When the time comes to repair, replace or add an air conditioning and heating system to your home, take extra time and care in choosing a dealer. It could make a big difference in your home’s comfort and in your peace of mind. You may already have a preference for a certain manufacturer based upon the favorable experience of a friend, neighbor or family member. Here are some tips for choosing the right dealer for your needs.
1. Check credentials. Before making your choice, call the Better Business Bureau to make sure the dealer is reputable. Also, find out if the dealer is a member of a local association such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. This, in itself, can be an indication of reliability. Plus, ask if the dealer is NATE certified. This will indicate a higher level of technical training.
2. Ensure affiliation with a nationally known manufacturer. A manufacturer of any magnitude will offer dealers factory training. As a result, when they make recommendations, you can be more assured they have selected the right system for your home.
3. Ask for references. Former customers are an excellent source of information. Call and ask if they were pleased with the work performed.
4. Expect an on-site evaluation. A good dealer should take a thorough look at your home, evaluate its overall comfort needs and recommend the correct system to meet those needs. Beware of anyone that simply takes information over the phone and makes a recommendation without ever visiting your home.
5. Check all local licenses. Depending on where you live, a dealer may have to comply with certain local or state regulations, so ask to see any applicable state and local licenses, as well as insurance for liability and workmen''s compensation.
6. Ask questions. Ask for details about the firm''s experience, and the expertise of its staff. This is particularly important if you’re also adding or changing ductwork – in this case, experience is definitely a factor in getting the job done correctly.
7. Inquire about warranties. Limited warranties vary according to manufacturer. Make sure the dealer explains the terms of your limited warranty and that you understand it. Many manufacturers also offer optional extended warranties, which you should inquire about at the time of purchase.
8. Get a written estimate. To make a fair comparison, be sure the estimates you are looking at are for the services you''ve requested and are based on the same equipment size and efficiency, and the same quality of installation. Be wary of a contractor who offers unrealistically low prices; it may mean corners are being cut, which can cause future problems.
9. Ask about maintenance contracts. Many contractors offer maintenance contracts that call for periodic maintenance of equipment. The fee for such contracts is usually well worth it in terms of obtaining optimum performance from your system. These checks are usually performed before the heating or cooling season begins.
10.Insist on a written contract. When you have finalized the details, ask your dealer to put it in writing. This will help you avoid any misunderstanding about