We would love to tell homeowners who are looking for air conditioning solutions for their home that the entire HVAC industry is honest and above-board. But it’s not: there are many unlicensed contractors prowling around, searching for ways to take advantage of customers who just want a quality air conditioning system installation or repair.
In general, you shouldn’t hire any HVAC contractor who doesn’t have a license, since that means the contractor probably lacks insurance to protect you in case of an accident and probably lacks experience as well. A specific thing to watch out for are shady claims and stories you’ll hear from HVAC contractors who aren’t on the up-and-up. Below are a few of these sneaky stories:
“Your AC needs to have its refrigerant recharged.”
If an air conditioning system loses refrigerant through leaks, the leaks must be sealed up and the lost amount of refrigerant replaced (which is known as recharging). A suspicious HVAC technician may try to tell you the AC needs recharging but no other repairs. Recharging isn’t a repair on its own—the source of the leak needs to be fixed as well. If someone tells you the AC just needs recharging now and then, they aren’t interested in offering a solution, just another way to charge you regularly.
“You need to pay upfront.”
An HVAC contractor who is worth hiring will offer you a quote upfront about the cost of a repair before starting it. They won’t ask you to pay cash upfront—that’s not something a reliable company would try to do, and it’s a sign of a contractor who wants to do a sloppy job and run off with your money.
Any suspiciously inexpensive offer
The old saying that “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is” applies to the HVAC industry. If a contractor offers to do the work for dirt cheap, or even for free, we hope alarm bells go off in your head. Usually, a contractor making such an offer is planning a way to hit you later with a much larger bill or massive hidden costs. Reputable professionals will lay out all the costs for you upfront. Also be wary of any contractor who approaches you first, such as with a cold call, to make their conspicuously cheap offer.
“You’ve got multiple parts that need to be replaced”
One of the most common tactics of an untrustworthy HVAC technician is trying to convince you that you need to replace parts that don’t need replacing or make the replacement sound so expensive that you’ll opt to buy a new air conditioner instead. In most repair situations, a single part is at fault. The best way to avoid this problem is to only hire an experienced, licensed contractor with a history of trust and satisfied clients—someone who will give you honest information and won’t mind if you want a second opinion.
We have worked on air conditioning in Northridge, CA since 1991 and have a consistently high rating with the BBB. You can trust us never to steer you wrong about your AC options or push you to purchase services you don’t need.
Schedule your AC needs with licensed local pros! Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical serves Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.