Bad weather can appear anywhere, so the bulk of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many parts of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and floods are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, systems may be forced out of position, even toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they may accumulate mud and other sediment, which must be cleaned out before they can work properly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your equipment might make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Events like these often escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn about the top six questions to ask 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 provides peace of mind that anyone who works on things has the correct training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Extra ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to supply 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 good job, it demonstrates that they are skilled 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.
At the same time, look into the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from previous customers provide a good idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of prior customers. As you get in touch with these references and look over online reviews, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the overall bill the same cost as the starting 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 want assurance that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have near your family. For your peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home comfort system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to simply 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 following a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to ensure proper 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 provides free estimates and transparent, up-front pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or per job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the lowest bid isn’t always the best deal, especially if it’s far lower than the majority. It’s likely that 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 discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a major storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to cover unexpected HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Wesley Wood Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to repair your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Wesley Wood Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you prioritize good prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Wesley Wood Service Experts office for help inspecting and repairing your HVAC system.