Severe weather can appear anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many parts of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and water damage are also common issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In dangerous weather, systems may be pushed out of position, often toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems remain upright, they will sometimes amass mud and other sediment, which has to be cleaned out before they can function properly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. The trick is identifying 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 equipment may make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Incidents like these may escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, 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 licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage if an accident takes place. Extra ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to provide high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While decades of service alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a better 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 considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from previous customers provide a better idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and read online reviews, look for answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the final bill the same cost as the initial 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 confidence that the HVAC technicians who complete 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 mandated before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to destroy your HVAC system, you may need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a comfort system is only as good as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to guarantee proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that includes free estimates and honest, up-front pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or by the job so you know what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the cheapest bid isn’t always the best deal, particularly if it’s far lower than the rest. Chances are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price doable or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a serious storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a stress-free way to pay for unanticipated HVAC services after 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 formula that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate fair prices, enduring results and complete 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.