Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Severe weather can happen anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many portions of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows. 

High winds and water damage are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, units could be thrust out of position, often toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they may collect mud and other materials, which needs to be removed before they can work properly. 

For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until after it’s received the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can argue they’re an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your system may make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then disappear without a trace. 

Situations like these often escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor. 

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified? 

Most states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that whoever is working on the equipment has the appropriate training and coverage if an accident occurs. Continued ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s means to provide 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 good job, it demonstrates that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you’re 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 into the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from previous customers provide a good idea of what to expect. 

For even more specific answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact info of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and look over online reviews, seek answers to the following questions: 

  • Did the contractor finish the job on time? 
  • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content? 
  • Was the overall 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 want confidence that the HVAC staff who do the work are clean, dependable and safe to have around your family. For complete peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before adding new hires to the team. 

4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling system? 

If the storm damage is significant enough to destroy your HVAC system, you may need a replacement. However, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, an HVAC system is only as efficient as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions: 

  • Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations? 
  • Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks? 
  • Do you check the duct system to guarantee correct sizing and configuration? 

5. Can I get an estimate in writing? 

A written, itemized estimate is essential when comparing bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that provides free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, don’t forget to ask if the company charges hourly or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the cheapest bid isn’t always the best deal, especially if it’s much lower than the others. Chances are the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price seem fair or tack on hidden fees at the end. 

6. Do you have any special promotions? 

Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a major storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s worthwhile to request any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a better way to afford unexpected HVAC services after a storm. 

Choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 

Do you need a proven contractor to fix your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay above the competition. If you value affordable prices, enduring results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office for help examining and fixing your HVAC system. 

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