A hundred years ago, no one had an air conditioner. In the sweltering August heat, they dressed lightly, opened windows and spread their church fans. Yet, just a century later, the thought of living without air conditioning seems impossible. Technically, air conditioning is a convenience. But considering the health risks that come with being in a hot environment, it also amounts to a necessity. As with all complex machinery, ensuring that your air conditioner is there when you need means ensuring that it receives proper maintenance. So, how should you about distinguishing a reputable heating and cooling service from a mediocre one?
The first thing to do is comparison shop. Whether you search online or use the phone book, note the dollar amount that a company charges for specific levels of maintenance. Once you’ve surveyed eight companies, you should have a good idea about the average price of maintenance. But before you sign a service contract, it’s good idea to call the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and make sure that the company is above board. Even “reputable” companies can be guilty of poor service practices, such as charging for unnecessary services and taking shortcuts to save money. If the BBB reveals that a service company has unresolved customer complaints, it’s probably a sign that the company values its profits more than its customers.
Once you’ve found a company that charges a fair price and has good reputation, it’s a good idea to make sure that the company is bonded and employs NATE certified technicians. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, NATE certification means that a technician has training in the latest maintenance technology, and is the only certification officially recognized by the HVAC industry. Fair price, reputation and NATE certification: when a service company meets these three criteria, you can feel confident that your air conditioner is in good hands.