Bad weather can happen anywhere, so the bulk of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many aspects of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and water damage are also significant problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, equipment will sometimes be forced out of position, even falling on their sides and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems manage to stay upright, they can accumulate mud and other materials, which has to be cleaned out before they can function properly.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until after it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can argue they're an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your system could make matters worse, and overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.
Events like these often escalate during 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?
Many states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that anyone who works on things has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s capability to provide high-quality service.
2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?
While decades of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a great job, it indicates that they are proficient enough to remain in business for the long term. If you are able to, look into the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience.
While you’re at it, look up the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from prior customers provide a good idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and look over online reviews, look for answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor end the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the overall bill the same price as the starting 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 professionals who do the work are clean, dependable and safe to have near your family. For complete peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before bringing new hires to the team.
4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling system?
If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin 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’s attached to. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:
- Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you investigate the duct system to guarantee proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is essential when comparing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Look for a company that includes free estimates and trustworthy, direct pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you know what you’re paying for. Just remember that the cheapest bid isn’t always the best deal, especially if it’s far lower than the others. It’s likely that the contractor will either cut corners to make the price attractive 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 cheap. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to pay for unexpected HVAC services following a storm.
Choose Rolf Griffin Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to restore your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Rolf Griffin Service Experts . We are a national company with hometown heart, a pairing that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you appreciate affordable prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Rolf Griffin Service Experts office for help examining and servicing your HVAC system.