Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Bad weather can roll in anywhere, so the bulk of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many portions of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

High winds and water damage are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, equipment will sometimes be pushed out of position, frequently falling on their sides and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they can collect mud and other sediment, which must be removed before they can work correctly.

For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it has 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 argue they’re an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your equipment could make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.

Incidents like these may escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?

The majority of states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that whoever works on the equipment has the proper training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Extra ACE certification only further helps 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 promise a contractor will do a good job, it indicates that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you’re able to, search for the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.

While you’re at it, research the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from prior customers provide a detailed idea of what to expect.

For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of past customers. As you contact these references and check online reviews, seek out answers to these questions:

    • Did the contractor end the job on time?
    • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
    • Was the overall bill the same cost as the up-front 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 staff who complete the work are clean, reliable 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 examine the entire home comfort system?

If the storm damage is serious enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you might need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as effective as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:

    • Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
    • Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
    • Do you determine the duct system to guarantee proper sizing and configuration?

5. Can I get an estimate in writing?

A written, itemized estimate is crucial when comparing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that offers free estimates and transparent, fair pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the cheapest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, especially if it’s considerably lower than the rest. It’s likely that the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price doable 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 severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a better way to pay for unexpected HVAC services after a storm.

Choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Do you need a trusted contractor to repair your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you appreciate affordable prices, lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office for help examining and servicing your HVAC system.

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