When your heating system is in need of repair, you probably find yourself searching for a heating professional at the most inopportune time: during a cold winter night when you would do, or pay, just about anything to get your heating up and running again. Nebrasky Plumbing, Heating and Cooling (Nebrasky) advises home and business owners to follow seven tips to stay safe and prevent unnecessary expenses this winter.
“When temperatures drop below freezing and your heating system suddenly isn’t working properly, or at all, it’s easy to throw caution to the wind and proceed with a ‘just get it fixed’ attitude,” said Paul Nebrasky, President of Nebrasky Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. “But it’s extremely important to take a step back and think about safety first, and then to make sure that you’re getting quality and honest service by an experienced professional that you can trust.”
Nebrasky recommends reviewing the following checklist before picking up the phone to call for service:
If time allows, check the company’s history. Before making any calls, research the company’s reputation with your local consumer affairs office to see whether it is licensed and if there are any outstanding complaints against it. Do an online search and see if any customer reviews or experiences come up. It’s important to do as much research as you can. If you’re not positive that a company is reputable, then look elsewhere.
Look to speak to a “real” person. When you call for service, it’s optimal to speak directly with an employee who knows the company and the specific services it provides. That way, any questions or concerns you may have can be answered on the spot, and you won’t have to wait for someone to return your voicemail, or for a third party answering service to relay the message to a technician. It’s also a sign that the company places customer service as a high priority.
Request the name and description of your technician in advance. This is an important safety measure. When making arrangements for a technician to come to your home, request that the company call you when the technician is on his or her way, as well as to be provided with the technician’s name and a brief description. This way, you can make sure that the person approaching your door matches the description provided.
Check that the truck is parked in a visible area, with the company’s logo or lettering on it. Request that the technician park on the street (if possible), or in a highly visible area. Check that the vehicle is clearly marked with the company’s logo or lettering; any technician that comes from a reputable company should be driving a clean, branded vehicle in good condition.
Check for uniforms and nametags. A good rule of thumb is to check whether or not the individuals sent to perform your repairs are wearing uniforms. If they don’t have at least a nametag that identifies them and can’t present you with proper credentials, don’t let them in your house – even if they match the description you were previously provided. You want your technicians to be as professional as possible, and in this business, attire is one good way to determine the level of competence they bring to their work.
Get a price beforehand. Before technicians perform any work at all on your heating system, get a price quote in writing. This forces the company to be honest with the price of the work it’s performing and creates a more binding agreement.
Ask questions, and ask for any old parts to be left behind. Your technician should be able to directly answer your questions in a way that you can understand. They should use layman’s terms, and be able to explain in detail what the issue is. If one of the technicians tells you that you need to have a part replaced, ask to see that part and if he or she can leave it behind after the job is finished. If you have a feeling you’ve been taken advantage of, have another professional test the part.
“By being educated and informed, consumers can feel confident that they’ve selected the right professional for the job,” said Nebrasky. “And more importantly, they can rest assured that their best interests are being protected.”