Extreme weather can happen just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many portions of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also common problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In severe weather, systems will sometimes be forced out of position, even falling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems manage to stay upright, they can amass mud and other sediment, which needs to be cleaned out before they can work properly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your equipment might make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Events like these may escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Many states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident unfolds. Extra ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s means to supply 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 better job, it shows that they are experienced enough to remain in business for the long term. If you're able to, search for the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look up the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers present a better idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, ask potential contractors for the contact information of prior customers. As you get in touch with 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 satisfied?
- 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 new technicians background-checked and drug-tested?
You like assurance that the HVAC technicians who perform the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For complete peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need a new one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as good as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to provide correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when exploring bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that provides free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges by the hour or by the job so you know what you’re paying for. Just remember that the most affordable bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, namely if it’s considerably lower than the others. Odds are the contractor may try to 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 online after a serious storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s beneficial to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as a better way to cover sudden HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Atmostemp Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Atmostemp Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value affordable prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Atmostemp Service Experts office for help checking and fixing your HVAC system.