Like most homeowners, you probably won’t pay attention to your home’s air conditioning system until it starts malfunctioning, which is surprising considering how your electricity bill is one of the highest recurring expenses apart from your mortgage. According to the CreditDonkey, the typical American household spends $104 per month on electricity. Floridians, however, shell out more – roughly $153– each month, making the Sunshine State the sixth biggest consumer of power in the country. And it’s all because of the extreme heat and humidity that force residents to keep their cooling units running for the better part of the day. The huge load and constant wear-and-tear give rise to a host of problems, from minor performance hiccups to more serious equipment breakdown. To avoid adding to your expenses with repairs, regular AC service and maintenance is a must in Tampa, Miami and other parts of Florida. But you can’t just hire a random”professional” off Craigslist for the task at hand; what you need is an experienced local technician familiar with your system’s make and model. The following questions can help you make an informed decision:
How Do I Know Whether Your Company Has the Requisite License and Insurance?
The correct insurance and license papers go a long way in convincing clients that they are getting the real deal. But if there’s a lot of hemming and hawing on the part of the service provider, then something fishy is going on, and you’re better off looking elsewhere. A good contractor will always meet these minimum requirements and provide the necessary papers to put the minds of prospective clients at ease.
License: In the state of Florida, HVAC technicians must obtain a license from the Construction Industry Licensing Board for installing cooling equipment. Moreover, the license needs to be updated with additional training. Ask to see a physical copy of the license; don’t just take the company’s word for it. Also, verify if the license is current before putting your signature on a contract.
Insurance: No matter what brand you buy or how much money you spend, at the end of the day electrical appliances are unpredictable. Sure, air conditioners have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, but you never know when a mishap might occur. The problem is, any accident involving the AC technician taking place on your property makes you liable for the damages. To avoid such legal and monetary entanglements, always look for an HVAC contractor that carries general liability insurance and worker’s compensation. Request the company to offer copies of the policies and check whether they are current. Also, make sure the business information mentioned in the documents matches the details of the company you want to do business with.
Where is Your Business Located?
This question helps you ascertain the legitimacy of a business. The mark of a good AC service company is a valid address; otherwise, you might end up hiring a contractor that works out of their homes. Plus, without a physical address, an HVAC service center cannot apply for license and insurance, thus decreasing the possibility of a smooth job.
Do You Conduct Background Checks and Drug Tests?
When you hire an AC technician, you’re inviting a stranger into your home. And the last thing you want is to provide access to the wrong person. After all, air conditioning repair is one of the most widely taught trades within the contemporary prison system. So, if you don’t want an ex-con working on your cooling system, near your loved ones, it is best not to hire a company that has no background checks. Moreover, you should never entertain any contractor with a history of substance abuse. Although they might be clean today, there is no way of knowing how their skills and efficiency have been affected. So, the best way to avoid sub-par AC servicing is to enter into a contract with a company that conducts frequent drug tests on all its employees.
How Long Have You Been Active in the Industry?
With this question, you’re able to determine how much experience a particular contractor has in the AC service field. Homeowners will normally prefer an experienced technician over someone who’s wet behind the ears. Plus, hiring a long-time company makes you feel more secure in the knowledge that they will do a decent job. It also pays to ask the technician how they acquired their skill set because it lets you know whether they have any experience regarding your AC brand or system type.
How Much Do You Charge?
Pop this question to get a written estimate from the AC company. Depending on the answer, you can figure out how much the job will cost you and what it will entail. Sometimes merely replacing a component can make things go back to normal; other times, the unit requires extensive repairs and cleaning. Since the service costs vary considerably, it is better to be financially prepared rather than getting a rude shock once you’re handed the bill.
Can You Provide Customer Referrals?
A reliable, qualified AC technician will be more than willing to provide references. Why? Because once you speak to their past customers, you can better judge their capability to close the job. Chatting with other homeowners who availed the company’s services also provides insight regarding their operations. However, if you meet with resistance while asking for reviews or references, do not move forward with the transaction. You can even search for customer testimonials online and on social media to find out more about other people’s experiences with the AC company.
Do You Offer Any Financing?
Even if you don’t really require financing, always search for an AC company that provides financing as it indicates concern for affordability and shows that they are capable of meeting the qualifications required to offer financing (which are a lot). And, if you’re strapped for cash but need urgent AC repairs, enquire about the various financing programs offered by the company and the terms.
Never compromise when it comes to hiring an AC company for your home. Whether it’s a minor cleanup job or major repairs, search for the best AC service in Tampa, Miami, and other parts of Florida. You will come across numerous companies claiming to be a leader in the industry, but until you’ve verified all their claims and determined they can meet all their AC requirements, refrain from signing a contract.