Bad weather can appear anywhere, so the majority of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many parts of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and water damage are also significant concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, units could be pushed out of position, often falling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they will sometimes amass mud and other materials, which has to be cleaned out before they can work like they're supposed to.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until after it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your system might make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Incidents like these tend to escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, here are the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Many states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that whoever works on the equipment has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident occurs. Additional ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s capability 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 better job, it indicates that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, look into the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look up the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from prior customers give you a better idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, ask potential contractors for the contact details of past customers. As you contact these references and check 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 price as the up-front estimate?
- Did a live person always answer calls, or did an answering machine pick up?
3. Are new technicians background-checked and drug-tested?
You deserve assurance that the HVAC staff who do the work are clean, dependable and safe to have near your family. For your peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need another one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a comfort system is only as efficient as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess 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 reviewing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that offers free estimates and honest, up-front pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges hourly or per job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just remember that the cheapest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, particularly if it’s much lower than the others. It’s likely that the contractor will either cut corners to make the price attractive or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a major storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s advisable to inquire about any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as a stress-free way to pay for unexpected HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a trusted 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 above the competition. If you appreciate fair prices, long-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.