The Complete Guide to Choosing HVAC Repair Services for Homeowners
Sometimes it is the technology that provides the most value that we pay the least attention to. It is hard to think of an invention that improves our quality of life and comfort more than heating and air conditioning. Maybe that is why the heating and air conditioning contractors market in the United States alone has a value upwards of $120 billion every single year!
When you consider that number, you start to appreciate just how many options you will have to consider when you are choosing HVAC repair services. With more than 118,000 HVAC contractor companies around the country, how can you know which one is the right choice for you?
This is an especially important question when you recognize that making the wrong choice may mean that you need to hire a second contractor later to do the job right. There can be a huge difference between an average or below-average HVAC repair service in your area and the best option for your situation.
Know What You Want From an HVAC Repair Experience
One of the worst mistakes that many people make is investigating HVAC repair services before they know what they want in detail. You can waste a lot of time investigating companies only to find out that the choice you were considering does not offer the kind of service that you need.
With so many options on the market, it is important to remember that they do not all provide the same set of services.
Before you start considering HVAC repair services, sit down and think through what you want. Write down any qualities a company must have or services they must provide in order for them to be the right choice for you.
If there is anything that would disqualify a company from being your choice, make sure to write that down as well.
Consider Setting a Budget
This may also be an ideal time to set a number for your budget. There are two methods you might consider when choosing your budget number.
The first method is to choose the number that you hope that you will pay. If you are lucky, you will not have to pay any more than that. However, this method does come with a downside.
If you find a great company that charges a little more than your ideal budget number, you may be tempted to hire them anyway and pay a little extra for quality service. You may have to agonize over this decision many times if you find multiple companies that charge a little more than you were hoping for.
You can avoid this problem with the second method for setting a budget number. Think about the maximum price that you would pay for HVAC repair services. Pick a number that you can say with confidence you will not change as you consider different HVAC repair services.
This makes your search process simpler and less stressful. Every time you find a company that charges higher than your budget number, you will know that you can move on immediately. That allows you to avoid agonizing over whether or not to update your budget number on the spot.
That can also come in handy if you experience any sales pressure. Salespeople learn to tell when someone can be persuaded about their budget. If you are prepared, you can speak with confidence and salespeople will be less likely to try to convince you to shift your budget.
Consider Many HVAC Repair Service Options
Now that you know what you need from an HVAC repair company, you should start investigating options. Here, it is important to note that the more companies you consider, the better your chance of obtaining satisfactory service is.
Some people only consider one or two options. Others go with whatever option they stumble across first. If you only consider one option, then you may end up with a stellar company or with the worst one in your area for your situation.
If you choose a couple of options to consider, you might figure out how to pick the better of the two choices. However, the odds are not very good that the best company for your situation was even on your initial list of two options. That is why it is so important to consider many options for HVAC repair services.
Some people hesitate to generate a long list of options because they are concerned that it will take a long time to sort through all of them. However, you can use the tips in this article to sort through your options with as much speed as possible.
Generating a List
There are a couple of methods you can use to generate a list of HVAC repair service options. The easiest method may be to perform a few Google searches. This will let you find more options than you may need in just a couple of minutes.
Although this can be an acceptable strategy, you can often do better. The problem with the options you find on Google is that you will mostly find whichever companies have the best search engine optimization.
These days, search engine optimization has more to do with the marketing budget that a company has than with the quality of service that they provide.
Google doesn’t know the specifics of your situation, so it cannot provide recommendations customized just for you. That is why it is often better to ask people you know for recommendations.
Ask Around for Recommendations
Almost everybody works with an HVAC repair company at one time or another. Consider asking your family, friends, and acquaintances about any HVAC repair services they have worked with in the past. You can ask them if they would recommend the company they work with for you.
However, when you do this, remember that their situation and your own may differ a lot. It can help to share your list of preferences with people you ask for recommendations. That way, they can provide recommendations based on your unique situation.
This may also be a good time to ask if there are any companies that the people you know have had bad experiences with. It can be almost as helpful to know which companies to avoid as it is to know which companies to investigate further.
This strategy takes a little longer, but may provide a better list of candidates than using Google search. Depending on how much time you are willing to spend, you can also combine this method with the Google search method to generate a long list of options with a minimum of difficulty.
Make Sure to Find a Licensed HVAC Repair Service
At this point, you need to start assessing the companies on your list. In the majority of cases, every service you consider will be licensed. However, before you investigate a company for too long, it is a good idea to confirm that they have the proper licensing.
If they do not, you should avoid them no matter what other qualities they may have. Without proper licensing, a company will not be subject to standard regulations. There will not be any guarantee that they are following important safety protocols.
Operating without a license is also a good sign that a company may be cutting corners in other ways.
Choose HVAC Repair Services With a Warranty
There are some ways to assess HVAC repair services that are easier than others. It is often a good idea to start with finding out the simplest pieces of information. That way, you can eliminate some candidates from your list after only a few minutes of investigation.
That will allow you to finish your search process much faster than if you spend a significant amount of time on every company. Just as you can easily check for licensing, it is also simple to check which HVAC repair services offer a warranty.
No matter what else goes wrong with an HVAC repair service, if there is a warranty, things can work out alright in the end.
A warranty is also a strong sign that a company does not expect to provide poor service. After all, a company with a warranty pays a high price whenever they make a costly mistake.
Find a Company With the Right Experience Repairing HVAC Units
Another easy thing to check is how long each HVAC service has been in business. The longer a company has been operating, the better they tend to be. Of course, that is a rule of thumb, not a guarantee.
On top of that, it is important to remember that some kinds of experience may be more important for you than others.
For example, an HVAC repair service may offer commercial and residential services. They may have 40 years of experience in the field. But if 39 of those years are working in the commercial sector, that experience may not be relevant to a residential customer.
On top of that, it can help to work with a company that has a lot of experience working on jobs similar to your own. For example, if you have a large residential home, an HVAC repair service that mostly works with small residences may not know everything that a company that often works with large residences does.
Spend Some Time Comparing HVAC Repair Costs
One of the most important things to be clear about with HVAC contractors is the cost of their services. You may not be able to get an exact quote. However, you can often understand more about your likely expenses better if you follow a few tips.
Sometimes, people only ask about the cost of a job in general terms. When that happens, some companies will quote the charge for the main service rather than the toal charge for the main service combined with any other fees.
Ask each company you speak with if there are any fees that might add to your total costs. If there are, ask if there are any others. You can continue until they tell you that they have told you about every fee.
You probably don’t want to just hire whichever company has the lowest prices. However, it is still essential to know as much as you can about the cost of hiring each HVAC repair company.
Spend Some Time Reading Online Reviews
If you hired an HVAC repair company 50 times, you would know a lot about the quality of their service. However, you can do almost as well by reading the experiences of 50 other people who have hired an HVAC repair company once each.
That is a powerful way to think about ratings and reviews. Look through the overall ratings of each HVAC repair company. You may not want to further investigate the companies with the lowest ratings.
To learn more about the remaining candidates, read through the written reviews. The written reviews provide a lot of context and information that can help you understand what each company has to offer.
Choose a Service You Can Get Along With
The most important thing is to find a company that will provide quality service. After all, the comfort of your home depends on quality HVAC repairs.
However, you may end up with multiple companies that seem like they will provide equally good service. At that point, it can make sense to hire whichever company you feel you can get along with better. That is why it can be helpful to keep notes on how friendly and responsive each company you contact is.
Understand What to Focus on When Choosing HVAC Repair Services
When you are choosing HVAC repair services, there is a sense in which you are choosing how comfortable your home is going to be. It is more than worth taking the time to do your due diligence when deciding between HVAC repair service options. If you are not careful, you may end up having to hire a second service if the first one does not work well for you.
To learn more about how to find the right HVAC repair service for you, get in touch with us here!