Extreme weather can roll in anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many parts of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and water damage are also common concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In severe weather, equipment could be thrust out of position, even falling on their sides and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems stay upright, they may accumulate mud and other materials, which must be cleaned before they can operate properly.
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. A poorly trained person tampering with your system could make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Events like these tend to escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, here are the top six questions to raise 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 provides peace of mind that whoever is working on your system has the correct training and coverage in the event an accident occurs. Continued ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s means to supply high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While length of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a great job, it indicates that they are skilled enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, look up the company’s name online to confirm 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. Feedback from prior customers provide a good idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact details of previous customers. As you call these references and check online reviews, look for 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 price as the initial 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 deserve confidence that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, dependable and safe to have around your family. For your peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling 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 others. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check 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 crucial when comparing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and transparent, up-front pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges by the hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just remember that the cheapest bid isn’t always the best deal, especially if it’s much lower than the majority. Chances are the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price attractive or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a serious storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about 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 afford sudden HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Coastal Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to restore your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Coastal Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you prioritize good prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Coastal Service Experts office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.