HVAC Services Near Me: Common Mistakes Made When Hiring One
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 380,400 HVAC technicians working in the United States in 2020. This highlights the challenge you have when finding HVAC services near me. There are lots of them, and it can be hard to differentiate the best from the rest.
That’s why, sadly, some customers choose an HVAC service that doesn’t leave them satisfied. You want to spend your hard-earned dollars on a service that will reduce your bills. One that’ll keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. HVAC Service Cost can help you avoid these mistakes.
How can you avoid the trial and error approach and hire the best HVAC service the first time? Let’s explore some common mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Not Understanding Your HVAC System
You start calling HVAC services near me asking for quotes for repairs. The first thing they’ll want to know is what type of system you have. They’ll ask about how old it is and maybe how often it’s been serviced.
If we’re honest, many of us don’t have that kind of information to hand. We just turn the thermostat and hope for the best. It pays to take some time to get to know your system.
Time for a Replacement?
For example, did you know that AC units only have an average lifespan of 15-20 years? If your system is older than that, don’t be surprised if an HVAC company recommends you invest in a new system.
The Department of Energy estimates that high-efficiency air conditioners could reduce your energy use by up to 50%! Getting to know your current HVAC system can help you decide when the time is right to replace it rather than repairing it.
Simple Maintenance Reduces Expenses
It’s also a good idea to find out what you can do each month to keep your HVAC system in great condition. Simple jobs like switching out or cleaning the air filters could save you hundreds of dollars on your energy bills. They can also extend the life of your HVAC system.
Cleaning the condenser coils on your outdoor AC unit allows the air to flow, which will help it to run more efficiently.
Make the Most of HVAC Service Visits
If you understand your HVAC system, you’ll be able to provide pertinent information to the repair company. This will allow them to spend more time fixing the problem rather than having to do a bunch of research themselves before they get started.
Not Checking Their License and Insurance
You’d never let an unlicensed driver borrow your car, so why let an unlicensed HVAC technician loose on one of your most expensive home systems?
Requirements vary from state to state.
Several states don’t require individual technicians to be licensed. But most do require HVAC contractors to have a license. Rarely, there are no licensing requirements, such as in Indiana.
Licenses show that contractors have completed a minimum number of hours of education and work experience. They’ve usually completed an apprenticeship. They will have experience in installing and servicing a wide range of HVAC systems, which can give you greater confidence.
It’s a good idea to find out their license number before you hire an HVAC service. All states that have licensing requirements will have a website where you can enter the number and check that the license is still valid. If it has lapsed, run for the hills!
What Type of Insurance Do HVAC Services Need?
Like all home maintenance services, there are risks involved when you have an HVAC service. Fluids could leak out of the system and damage your floors and walls. Dirt and grime caught in the ducts could stain your carpets and furnishings.
The best HVAC services take precautions to protect your belongings, but accidents can still happen. You need to be confident that they have the right level of general liability insurance.
General liability insurance covers your home and belongings if they are damaged by your HVAC contractor. They also cover you if the worst happens and you or a guest get injured.
For example, suppose you invite a friend to your home while HVAC services are working on your air conditioner. Water has leaked out and they have not taken care to clean it up. Your friend slips and falls, breaking her arm in the process.
General liability insurance would cover:
- Medical fees
- Legal expenses
- Compensation payouts
If you hire a company that does not have general liability insurance or the right level of protection, you’re exposing yourself to a lawsuit. Don’t be shy – ask to see the details of their policy before you allow them to start work on your home.
Not Doing Your Homework
The best HVAC companies build a strong local reputation and people are happy to sing their praises.
These companies have usually been in business for years. On their website, they’ll offer a range of services and be able to work with all types of HVAC systems.
Reading customer testimonials on HVAC services’ websites is a start. You’ll get a feel for the kind of company they are and see whether their values align with yours. But remember, no company in their right mind puts negative comments on their own website.
To find out what people really think of them, you need to head over to independent online review sites.
Are Online Reviews Really Valuable?
In a word, yes.
They allow you to read the unvarnished opinions of people who have actually had dealings with the company. As you read through the reviews, you’ll usually find that certain themes emerge.
Do customers rave about their excellent customer service? Did customers find that their AC worked better and they saved money on their bills in the months following their AC service? Or do lots of people complain about the attitudes and workmanship of certain members of the team?
Online Review Red Flags
One of the biggest red flags to look out for is communication difficulties. Customers may complain about:
- Poor response times
- Lack of progress reports
- Poor communication about home visits
A lack of communication is extremely stressful for customers. Instead, look for companies that keep you up to date with what’s happening and are open and honest about delays.
Are Negative Reviews Always a Dealbreaker?
Even the best HVAC companies will get negative reviews from disgruntled customers from time to time. But take a look at how they respond to them. Did they:
- Give a courteous response
- Offer to fix the problem
- Ask for more information
Or did they:
- Give a rude or negative response
A company’s response to negative feedback tells you a lot about its customer service. The best companies try to resolve every complaint, and they never respond negatively.
Another word of caution: Look carefully at when the reviews were left. The most recent reviews are going to be the most valuable. The company may have been great in the 2010s, but how are they doing now?
Check Out BBB Ratings
The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization. Its goal is to build customers’ trust in the business they’re searching for.
It provides lots of useful information about businesses, including:
- How long they’ve been in business
- Its BBB grade – from A to F
- Customer reviews
- Complaint information
The best businesses work hard to gain a high rating on BBB. When choosing an HVAC service, see if they feature their BBB rating on their website. If they don’t, take a look at the BBB website to see how they grade them.
Choosing Price Over Quality
It’s easy to be lured in by the company with the lowest HVAC service cost. But there’s probably a reason why they’re lowering their costs to drum up business.
Maybe they’re just starting out and are looking to build up their customer base. You can’t fault them for that – everybody’s got to start somewhere! But you need to ask yourself whether they really have the experience to do a great job.
Sometimes a great headline price comes with lots of exclusions. You may not be comparing like-for-like. Always do a little digging, and don’t be afraid to ask them exactly what an HVAC service includes.
If you need repairs, make sure that they’re using the right parts. If they’re keeping their costs down by using generic parts, you may find yourself calling out repair services more regularly. The best companies use high-quality components that are more likely to stand the test of time.
Not Shopping Around
Have you been using the same company for years? You may have a great relationship with them and be getting excellent value. But if you haven’t compared what they offer with the competition for a while, you may also be paying more than you need to.
Trying shopping around, gathering like-for-like quotes based on your current contract. Research each company to make sure that you’re dealing with a reputable firm. If you find you’re not getting the best deal, you can use this information in two ways.
You can either switch to the new company or use it to negotiate with your current one. No doubt they’ll want to keep your custom, so they may be willing to offer you a better price for your loyalty. If not, you’ve got another company lined up and offering a great deal.
Not Valuing Regular Maintenance
We demand a lot of our HVAC systems. We expect them to deal with massive swings in temperature and keep us comfortable year-round. But the fact is that they can’t do that well without a little support throughout the year.
AC Spring Servicing
In many parts of the country, when spring rolls around, your AC has been lying dormant for several months. That’s plenty of time for:
- Dust, dirt, and leaves to clog the outdoor unit
- Internal parts to seize up without lubrication
- Pests to nibble away at electrical wiring
Scheduling a spring service for your AC will get it tuned up and running efficiently before the heat of summer arrives.
Furnace Servicing in the Fall
Your furnace should be serviced at least once a year, in the fall, before the cold of winter bites. During the furnace service, the contractor will check the:
- Air filter
- Pilot light
- Heat exchanger
They will test the system and the thermostat to ensure that it’s calibrated correctly ahead of the winter. They’ll also check for carbon monoxide, which is deadly if it builds up in your home.
Why Skipping Servicing Is a False Economy
Many of us are trying to tighten our belts right now. But skipping servicing will actually cost you more in the long run. You’ll spend more money on energy and your AC and furnace will wear out more quickly.
You’ll also probably have to spend more on repairs. Many of us just aren’t financially prepared for a major breakdown that will cost thousands of dollars to fix.
Don’t just hire HVAC services when something goes wrong. Get a contract for regular services.
When choosing an HVAC service company, look for one that offers spring and fall tune-up packages. They may also offer reduced rates on repairs and an emergency number to call 24/7 if something goes wrong.
Find the Best HVAC Services Near Me With HVAC Service Cost
If you really want to find a company you can rely on, quickly Googling “HVAC services near me” isn’t going to cut it.
At HVAC Service Cost, we connect you with the best and most affordable HVAC services in your area. Whether you need a simple service or a new installation, we’re here to help.
Provide us with a few details and our team will get you quotes from a range of local companies. Click here to get started!