Bad weather can happen wherever, so the majority of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many parts of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and flooding are also common issues for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, systems could be pushed out of position, often toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems stay upright, they may amass mud and other materials, which must be cleaned out before they can operate like they're supposed to.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your heating and cooling might make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Incidents like these often escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn about the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Most states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever is working on the equipment has the proper training and coverage in case an accident unfolds. Extra 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 offer a promise that a contractor will do a good job, it shows that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you can, look up the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look into the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from prior customers provide a good idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, ask potential contractors for the contact info of previous customers. As you call these references and read online reviews, look for answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the total bill the same cost as the up-front 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 confidence that the HVAC staff who complete the work are clean, dependable 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 bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home comfort system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you may need another one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as effective as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to ensure correct 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 find a company that provides free estimates and trustworthy, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the lowest bid isn’t always the best deal, especially if it’s considerably lower than the majority. Odds are 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 promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running 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, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as an easier way to afford unexpected HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Strand Brothers Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to restore your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Strand Brothers Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay above the competition. If you value good prices, enduring results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Strand Brothers Service Experts office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.