Extreme weather can appear anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many parts of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and floods are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, equipment may be pushed out of position, even falling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems stay upright, they can accumulate mud and other sediment, which has to be cleaned before they can operate correctly.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until after it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your equipment might make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Incidents like these tend to escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, learn 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 provides peace of mind that whoever is working on the equipment has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident unfolds. Additional ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to supply high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While longevity alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a great 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, look into the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from past customers present a good idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and look over online reviews, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the total bill the same price as the initial 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 assurance that the HVAC professionals who do the work are clean, dependable and safe to have near your family. For complete peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need a new one. However, 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 looking at HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to ensure appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, don't forget to ask whether the company charges hourly or per job so you know what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the most affordable bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, particularly if it’s much lower than the majority. Chances are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price doable or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a serious storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a stress-free way to afford unanticipated HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a trusted contractor to fix your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? 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 in front of the competition. If you appreciate good prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.