What to know before Hiring an AC Contractor

     Buying a new AC Unit is an investment – one that will cost you several thousand dollars.  You want to know that you are getting what you paid for and that the unit is installed properly.  In today’s economy many are looking for deals and can easily become targets for unlicensed, unethical, fly by night contractors—many won’t even know this until something goes wrong and they try to reach the contractor who is no longer in business.  Unfortunately shopping for these so called deals often cost the consumer more, as well as the stress and aggravation.

     Buying an air conditioner is not like getting a refrigerator and plugging it in, a poor installation can cost thousands of dollars in higher electric bills and repairs.  A poor installation means your new system will not perform as advertised.  What’s worse, you may never realize that you are paying more than you should.

     The choice of WHO installs your AC system can be more important than what you buy, hurting your pocketbook every day for years to come.

     So before making a decision consider the following:

     Don’t feel rushed.  No one wants to be without AC especially in the summer, but don’t call just anyone.  You become a target if you don’t call a reputable licensed AC Contractor.  Flyers found on your windshield or someone from craigslist is not a good place to start.   Neither is a friend of a friend – unless they are a licensed AC Contractor.  Ask a friend who they use, use reliable sources like Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau.

     Don’t take their word that they are licensed.  They may tell you they are – confirm that!

     Don’t hire an individual who is moonlighting.  There are several things wrong here, first the individual may not be licensed, won’t obtain a permit, and won’t be able to stand behind warranties.  You also take the risk that the unit may be stolen.  And in most cases once his employer finds out he is moonlighting – he will more than likely lose his job.

     Be careful what you sign.  If you sign the permit application as the owner – you are now responsible – that is a red flag that the contractor is not licensed.  A licensed contractor will pull the permit and post it and take responsibility. 

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