Extreme weather can appear wherever, so the bulk of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and floods are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In dangerous weather, units will sometimes be thrust out of position, often falling on their sides and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they can amass mud and other materials, which must be removed before they can function correctly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is identifying 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 heating and cooling may make matters worse, and overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Situations like these tend to escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Most states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s means to supply high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While length of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a good job, it indicates that they are skilled enough to stay in business for the long term. If you're able to, look into the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look into the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from past customers present a better idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact details of past customers. As you contact 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 content?
- Was the final bill the same price 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 deserve confidence that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, dependable and safe to have near your family. For complete 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 may need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, an HVAC system is only as effective as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to ensure appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that provides free estimates and trustworthy, fair pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges by the hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the most affordable bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, especially if it’s much lower than the others. Odds 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 discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a severe storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s beneficial to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a better way to pay for unexpected HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a trusted 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 pairing that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate good prices, 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 servicing your HVAC system.