Bad weather can happen anywhere, so most homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many portions of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and water damage are also significant problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In severe weather, units will sometimes be forced out of position, often toppling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems manage to stay upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other materials, which must be cleaned before they can operate correctly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it's gotten 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 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 leave without a trace.
Events like these often escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn the top six questions to raise 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 provides peace of mind that whoever works on things has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident occurs. Additional ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to supply 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 better job, it demonstrates that they are experienced enough to remain in business for the long term. If you can, search for the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look up the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers give you a better idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact details of previous customers. As you contact these references and check online reviews, seek out answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the overall bill the same cost as the up-front 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 deserve assurance that the HVAC technicians who complete the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For your 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 assess the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you will sometimes need another one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a comfort system is only as effective as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re considering 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 ensure correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when reviewing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that provides free estimates and honest, up-front 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 most affordable bid isn’t always the best deal, namely if it’s considerably lower than the rest. Chances are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price seem fair or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a major storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s beneficial to inquire about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a better way to cover unexpected HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Rob's Albertan Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to repair your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Rob's Albertan Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination 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 a hold of your local Rob's Albertan Service Experts office for help examining and fixing your HVAC system.