Extreme weather can appear anywhere, so most homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many aspects of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and floods are also common concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, units may be thrust out of position, even falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems stay upright, they can amass mud and other sediment, which has to be cleaned before they can function like they're supposed to.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until after it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is identifying 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 may make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Situations like these tend to 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?
Many states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the proper training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Extra 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 indicates that they are experienced enough to remain 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.
While you’re at it, look into the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers provide a better idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you contact these references and look over online reviews, seek out answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the final bill the same cost 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 want assurance that the HVAC technicians who complete the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have around your family. For your peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home comfort system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you might need a replacement. That said, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check 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 reviewing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that provides free estimates and transparent, up-front pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges by the hour or per job so you know what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the most affordable bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, especially if it’s considerably lower than the others. It’s likely that 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 online after a severe storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a better way to pay for unanticipated HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Do you need a reputable contractor to repair 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 affordable prices, lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office for help inspecting and repairing your HVAC system.