Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Extreme weather can happen just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

High winds and water damage are also common problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, units may be forced out of position, frequently toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems stay upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other sediment, which has to be cleaned out before they can operate correctly.

For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it’s gotten 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. An unqualified person tampering with your heating and cooling might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.

Incidents like these often escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, here are the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?

Most states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever is working on the equipment has the proper training and coverage in the event an accident takes place. Continued ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s capability 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 indicates that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you are able to, look up the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.

Simultaneously, research the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from previous customers present a detailed idea of what to expect.

For even more specific answers, ask potential contractors for the contact information of prior customers. As you call these references and look over online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:

    • Did the contractor end the job on time?
    • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
    • Was the total bill the same amount as the up-front 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 reassurance that the HVAC technicians who complete the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have near your family. For your 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 assess the entire home heating and cooling system?

If the storm damage is severe enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you might need a replacement. 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 looking at HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:

    • Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
    • Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
    • Do you investigate the duct system to guarantee correct sizing and configuration?

5. Can I get an estimate in writing?

A written, itemized estimate is essential when exploring bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that provides free estimates and transparent, fair pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges per hour or by the 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 much lower than the others. Chances are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price attractive 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 severe storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s worthwhile 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 can offer as a stress-free way to pay for unanticipated HVAC services as a result of a storm.

Choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Do you need a trusted contractor to fix your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay above the competition. If you value affordable prices, enduring results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office for help checking and repairing your HVAC system.

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