Bad weather can appear anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many portions of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and flooding are also major issues for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In severe weather, systems will sometimes be forced out of position, frequently toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems stay upright, they will sometimes amass mud and other debris, which must be removed before they can function properly.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until after it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your system could make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Situations like these may escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn the top six questions to ask 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 offers 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 assists a contractor’s ability to supply high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While decades of service alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a good job, it demonstrates that they are experienced enough to remain in business for the long term. If you can, look up the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, research the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from previous customers give you a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, check with potential contractors for the contact details of prior customers. As you get in touch with 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 final bill the same price 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 like confidence that the HVAC staff who perform the work are clean, dependable and safe to have around your family. For your peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you might need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze 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 multiple HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and honest, fair pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges hourly or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the lowest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, particularly if it’s much lower than the majority. Chances are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price doable or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a major storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s worthwhile to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to cover unexpected HVAC services after a storm.
Choose All American Air Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to repair your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with All American Air Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you prioritize affordable prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local All American Air Service Experts office for help checking and fixing your HVAC system.