Extreme weather can roll in just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and water damage are also significant problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, systems will sometimes be pushed out of position, even falling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems manage to stay upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other materials, which has to be cleaned before they can operate like they're supposed to.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until after it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your equipment might 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 cheated, learn the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Most states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever works on the equipment has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident occurs. Continued ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s capability to supply 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 are able to, look into the company’s name online to confirm 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 provide a better idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of past customers. As you contact these references and look over online reviews, look for answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the total 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, dependable and safe to have around your family. For total peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before introducing 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 a replacement. Unfortunately, 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 efficient as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze 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 comparing bids from different HVAC contractors. Look for a company that provides free estimates and trustworthy, fair pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges per hour or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just remember that the most affordable bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s much lower than the rest. Odds are the contractor could attempt 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 to normal after a major storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s beneficial to request any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as an easier way to pay for sudden HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Air Engineers Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to repair your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Air Engineers Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay above the competition. If you value fair prices, enduring results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Air Engineers Service Experts office for help checking and repairing your HVAC system.