A big part of ensuring that your home is comfortable all summer long is maintaining your air conditioning. While you could attempt to do the upkeep on your own, it’s best to hire a qualified professional. But how do you choose the right contractor for the job? Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when hiring an air conditioning contractor for your home.
There are a lot of people who claim to be experts. You may even know a few people who have experience with air conditioning units. However, if you want to ensure that your job is done correctly, you need to make sure that the individual is licensed to perform the work. In fact, most states require air conditioning contractors to be licensed.
Why is licensing so important? Well, it demonstrates that the individual is qualified. In most states, in order to receive a license, you must have at least two to five years of training. This training ensures that contractors know as much as possible about electrical wiring, refrigerant, airflow, ductwork, and proper safety procedures. Contractors must also pass a written exam.
If you’d like to find out if the person is licensed, you can ask to see a copy of their credentials. You can also check your state government’s license look-up sites online. These websites will often show the status of the person’s license.
Not only should your air conditioning contractor be licensed, but they should also be insured. There’s always a chance that your contractor could be hurt while on your property. There’s also a chance that they could cause damage to your unit. Make sure that your contractor has both liability insurance and worker’s compensation.
Ask to see a copy of the insurance. You could also call their insurance company so that you can confirm that the information they give you is actually valid. Not only does insurance protect the contractor, but you as well.
Referrals and References
When it comes to homeownership, most people have the same type of maintenance issues. So ask your friends, family, and co-workers if they’ve ever had problems with their air conditioning. If so, ask them which contractor they worked with. Most will only suggest people that they had a good experience with.
Not only should you ask those closest to you for referrals, but you should also ask the contractor for references. And feel free to ask questions. Was the person always on time? How was their communication? Were they professional and courteous? Did they stay within budget? Did they test their system to make sure that it was running at maximum efficiency?
While it’s a great idea to ask for references, there’s hardly anything more telling than an online review. Online reviews are a great way to find out if the contractor is right for you because they tend to be unbiased. This means that they’ll tell you both the positives and negatives of working with the company. You might even find that most people had a poor experience.
Find out what type of reputation the company has by searching through review sites. This includes sites like Yelp or Google Reviews. Take a look at social media platforms like Facebook. You can also read reviews on the Better Business Bureau site. Just keep in mind that no company is perfect. However, if most of the reviews are negative, you should definitely look for another company.
If an air conditioning contractor offers to do the job without ever having evaluated your home in person, this should be considered a red flag. Before agreeing to do the job, the best contractors will offer a thorough home evaluation. This helps them to determine the best cooling solution for you.
There are several things that they need to take into consideration. This includes your square footage, insulation R-value, the number of windows you have, and in which direction they’re facing. They’ll inspect your duct system for possible leaks and loose segments. They’ll even use special calculations to determine what size unit is best for you.
The Lowest Bid Isn’t Always the Best Bid
One of the biggest problems homeowners face is having to call another air conditioning contractor to fix the work that the previous air conditioning contractor has done. These botched jobs are usually the result of the homeowner taking the lowest bid possible. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t choose a contractor based solely on the fact that they have the lowest price. It may seem like a bargain at the time, but if the contractor doesn’t repair or install your system properly, it could cost you a whole lot more in the long run.
It’s essential that you take the time to consider why their price is so low. Are they new to the industry and are simply interested in getting a start with their first few clients? In this case, you may want to give them a chance if they’re licensed. Are they a well-established company that has a great reputation and is running a promotional campaign? This may be a great deal. Are they a couple of guys who own a truck and promise that they can get cheap parts? This may not be ideal.
In the last case, the individuals could have a license, but it could belong to someone else’s license. Also, the parts that they use may be stolen. Inevitably the work they do will likely be less than what you expected. Just remember that if it seems too good to be true, then it’s a very good possibility that it is. Make sure that you get several bids. It’s always a good idea to go with your gut instinct.
Get It In Writing
Long gone are the days when a simple handshake or verbal agreement will do. These days, you need to make sure that you get the contractor’s promises in writing.
Before you officially hire your contractor, review their proposal as well as their quote. They need to include every detail of the job and all of their contact information.
If anything seems to be unclear or vague, don’t sign it. Instead, ask questions. The contractor may be attempting to confuse you. And this means that it’s best to choose someone else.
The contract should be typed and easy to comprehend. There shouldn’t be any fine print. You may even ask to include a few of your own terms. Your terms may involve the times that your property will be available to them. You may also refer to the cleanup process.
Finding a Maple Ridge air conditioning contractor that’s right for you can be a challenge. However, if you do all of the necessary research on the front end, you should be able to find someone who offers quality service. Specifically, you should be on the lookout for an individual who is licensed by your state. They should have both liability insurance and workmen’s compensation.
They should be able to offer referrals that can testify to their quality of work. Ideally, they should be recommended by someone close to you who trusts them. Their online reviews should reflect good business practices. Before giving you an estimate, they should do a home evaluation. You should avoid choosing a contractor based on the fact that they offer the lowest bid. Also, you should always get their promises in the form of a written contract that’s easy to read and understand.