Severe weather can roll in wherever, so most 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 major issues for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, equipment could be forced out of position, even falling on their sides and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems manage to stay upright, they can collect mud and other materials, which must be cleaned out before they can operate like they're supposed to.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is understanding 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 might make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Incidents like these often escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn about the top six questions to ask 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 offers peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the correct training and coverage in case an accident occurs. Additional ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s means 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 better job, it indicates that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, look up the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look up the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from previous customers provide a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, ask potential contractors for the contact information of prior customers. As you call 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 comfortable?
- Was the final bill the same price as the initial 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 deserve confidence that the HVAC technicians 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 required before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to just 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 following a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to guarantee appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when reviewing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that includes free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges hourly or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the cheapest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, particularly if it’s far lower than the rest. Chances are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price doable or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a serious storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you might 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 Jack Nelson Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to restore your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Jack Nelson Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate good prices, lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Jack Nelson Service Experts office for help examining and fixing your HVAC system.