Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Bad weather can roll in wherever, so most homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many aspects of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

Heavy winds and floods are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, equipment could be pushed out of position, even toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems stay upright, they will sometimes amass mud and other debris, which needs to be cleaned out before they can work like they’re supposed to.

For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it’s received 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 claim they’re an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your equipment might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.

Events like these tend to escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, here are the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?

Many states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever is working on the equipment has the correct training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Continued ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s ability to ensure high-quality service.

2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation?

While longevity alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a better job, it demonstrates 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 confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.

Simultaneously, look into the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from prior customers give you a detailed idea of what to expect.

For even more comprehensive answers, ask potential contractors for the contact details of prior customers. As you call these references and check online reviews, seek out answers to these questions:

    • Did the contractor finish the job on time?
    • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
    • Was the overall bill the same amount as the initial 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 assurance that the HVAC professionals who do the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For your peace of mind, talk to the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before bringing new hires to the team.

4. Can you examine the entire home HVAC system?

If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need a replacement. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to simply 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 looking at HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:

    • Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
    • Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
    • Do you investigate the duct system to guarantee correct sizing and configuration?

5. Can I get an estimate in writing?

A written, itemized estimate is crucial when exploring bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that includes free estimates and honest, up-front pricing. Also, don’t forget to ask if the company charges per hour or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the most affordable bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s far lower than the others. Odds are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price seem fair or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.

6. Do you have any special discounts?

Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a severe storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s worthwhile to ask 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 afford sudden HVAC services after a storm.

Choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Do you need a proven contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay above the competition. If you value affordable prices, long-lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office for help inspecting and repairing your HVAC system.

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