Extreme weather can roll in just about anywhere, so most homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many parts of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and flooding are also significant concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, units will sometimes be pushed out of position, often falling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems remain upright, they may amass mud and other materials, which needs to be cleaned out before they can work properly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until after it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. 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 might make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Incidents like these may escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, 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 delivers peace of mind that whoever is working on the equipment has the proper training and coverage in the event an accident unfolds. Additional ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s capability to supply 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 better job, it shows 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 verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, research the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers give you a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive 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 finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the final bill the same amount 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 reassurance that the HVAC technicians who complete the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have near your family. For your peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to destroy your HVAC system, you might need another one. That said, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. 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 after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check 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. Look for a company that offers free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges by the hour or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just remember that the most affordable bid isn’t always the best deal, particularly if it’s much lower than the others. Odds 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 online after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as an easier way to afford sudden HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Calverley Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to repair your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Calverley Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value affordable prices, long-lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Calverley Service Experts office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.