Severe weather can roll in just about anywhere, so the bulk of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many aspects of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and water damage are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In dangerous weather, systems may be forced out of position, often toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they can collect mud and other debris, which has to be cleaned out before they can operate properly.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it's received 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 to be an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Incidents like these may escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, learn about the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Most states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever is working on the equipment has the proper training and coverage in case an accident unfolds. Extra ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s means to supply high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While longevity alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a good job, it shows that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, look into the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look into the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from past customers present a better idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, ask potential contractors for the contact info of previous customers. As you call these references and look over online reviews, seek out answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the final bill the same amount as the initial estimate?
- Did a live person always answer calls, or did an answering machine pick up?
3. Are your technicians background-checked and drug-tested?
You like assurance that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For total peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to destroy your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a replacement. However, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, an HVAC system is only as efficient as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine 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 different HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that includes free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges hourly or by the job so you know what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the most affordable bid isn’t automatically the best deal, particularly if it’s much lower than the rest. Odds are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price doable or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to afford sudden HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a reputable 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 prioritize good prices, lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office for help checking and fixing your HVAC system.