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Air Conditioner Installation: How to detect Dodgy installers'

Six key questions to ask to help you to determine if you are at risk of a dodgy installation.

The Cool's Dodgy Detector poses 6 key questions to help you to determine if you are at risk of a dodgy installation.

Do your homework and extract the information you need to know to protect yourself and to get great workmanship and an awesome installation.

  1. Do they have an ARC Tick?

    The Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) licence scheme identifies businesses or individuals as being authorised to install air conditioners. It is an offence to handle refrigerant and air conditioning equipment without appropriate qualifications and a licence. Without it, chances are the installer’s operating illegally. So look for an ARC tick or ‘AU’ licence number associated with the business.

  2. Do they have the approved licence/s to install?

    All installations must be done by a licensed air conditioning installer. Under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995, persons who handle these substances in bulk or in equipment, and people who work on equipment containing these gases, are required to hold a Refrigerant Handling Licence.

    Some installers have Restricted Licences and are limited to only installing single split system air conditioners up to 18kw. They do not necessarily possess adequate technical qualifications or experience to handle refrigerant and undertake all air conditioning installations.

  3. How is the company reviewed by people online?

    Independent reviews are usually a first port of call nowadays and an excellent way for customers to provide feedback about companies’ services. Each review posted online is a form of advertising telling you about the company’s history in service provision and the customer’s experience.

    A 2015 Nielsen survey of 30,000 internet consumers from 58 countries found that 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.

    * Any review is an opportunity for you to learn more about the installation company and what other customers think about their service.

  4. Is the salesperson selling ‘well’ to meet his/her commission/kickback needs or selling to meet my air conditioning needs?

    Be aware of sales advice, brand affiliations and the salesperson’s expertise regarding the products being suggested for your installation. Sales people are usually well versed in sales, but not so much in the trades who will be installing your air conditioner. The best advice you can get is from someone who has experience and knows the industry.

    Most air conditioning units are essentially appliances housed in metal and plastic boxes which can be viewed online, in brochures and in show rooms. Keep in mind, a flashy show room doesn’t add value to your installation nor can it display every model of air conditioner. It will however add to the cost of your air conditioning installation because wages and rent will need to be paid to offset these overhead costs.

    The internet has empowered everyone to have access to information, so salespeople can no longer rely on product knowledge as their value proposition. Brand bias talk and advertising is all about persuasion and influencing people's purchasing behaviours. It’s worth noting that a particular brand does not necessarily ensure you’ll receive a superior product or installation.

    Then there is badge engineering, sometimes known as rebadging. It is the practice of applying a different badge (brand, logo or manufacturer's name) to an existing air conditioning unit and then marketing it as a distinctly different product. This occurs because it may not be selling, either people don’t like the brand name, affiliate the brand with another electrical appliance or don’t recognise it in Australia.

    As a consumer, brand selection at the end of the day is about your budget and personal preference. All the major brands within the Australian market are pretty close in Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) efficiency, performance and reliability. It really comes down to aesthetics, price of the unit and the minor feature differences such as economy settings, sound levels, Wi-Fi and so on that may sway the buyer. Whatever the brand selected, the most important factor is choosing the right installer.

  5. Is the installer’s workmanship up to scratch?

    The overall product you select from your installation company is an ‘air conditioning system’. That system is made up of the branded unit/s, ductwork and various other electrical and pipe up products – what is critically important is the quality of the workmanship involved by the tradesman that pulls all these aspects together in the installation.

    The effectiveness of your air conditioner is directly related to its installation. If your air conditioner is not installed correctly, it might not work properly and can be riddled with problems, such as premature equipment failure and safety concerns in your home. Shoddy workmanship can also lead to the warranty being void and long-term operational issues that can be costly.

  6. How do I choose the right installer?

    The right installer is someone who:

    • Knows their ‘stuff’ and you’re comfortable speaking about your air conditioning needs with, including the design, brands and ask questions to ensure your requirements are being met (not the sales person’s);
    • Is a licensed electrician and/or refrigeration mechanic possessing the right qualifications authorising them as competent to install air conditioners in South Australia;
    • Is ARC registered and is authorised to install air conditioners;
    • Has good industry experience and knowledge about installations;
    • Has good reviews about their work, return business and referrals;
    • Has good work ethics and a staff team that reflects professionalism and genuine pride in their work; and
    • Provides customer service clearly directed to help you achieve your aim in installing the best air conditioning system for your home.

If you’d like further information or advice about getting an air conditioning system design and installation, please contact us at Joe Cools.

Let us know if Joe Cool’s Dodgy Detector helped raise your awareness about the information you need to know and check to reduce the risks involved with air conditioning installations.

Contact Joe Cools Adelaide.

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