One of the biggest questions facing homeowners is how to find a reliable HVAC technician.
If you play your cards right and are lucky to find a good fit, you can stick with someone for years. The staff can offer useful recommendations and advice for your HVAC systems and be able to assist with any sort of repairs, upgrades, even emergencies.
However, smart homeowners are also cautious about who they let in their home, spend their money with and entrust to the care of equipment that can keep the family from freezing or sweating.
So there’s always a challenge finding someone who not only can get the job done, but delivers stellar service. Here are some suggestions to find out before signing on the dotted line:
- Responsiveness: Some work can certainly wait until the next opening, such as an inspection or annual servicing. But in emergency conditions, when your biggest priority is “can you get there before things start freezing/overheating” you also need to know how to get higher on the company’s priority list. Do they call you back quickly, emergency or no emergency?
- After hours: Some firms do charge extra for calls on weekends or evenings. That’s part of the business. But customers should know this figure before work start, or what merits a late-night call-out. A company may also suggest if there’s a temporary fix the homeowner can make until normal office hours without making things worse.
- Education: The HVAC tech knows his or her stuff. But can they communicate this well to the customer? Or do they just present a bill and say “fixed it.”? Though some of the terminology and processes might be beyond the average homeowner, a service-oriented employee can still share the cause and solution – since the homeowner is well aware of the problem.
- Free services: They’re not going to do the job for free, but it’s reasonable to offer a complimentary estimate or a second opinion if a customer isn’t satisfied with another company’s estimates.
- Familiarity: Some technicians have systems they prefer working with. But they should be generally competent with most systems and brands. It’s fair to ask how well they know a system they’re recommending, or what additional training they’ve had. Some companies or manufacturers offer opportunities for advanced certification if a course or exam is completed. There are also industry associations like NATE (North American Technician Excellence) which further training.
- Listening: It’s a skill that can make a technician or company shine as much as doing a quality job. A quality company should hear your observations, thoughts, or questions about your current HVAC system or one that is being recommended.
- Follow-up: A good company will help you when things are crazy, but a great company hopes that you’ll keep them in mind for future business. They can provide information about warranties, general maintenance and upkeep schedules and maybe even a magnet or two for the fridge.