9 Tips for Choosing an AC and Service Provider
When it comes to choosing a new air conditioning (AC) system, it may be surprising to know that more of your decision should depend on the quality of the service provider than the machine itself. That’s because, while newer systems with higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings provide better cooling and efficiency, the thermodynamics of air conditioning/heating is the same process regardless of brand.
Actually, the most critical part of a new AC installation is the installation itself, which is based on the knowledge and quality of the air conditioning service provider. That’s why choosing the cheapest installation quote almost never works in the customer’s favor in the long run, because cheap quotes save money by using “fast” installation methods and leaving out/reusing parts that homeowners pay for later in comfort and higher energy bills.
Tragic results of cheap installs we’ve serviced after-the-fact include missing filter dryers which degrades the system faster and voids the manufacturer warranty (and often the home warranty, too); return air vents connected into sewer lines which that family breathed in for months; and re-use of old parts that don’t fit, such as an elbow on the roof that a customer would likely never see so that newer system is losing air from gaps and increasing homeowner energy bills.
So, what are some tips for choosing a competent, honest air conditioner service provider? Having been in the industry for 35 years, here are 9 tips recommended by PriceMyAC.com:
1. Really read their online reviews. You’ll learn a lot about an AC service provider from other customers, and any provider with less than 4.75 stars should be avoided. Let’s face it, sometimes there are people who just can’t be happy and rate companies poorly, regardless of how hard the provider tried to provide good service. It happens. However, a good company will respond and outline a resolution for the customer, and those bad reviews should be few and far between.
2. Helpful staff is a must. If your AC service provider won’t listen to you on the phone, are pushy or unaccommodating, chances are the people that show up in your home will exhibit similar behaviors.
3. Is it easy to make an appointment? We are all busy, and good service is about making it convenient for the customer. Many customers prefer a simple way to schedule online or text versus calling. The worst is waiting for an AC service provider to call back and then having to schedule the whole day around a 4 hour window … but not until next Tuesday. If your AC service provider doesn’t make it easy for you to schedule an appointment with them in a way that works for you, find a provider that does.
4. Is “The Solution” immediately a replacement? A lot of companies push high-dollar installs and system replacements, saying things like they don’t repair older units or the typical age of a unit is only “X” years. Since AC systems are complex, most homeowners can only rely on what the provider tells them, and unfortunately, there is a lot of moral flexibility when technicians are paid on commission. If this occurs, ask the cost to repair the unit as well as a quote for a new system, then get another opinion.
5. Specifically, what’s “The Problem?” Words like “shot,” dead,” and“beyond repair” are unacceptable. A good service provider should be able to articulate a specific reason why your air conditioning/heating system isn’t working and provide repair costs. While putting $4,000 in repairs into an old unit may or may not make sense, the point is to know your options based on facts, not “trust me.”
6. Look for transparency, documentation, and a guarantee. Unfortunately, transparent pricing is almost unheard of with new AC/heater estimates. Customers typically just receive a lump number, in writing or often verbally over the phone without the provider even seeing the home, and have no details or breakdown of information upon which to base decisions. This “trust me” pricing approach is a huge disadvantage to customers because it allows providers to pad pricing and omit parts to undercut competitor bids. All ofPriceMyAC.com’s estimates have 100% transparent pricing and a 2-year guarantee of free maintenance. Transparent pricing means you see the breakdown of costs in your estimate and even our profit margin. And we also include a full list of materials, so you know exactly what’s included in the installation. If a provider won’t give you a full materials list in writing, you will have limited or no recourse later if you’re unhappy with their work.
7. Availability is critical. It’s not a happy time when it’s hot out and your AC stops working. Being able to reach your service provider on weekends, holidays, and for emergency service is a must. We are a “now” world and your AC provider should embrace that to provide the best service possible.
8. A great provider has a Learning Center for customers. Air conditioning and heating systems are very complex, and they are also one of your home’s most expensive assets. That’s why you want an AC service provider who will help with tips about caring for your AC, so it has as long a life as possible and your energy bills stay low. For example, simple things like changing air filters improve your air quality, make it easy for your AC to filter and circulate air, and help keep energy bills lower by not making your AC work harder than it has to which also leads to a shorter lifespan.
9. Do they really care? Don’t accept platitudes about how much a service provider says they care about your community, look for concrete examples. If they are really participating in making your community better you’ll see examples on their website and social media. And don’t we all want to support local businesses that give back?
PriceMyAC.com has been providing Five Star AC Repair in Phoenix and the greater Valley area for 35 years, and we’re the only company with 100% transparent pricing on all new system installs. We’ve also won awards as the best AC Repair in Tempe and have Maintenance Plans that save you money and support local organizations. Check out www.PriceMyAC.com to learn more, or call/text us at 480-576-5543.