HVAC contractors in high demand in summer, so do your homework if problems heat up

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QUINCY — Summer is on our doorstep, and the last thing you want is for the air conditioning to stop working in the middle of a sweltering day.

Good HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) contractors are in high demand during the summer, so now is a great time to make sure everything is working and catch any potential problems before temperatures heat up.

If you’re looking to tune up your AC or buy a new unit, don’t rush into it — research carefully ahead of time to find a quality contractor.

BBB processed nearly 5,000 complaints about heating and air conditioning businesses and contractors last year. Common complaints include failure to perform work as contracted, failure to issue a refund and surprise charges.

A Caledonia, Mo., consumer reported in August 2023 that he purchased an HVAC system from a contractor for $1,500. After the system was installed, multiple issues arose including leaks, furnace malfunctions and a broken compressor. The consumer was unable to get a response from the contractor and later found out that the system the contractor installed had been recalled due to fire hazard concerns.

While finding a reliable contractor can be overwhelming, BBB is a great place to start the search. Consumers can find plenty of BBB Business Profiles for local HVAC contractors at BBB.org. They also can search BBB’s Accredited Business Directory for businesses that have pledged to uphold BBB’s Standards for Trust.

BBB’s tips for working with HVAC contractors:

Research companies with BBB. Visit BBB.org to search for service companies’ BBB Business Profiles. There, you can see customer reviews, any history of complaints and whether the company is BBB Accredited. Always confirm that the company is licensed and insured.

Compare prices and service packages.  Get at least three estimates for any heating repair, maintenance or replacement project. The estimates should provide a full description of the services the company will provide and the materials they will use. You can use BBB’s Get a Quote service to request quotes from trusted accredited businesses.

Ask about a warranty. Find out if the company offers any type of warranty or guarantee, and make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the coverage.Check the warranty on your current air conditioning unit to determine whether any repairs or replacements are covered.

Ask about energy efficiency. Many new air conditioning units are manufactured to be energy efficient. Look for the ENERGY STAR label on energy efficient products that may cost a little more up front, but could help you save money on energy costs over time. Some models may even be eligible for a tax credit – your contractor can help you verify this and can provide the Manufacturer Certification Statement for the equipment you plan to purchase.

Don O’Brien is the regional director for the Quincy Better Business Bureau. Contact him at dobrien@quincybbb.org or 217-209-3972.

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