I would like to share my very recent experience with an air conditioning issue and resolution. Here is both my quick, two sentence, feedback for those who just want the punchline, followed by my longer full story for those looking for more details.
In short, this is not a recommendation on which AC equipment to go with, as mine is too new yet to offer any real feedback, but rather on who I recommend contacting if you have an issue. I just had my AC replaced and I would highly recommend Ash from Fair Deal Heating & Air Conditioning.
Now, here's my long story, I do hope it helps at least one other person.
Tuesday, June 30th, I came home in the early evening to find my house several degrees warmer than it should have been, despite the air conditioner being on. After investigating a little, I found the cooper line outside to the condenser covered in ice, and the same in the basement where the line came away from the coil. A little internet research told me I likely had a leak in the system and no longer had sufficient coolant, which I couldn't simply recharge given it used R-22. Long story short, time to replace the AC. But of course, it's Tuesday night before Canada Day as we are headed into at least a week long heatwave.
After a little research, in addition to leaving a couple of messages for a few of the bigger companies, I decided to text Ash at Fair Deal on WhatsApp, given some strong recommendations for his company. Despite it being 10:20am on Canada Day, Ash texted me back within 2 minutes (no exaggeration) asking if he could call me in 10 minutes. We talked for almost 30 minutes about the issue I'm having, some specifics about my home and what I'm looking for and then he answered a bunch of my questions and provided me some options and recommendations, as well as a quote on what sounded like the right system for me. Based on the positive reviews I had already read and the fact that he got back to me right away, on a holiday nonetheless, I did something I have never done before and booked the work with Ash right away without shopping around or getting competing quotes. He was able to schedule my new AC installation for Friday morning at 10am. If you don't want to read further, I'll sum up by saying I'm glad I did.
This is where it gets even better. Within 10 minutes of getting off the phone with Ash, he texted me the details, including full model number, of the AC unit we had discussed, so I could research the specifics and make sure I was comfortable with this one. Less than an hour later, he calls me back, tells me he's at his supplier and they should be able to get the unit the next day for my Friday AM install, but of course, can't be 100% sure until the equipment is in his hands. But then he also offers me the option of using a similar, but slightly more expensive unit, which they had available immediately. He also said he would honor the quoted price regardless of which unit I wanted and he sent me the details of the second unit as well. I did some quick research and selected the unit that was available right now, to essentially guarantee nothing would delay my install and because it wasn't increasing my cost. He picked up the unit for me right then. Again, this is all happening on a holiday.
Thursday morning I get a few call backs from some of those other companies I left messages for the day before and two of them agree to send someone out to look at my system and provide me with a quote later that same day. I figure, why not, peace of mind, I'll at least have 3 different quotes to compare. None of the quotes were apples to apples, but here is what they looked like.
Of the other two, Company 1 came the closest to quoting me on something similar to what I was already getting. They tried to pressure me into signing right away by offering me 'great discounts', which were still roughly $1,000 higher than what I was already booked for. In all fairness, not the exact same equipment, but similar enough that the price difference should have been very small.
Company 2 was very much interested in overselling me on all kinds of 'bells and whistles', such as air purification systems, two-stage AC units and thousand dollar thermostats. The sales person obviously was more of a 'sales person' than a 'technical person' as well, as they did not really know the equipment outside of specifically what they sold. They were also more interested in showing me texts from other happy customers than focusing on my situation. Their lower quote, with less bells and whistles, was also nearly double Fair Deal's quote (their high-end quote was almost triple). Again, not quoting on the same things, but I found it interesting how focused on up-selling they were.
One other note, both bigger companies were not shy about 'scare tactics'. Basically warning that if I go with a smaller company, the company probably won't be around in the future if I need them, or they won't respond to me quickly if I have a problem. I found it a little funny, since the "small company" I was going with already showed a level of responsiveness and customer service that exceeded my expectations and my experience with both bigger companies.
I was now even more satisfied with my choice to select Ash and Fair Deal.
Back to my experience with Fair Deal. While Company 2 was still at my house, Ash called and asked if I would be okay if his team came by in about an hour to look at my install and if simple, to do it right away. I, of course, said yes. Raj and his son got to my house around 5pm and after examining my situation, realized this install was going to be quite complicated, as they needed to run new cooper piping and I had a finished ceiling in the basement that they were not keen to damage. They took stock of everything they would need and we agreed to stick to the original install the next morning, as it was going to take a while (and I didn't love the idea of them working til midnight, although based on some other's reviews, I'm sure they would have if I was desperate). Sure enough, they arrived exactly at 10am Friday, already had everything they needed and set to work right away. They were very professional, obviously knew what they were doing and didn't mind me hanging around and asking questions (although I'm sure every professional actually hates this...they did not give me that impression once). They did a very neat and tidy job and were very good about cleaning up along the way. It took them 6 hours on Friday and I couldn't be happier with the work done! Ash followed-up with me after they left to inquire about how satisfied I was. He also followed-up with me again this morning to make sure everything was working to my expectations.
Obviously, as my new AC is less than 1 day old right now, I can't speak to the longevity of the equipment, but my intention with this review is to possibly help others find a great company to work with regardless of which equipment you are interested in. Based on my experiences alone, I would absolutely recommend Ash and Fair Deal Heating and Air Conditioning to my friends and family. Hope this helps!