Extreme weather can appear just about anywhere, so most 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.
High winds and water damage are also common problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, equipment will sometimes be pushed out of position, even falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems manage to stay upright, they may accumulate mud and other sediment, which needs to be cleaned before they can work like they're supposed to.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until after 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 individual with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your system may make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Situations like these often escalate around 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 offers peace of mind that whoever works on things has the proper training and coverage if an accident unfolds. Extra ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s ability to supply high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While decades of service alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a better job, it demonstrates that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you are able to, search for the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
Simultaneously, look into the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from prior customers provide a good idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, check with potential contractors for the contact details of past customers. As you contact these references and read online reviews, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the total bill the same price 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 like confidence that the HVAC technicians who perform the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For complete peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you may need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a comfort system is only as good as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check 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 reviewing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that includes free estimates and honest, 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 remember that the cheapest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, especially if it’s much lower than the majority. Chances are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price seem fair or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special discounts?
Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a serious storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a better way to afford unanticipated HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Midway Services
Do you need a proven contractor to restore your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Midway Services. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate affordable prices, long-lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Midway Services office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.