Bad weather can roll in wherever, so the bulk of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many parts of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and floods are also common problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, systems will sometimes be forced out of position, frequently falling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they may collect mud and other sediment, which must be removed before they can function correctly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until 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 individual with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your system could make matters worse, and overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Events 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?
Most states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever is working on things has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Additional ACE certification only further helps 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 great job, it demonstrates that they are experienced enough to remain in business for the long term. If you can, 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 considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from prior customers present a better idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, check with potential contractors for the contact details of previous customers. As you get in touch with these references and read online reviews, seek out answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the total bill the same price as the starting 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 staff who complete the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For total peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to destroy your HVAC system, you might need another one. That said, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as efficient as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement soon 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 investigate the duct system to guarantee appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when exploring bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that includes free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you know what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the lowest bid isn’t always the best deal, particularly if it’s considerably lower than the majority. Chances are the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price seem fair 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 major storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a better way to cover sudden HVAC services after 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 pairing that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you appreciate good prices, enduring 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 checking and fixing your HVAC system.