You need a company to service your heating and cooling equipment. In a previous post we listed some things to look for to make sure you are calling a reputable, professional company to service your air conditioner or furnace. There are also some things that you should not see in the company you are considering. Knowing what to avoid can be an important way to weed out poor contractors.
You don’t want a company that does not offer high-efficiency equipment. This may mean they are not up-to-date with the best products, or that they do not have strong relationships with HVAC equipment companies. The company should be able to offer you options and let you make the right choice for your home.
You don’t want a contractor who offers you an estimate over the phone. If you asked for rough, budgetary numbers, that’s fine. But know that they can’t really tell you what is wrong or what it will take to get things running again unless they first examine your system. Unlike a refrigerator, an HVAC system is not a plug-in appliance. It is part of a complicated system of components (furnace, A/C unit, coils, ductwork and controls) working in the changing environment of your home/office. All these aspects must be evaluated on site to offer the right solution.
You don’t want a company that only talks about being the cheapest. No one wants to spend more than they have to, but we’ve all learned the hard way that you usually get what you pay for. An HVAC company that is willing to cut corners or provide poor workmanship just to reduce the price is putting you at risk. It costs money to hire good employees, provide continuing education and sell quality equipment and parts. You don’t want a company that is not willing to make that investment. It is estimated that the purchase price of a system is only 20% of the total you will spend over the course of its life — just the tip of iceberg. Making a wise decision initially will protect you for years to come.
You don’t want to get burned by something that sounds too good to be true. If the offer doesn’t make sense just walk away. The temptation is to jump at a quick fix, but resist this choice. The system will be in place for many years, you’ll have to live with this decision for a long time. Don’t risk your comfort, security and utility costs.
And finally, trust your gut. If you feel pressured to make a decision you aren’t comfortable with you should step back and possibly get a second opinion. At least insist that they take the time to answer all of your questions and explain clearly what you need and why. Most people who have been burned by a poor contractor had an inkling that something wasn’t quite right but they ignored it.
Kim Nemecek works at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. After growing up in Cleveland, she lived in Florida for many years, working at an air conditioning company there. Kim has four grown children, two grandchildren and two spoiled dogs. She lives in Solon with her husband, Todd.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.