Bad weather can appear just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many parts of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and water damage are also common issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, systems will sometimes be pushed out of position, often toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they can accumulate mud and other materials, which needs to be cleaned out before they can work correctly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. 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. An unqualified person tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, and overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Situations like these tend to escalate around 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?
Most states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage if an accident takes place. Continued ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to provide high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While decades of service alone doesn’t promise a contractor will do a good job, it demonstrates that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you are able to, search for the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look into the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers present a good idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, check with potential contractors for the contact details of previous customers. As you call 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 comfortable?
- Was the final bill the same cost as the starting 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 like confidence that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have near your family. For your peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to destroy your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a comfort 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 perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to ensure appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when reviewing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and honest, fair pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges per hour or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just remember that the most affordable bid isn’t always the best deal, namely if it’s considerably lower than the majority. It’s likely that the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price doable or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a major storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a better way to cover unexpected HVAC services after a storm.
Choose A1 Chesney Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to restore your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with A1 Chesney Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you appreciate affordable prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local A1 Chesney Service Experts office for help checking and servicing your HVAC system.