Extreme weather can roll in wherever, so most homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many parts of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also significant concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In dangerous weather, units may be thrust out of position, frequently falling on their sides and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems manage to stay upright, they can amass mud and other sediment, which needs to be cleaned before they can operate properly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Situations like these often escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, learn the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Many states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that whoever works on things has the proper training and coverage if an accident unfolds. Extra ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s capability to provide 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 shows that they are proficient 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.
Simultaneously, look into the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from past customers give you a good idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of previous customers. As you call these references and check online reviews, look for answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the total bill the same amount as the starting estimate?
- Did a live person always answer calls, or did an answering machine pick up?
3. Are your technicians background-checked and drug-tested?
You like reassurance that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For your peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to guarantee appropriate 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 provides free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, don't forget to ask if the company charges hourly or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just remember that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, particularly if it’s far lower than the others. Chances are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price seem fair 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 cheap. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as an easier way to cover unexpected HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Stevenson Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to repair your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Stevenson Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate fair prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Stevenson Service Experts office for help checking and servicing your HVAC system.