It’s the middle of the night and you suddenly woke up shivering despite being nestled under four quilts. You probably already know what happened even before you opened your eyes, but you still make your way to the furnace to check on it. When you get there, it’s no surprise that hum of the furnace has disappeared completely.
You’re suddenly faced with making a choice. Will you call for an emergency furnace repair or will you live in the subzero temperatures until business hours arrive once more?
An emergency repair service for your heating and air conditioning system can be extremely costly. The average furnace repair runs around $345, but you may see it climb even higher. Many companies will charge you by the hour with extra surcharges for evenings, nights, and weekends. For many homeowners, the exorbitant rates simply aren’t worth the comfort that would come from having their heating and cooling issues addressed immediately.
Deciding when to call for an emergency repair and when to wait it out is certainly one of the most difficult decisions. Homeowners may spend precious time wondering whether the repair really needs to happen immediately. Here are a few common signs that your home is in need of an emergency repair.
When do you need an emergency HVAC repair?
Experts say that there are a few signs that your home is in need of an emergency HVAC repair. Waiting even a few hours while one of these conditions is present could lead to extremely costly repairs when you do receive help.
Your HVAC unit should make some noise on a regular basis. Most people identify their furnace or air conditioner by the gentle hum it emits throughout the day. It goes largely unnoticed unless something else is amiss. If the sound suddenly changes enough to get your attention, it’s a sign that a repair may be imminent.
You should call an emergency repair service if you hear anything that sounds metallic. This could mean grinding, squealing, screeching, banging, or any other type of jarring sound effect that is well outside the norm.
There are times when your air conditioner or furnace may have a certain odor to it while forcing new air into your home. While this is never a particularly good sign, a burning smell indicates the need for an immediate repair. It is possible for the unit to become so hot that it actually burns or to spark an electrical fire. Both of these are potentially serious complications that require immediate attention.
Lack of Air Flow
Can you hear your unit kick on when the thermostat gets too high or low? If you can hear the machine run but don’t feel any airflow, it’s probably time to get someone to come look at it. Your air ducts could be completely clogged or the inner workings of your unit may have failed. No matter what the specific reason is, lack of air flow is a reason to contact an emergency HVAC company during their off hours.
Under some circumstances, it may be unavoidable to prolong your repair until the receptionist comes in hours or days from now. A freezing home isn’t comfortable or safe to live in for extended periods of time. If you’re faced with the desperate need for an emergency HVAC repair, you should try to keep these top tips for finding the right company in mind.
Do your research when things are running smoothly
The best suggestion for emergency HVAC repairs is to research qualified contractors and technicians in your area well in advance of a potential disaster. This allows you to do the most research on their qualifications, skills, and rates. If possible, collect referrals and reviews from friends and family members.
Take time to call each company and talk with their staff about the services they offer. Before you add a company to your list of potential emergency repair personnel, you need to find out if this is a service they offer. Some companies may refer clients elsewhere for after-hours care or over holiday breaks.
Be sure to add multiple companies to your list of potential possibilities for emergency repairs. This gives you a few well-researched options if your first choice is unavailable that evening.
It would be great if you could find a qualified HVAC company who can manage all of your needs at one time. They may be able to provide your annual maintenance, install new units, and fix any last-minute items for your home.
If you have the time to research and prepare for an emergency, it’s best to take advantage of this time in the present moment instead of waiting. You’re likely to be far more satisfied with the end result when you select a well-researched company instead of a random company from the phonebook.
Find a company with parts in stock
While it’s relatively impossible for every HVAC company to stock each part from all available manufacturers, you may want to look for an air conditioning repair company that do keep some items in stock. A repairperson who comes out to your home in the middle of the night without available parts likely won’t be able to offer you much help. Instead, you’ll be paying for a service call that won’t have any tangible solutions for a couple more days.
Call a couple of companies and select one that states they have an assortment of parts in stock. In some instances, you may be able to describe your issue and have them guess what the problem may be over the phone. This is an unreliable method and should never be used to give an estimate. It does, however, give you some insight into the problem and whether or not they will have the part to correct it.
It’s also a good idea to ask for the original part when anything is replaced. A company that’s hesitant to show you the part they removed may have something to hide. Qualified HVAC contractors like Classic Air Conditioning and Heating should be able to show you the old part and explain why it was faulty.
Ask about subcontractors
You should know who is really performing the work on your home, especially if it comes with a significant financial strain. Some companies will utilize subcontractors to perform their emergency repair work, particularly in seasons where they’re overrun by issues with heating and air conditioning. Unfortunately, this means you may not necessarily receive the same level of service.
Many companies build up a certain reputation, which could be the very thing that drew you to their service in the first place. The reviews and references you considered for this company are likely based on their actual staff. A subcontractor doesn’t have as much at stake in the reputation of the company and may not deliver the same superior quality.
Consumers should always be aware of who is performing the work in their home. At companies like Classic Air Conditioning and Heating, no subcontractors are ever used so we can ensure great quality work for every homeowner. You should make sure that any company you consider employs their own repair staff.
Ask about a warranty
Any repair that’s made to your unit should come with some kind of guarantee that you won’t have the same issue within a given timeframe. Nobody wants to spend an exorbitant fee on a home repair only to have the same issue again in two weeks. You can protect yourself and your home from shady business dealings by looking for a company that offers some type of warranty.
Ask about the specific parameters of the warranty and what type of work it will apply to. Does the warranty exist only if you purchase a brand-new part? Maybe you’ll have some protection if they make an adjustment or tinker with the current settings of your unit.
You should also consider asking whether the company will charge a second call fee to come out and inspect the unit again. Some may not charge for the specific labor or parts if it falls under warranty, but they may charge a flat fee to account for their gas, mileage, and time.
Don’t waste time hiring unqualified repair technicians for your HVAC system when you sense an emergency with your air conditioner or furnace. You can follow these tips to help you find a professional company that will be worth the price. In the end, you’ll be able to sleep easier knowing your home is properly taken care of.