Severe weather can appear wherever, so the bulk of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and water damage are also significant concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In severe weather, units may be thrust out of position, frequently falling on their sides and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they may accumulate mud and other debris, which has to be cleaned before they can work correctly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until after 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 guy with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Situations like these may escalate during 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 have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that whoever is working on things has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s capability to supply high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While longevity alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a good job, it shows that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, search for the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, research the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from prior customers provide a better idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of prior customers. As you get in touch with these references and check 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 final bill the same amount as the initial 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 like assurance that the HVAC technicians who do the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have around your family. For your peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before bringing 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 a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a comfort system is only as efficient as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to provide proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when exploring bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that provides free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges by the hour or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the most affordable bid isn’t automatically the best deal, particularly if it’s considerably lower than the majority. It’s likely that the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price attractive or sneak in hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a better way to cover unexpected HVAC services after a storm.
Choose Gordon's Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to fix your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Gordon's Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value fair prices, long-lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Gordon's Service Experts office for help checking and fixing your HVAC system.