Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Severe weather can happen just about anywhere, so most homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many parts of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows. 

High winds and flooding are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, units may be thrust out of position, even toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they may accumulate mud and other sediment, which must be removed before they can operate correctly. 

For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can argue they’re an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your equipment could make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then disappear without a trace. 

Situations like these tend to escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, learn about the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor. 

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified? 

Most states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that whoever works on the equipment has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident occurs. Additional ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to supply high-quality service. 

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

While longevity alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a better 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 verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience. 

At the same time, look up the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from past customers give you a good idea of what to expect. 

For even more specific answers, ask potential contractors for the contact info of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and read online reviews, seek answers to the following questions: 

  • Did the contractor end the job on time? 
  • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied? 
  • Was the final bill the same price as the initial estimate? 
  • Did a live person always answer calls, or did an answering machine pick up? 

3. Are your technicians background-checked and drug-tested? 

You like assurance that the HVAC staff who do the work are clean, dependable 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 bringing new hires to the team. 

4. Can you assess the entire home comfort system? 

If the storm damage is serious enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you may need a new one. That said, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as good as the ductwork attached to it. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions: 

  • Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations? 
  • Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks? 
  • Do you check the duct system to ensure 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. Look for a company that offers free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or by the job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the most affordable bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, especially if it’s far lower than the others. Odds are the contractor will either 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 up and running after a severe 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 equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as an easier way to afford unexpected HVAC services following a storm. 

Choose Donelson Air Service Experts 

Do you need a reputable contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Donelson Air Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate fair prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Donelson Air Service Experts office for help inspecting and fixing your HVAC system. 

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