Extreme weather can happen wherever, so the bulk of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and flooding are also significant concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, equipment may be thrust out of position, even falling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other debris, which must be cleaned before they can work 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 contractor. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your system may 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 cheated, learn the top six questions to share 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 delivers peace of mind that anyone who works on things has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident takes place. Additional 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 promise a contractor will do a great job, it indicates that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, look into the company’s name online to confirm 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 previous customers present a better idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of previous customers. As you get in touch with these references and read online reviews, look for answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the overall bill the same amount 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 deserve assurance that the HVAC staff who do the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For total peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to wipe out 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 effective as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to ensure appropriate sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when reviewing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that provides free estimates and honest, fair pricing. Also, don't forget to ask if the company charges hourly or per job so you understand 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 may try to 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 online after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s advisable to inquire about any savings you could 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 sudden HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Levy & Son Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to repair your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Levy & Son Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay above the competition. If you appreciate affordable prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Levy & Son Service Experts office for help examining and fixing your HVAC system.