Bad weather can appear just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many portions of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and flooding are also common problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, systems may be forced out of position, even falling on their sides and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they will sometimes collect mud and other materials, which must be cleaned before they can operate properly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your heating and cooling may make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Events like these tend to escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, here are the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Many states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that whoever works on the equipment has the proper training and coverage if an accident occurs. Extra ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s capability to provide 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 indicates that they are skilled enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, look up the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look into the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from previous customers provide a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you contact these references and look over online reviews, seek out 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 cost as the initial 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 like assurance that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have around your family. For complete peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you might need a replacement. However, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to guarantee proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that includes free estimates and trustworthy, direct pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges hourly or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the most affordable bid isn’t automatically the best deal, especially if it’s far lower than the rest. It’s likely that the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price attractive or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a serious storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s advisable to ask about 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 afford sudden HVAC services following a storm.
Choose D.A. Bennett Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to repair your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with D.A. Bennett Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay above the competition. If you prioritize good prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local D.A. Bennett Service Experts office for help inspecting and fixing your HVAC system.