It’s a Lowcountry version of Murphy’s Law: the AC will go out on the hottest weekend of the summer. A good HVAC system gets about 12-15 good years in our area.
But rising temperatures put extra strain on your AC, which increases the risk that something will break. Regular maintenance and service go a long way to keeping your unit in top shape to handle the heat, but sometimes, parts just give out.
Don’t let the pressure of getting your AC up and running as fast as possible cause you to skimp on doing proper research and homework. You need a contractor you can trust to do the work quickly and correctly.
Here’s what you should be checking on and asking when assessing contractors for HVAC repair in our area.
Making a List
You need to first start by compiling a list of AC repair companies that make the grade in terms of service, quality, and cost.
The best place to begin is by asking for referrals and suggestions from others you trust. These might be friends, neighbors, or coworkers, or you might post in your neighborhood Facebook group or on NextDoor. Don’t forget to ask about anyone to avoid as well.
You can gather other names by searching online for “air conditioner repair Charleston SC”, for example. This should give you most of the companies that work in your area. Online directories like the Better Business Bureau and Yelp might add others to your list.
Checking It Twice
Once you have a list of contenders, spend some time checking them out to make sure they’re professional. This includes visiting their website and social media and reading reviews of them online. You should see reviews if you look at the BBB, but know that Google reviews are hard to fake and are thus more reliable.
A few questions you’ll want to answer during your initial search include:
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have a proper license and insurance?
- Can they do weekend and off-hours work?
Even if you got their name from a close friend or relative, take some time to talk to references if you can, especially if you think a big repair job is required. Ask about their service performance and whether work gets done on time.
Evaluate and Estimate
If you aren’t needing emergency work done, take some time to check your choices closely. Get the company out for an estimate if possible and get a written, itemized version of the estimate or proposal before you commit to anything. You should sign a written estimate before work starts that specifies cost, model and part numbers, and other details.
Use that estimate to compare against others you receive. With the extra detail in the estimate, you can see whether everyone is selling you the same service and parts. Any large variances should send you back to ask more questions to make sure you’re getting the right solution to the problem.
While you have the contractor there, be sure to quiz them about the specifics of their warranty and guarantees. You want to know what services they cover and whether it includes labor or only parts. Make sure you understand how long they last and what they promise to do to make a situation right.
Also make sure you ask about manufacturer warranties, especially on bigger parts. These are separate from those of the contracting company, so you want to ensure you understand how they work in concert with each other.
Avoid Bad Contractors and Scams
If you do your homework, you’ll be at low risk for hiring a sketchy contractor. But it’s good to be aware of the signs that you might be about to be taken for a ride.
A big red flag is if a contractor wants all the money for a job upfront, as they could take off without ever doing the work. You should also be skeptical if they give you a super-low price offer but put a time limit on it.
Speaking of super-low prices, be wary of those as well. It could be that they’re planning to put used parts in your system or haven’t accounted for all the work needed. You could get a big surprise on the back end after the work is completed.
Any contractor that can’t provide you with their license info or hesitates on giving you a written estimate should also trigger warning bells. Putting a lot of pressure on you to commit to doing a big job right away without getting a second opinion is another bad sign.
On the opposite end of that is a contractor whose contract has so much tiny fine print that it looks like a college dissertation. You want a thorough contract, but one with that much content is sure to include a lot of loopholes that aren’t to your benefit.
Get the Best AC Repair in Charleston, SC
When the temperature goes up and your air conditioning goes down, you want to get it fixed as quickly as possible. But taking your time in selecting an air conditioner repair service can save you money and headaches in the long run. A reputable and quality company guarantees work done fast and well.
If you’re looking for AC repair in Charleston, SC, you can count on Carolina Climate Control to help get you cool. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our technicians for repair or service.