Life in North Alabama during the summer months comes with more than its share of sunny, hot and muggy days. Excessive heat and humidity make life uncomfortable for most people and can be life threatening for infants and the elderly without the benefit of air conditioning.
Regular, routine maintenance helps keep air conditioning units operating more efficiently and may prevent breakdown and costly repairs at a time when you desire comfort the most.
Your Better Business Bureau suggests you take time to carefully research cooling contractors before hiring one. Last year, BBBs received more than 9,000 complaints nationally against heating & cooling contractors and repair services. Hiring the first contractor you encounter, failing to do proper research or neglecting to get the details of a service agreement or repair in writing are all common mistakes that can prove to be costly ones.
Your BBB recommends the following tips to make sure your inspection and service go more smoothly:
Research the company’s background and licensing. Visit bbb.org for a business review of any AC service company you plan to hire. Examine its reputation and history of complaints. You can also find a list of BBB Accredited Heating & Air Conditioning Contractors at http://www.bbb.org/northern-alabama/accredited-business-directory/heating-and-air-conditioning. Make sure you always confirm that a contractor is licensed with the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Contractors. You can also obtain insurance policy numbersand contact their insurance carrier(s) to verify there is adequate insurance for your job.
Compare prices and service packages. Get at least three estimates for any repair or maintenance work to be done. Make sure that each estimate includes a complete description of the services to be provided, the materials to be used, is detailed, complete and in writing. If it’s a holiday, ask if any additional fees may apply.
Review warranty coverage. Be sure to check the warranty on your current air conditioning unit to determine whether any repairs or replacements may be covered. Find out if the company offers any type of warranty or guarantee. Make certain you understand the terms and conditions of the coverage.
Ask about energy efficiency. Some new air conditioning units are manufactured to be more energy efficient than others. Look for the ENERGY STAR label to find out more about products that may cost a little more up front, but save you in energy costs over time. Some models may even be eligible for a tax credit. Ask your HVAC contractor to verify tax credit eligibility and provide the Manufacturer Certification Statement for the equipment you plan to purchase.
For more information, check out this government site: ENERGY STAR.