When it comes time to have a new air conditioner installed or to have your current unit repaired, it can be difficult to choose a company. You’ll probably look up reviews online, but so many of them offer subjective advice and can be more about the reviewer’s personal experience and less about how the company actually performed. “My house is cool all the time now,” doesn’t help you at all in your search.
Reviews are a solid place to start, but there are several criteria you should consider when your A/C needs service or repair.
Read between the lines
Definitely start by reading reviews online, but scrutinize them and try to figure out what people are really saying. For example, if someone says, “Everything looks clean and new,” that is likely a testament to a company’s workmanship. The same goes for mentions of speed of service and can even extend to mentions of their air conditioner working even better than before.
When it comes to bad reviews, check and see if the company is responsive or not. It says a lot when bad reviews are answered, even if the complaint is justified. Remember to take every review with a grain of salt and look at the big picture.
The Better Business Bureau operates all over North America, and businesses must adhere to fairly stringent guidelines in order to maintain their ratings. Letter grades are given based on a number of criteria and can be lowered if a business fails to maintain its good standing and meet the minimum score.
Beware of companies that are unwilling to share their BBB rating or those with ratings lower than an A-. Lower grades can be a result of numerous complaints, licensing issues, advertising inaccuracies, and more.
Are they insured?
To protect yourself, always make sure the company you choose is insured. This way, if your property is damaged or a worker is injured, you’re not liable for the costs. A company should have both public liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage.
Public liability insurance protects the company in the event that they are sued by a member of the public (a customer), and workers’ compensation coverage protects both you and the company if a worker is injured on the job.
Do they sweat the small stuff?
When you finally do get a repair/installation technician out for a quote, evaluate how much time they spend on details. Do they ask you a lot of questions? Do they consider multiple repair options? Do they mention additional repair or preventative suggestions to help your HVAC system work better as a whole?
A company that takes the time to consider the small details is a company you want to work with.
Getting a “friend of a friend” to fix your air conditioning may save you money up front, but journeyman technicians have the education and technical training required to repair or install your air conditioner properly. The journeyman designation also indicates experience, which is invaluable when it comes to your HVAC system, since it comprises so many parts.
Do your research
Don’t let one bad review colour your opinion of an air conditioner service company, especially when it may have an overall rating of 4.5 stars. Read many reviews, from multiple sources if possible, and make sure the company is BBB-accredited before you make your choice.