Extreme weather can appear anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many portions of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and water damage are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, systems could be pushed out of position, often toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems remain upright, they will sometimes amass mud and other sediment, which must be removed before they can work like they're supposed to.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. 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 heating and cooling might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Events like these tend to escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn the top six questions to share 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 whoever is working on things has the appropriate training and coverage if an accident takes place. Extra ACE certification only further assists 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 offer a promise that a contractor will do a better job, it demonstrates 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 confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, look up the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers provide a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of past customers. As you contact these references and read online reviews, look for answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the total bill the same amount as the initial 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 deserve reassurance that the HVAC staff who perform the work are clean, dependable and safe to have near 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 examine the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you may need a replacement. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a comfort system is only as good as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re looking at 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 check the duct system to provide correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that includes free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges hourly or by the job so you know what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s considerably lower than the majority. It’s likely that the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price seem fair or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a serious storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to pay for unexpected HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Comfort Masters Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to fix your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Comfort Masters Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay above the competition. If you value fair prices, enduring results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Comfort Masters Service Experts office for help checking and servicing your HVAC system.