven over time. If the unit is not flat on the ground, its function could be compromised. Refrigerant may not flow correctly, water may have difficulty draining, and the unit will be subject to excess strain. Leveling the unit is imperative and best left to a professional to prevent any damage.

    Need a Company With Experience in Air Conditioner Maintenance?

    air conditioner maintenance

    It’s difficult to overstate the importance of air conditioner maintenance, and it’s even more important to choose the best HVAC company possible to help you care for your investment. Drew Green Heating & Cooling has nearly a decade of experience serving Lake County, the North Shore, and Northern areas of Chicago. All of our technicians are professionally trained and certified. We offer the preventative maintenance services you need to keep your AC running smoothly so you can live comfortably and stress-free. We guarantee you will be satisfied with our service, and if not, we will return for free. You can have peace of mind in choosing to work with Drew Green Heating and Cooling – contact us today.

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