Bad weather can roll in just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many parts of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and water damage are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, equipment may be forced out of position, often falling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they may amass mud and other debris, which has to be removed before they can function properly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your equipment might make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Incidents like these tend to escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, here are the top six questions to share 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 delivers peace of mind that whoever works on things has the correct training and coverage in case an accident unfolds. Additional 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 length of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a great job, it shows that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, look into the company’s name online to confirm 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. Testimonials from past customers present a good idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of past 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 content?
- Was the final bill the same amount 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 want reassurance that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, dependable and safe to have near your family. For complete peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to destroy your HVAC system, you may need another one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as efficient as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you complete 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 vital when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that offers free estimates and transparent, fair pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges by the hour or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the most affordable bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, namely if it’s much lower than the majority. Chances are the contractor may try to 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 up and running after a major storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s advisable to ask about any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as an easier way to pay for unexpected HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Freschi Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to restore your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Freschi Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you appreciate affordable prices, enduring results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Freschi Service Experts office for help checking and repairing your HVAC system.