Severe weather can appear wherever, so the bulk of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many parts of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also common concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, equipment will sometimes be forced out of position, frequently toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they can amass mud and other debris, which needs to be cleaned before they can work correctly.
For your safety when evaluating 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 person with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Events like these may escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, here are the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
The majority of states implement 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 case an accident occurs. Continued ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s capability to provide 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 great job, it demonstrates that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, search for 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 considering 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, check with potential contractors for the contact information of prior customers. As you call these references and check online reviews, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the total 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 your technicians background-checked and drug-tested?
You want confidence that the HVAC professionals who do the work are clean, dependable and safe to have around your family. For total peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required 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 will sometimes need a replacement. 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 effective as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to ensure proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when exploring bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that offers free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges by the hour or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just remember that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, particularly if it’s far lower than the majority. It’s likely that the contractor will either cut corners to make the price seem fair or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a major storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s beneficial to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as a stress-free way to pay for unanticipated HVAC services following a storm.
Choose A-PLUS Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to restore your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with A-PLUS Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you appreciate fair prices, enduring results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local A-PLUS Service Experts office for help checking and repairing your HVAC system.