Severe weather can happen anywhere, so most homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and flooding are also significant issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, units could be pushed out of position, even falling on their sides and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems manage to stay upright, they will sometimes collect mud and other materials, which must be cleaned before they can function like they're supposed to.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it has 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 argue they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your system could make matters worse, and overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Incidents like these often escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, here are the top six questions to share 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 provides peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the correct training and coverage if an accident occurs. Extra ACE certification only further supports 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 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 up the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, look up the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from prior customers give you a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact info of previous customers. As you get in touch with these references and read online reviews, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the final bill the same cost as the up-front estimate?
- Did a live person always answer calls, or did an answering machine pick up?
3. Are the 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 required before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home comfort system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to destroy your HVAC system, you may need another one. However, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a comfort system is only as good as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to provide proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when reviewing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that provides free estimates and trustworthy, up-front pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the most affordable bid isn’t always the best deal, namely if it’s much lower than the rest. Chances are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price doable or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a major storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s advisable to ask about any savings you may 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 pay for unanticipated HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Peachtree Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to repair your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Peachtree Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value fair prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Peachtree Service Experts office for help inspecting and servicing your HVAC system.