Tag Archives: air conditioners

Even the Best Air Conditioners Break Sometimes – And When They Do…

Most days of each month, I read an HVAC industry online news group. In those, I read that even the most established brands of AC and heating equipment sometimes have defects, recalls, service bulletins, and so on.  This is in spite of how well they are assembled at the factory or installed at your location.

Here’s our take on the situation:  when your system needs repair, which it likely will at some point, have yourself set to get it going again with minimal inconvenience, discomfort, and cost.  To prepare for the day when your system goes on the blink, below are a few practical questions to consider when you are deciding which local HVAC contractor to install it and brand or model of equipment to buy (in that order of importance).

– How long has the contractor been in business under the same name, location and ownership?

– What training, certification, and experience do their technicians have?

– What is the relationship of the contractor to the brand(s) of AC and heating equipment they sell: Owned by them?  Exclusive dealer?  Independent dealer?

– How many service trucks and technicians do they have?

– Does the local contractor have 24-7 service?

– Do they charge extra for service after hours, weekends or holidays?

– What is the parts and labor warranty from the manufacturer? From the installer?

– If you sign up for a yearly maintenance plan, do you get preferential appointment times, pricing, or both on repair work?

– Do they have a good rating with minimal unresolved issues at the Better Business Bureau – BBB?

– When you search online for their company name, are the online comments generally positive?

On this last point, online testimonials or rants, be aware of what we call the “wild west” effect. By that, we mean that, far too often, we see and hear about companies writing good stuff about themselves or even bad stuff about their competitors.  And some real customers who take the time to write are not always objective.

Not to worry. If you use most of the points above and ask your neighbors who they use, you’ll get a reliable composite of the companies you are considering.

Maintenance or repair of your AC and heating system: pay a little now or pay a lot more later

Would any reasonable person wait until the engine of their car seizes up to think about checking or changing the oil? Of course not. In addition to the inconvenience, repairing or replacing a car engine costs a lot more than an oil change. Therefore, most people have their car serviced two or more times each year or at certain mileage intervals.

Why then, do so many people wait until their home or building air conditioner won’t cool or their furnace won’t ignite to call their HVAC service company? Not only do they have to pay more for repair or replacement than they would have for air conditioning or heating system maintenance. On the first really hot or cold day in their area, people who skimp on having their A/C and heating system maintained usually line up behind their neighbors who did the same. They might even have to stay home from work to meet the service company when repair calls get backed up.

Having your HVAC system put on a yearly schedule of having the A/C serviced in the spring and the heater tested in the fall saves money and time. The monetary savings aren’t limited to repairs either. A good example is found in the way air conditioners run. A home A/C system will run and produce cool air, even if the refrigerant (often known as Freon) is somewhat lower than optimum. However, it won’t run or cool nearly as efficiently as it would at optimum levels. The result: you can save on utility bills every month, plus have fewer or lower cost repairs and save time with a well-tuned system.

With the direct cost of oil bumping $110 per barrel (not to mention the indirect costs and concerns) we should save on fossil fuels and electricity every place we can. Since nearly everyone uses heating and cooling daily, scheduled HVAC maintenance is an ideal place to start. Do it now and you will avoid the summer rush.