Extreme weather can appear wherever, so most homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many portions of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, units will sometimes be forced out of position, frequently falling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems stay upright, they may collect mud and other sediment, which must be cleaned out before they can work like they're supposed to.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until after it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. 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 system might make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Incidents like these may escalate around 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?
Most states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the correct training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Additional ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s means to provide high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While length of service alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a better job, it shows that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you're able to, look up the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, look up the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from past customers provide a good idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, ask potential contractors for the contact information of previous customers. As you get in touch with these references and read online reviews, look for 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 amount as the up-front 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 do the work are clean, dependable and safe to have near your family. For total peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to destroy your HVAC system, you may need a replacement. 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 uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to provide correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when exploring bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that provides free estimates and honest, up-front pricing. Also, don't forget to ask whether the company charges hourly or per job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the cheapest bid isn’t always the best deal, especially if it’s much lower than the others. It’s likely that the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price attractive or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as an easier way to afford sudden HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a proven contractor to fix 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 combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate 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 servicing your HVAC system.