Severe weather can appear wherever, so the bulk of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many aspects of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and water damage are also significant issues for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, equipment may be thrust out of position, often falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems remain upright, they may accumulate mud and other debris, which needs to be cleaned out before they can operate correctly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it has gotten 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. Someone unqualified and tampering with your equipment might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Events like these tend to escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, here are the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
The majority of states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that anyone who works on things has the proper training and coverage in the event an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s ability to ensure high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While decades of service alone doesn’t promise a contractor will do a great job, it indicates that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, look up the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look up the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from prior customers give you a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact details of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and read online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the final bill the same amount as the starting 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 deserve confidence that the HVAC staff who complete the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For total peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you may need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as good as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to guarantee correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when reviewing bids from different HVAC contractors. Look for a company that includes free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges hourly or per job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just remember that the lowest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, especially if it’s far lower than the rest. Odds are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price attractive or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as an easier way to cover sudden HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Climate Control Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to restore your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Climate Control Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you value affordable prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Climate Control Service Experts office for help examining and servicing your HVAC system.