Needing a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) service or repair contractor usually happens . . .
- when it’s scorching hot outside, aka the dog days of summer here in Arlington, Fort Worth, Dallas
- when it’s cold outside, like it has been this winter
- when you’re under duress, aka when something breaks and needs service or repair, usually immediately
- when you’re least prepared, aka you you know you need service, repair, or to buy new equipment but from whom? Which contractor can you trust among the multitude of companies scattered throughout Arlington, Fort Worth, and Dallas?
So to help you ease into Spring and Summer, we’ve put together a series of posts addressing HVAC contractors, followed by a look at the equipment they could be repairing, retrofitting, or replacing in the coming months.
Finding an HVAC contractor
In most cases homeowners . . .
- Go back to the contractor they’ve been using, if they have one, and start there. If they do this, they probably already trust the company and its service and repair technicians. Even so, it’s OK to read on.
- Pull out the Yellow Pages (remember these?) and look under heating, air conditioning, HVAC contractors, but that’s so 1980s.
- A more modern-day approach is to search the Web for heating, air conditioning, HVAC contractors, service and repair using search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! or sites like, yes, the YellowPages. More on this in a minute.
- Call, email, or text neighbors, either individually or in a group; many neighborhoods have formal or loosely-knit homeowner’s associations, which usually have phone or email lists available for members.
- Go to a home improvement center in Arlington, Fort Worth, Dallas and talk with an HVAC guy.
Let’s Look at These Options
- Using Your Existing Contractor. A great place to start but, depending on circumstances and needs, you will probably want a second or even third opinion, especially regarding product replacement, brand, installation, and cost. Having additional quotes and information on hand is critical.
- The Yellow Pages (aka the Phone Book). Here homeowners look for companies near their homes and are influenced by those who purchase the largest display ad. However, Arlington, Fort Worth, and Dallas is such a large metropolitan area that contractors and locations blend together. A contract may say it’s local to, say, Grapevine but is actually based in Arlington, Fort Worth, or Dallas. Do you want to deal with contractors nearby? With large or small companies? There are advantages and disadvantages to all the scenarios. Purchasing the largest display ad doesn’t mean it’s the right company for you.
- Web Searches. Being the age of the Internet, most homeowners will “google” heating, air conditioning, HVAC, service, repair, contractors, or some equivalent, for an area they live in like Grapevine or Arlington, which is nearby. One may be in Plano and get results for Dallas. Or one is in Mansfield and gets companies listed in Fort Worth. The results are overwhelming because the Web reduces distance and everybody is “local.”
- Web Searches and Noise. When homeowners search the phone book, the only additional commentary is the size of the ad. When searching the Web, so much more information is attached. The company probably has its own website and/or blog. There’s the Yellow Pages for the Web, Yelp “user” reviews, sites that aggregate (collect) local business info, “subject matter” blogs and other Web resources, social media, social networks like Facebook, HVAC professional associations, government sites, better business bureaus and, of course, neighboring service and repair companies that are actually competitors.
- Web Searches and Online Recommendations. Accompanying all the options above, which isn’t even an exhaustive list, are online recommendations, reviews, comments, complaints, ratings, and social media posts. Some people use real names when writing a review. Other people are anonymous. Who do you trust? Less than ethical service and repair companies may write glowing reviews for themselves or post something snarky about a competitor. Information is probably presented through a blog with a slant to influence visitors. If it looks official, these guys must be good. It’s social and info quicksand.
- Neighbors and Word of Mouth. One way to deal with noise and the quagmire of online recommendations, reviews, comments, complaints, ratings and all that jazz is to ask trusted neighbors who they use, if the companies have been prompt, easy to deal with, do quality work, are fair, and are trustworthy. This doesn’t always work, but you’d be surprised — it never hurts to ask around. Who knows the locals better: a neighbor or Google? If this is a dead end, you can try an online service like Angie’s list, whose entire business model is helping homeowners — who pay an annual membership fee — find reliable, vetted local services. You can also search the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for companies using city, state, or postal code.
- Due Diligence. In the end, finding an HVAC service or repair contractor in Arlington, Fort Worth, and Dallas comes down to the individual homeowner and how he or she checks up on any information received, whether it comes from an existing company, a display ad in the phone book, a Web search, an online recommendation, or word of mouth. Chances are, it will be a combination of all these sources.
We will examine contractors, what to consider when choosing one, and what they represent.