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The Homeowner’s Guide to AC Repairs
May 31, 2016
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Not sure who to call when the AC breaks down? You’re not alone! Deciding which HVAC company to go with can be a confusing process, but things get a lot simpler when you work in stages. If your AC isn’t working quite right, or you’re thinking about a system upgrade, take a look at these checklist items first. A little research can help you find an HVAC company you can trust.

 

Part I: Examining Your AC Unit

Whenever you can, try to check on a few things with your unit before making a service call. Sometimes a quick fix is all you need to solve the problem.

  • Check the thermostat. This is often the first place we go, but double-check to make sure it’s set correctly. If the thermostat screen is blank, that might mean you need to replace the batteries (if it takes any).
  • Replace your air filter. Hands down, the best way to keep your HVAC unit in good order is to regularly change your filter. Old filters restrict air flow and can even stop your system from working if they’re dirty enough.
  • Clear the area around your AC unit. Landscaping debris might be blocking the air flow around your system. Make sure the unit can run properly and efficiently by cleaning up, and then confirm that the breakers are turned on.

If nothing has changed after taking those steps, it might be time to call in a professional. Try to make a couple notes on your unit’s symptoms so you have all the information you need to schedule the visit. Strange noises with your HVAC unit, odd smells, and any new cold or hot zones in your home are all indicators that your system needs servicing.

 

Part II: Finding a Reputable HVAC Company

So you’re ready to bring in the professionals, but not sure who to call? You’ll be more likely to find a great HVAC company when you stick to a few guidelines.

  • Ask your contacts about recent service. Try posting a status update on social media to say you need service. Your friends and family will be happy to tell you about their last HVAC experience—whether good or bad, you should easily be able to get a few first-hand accounts about local companies.
  • Read online HVAC reviews. More and more people are using Yelp to review HVAC companies. If you have a company you’re thinking of calling, check out a few of their reports first. It’s a good sign if customers are praising their HVAC repairs, not just the system replacements. That usually means the company is honest (because they’re not trying to up-sell) and works with your best interests in mind.
  • Confirm that the company is bonded, insured, and licensed. The City of Indianapolis requires a permit for replacing an air conditioner. Visit your HVAC company’s website to make sure they are licensed in your area. Working with a company that’s bonded and insured will also protect you from any complications that might happen during a service call.

When it comes to HVAC repairs and new installations, a company’s experience matters a lot more than their location. Your best option may not always be the company that’s closest to you, so feel free to check credentials in a wider radius.

 

Part III: Reviewing Your AC Service Call

Once you’ve selected a company to try out, pay close attention to how they handle your service during their visit. Comparing etiquette is often just as important as comparing price!

  • Was the technician professional? Using shoe coverings in your home and cleaning up around the worksite are signs of good employee training.
  • Is the company’s pricing straight-forward? Having a flat-rate fee for service calls is standard practice, but it’s an added bonus if your HVAC company says they’ll waive the service fee if your system needs more expensive repairs.
  • Did your technician explain the next steps? A good tech will tell you exactly what they checked and be able to confidently answer all of your questions. If they said a certain part on your unit needs replacing, they should also tell you whether it’s covered under warranty.

Last but not least, be sure to trust your instincts when hiring a new home services company. Doing your research is definitely a plus, but sometimes you’ll just know a good thing when you see it. If you’ve already vetted your new HVAC company, the only other thing you can do is to go with your gut!