Bad weather can happen anywhere, so most homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many portions of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and floods are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, units will sometimes be pushed out of position, even toppling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems remain upright, they may collect mud and other materials, which needs to be removed before they can work correctly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until after 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 guy 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 disappear without a trace.
Incidents like these often escalate around 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?
Most states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that anyone who works on the equipment has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s capability to ensure high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While decades of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a better job, it indicates that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, search for the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, research the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers give you a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, ask potential contractors for the contact details of previous customers. As you call these references and check online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the overall bill the same price 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 like reassurance that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For complete peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to ruin your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, an HVAC system is only as efficient as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate 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 includes free estimates and transparent, fair pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, especially if it’s considerably lower than the rest. It’s likely that the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price doable or surprise you with 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 cheap. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as an easier way to cover sudden HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Bob Brown Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Bob Brown Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you prioritize affordable prices, lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Bob Brown Service Experts office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.