Extreme weather can appear wherever, so the majority of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and floods are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In severe weather, systems could be forced out of position, often toppling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems remain upright, they may accumulate mud and other materials, which has to be cleaned out 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 professional. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your heating and cooling may make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Situations like these may escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Many states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident unfolds. Additional 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 length of service alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a good job, it indicates that they are skilled enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, search for the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look into the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from previous customers present a good idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you call these references and check online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- 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 near your family. For complete peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before introducing new hires to the team.
4. Can you examine the entire home comfort system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need another one. That said, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a comfort system is only as effective as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze 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 crucial when reviewing bids from different HVAC contractors. Look for a company that includes free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges hourly or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the lowest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, particularly if it’s considerably lower than the majority. It’s likely that the contractor will either cut corners to make the price doable or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special offers?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a severe storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s beneficial to inquire about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a better way to cover sudden HVAC services after a storm.
Choose McKinley Heating Service Experts
Do you need a reputable contractor to restore your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with McKinley Heating Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead 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 McKinley Heating Service Experts office for help inspecting and repairing your HVAC system.