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Educational Consumer Tips

Hiring an Air Conditioning Contractor

Author: Rachel Gelb
Category: Home Improvement

As the summer months approach, it’s essential to make sure your air conditioning system is up and running smoothly. If you are in need of repairs for your current system or an installation for an entirely new system, a cooling contractor can help you with the job. Use these tips as a guide when hiring an air conditioning contractor.

Tips for Hiring an Air Conditioning Contractor:

Do Your Homework.  Before calling the cooling contractor recall the model of your current system and look up its maintenance history. Notice any rooms that feel particularly uncomfortable. This will allow the contractor to better understand your needs. Be sure to understand the license and insurance requirements for your state.

Ask for Recommendations.  Ask friends, family members, and neighbors who have recently hired an air conditioning contractor for suggestions. Check out cooling contractors at to read reviews or complaints. Get the names of cooling contractors in your vicinity by contracting local trade organizations.  

Check Qualifications.  Make sure the contractor has the proper license and insurance for the work being done. Ask if the contractor is associated with a trade organization. Members often have greater experience and are expected to uphold to a strict code of ethics. The contractor should be able to obtain necessary permits and have any inspections completed. Quality HVAC manufacturers only want trustworthy contractors installing their products. Find out if the contractor has been approved as an authorized dealer.  

Request References.  Ask the cooling contractor for a list of references you may contract. Ask the references about the services that were performed and their overall experience with the contractor. Ask if the contractor stuck to the estimated budget and completion date for the project. Find out if the references were completely satisfied with the job that was performed.

Get Written Estimates.  Get at least three written estimates to compare the cost of the different contractors. Expect the contractors to pay a visit to your home to evaluate your current system. A good contractor should examine your duct system, if necessary. Make sure the cooling contractors create an itemized estimate so you can compare cost, efficiency, and warranties between the bids. Don’t always assume the lowest bid is the best, it may be less efficient and result in higher energy costs.

Get Everything in Writing.  Once you have decided on a cooling contractor, get all the details in writing. Make sure the contract includes: the contractor’s information, system model numbers, costs, estimated start and completion date, and details of the work being done. Ask if there is a warranty, if so make sure to include it in the contract.

About the Author: Rachel Gelb is Communications and Marketing Manager for BBB serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Find Rachel on Google +.

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