Extreme weather can happen just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and floods are also major issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, equipment could be thrust out of position, frequently falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems manage to stay upright, they can accumulate mud and other debris, which needs to be cleaned out before they can function correctly.
For your safety when assessing 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 knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your heating and cooling may make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Events like these may escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn about 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 provides peace of mind that whoever works on things has the appropriate training and coverage if an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s ability to provide 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 great job, it shows that they are proficient enough to remain in business for the long term. If you're able to, look into the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look up the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from prior customers give you a better idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of previous customers. As you contact these references and check 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 overall 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 want reassurance that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have around your family. For total peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you evaluate the entire home comfort system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to destroy your HVAC system, you might need another one. However, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, an HVAC system is only as efficient as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to ensure proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when reviewing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that includes free estimates and trustworthy, direct pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the lowest bid isn’t always the best deal, especially if it’s far lower than the rest. Chances are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price seem fair or surprise you with 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 low cost. That’s why it’s worthwhile to ask about any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as an easier way to cover unexpected HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to fix your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value affordable prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts office for help inspecting and servicing your HVAC system.