Air Conditioner Repair

Published by 
Last updated: 
December 12, 2023

Dealing with a Residential Central A/C System That's Not Cooling

Recognizing the Problem

According to our research, the first sign of a malfunctioning central A/C system is often a home that feels warmer than usual. You may initially dismiss it, expecting the AC to kick on and resolve the issue. However, if the problem persists, it becomes clear that action is needed.

For example, let's say you return home after being out for a couple of hours and find the indoor temperature has risen to 85°F, despite the thermostat being set much lower. This is a strong indication that the air conditioning is not working properly, and the rising heat and humidity can quickly lead to an uncomfortable environment for the home's occupants.

Finding a Reputable Service Provider

When faced with a malfunctioning AC system, the next step is to find a reliable service provider. Our research shows that seeking referrals from friends, family, or neighbors who live nearby is often a good starting point. They can share their experiences and recommend companies they trust.

In the absence of personal referrals, the internet has become a valuable resource for finding service providers. However, it's important to exercise caution and common sense when selecting a company. Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true, such as free service calls, as they often come with hidden costs or high-pressure sales tactics.

Tips for Choosing a Service Provider

  1. Look for companies with a mid-range service call fee that includes system diagnostics and a written quote for repairs.
  2. Pay attention to how the company handles your initial phone call. A reputable provider will ask questions to understand your issue and may even offer simple troubleshooting steps over the phone.
  3. If possible, schedule your service call for the first appointment of the day to minimize wait times.

The Service Call

When the technician arrives, they should be driving a marked service vehicle and wearing a company uniform. A professional company will typically call ahead to provide the technician's name and estimated arrival time.

During the service call, the technician will diagnose the problem and provide you with a repair estimate. There are two common pricing structures: flat rate and time and materials.

Flat Rate Pricing

Flat rate pricing, also known as upfront pricing, is a newer and often preferred method. With this approach, the technician will diagnose the issue within 30-60 minutes and provide an exact price for the repairs, including the diagnostic fee. For example:

Fan Motor Replacement$500.00
Diagnostic Fee$80.00
Total Out-the-Door Price$580.00

The advantage of flat rate pricing is that you know the exact cost upfront, regardless of how long the repair takes. This system works best with experienced, well-equipped technicians who can work efficiently and carry common parts on their trucks.

Time and Materials Pricing

Time and materials pricing, also known as hourly pricing, charges for the technician's time and the cost of parts used. This older method can be less predictable, as the final cost depends on the time spent diagnosing the problem, locating parts, and completing the repair.

This pricing structure may be more common with less experienced or equipped technicians who need to spend more time troubleshooting and making supply runs. According to our research, in a metropolitan area, a single supply run can add an average of two hours to the service call.


When you need AC repair service, start by seeking referrals from friends and family. If that's not an option, research companies online, checking for independent reviews and ratings. Be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true, and opt for a company that charges a reasonable diagnostic fee and provides upfront pricing.

During the service call, expect the technician to arrive in a marked vehicle, wearing a company uniform. They should diagnose the problem and provide a written estimate for repairs. Make sure you understand the total cost, including any diagnostic fees, before authorizing the work.

By following these guidelines and working with a reputable service provider, you can get your AC system back up and running while minimizing stress and unexpected costs.

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