By: Brian Schutt
As summer quickly approaches and air conditioners all across Indianapolis get turned on for the first time in months, homeowners will be faced with tough decisions on major repairs and replacements. While sites like Yelp, Google Local, and Angie’s List provide a great filter on which HVAC company in Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, Westfield, Broad Ripple, etc., are the best to call for these issues, getting a quality contractor in your home is only the first step.
It’s just as important to arm yourself with these great questions to ensure your home heating and cooling system gets the best quality possible.
Question 1: What is the Experience Level of the HVAC Company Technicians Doing the Work?
While it’s important to have a quality HVAC company in Indianapolis to work with, the quality of work on your home air conditioning unit will ultimately be dictated by the intelligence and quality of the actual technician in your home. If you are unsure what the issue is with your air conditioner and are scheduling a diagnostic service, the customer service representative should be able to provide the name, experience, and certifications of the HVAC service technician en route to your home. Similarly, if you are purchasing a new air conditioner, the comfort consultant (aka salesperson) should be able to detail who your lead installer will be and his or her experience and certifications.
The baseline expectation should be that the technician has a certification from the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s even better if the technician has a North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification, which requires ongoing education and testing in industry knowledge and best practices.
Question 2: Are There Other Options Besides Replacing my Air Conditioner?
You wouldn’t trust a doctor who only recommends heart surgery, so why trust an HVAC technician who only recommends replacement. Because they’re hot and under duress, many homeowners go with whatever the technician tells them to do. Instead, make sure your HVAC technician offers an objective opinion on the air conditioner issues and provides all available options to repair those issues. Don’t just be told what to do.
Unless your system is over 30 years old and there are no more parts available to repair it, there are always options. It’s then up to you to determine the best course of action, based on your comfort needs, budget, and expected time in the home.
Question 3: What’s the Employment Status of Your HVAC Company Technicians?
This question may seem intrusive, but you’ve worked hard for your income. And you want to ensure your money goes to the highest quality result for your air conditioner replacement or repair. You should have clarity about whether the HVAC technician coming into your home to perform the work is a W-2 employee or a 1099-subcontractor. Don’t be scared away if it’s a subcontractor but insist to have some quality guarantees for the work that’s performed. If the technician is a W-2 employee, find out if he or she is paid hourly or piece rate?
Piece rate is an increasing trend in HVAC that pays based on specific tasked-based outcomes. While it can provide greater costing clarity for the company, it can also add undue risk on the homeowner as it increases the technician’s incentive to finish work quickly.
Ultimately, like any other purchase decision you are the customer and the company you work with should provide whatever clarity and transparency you need for peace of mind. The more questions you ask of your HVAC company, the more you will raise the bar of quality for your air conditioner replacement or repair.