Extreme weather can appear just about anywhere, so most homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many portions of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and water damage are also significant concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, equipment may be forced out of position, even falling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems remain upright, they can accumulate mud and other materials, which must be cleaned before they can operate like they're supposed to.
For your safety when examining 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 knowing 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 could make matters worse, and overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Events like these tend to escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, learn about the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
The majority of states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that anyone who works on the equipment has the proper training and coverage if an accident takes place. Additional 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 decades of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a great job, it shows that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you can, look into the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, look up the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from prior customers present a good idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of past customers. As you call these references and look over online reviews, look for answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the total bill the same price 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 want reassurance that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For your peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to destroy your HVAC system, you may need a replacement. However, 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 considering HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you complete 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 essential when reviewing bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that provides free estimates and trustworthy, fair pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or by the job so you know what you’re paying for. Just remember that the cheapest bid isn’t always the best deal, namely if it’s far lower than the rest. Odds 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 offers?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a severe storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as an easier way to cover sudden HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Falso Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to repair your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Falso Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay above the competition. If you prioritize fair prices, enduring results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Falso Service Experts office for help inspecting and servicing your HVAC system.