Aug 07, 2017
5 Questions to Ask When You Need an AC Repair Company
You have a lot riding on your home. It’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your entire life — that’s why you don’t want some guy you found on TaskRabbit tinkering with your HVAC system when you need a serious repair.
Finding the right collection of experts to take care of your home systems isn’t always easy. A smooth-talking technician can quickly have you signing over hundreds of dollars for work that you don’t fully understand and aren’t completely sure you need. You tell yourself the extra cash is worth avoiding the hassle.
Spoiler alert: it’s not. It’s not OK to get worked over for an HVAC repair. One of the most important parts of being a homeowner is finding home service companies that you can trust. But what can you do? You’re not the expert.
The most valuable defense against a shady repairman is also the best way to find someone you can really trust: asking questions. The more you learn, the more you start to understand just who you’re working with.
That’s why we put together this list of five important questions you should ask whenever you find yourself in need of AC repair.
1. What kind of reputation does the business have?
Before agreeing to any kind of service, research the reputation of the AC repair company you are considering. This process can be as simple as Googling the name of the business, checking online reviews, scrolling through social media mentions or even asking your friends and family what they think.
These word-of-mouth sources from real customer experiences may not always be 100 percent positive, but you will get a pretty solid idea of the kind of company you’re dealing with. Red flags include deceptive billing practices, shoddy work and a refusal to help or acknowledge there’s a problem if initial repairs fail.
At the very least, any reputable HVAC company should be able to provide proof that it's bonded and insured. Most states require licenses that ensure that the technicians working on your home have the complete understanding of how electrical wiring and heating and cooling systems work.
This is an important safety factor – since improper installation can lead to system malfunction, injury, or even death.
2. Will the AC repair company provide an estimate?
A new HVAC unit (or a repair to your current system) can get fairly expensive, which is why you should always ask for an estimate from your HVAC company. This estimate should include all of the terms and conditions you discussed — including the project’s overall scope, details and any important dates that need to meet along the way.
A big red flag, though, should go up when a company offers to give an estimate over the phone. All estimates should be in writing after your problem is inspected on-site.
This is important for two reasons. First, a company shouldn’t be providing estimates without thoroughly inspecting your current HVAC system. Second, verbal agreements don’t always hold up well when it comes time to pay the bill.
3. Is my HVAC system energy efficient?
When you live in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia area, you are well aware that your air conditioner will likely be running from mid-May until early October. The heater will probably be on from mid-November until early April.
That’s a lot of juice! Installing a model that is energy efficient allows you to save money and protect the environment.
If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, you want to find a unit with an Energy Star label. Any system with this mark meets or exceeds the minimum energy requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
These AC models should have a seasons energy efficiency ratio of 15 or higher. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. Systems with higher SEERs tend to cost more up front, but have lower operating costs down the road.
4. How can I pay for this air conditioner repair?
Let’s be honest for a moment: most of us don’t have a huge savings account that allows us to trim out a few hundred dollars whenever an unexpected bill pops up. In fact, some of us are in a situation where an unexpected bill can seriously affect our financial health for weeks or even months to come. A recent study showed that more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account. Thirty-four percent have no savings at all.
Before committing to an HVAC repair, you’ll want to have a solid idea of what it’s going to cost you and how you’re able to pay for it. Some AC repair companies offer payment schedules for new jobs, allowing you to make an initial deposit and then continue with a plan to pay off the remainder of the bill.
Additionally, you’ll want to ask about tax credits or rebates. Depending on the details of the installation or upgrade, your repair project may qualify for state or tax credits. Just be sure to ask not only what’s available, but if the repair company is properly documenting the details to meet government requirements.
Something you may want to consider: service agreements. CroppMetcalfe offers several service agreement plans in which we’ll provide regular maintenance inspections from our 5-star technicians, cover labor and replacement costs, offer priority service and much more.
These monthly service agreements offer you cost certainty — you know how much you’ll be spending on maintenance each month — while preventing big problems from sneaking up on you. Learn more about our service agreements now.
5. How often should I service my unit?
In order to get the most out of your HVAC system — and, oftentimes, to make sure you stay within the provisions of your warranty — you must follow the required maintenance schedule.
While you’re talking to your HVAC technician, ask them to clarify exactly what you need to do in order to keep your model working at top capacity. Most units require basic maintenance – such as changing filters once a month or operating the thermostat to avoid any unnoticed issues.
It’s also important to ask about getting your system checked and serviced since preventive maintenance keeps your system running at peak efficiency. As a general rule of thumb, you should check and service your HVAC systems twice a year (especially before major seasonal changes in summer and winter).
CroppMetcalfe: We’re your HVAC repair experts in Northern Virginia.
CroppMetcalfe acquired TLC Services in early 2017 and we are now the air conditioning repair source for Fauquier and Culpeper Counties. When you need Warrenton AC repair, call the 5-star technicians at CroppMetcalfe at 1-877-740-6657 now or request an appointment online now.