Severe weather can appear anywhere, so the majority of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and water damage are also common problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, systems will sometimes be pushed out of position, frequently falling on their sides and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems remain upright, they may accumulate mud and other materials, which must be removed before they can function like they're supposed to.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your heating and cooling might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Events like these may escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn about the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
The majority of states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Additional ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s capability to ensure 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 indicates that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, look up the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, research the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from prior customers provide a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and read online reviews, seek answers to the following 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 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 reassurance that the HVAC staff who do the work are clean, dependable and safe to have around 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 comfort system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a replacement. That said, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to ensure correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that offers free estimates and trustworthy, fair pricing. Also, don't forget to ask whether the company charges per hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just remember that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, especially if it’s much lower than the others. It’s likely that the contractor will either cut corners to make the price attractive or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a major storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a better way to pay for unanticipated HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Teays Valley Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to fix your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Teays Valley Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay above the competition. If you value affordable prices, lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Teays Valley Service Experts office for help inspecting and repairing your HVAC system.