In preparation, Better Business Bureau suggests homeowners get their air conditioning units checked by a trustworthy professional to make sure it’s in good working order so to avoid air conditioning repair.
Don’t get burned by hiring the wrong service company. Nationally, BBB received nearly 1,000 complaints against residential air conditioning service companies in 2013. Complaints against AC service contractors often allege problems with the final price or payment process, as well as complaints that the service was ineffective.
If you’re due for an upgrade, spending a little money on improvements can save you a lot over time. Air sealing is one of the quickest ways to cut your heating and cooling costs. Also, you can visit the Energy Saver website for DIY Savings Projects that provide step-by-step instructions on how to weatherstrip your windows and seal air leaks with caulk.
There is a growing industry of professionals who are qualified to make recommendations to homeowners on how to improve the overall energy efficiency of their homes. Be sure to use a certified energy auditor.
According to Energy.gov, turning your thermostat back from its normal setting by seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can save you as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs. Small changes have big results.
Unplug devices that aren’t being used
Keep air vents open
Replace traditional bulbs
Turn off lights when you leave
Change the filter
Install a programmable thermostat
BBB offers this advice when hiring a trustworthy air conditioning contractor:
• Consult your owner’s manual. Before doing anything, check the warranty on your current air conditioning unit to determine whether any tune-ups, repairs or replacements may be covered.
• Hire a professional to maintain your heating and cooling system. Arrange for annual maintenance with a qualified technician. This includes checking the airflow over the coil, testing for the correct fluid (refrigerant) level, checking the combustion process and ensuring proper air-flow to each room.
• Research the company. Visit bbb.org for the BBB Business Review of any air conditioning service or energy auditor you plan to hire to learn details about the company, like its history of complaints.
• Check licensing. The Department of Licensing and Regulation requires a license for heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians and electricians. Ask to see a copy of the license before work starts.
• Compare prices. Get at least three estimates in writing. All bids should provide a full description of the services provided and the materials used.