Severe weather can roll in just about anywhere, so the bulk of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many parts of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and floods are also common issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, units may be pushed out of position, frequently toppling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems remain upright, they will sometimes collect mud and other debris, which has to be cleaned out before they can operate correctly.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. 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. A poorly trained person tampering with your system could 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, learn the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
The majority of states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever works on things has the appropriate training and coverage if 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 decades of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a good job, it demonstrates that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you can, search for the company’s name online to confirm 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. Testimonials from prior customers give you a good 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, look for answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the overall bill the same amount 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 like confidence that the HVAC technicians who do the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For complete 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 heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to destroy your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to provide correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when comparing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that offers free estimates and honest, fair pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges hourly or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s far lower than the others. Odds 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 promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a major storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s worthwhile to ask about any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to cover sudden HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a reputable contractor to restore your HVAC system after a nasty storm? 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 affordable 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 examining and repairing your HVAC system.