Severe weather can appear 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, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
High winds and flooding are also common concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, systems will sometimes be forced out of position, frequently falling on their sides and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems manage to stay upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other materials, which needs to be cleaned out before they can function like they're supposed to.
For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your equipment might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.
Incidents like these may escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn the top six questions to share 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 delivers peace of mind that anyone who works on things has the correct training and coverage if an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further supports 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 offer a promise that a contractor will do a great job, it shows 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.
Simultaneously, research the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from past customers present a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of prior customers. As you contact these references and look over online reviews, look for answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor finish the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
- Was the total 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 the technicians background-checked and drug-tested?
You want confidence that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have near your family. For your peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before introducing 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 will sometimes need a new one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors a few questions:
- Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to provide proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when exploring bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that provides free estimates and transparent, fair pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges hourly or per job so you know 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. Odds are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price doable or tack on hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back online after a serious storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to cover unanticipated HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Midland Air Service Experts
Do you need a proven contractor to repair your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Midland Air Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value fair prices, enduring results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Midland Air Service Experts office for help examining and fixing your HVAC system.