Bad weather can roll in anywhere, so the bulk of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and floods are also significant issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, equipment will sometimes be pushed out of position, frequently falling on their sides and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems remain upright, they can accumulate mud and other debris, which must be cleaned before they can operate correctly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until after it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, and overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Situations like these tend to escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, here are the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
The majority of states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that anyone who works on things has the proper training and coverage if an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s ability to supply high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While length 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 are able to, look into the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
At the same time, look into the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from past customers present a better idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact info of previous customers. As you contact these references and read online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the overall 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 like assurance that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, dependable and safe to have around your family. For total peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home comfort system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to ruin your HVAC system, you may need a replacement. That said, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as efficient as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to ensure appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when exploring bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and honest, up-front pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges by the hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just remember that the cheapest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, namely if it’s considerably lower than the rest. It’s likely that the contractor will either cut corners to make the price doable or surprise you with 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 low cost. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as an easier way to pay for unexpected HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Epperson Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to fix your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Epperson Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate affordable prices, enduring results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Epperson Service Experts office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.