Severe weather can appear anywhere, so most homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many aspects of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also common concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, equipment may be forced out of position, even falling on their sides and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they can collect mud and other sediment, which needs to be removed before they can operate correctly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your heating and cooling might make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Incidents 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 offers peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident occurs. Additional ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s ability to provide high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While length of service alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a good job, it demonstrates that they are experienced enough to remain in business for the long term. If you're able to, look up the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, research the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from past customers give you a better idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, ask potential contractors for the contact details of past customers. As you contact these references and check online reviews, look for answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor complete 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 the technicians background-checked and drug-tested?
You deserve reassurance that the HVAC staff who perform the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For total 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 HVAC system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need a replacement. That said, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as good as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you complete 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 vital when reviewing bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that offers free estimates and honest, up-front pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or per job so you know what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the cheapest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s much lower than the rest. Odds 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 promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a serious storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s beneficial to request any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as an easier way to pay for unanticipated HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Strand Brothers Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to restore your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Strand Brothers Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you prioritize fair prices, lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Strand Brothers Service Experts office for help checking and repairing your HVAC system.