LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Whenever the heat cranks up, it neverfails that that's when your air conditioner crashes.

But before you make a panicked call for service, make sure you don't get a bad deal.

Channel 3's Consumer Reporter, Maureen Kyle tells youwhat you need to know so your broken air conditioner doesn't break the bank.

Why?

When consumers are desperate, they can put themselves at risk.

The Better Business Bureau warns fly-by-night companies might try to get into your house promising free services, but instead, charge extra or try to sell you a new air conditioning unitunnecessarily.

So before you call for help, troubleshoot your issues. Check your thermostat to make sure it's operating properly.

If you know what to look for, check for damage to the unit yourself.

Next, make sure you get a written estimate for repairs or equipment so that way, when everyone is together, there's everythingon paper and everyone can see what they're getting.

Also get multiple quotes to make sure you're getting the best deal, not just the fastest service.

And protect your home valuables if you are letting an unknown contractor into your home.

It's always good to get referrals from family and friends as well.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE