Keep your cool with trustworthy HVAC companies

When the heat index hits 100, the last thing anyone wants is for the air conditioning to stop working. But if the air conditioning fails, you need a reliable contractor – and fast.

Good air conditioning installers are in high demand during the summer months, so it shouldn’t surprise you if you can’t get it fixed right away. Keep your cool and research companies before signing a repair or replacement contract.

Better Business Bureau is a great resource for finding reliable contractors. Consumers can find dozens of BBB company profiles about HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) contractors at bbb.org. They can also browse the BBB’s accredited business directory for air conditioning companies that are committed to upholding the BBB’s Standards for Trust.

BBB Business Profiles contain a rating from A+ to F and show whether a company has complaints and how the company has responded to the complaints. Many contractors also have customer reviews that show how they have provided service to customers.

Nationally, BBB processed more than 3,300 complaints about heating and air conditioning companies last year. Common complaints included failure to perform work as agreed or refunds and delays in completing projects on time.

A woman from Wildwood, Missouri, told BBB in April 2021 to a local HVAC contractor who gave her an estimate for a new air conditioner and a new furnace humidifier, which became unresponsive after pre-paying for the parts. She said he didn’t respond to the scheduled install for several weeks after she made the payment through Venmo, didn’t show up on the agreed install date or a new scheduled date a few weeks later, and eventually stopped answering her calls and emails after that. He did not respond to her request for a refund.

BBB recommends that consumers consider the following when looking for an air conditioner installer:

• Research the company’s background and licenses. Visit bbb.org for a BBB company profile and BBB customer ratings on any service company you want to hire. Read more about the reputation and any history of complaints. Always confirm that the business is licensed and insured.

• Compare prices and service packages. Get at least three estimates for air conditioning repair, maintenance, or replacement. All bids must be in writing and provide a full description of the services to be provided and the materials to be used.

• View warranty coverage. Find out if the company offers any kind of warranty or guarantee. Make sure you understand the terms of coverage. Also check the warranty on your current air conditioner to determine if repairs or replacements may be covered.

• Demand about energy efficiency. Many new air conditioning units are manufactured to be more energy efficient than others. Look for the ENERGY STAR label to learn about products that may cost a little more upfront but save you energy in the long run. Some models may even qualify for a tax credit. Ask your HVAC contractor to verify your tax credit eligibility and to provide the manufacturer’s certification statement for the equipment you plan to purchase.

Michelle Gleba is the Mid-Missouri Regional Director for the Better Business Bureau.

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