Bad weather can happen just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and flooding are also significant problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, equipment could be forced out of position, often falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they may collect mud and other sediment, which has to be cleaned before they can operate properly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your system might make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Incidents like these often escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn about the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Many states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever works on the equipment has the proper training and coverage if an accident occurs. Additional ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s ability to ensure high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While decades of service alone doesn’t promise a contractor will do a great job, it demonstrates that they are proficient enough to remain in business for the long term. If you are able to, look up the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, research the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from prior customers provide 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, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the overall bill the same cost as the up-front 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 deserve reassurance that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For your 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 comfort system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you may need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a heating and cooling 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 a few questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to guarantee proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when reviewing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that offers free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, don't forget to ask if the company charges by the hour or per job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the most affordable bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s considerably lower than the majority. It’s likely that the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price attractive or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a serious storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s worthwhile to ask about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as an easier way to pay for sudden HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a reputable contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value 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 examining and repairing your HVAC system.