If your home cooling and heating unit needs fixing, you might feel like jumping on the Internet and searching for relevant contractors, choosing the first one who promises to arrive immediately. Regrettably, this way of selecting a contractor during a stressful period, while your furnace or air conditioner is malfunctioning, could be a disastrous move.
When you look for an HVAC contractor, you should take more things into account than simply how soon they can arrive! I’m not suggesting that this is an unimportant factor, particularly when you are cold or hot because your furnace or AC needs fixing. However, it can cost you lots of money, aggravation and stress over the long term.
Therefore, how do you establish whether you have selected a good contractor for air conditioning repair? Well, it begins with the first telephone call – and it does not end there.
Things to take into account:
• Note their ratings on sites like Angie’s List. Although Google is helpful, it can be gamed to display complimentary reviews and can not be trusted completely.
• Do they answer the telephone quickly and professionally during working hours? With after-hours service be less critical, because it is harder to supervise staff employed by out-of-hours answering services. If you are greeted by someone who is rude and unprofessional, make sure you inform the owner/management of the HVAC company.
• If you call out of hours, does it take a long time for someone to get back to you and estimate when they will arrive at your property?
• Are you given a realistic timeframe for the work, and are you told to expect a call before the contractor arrives at your home to confirm the appointment?
After the appointment is arranged:
• Do they call to confirm the appointment? If they do, is the contractor professional and courteous?
• Do they arrive at the agreed time? If they don’t, do they call ahead of time to say they will be late?
• Sometimes, HVAC repairs are complex procedures to carry out, so a contractor might spend more time at your property than specified. A reputable firm will waste as little of your time as possible and notify you in advance. This way, you will not wait too long for somebody to arrive when you could be doing more useful things.
After the contractor arrives:
• Does he arrive at the agreed time? If he doesn’t, did anyone from the office telephone you to tell you that he might be delayed? Your time is precious, so a reputable HVAC professional will try to save you time.
• Does he have a tidy appearance? Does he wear clean work clothes that reflect a professional attitude?
• Does he introduce himself to you in a courteous way? Does he explain why he is visiting you (“I am here to carry out maintenance tasks, fix your furnace or air conditioner, etc”)?
• Prior to entering your property, does he put covers on his shoes? Although some people might regard this as unnecessary, it’s the right thing for a contractor to do – and it shows he has received proper training to safeguard and respect your property.
• Does the contractor spend any time talking to you about what problems your system is having? Are you asked relevant questions about your HVAC system and are you listened to when giving your responses? A properly qualified contractor knows all about fixing your HVAC system but also understands the importance of listening to customers. As well as helping him to diagnose the problem, this might make him aware of other problems he can fix. These problems might be overlooked otherwise if he only focused on repairing your furnace or air conditioner.
• After the maintenance or diagnosis is finished, does he offer to show you what the issue/defect is, or does he show you a photo proving that repairs are necessary?
• Does he talk intelligently and professionally about the issue, so you comprehend what needs doing and why? Does he educate you and back up his findings with diagnostic tool readings and/or visual proof, or does he make a sales pitch?
• If you reject one of his suggestions, does he maintain a professional attitude? A reputable HVAC firm would not hire contractors who become rude or unruly when a customer refuses a repair.
• Does he ask for your permission, prior to carrying out work that is chargeable past the fee for diagnosis? All work should be carried out with your consent.
• Does he explain what proactive repairs are? — i.e. repairs that will stop future expensive breakdowns from occurring. The customer should always choose whether to have these repairs, and they should not be presented as compulsory! Notwithstanding, it is normally sensible to carry out these kinds of repairs if you can afford it because they usually save you cash subsequently. Life Safety Repairs are carried out on systems that are malfunctioning, due to a faulty compressor for example. Or, they are performed on systems that might physically damage your property and its occupants — due to cracked a heat exchanger or bad wiring, for example. In addition, there are system improvements that might be offered, but these are just suggestions and you should only choose these if you feel they offer enough benefits.
• After finishing the maintenance or repair work, does he show the defective components to you?
• Does he clean up after himself, and is your property left in the same condition as when he arrived? Did he place screws into the furnace and air conditioner cabinets? Are they covered properly and left in a weather-resistant condition?
When it comes to heating and cooling in St. Louis, we’ve got you covered. We offer a variety of services including installation and repair for your HVAC system as well as ductwork and ventilation upgrades so that air is flowing smoothly through the entire home or office space.