Marlborough, MA - The summer heat is expected to reach record-breaking highs this year on the east coast. For homeowners without air conditioning, this might be the summer to invest in A/C. If you need to find a contractor fast, Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT (BBB) says it is important to be cautious of the business you choose.
In 2016, over 1 million people people turned to BBB to inquire about air conditioning contractors & systems and over 2,600 complaints were filed. Many complaints from consumers allege overcharging, substandard repairs and poor customer service.
“When looking to have a cooling system installed this summer, check with your local BBB for Accredited HVAC contractors,” says Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the local BBB. “These businesses are put through an extensive background check which includes time in business, licensing requirements and complaint history.”
Many of the things you should consider when hiring an HVAC contractor are consistent with what to consider when hiring any contractor, but there are also considerations specific to heating and cooling.
BBB offers the following tips when considering a cooling system this summer:
Take steps to weatherize your home. Check the caulking, weather stripping, and insulation, and make any necessary repairs. This may enable you to install a smaller, less expensive cooling system to get the same results.
Compare the performance of different brands and models. Will the product do the job? What's its repair history? Will it handle your needs today? Ten years from now? Does it fit your budget? How energy efficient is it?
Compare more than just cost. Check the size and rated efficiency of the equipment each contractor recommends. Ask each contractor to explain how the estimate of the required cooling capacity and equipment was determined. Make sure the service and products of the contractor you use will provide the maximum benefit in both comfort and value.
Do your research. Make sure any contractor you hire to install your system is an approved, authorized dealer by the manufacturer. If they are approved, it means they meet the requirements and the manufacturer trusts them to install and represent the product.
The contractor you choose should provide at least one call back free of charge after installation to check the system. See that this is in the written agreement. Many contractors also offer service contracts under which they will inspect and service your equipment once a year and provide emergency repair service.
Before purchasing a service contract, be sure to weigh its cost and coverage against the cost and likelihood of future repairs. If your system is new, it probably comes with a warranty, which is included in the purchase price of the system. If you sign a service contract, be sure that it spells out what parts and service are provided and that it doesn't duplicate coverage you already have under the warranty. Because service contracts vary significantly in coverage, compare the coverage offered by several different businesses.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses, all available for free at bbb.org.