Extreme weather can appear just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many parts of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and floods are also significant concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, units may be thrust out of position, frequently toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems stay upright, they can accumulate mud and other sediment, which needs to be cleaned before they can work properly.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your system might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Incidents like these tend to escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, here are 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 the equipment has the appropriate training and coverage if an accident takes place. Additional ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s capability to ensure 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 demonstrates that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you can, look into the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look into the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers present a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact info of previous customers. As you call these references and check online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the final bill the same amount as the starting 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 like assurance that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For your peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you might need a new one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to provide correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that includes free estimates and honest, fair pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, particularly if it’s far lower than the majority. Odds are the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price seem fair or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a major storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s worthwhile to request any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as an easier way to afford unexpected HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Sunbeam Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to restore your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Sunbeam 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, long-lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Sunbeam Service Experts office for help inspecting and fixing your HVAC system.