Extreme weather can happen anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many parts of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and floods are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, systems will sometimes be pushed out of position, even falling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems remain upright, they can amass mud and other materials, which has to be cleaned out before they can function correctly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until after it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling professional. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your system could make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Situations like these tend to escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
The majority of states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the correct training and coverage in case an accident unfolds. Additional ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s means to supply 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 great 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.
At the same time, look into the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from previous customers give you a better idea of what to expect.
For even more definite answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you contact these references and read online reviews, seek answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the total bill the same amount as the starting 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 reassurance that the HVAC professionals 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 required before adding new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home HVAC system?
If the storm damage is serious enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need another one. However, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a comfort system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to ensure correct sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is vital when comparing bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to get a company that includes free estimates and honest, up-front pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges hourly or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the lowest bid isn’t always the best deal, namely if it’s far lower than the majority. Odds are the contractor could attempt 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 serious storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as a stress-free way to afford sudden HVAC services following a storm.
Choose TML Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to restore your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with TML Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you value affordable prices, enduring results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local TML Service Experts office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.