Severe weather can appear anywhere, so most homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and floods are also common concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, systems could be forced out of position, often toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems manage to stay upright, they will sometimes amass mud and other materials, which needs to be removed before they can operate correctly.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your heating and cooling might make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Events like these often escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
The majority of states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident unfolds. Extra ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to ensure high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While length of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a great job, it shows that they are skilled enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, look up the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, look into the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from previous customers present a good idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, ask potential contractors for the contact details of past customers. As you contact these references and look over online reviews, look for answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the final bill the same cost as the starting estimate?
- Did a live person always answer calls, or did an answering machine pick up?
3. Are the technicians background-checked and drug-tested?
You like confidence that the HVAC technicians who do the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For complete peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to ruin your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a comfort system is only as efficient as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to ensure correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when exploring bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that provides free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges hourly or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just remember that the lowest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, namely if it’s far lower than the majority. Odds are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price seem fair or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a major storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as a better way to cover unanticipated HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a trusted contractor to repair your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value good prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.