Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Extreme weather can happen just about anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

Strong winds and water damage are also common issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In dangerous weather, equipment could be pushed out of position, frequently falling on their sides and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems stay upright, they will sometimes amass mud and other sediment, which must be removed before they can operate correctly.

For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t start the HVAC system until after it’s received the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random individual with a truck can claim they’re an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your system might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.

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

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?

The majority of states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that whoever is working on your system has the correct training and coverage if an accident unfolds. Additional ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s capability to ensure high-quality service.

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

While longevity alone doesn’t promise a contractor will do a better job, it demonstrates that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you are able to, look up the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.

At the same time, research the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers provide a detailed idea of what to expect.

For even more definite answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you contact these references and read online reviews, look for answers to these questions:

    • Did the contractor finish the job on time?
    • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied?
    • Was the total bill the same amount 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 staff who perform the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For complete 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 comfort system?

If the storm damage is significant enough to destroy 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 others. After all, an HVAC system is only as efficient as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:

    • Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
    • Do you check insulation levels and air leaks?
    • Do you check the duct system to provide correct sizing and configuration?

5. Can I get an estimate in writing?

A written, itemized estimate is essential when comparing bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that provides free estimates and honest, fair pricing. Also, make sure to ask whether the company charges by the hour or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just remember that the cheapest bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s much lower than the rest. Odds are the contractor may try to cut corners to make the price attractive 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 cheap. That’s why it’s advisable to ask about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, look for what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a better way to pay for unanticipated HVAC services after a storm.

Choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

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

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