Severe weather can roll in wherever, so the bulk of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many parts of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and floods are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In dangerous weather, units will sometimes be thrust out of position, frequently falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems stay upright, they will sometimes amass 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 turn on the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your system might make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Situations like these tend to escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, 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 offers peace of mind that whoever is working on things has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident unfolds. Extra ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s means to ensure high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While decades of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a good job, it shows that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you're able to, search for the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look up the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from previous customers provide a better idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, ask potential contractors for the contact info of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and look over online reviews, look for answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the total bill the same amount as the initial 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 reassurance that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, dependable and safe to have around your family. For your 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 examine the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you may need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a comfort system is only as effective as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to ensure proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when comparing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, don't forget to ask whether the company charges hourly or per job so you know what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s much lower than the majority. Odds 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 offers?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a major 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 equipment. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to cover sudden HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Stark Services
Do you need a trusted contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Stark Services. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you prioritize good prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Stark Services office for help inspecting and repairing your HVAC system.