Bad weather can roll in wherever, so most homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many portions of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and water damage are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, systems may be thrust out of position, often falling on their sides and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems stay upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other materials, which has to be cleaned before they can work correctly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your system might make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Incidents like these may 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?
The majority of states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that anyone who works on the equipment has the correct training and coverage if an accident occurs. Continued ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s ability to ensure high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While longevity alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a better job, it indicates that they are skilled enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, search for the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look up the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from prior customers present a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, ask potential contractors for the contact details of previous customers. As you get in touch with these references and check online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the total bill the same amount as the starting 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 staff who complete 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 compulsory before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need a replacement. That said, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as efficient as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to provide appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when reviewing bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that offers free estimates and transparent, fair pricing. Also, don't forget to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you know what you’re paying for. Just remember that the most affordable bid isn’t always the best deal, particularly if it’s considerably lower than the majority. Odds are the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price seem fair or sneak in 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 advisable to request any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as a stress-free way to cover sudden HVAC services following a storm.
Choose R & M Climate Control Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to restore your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with R & M Climate Control Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay above the competition. If you prioritize affordable prices, lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local R & M Climate Control Service Experts office for help checking and repairing your HVAC system.