Extreme weather can roll in wherever, so the bulk of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many aspects of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and flooding are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, units will sometimes be thrust out of position, frequently falling on their sides and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems manage to stay upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other materials, which needs to be removed before they can function properly.
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 contractor. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your heating and cooling may make matters worse, and overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Incidents like these may escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, learn about the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Many states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that whoever works on things has the correct training and coverage in case an accident occurs. 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 longevity alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a great job, it demonstrates that they are skilled enough to stay in business for the long term. If you're able to, search for the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look into the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from past customers give you a better idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of previous customers. As you contact these references and look over online reviews, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the final bill the same price as the starting 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 want assurance that the HVAC technicians who perform the work are clean, dependable and safe to have near your family. For complete peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated 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 will sometimes need a replacement. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a comfort system is only as efficient as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re looking at 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 determine the duct system to ensure correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when reviewing bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and honest, fair pricing. Also, don't forget 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 lowest bid isn’t always the best deal, particularly if it’s far lower than the majority. Chances are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price seem fair or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a major storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s worthwhile to request any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as an easier way to pay for unexpected HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Finch Air Conditioning & Heating
Do you need a reputable contractor to fix your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Finch Air Conditioning & Heating. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you prioritize fair prices, enduring results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Finch Air Conditioning & Heating office for help inspecting and servicing your HVAC system.