Its still winter, so why should you worry about air conditioning? The Better Business Bureau recommends planning ahead now, while temperatures are low, to make sure your air conditioner is working properly when the temperatures are high.
Take the time to check out contractors carefully; rushing to find a cooling contractor can burn a hole in your wallet instead of keeping you cool. Last year, the BBB system received more than 9,000 complaints against heating and cooling contractors and repair services. Some of the most common mistakes consumers and business owners make when looking for repairs stem from hiring the first contractor they find, not doing the proper research and not getting all the details of their service or repair in writing.
The BBB recommends the following tips to make sure your inspection and service go off without a hitch:
Research the companys background and licensing. Visit bbb.org for the BBB business review of any AC service company you plan to hire. Learn more about its reputation and history of complaints. Always confirm the company is licensed and insured.
Compare prices and service packages. Get at least three estimates for any air conditioning repair work or maintenance work. All bids should be in writing and should provide a full description of the services to be provided and the materials to be used. Remember, the lowest price may not always be the best price.
Review warranty coverage. Find out if the company offers any type of warranty or guarantee. Make certain you understand the terms and conditions of the coverage. Also, be sure to check the warranty on your current air conditioning unit to determine whether any repairs or replacements may be covered.
Ask about energy efficiency. Many 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 (heating ventilation and air conditioning) to verify tax credit eligibility and provide the manufacturer certification statement for the equipment you plan to purchase.
Annual maintenance ensures that your unit continues to work properly and efficiently and can even save your hard earned money in the process.
Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia and the CSRA Inc., serving 41 counties in Middle Georgia and the Central Savannah River area. This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at (478) 742-7999, www.bbb.org or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.