The U.S. saw record-breaking temperatures in the summer of 2023, bumping up air conditioning’s status from home feature to household essential in states like Arizona, California, and Florida. Jurisdictions charting temperatures at three digits and higher saw an uptick in the demand for AC repair service requests. Since increased usage during dangerous heat waves contributes to AC parts and whole units breaking down, some HVAC companies were fielding hundreds of emergency calls from homeowners.
As the trend toward higher temperatures continues and you’ve noticed that your air conditioning unit may not be up to par, you may also have considered hiring HVAC professionals. If you need an AC repair technician to fix the issues affecting your air conditioners but don't know which company to hire, this article offers valuable information that could help you make the right decision.
Common Causes of AC Problems
Maybe your air conditioning unit is releasing strange smells, making weird noises, or blowing out hot air. You don't need to be a licensed technician to determine that there's something wrong with your AC in these instances. But it's important that you become aware of the reasons for these AC issues. Here are the factors that cause some of the most common home air conditioner problems:
Poor or inadequate maintenance of your AC unit will result in a variety of issues, like having no cool air circulating and faulty fans. Allowing your AC's components to get dirty for too long will contribute to its premature breakdown. According to U.S. Department of Energy data, three million cooling and heating systems are replaced during HVAC repairs and related services every year.
Leaks in your air conditioner can indicate that the unit is short on refrigerant, which is the fluid that removes humidity and heat from the air circulating in your house. Another possibility is that it was undercharged during installation. It is best to have a technician check whether the charge of your refrigerant follows the manufacturer's specifications so that it can work properly.
Your AC unit might perform erratically if its thermostat sensor is displaced from its original position. The sensor measures the temperature of the passing air. If it's removed from its place, the sensor won't be able to accurately measure the air, resulting in insufficient cooling inside your home.
Dirty and Clogged Air Filter
A dirty air filter may be the cause of the hot air blowing out of your air conditioner. The reduced air flow makes it more difficult to reach your desired indoor cooling temperature. Clogged air filters may also cause the unit to overheat and result in burning smells.
Electric Control Failure
The compressor, the condenser fan motor, and the blower motor are vital in starting an air conditioning unit. However, if the AC is frequently turned on and off, the components can wear out. And when those parts fail, the AC will be unable to function correctly.
Your AC's drain may become clogged, preventing the unit from discharging all of the water it has drawn from the air and possibly causing damage to your system. Air conditioners that are not mounted level may not drain correctly.
Worn or Poorly Aligned Belt
You may have heard squealing sounds come from your AC units out of nowhere. Typically, worn or misaligned belts are to blame. Aside from making weird noises, a damaged belt may prevent your air conditioner from releasing cool air.
Why DIY AC Repair Is Not a Good Idea
With the proliferation of do-it-yourself repairs on the internet, you've probably tried searching for tips and video tutorials in an attempt to fix something in your home. People are inclined to do things themselves because of the idea that they could save money. However, trying to repair your air conditioning unit by yourself can have consequences. Here are some reasons why DIY AC repair is never a good idea:
No Training, No Tools
Diagnosing and repairing AC units requires specialized equipment and tools that professional AC repair technicians are trained to handle. If you attempt to DIY the repair of your AC without the proper training or the right tools, you could get hurt. You could also do more damage to your unit.
Access to Parts
Just like with AC repair tools, you have limited access to components that are needed when fixing the issue with your unit. Your local hardware store is probably selling only basic parts. Ordering components directly from the manufacturer could cause delays, as you will have to wait for them to be delivered. When you hire a technician, you can be confident that they will attend to your service request promptly with the necessary materials. There are also manufacturers and suppliers that only sell components to licensed AC repair contractors and technicians.
DIY AC Repair Voids Warranties
While it is tempting to perform DIY AC repair, you should carefully think about it. If you try to fix the unit yourself but it results in more problems that would require replacement, the manufacturer might not honor the warranty. Manufacturers only allow professional technicians to conduct repair work to maintain the warranty. So if your attempt at fixing the AC goes the wrong way, you will probably end up having to shell out more money.
DIY AC repair puts your safety at risk. AC units have chemicals and gases that could be hazardous when inhaled. There is also a danger of electrocution or electrical shock in do-it-yourself work since you will be exposed to live wires and circuits. Lack of knowledge about electrical systems can be dangerous.
Contrary to some belief that a do-it-yourself AC repair always saves time, DIY can be time-consuming. Unless you are an HVAC technician, it could take hours or even days to completely diagnose the issue with your AC unit, locate the parts needed for repair or replacement, and actually carry out the work. Hiring a technician from an AC repair company is the more efficient option when it comes to fixing your air conditioning unit.
Factors To Consider When Hiring an AC Repair Company
Choosing the best AC repair company is crucial, as it can save you time and money in the long run. This section presents some of the things you need to consider when looking for AC repair technicians.
Licensed, Insured, and Bonded Company
When looking for an AC repair company, one of the most important things to consider is whether it has licensed, insured, and bonded technicians. Licensing requirements vary by state, which is why you need to verify with the company if its crew members are licensed.
In some states, people who intend to become HVAC technicians are required to complete technical school coursework and an apprenticeship program before they can obtain a license. Federal laws also require them to obtain EPA certification. Technicians may also get NATE accreditation and an HVAC Excellence certification to ensure their qualifications and expertise in the field.
Meanwhile, when you hire an insured AC repair company, you can be confident that you and the technician are protected in the event an accident happens during the service call. Additionally, you must confirm if the company is bonded. Surety bonds act as your protection in case the contractor fails to fulfill its contractual obligations.
Experience in the Field
Hiring an AC repair company with years or decades of experience in the industry can ensure quality results. You can be certain that it has built a reputation in your local area as a reliable service provider. The length of its experience can also indicate that its technicians have the necessary skills and competencies to complete repair work.
Compliant With Safety Standards
Safety is of paramount significance when it comes to AC repair work. That is why you should choose a company or technicians who adhere to health and safety standards set by government agencies such as OSHA. Before hiring, you may ask whether they use proper clothing and gear when working on a repair job or how the company looks after the health of its staff.
Exceptional Customer Service
Your first conversation with the staff of an AC repair company can leave a lasting impression. If they answer all of your questions about their services with promptness and professionalism, it's a good sign that the company treats customers properly. Exceptional customer service can also be attributed to staff providing recommendations that are in the best interest of the homeowner. You should choose a company that is willing to help at any time.
One way to confirm if an AC repair company is reliable is by checking its presence on the internet. Usually, its website, social media pages, and other third-party online platforms show customer testimonials. You should check out each piece of feedback so you will have an understanding of how the company and its technicians work and whether hiring them will be worth it.
How Much Do the Services of an AC Repair Technician Cost?
The cost of an AC repair depends on the type of unit and the issues that need to be addressed. Generally, basic repairs may cost a homeowner between $100 and $650.
If the technician discovers more complicated issues that require the replacement of expensive parts, such as compressors, condensers, and evaporator coils, the cost could go as high as $2,000 to $5,000.
In AC repair services, labor costs account for as much as 50% of the job's total expenses. The first service call, which covers the initial assessment of the unit, may cost between $150 and $250. For follow-ups, the technician may charge either on a per-hour or flat fee basis.
According to the country's labor statistics bureau, the median hourly rate for HVAC technicians is $24.71. Your location can also contribute to the overall cost of the service, as an area’s climate imposes different demands on HVAC systems.
Do AC Repair Companies Offer Free Estimates?
Most AC repair companies in the country offer either in-home or virtual no-obligation estimates on their services. Free estimates are important in determining your home's cooling needs and whether the cost will meet your budget.
If you are not satisfied with the quotation from the first company you spoke with, you can try and get another estimate from a different company. Some companies offer free second opinions on HVAC repairs, while others offer in-house financing options with low interest rates and affordable monthly installment fees.
Do AC Repair Contractors Offer Warranties?
HVAC companies typically offer equipment and labor warranties on AC repairs. The majority of service providers observe limited warranty coverage, which means the warranty being offered will only be valid for a certain amount of time. You should also discuss the company's terms before hiring them.
What To Do While Your AC Is Under Repair
When your AC breaks down, especially during the summer season, it can result in uncomfortable temperatures inside your home. That is why it's important that you quickly reach out to an AC repair company.
Repairs can be completed within 30 minutes or less, but could extend to hours or longer, depending on the complexity of the job or the availability and accessibility of parts. Having a malfunctioning AC system can be stressful as it causes inconveniences and panic, most especially when there's a heat wave.
Here are some things you can do while your AC is being fixed:
Use fans, like box or ceiling fans.
Wear loose clothing.
Draw the shades over the windows to block out sunlight.
Avoid using appliances that contribute to the increase in heat inside your house.
Choose the Right AC Repair Company for Your Home Needs
When your home's air conditioning unit needs to be repaired, consider hiring licensed and certified technicians from an AC repair company within your local area that has proven its reputation in the field. You must select the services of professionals who have extensive industry experience. You will save both time and money by doing so.
At Expertise.com, we're passionate about guiding people to find the best in life, whether they're researching how to start a small business, planning a home remodeling project, or discovering a new hobby.