Bad weather can roll in anywhere, so most homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also significant issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, equipment could be pushed out of position, frequently falling on their sides and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems manage to stay upright, they can collect mud and other materials, which must be cleaned before they can operate like they're supposed to.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your equipment might make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Situations like these may escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, here are the top six questions to share 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 whoever is working on things has the appropriate training and coverage if an accident takes place. Additional 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 promise a contractor will do a good job, it shows that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you are able to, look into 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 interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from previous customers present a good idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact details of past customers. As you call these references and check online reviews, look for answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the final bill the same amount as the starting 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 like reassurance that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have near your family. For complete peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you may need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement after 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 determine the duct system to provide proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when exploring bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that includes free estimates and transparent, up-front pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges by the hour or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, especially if it’s much lower than the rest. Odds are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price doable or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a severe storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s worthwhile 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 a stress-free way to cover sudden HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Peitz Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to fix your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Peitz Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you prioritize fair prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Peitz Service Experts office for help checking and servicing your HVAC system.