Severe weather can roll in wherever, so most homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and water damage are also common concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, units could be pushed out of position, often falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they can collect mud and other sediment, which must be cleaned before they can operate properly.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. 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. A poorly trained person tampering with your system may make matters worse, and overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Incidents like these tend to escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, here are the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
The majority of states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that anyone who works on things has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident occurs. Additional ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s capability to provide high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While longevity alone doesn’t promise a contractor will do a good job, it shows that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, look up the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, research the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers give you a good idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, ask potential contractors for the contact information of previous customers. As you contact these references and read online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the total bill the same amount as the starting 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 confidence that the HVAC staff who complete the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have near your family. For complete peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, an HVAC system is only as effective as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to guarantee correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when reviewing bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that includes free estimates and trustworthy, fair pricing. Also, don't forget to ask if the company charges hourly or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s considerably lower than the majority. Chances are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price doable or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s advisable to inquire 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 a better way to pay for sudden HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a proven contractor to repair 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 value good prices, long-lasting 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 checking and repairing your HVAC system.