Extreme weather can appear wherever, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In dangerous weather, systems will sometimes be pushed out of position, often toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they will sometimes collect mud and other debris, which needs to be removed before they can work like they're supposed to.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until after it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, and overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Events like these often escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, here are the top six questions to share 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 offers peace of mind that whoever works on things has the correct training and coverage in case an accident occurs. Extra ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s capability to supply 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 indicates that they are experienced enough to remain in business for the long term. If you are able to, search for the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look up the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from previous customers provide a better idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, ask potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you contact these references and read online reviews, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the total bill the same cost 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 do the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For total peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory 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. That said, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement after 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 check the duct system to ensure correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when exploring bids from different HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and trustworthy, up-front pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges by the hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the cheapest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, especially if it’s considerably lower than the rest. Chances are the contractor could attempt to 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 online after a serious storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s worthwhile to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out 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 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 formula that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you prioritize fair prices, enduring results and total 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.