Bad weather can appear anywhere, so most homeowners are familiar with 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 major issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, equipment could be forced out of position, frequently falling on their sides and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems remain upright, they will sometimes collect mud and other materials, which has to be cleaned before they can function properly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it's 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 argue they're an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your system may make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Events like these may escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, here are the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Many states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the proper training and coverage in case an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s means 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 good job, it indicates that they are proficient enough to stay 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.
At the same time, look up the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from prior customers present a good idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact details of prior customers. As you get in touch with these references and look over online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the total bill the same price as the starting 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 want assurance that the HVAC professionals who perform 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 adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to destroy your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a replacement. That said, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as efficient as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to guarantee appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when exploring bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that includes free estimates and transparent, up-front pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just remember that the lowest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, particularly if it’s much lower than the others. Chances are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price seem fair 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 advisable to request any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to afford unanticipated HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a reputable contractor to restore 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 pairing that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you prioritize good prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office for help inspecting and repairing your HVAC system.