With temperatures forecasted to peak at the low 30s this week, BBB is urging consumers to keep a cool head while searching for the right air-conditioning contractor. With more than 100,000 inquiries and nearly 80 complaints in 2016 about air conditioning and related businesses, consumers are making sure their investment doesn’t end up as hot air.
“It’s tempting to look for a quick and inexpensive fix when it comes to installing an air-conditioning system,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “Though it may only be used a few months during the year, it’s crucial to invest the time to research a trustworthy contractor who will ensure the efficiency of your installment and safety of your home.”
BBB and The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) recommend keeping the following in mind when hiring an air conditioning installer:
Get it in writing. Ask for at least three different written estimates from three different contractors. Each estimate should include the kind of equipment to be installed, warranty information and safe disposal procedures of the old devices.
Remember, it’s illegal to sell air conditioners door-to-door. As of January 1, 2017, the provincial government banned the sale of energy products and services door-to-door, including air conditioners. If you receive a knock on the door from an air conditioning salesperson, report it to Service Alberta.
Check licensing. While the law does not require every contractor to carry liability insurance, HRAI contractors are required to carry municipal licensing, liability insurance and workers’ compensation. Also find out what your home insurance will or won’t cover so you won’t be left with surprise costs.
Ask for proof of qualification. A certification of qualification is issued to those who pass a provincial examination and complete an apprenticeship program. If the contractor cannot provide proof of their claimed qualification, it could be a red flag.
Maintain your investment. Changing furnace filters once a month will help keep energy consumption low and maximize your cooling efficiency. Also have a qualified air-conditioning technician come out to inspect your system annually.
Start with trust. Check bbb.org for qualified, trustworthy air-conditioner installers.