Severe weather can roll in wherever, so most homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In severe weather, systems will sometimes be thrust out of position, often toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems manage to stay upright, they may amass mud and other sediment, which must be cleaned out before they can function correctly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until after it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your heating and cooling may make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Situations like these may escalate after 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?
Many states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the correct training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Continued ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s ability to supply 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 good job, it indicates that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you're 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 considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from previous customers give you a better idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, ask potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you call these references and look over online reviews, seek out answers to the following 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 starting 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 want confidence that the HVAC staff who do the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For total peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you may need another one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a comfort system is only as effective as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to guarantee appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when comparing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and trustworthy, direct pricing. Also, don't forget to ask if the company charges by the hour or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the most affordable bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, particularly if it’s far lower than the majority. Odds are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price seem fair or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a serious storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s advisable to ask about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to pay for unanticipated HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a trusted 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 combination that helps us stay above the competition. If you appreciate affordable prices, enduring results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office for help checking and repairing your HVAC system.