SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA-Back in July, NBC’s Today Show did an investigation of New Jersey air conditioning and heating companies to find out if the reputation the HVAC industry has of overcharging and misleading consumers had any truth to it.

The results were less than encouraging.

The Today Show set up a hidden camera test in a rented house in the middle of a heat wave. They had three certified heating and air conditioning experts thoroughly inspect the home’s indoor comfort system. All of them deemed it in excellent condition. NBC had Bobby Ring, the senior vice chair of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, set up what he explained as a common, easy-to-fix and relatively inexpensive problem, an issue he said his company would charge less than $200 to resolve.

In their hidden-camera investigation, six out of six contractors tried to charge for unnecessary parts or work they didn’t actually do with one invoice’s total coming in at $950.

Our president and founder Gabriel Carini says emphatically that not all companies are the same, and our San Diego air conditioning and heating company is definitely different than the six “professionals” who tried to rip off the woman posing as a homeowner.

“This report just confirms what homeowners already know,” says Carini, who has more than 11 years’ experience in heating and cooling services. “They have to do research instead of relying solely on whatever company is available when they’re having an air conditioning emergency.”

One of the things that our company is known for on Angie’s List and other online review sites is our high quality customer service and willingness to go the extra mile for our customers.

“Part of my company’s philosophy is to lay out all the options,” says Carini. “We are honest with customers about what we’re recommending and why. If they’re better off repairing, we won’t push them to buy new equipment.”

We also take the time to explain why we might suggest a certain service or part, and we specify when they are upgrade options that would enhance their comfort level, help lower energy bills or solve a long-term problem.

“It’s easy to forget that a heating and cooling system is more than a thermostat and box outside that can be turned on or off in order to control your temperature,” says Carini. “It has a big impact on you and your family’s health, not to mention your wallet in the form of utility bills each month.”

HVAC systems are responsible for the indoor air quality, the air that you are breathing day in and day out. That is why it is so critical to keep up with routine maintenance and have the system inspected and cleaned twice a year by a heating and air conditioning expert. Tuneups keep the unit running at peak efficiency. It also means you have established some trust with a company that you can turn to when you have an air conditioning emergency instead of picking someone out of the top search results online or out of the phone book.

We’ve written before about how to find a reputable air conditioning service provider in San Diego. Start by collecting recommendations from friends, family and acquaintances, then research several of the companies online, checking certifications, Better Business Bureau records and review sites like Angie’s List. Carini also recommends asking for several references, especially if you’re doing a big job like replacing the whole system.