Severe weather can happen just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Strong winds and water damage are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, systems may be forced out of position, frequently falling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems manage to stay upright, they will sometimes amass mud and other sediment, which has to be removed before they can work properly.
For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. The trick is identifying 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 equipment could make matters worse, and overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Incidents like these tend to escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, here are the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Most states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that anyone who works on the equipment has the appropriate training and coverage if an accident takes place. Continued 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 offer a promise that a contractor will do a good job, it demonstrates that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, look into the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, research the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from prior customers present a detailed idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact info of past customers. As you contact these references and look over online reviews, seek out answers to these questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
- Was the overall bill the same price 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 want confidence that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, trustworthy 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 heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need a replacement. That said, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as effective as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement following a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:
- Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you check the duct system to provide proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when exploring bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that provides free estimates and honest, direct pricing. Also, don't forget to ask whether the company charges hourly or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the lowest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, namely if it’s considerably lower than the majority. Odds are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price seem fair or tack on 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 inexpensive. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor can offer as a stress-free way to cover unanticipated HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air
Do you need a trusted contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value fair prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air office for help examining and fixing your HVAC system.