Severe weather can happen anywhere, so most homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and water damage are also major issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, systems will sometimes be thrust out of position, frequently falling on their sides and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems stay upright, they can collect mud and other debris, which needs to be removed before they can operate like they're supposed to.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until after it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your heating and cooling might make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Events like these often escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn about 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 provides peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the correct training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Additional ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s means to ensure high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While longevity alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a better job, it demonstrates that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, look into the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look up the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from prior customers give you a better idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact details of previous customers. As you call these references and look over online reviews, look for answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the final bill the same cost as the up-front estimate?
- Did a live person always answer calls, or did an answering machine pick up?
3. Are the technicians background-checked and drug-tested?
You want assurance that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, dependable and safe to have around your family. For complete peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home comfort system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to ruin your HVAC system, you may need a new one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, an HVAC system is only as effective as the ductwork it uses. 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 assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to ensure correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when exploring bids from different HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges by the hour or per job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the cheapest bid isn’t always the best deal, especially if it’s considerably lower than the rest. Odds are the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price doable or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to cover unexpected HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Broad Ripple Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Broad Ripple Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay above the competition. If you prioritize affordable prices, enduring results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Broad Ripple Service Experts office for help examining and servicing your HVAC system.