Extreme weather can roll in wherever, so the majority of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many parts of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also significant concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In severe weather, units will sometimes be thrust out of position, often falling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems stay upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other materials, which must be removed before they can work properly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Incidents like these tend to escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn the top six questions to ask 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 anyone who works on things has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Additional ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s ability to provide 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 demonstrates that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you're able to, search for the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look up the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers present a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, ask potential contractors for the contact information of previous customers. As you get in touch with these references and check online reviews, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the overall bill the same cost as the initial 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, trustworthy and safe to have near your family. For complete peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home comfort system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you will sometimes need another one. However, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to guarantee proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that includes free estimates and trustworthy, fair pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges hourly or per job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, especially if it’s much lower than the majority. It’s likely that the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price doable or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a major storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s beneficial to request any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a better way to afford unexpected HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Comfortech Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to repair your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Comfortech Service Experts . We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you value good prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Comfortech Service Experts office for help inspecting and servicing your HVAC system.