Severe weather can roll in anywhere, so the majority of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many portions of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.
Heavy winds and water damage are also common problems for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, equipment will sometimes be forced out of position, even toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems remain upright, they can amass mud and other materials, which must be cleaned out before they can function like they're supposed to.
For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim they're an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your heating and cooling may make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then leave without a trace.
Events like these may escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, learn the top six questions to share when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.
1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?
Many states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that anyone who works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage if an accident occurs. Extra ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s means to supply 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 better job, it demonstrates that they are experienced enough to remain 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 into the contractors you’re thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from previous customers present a better idea of what to expect.
For even more comprehensive answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and look over online reviews, seek out answers to the following questions:
- Did the contractor complete the job on time?
- Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
- Was the total bill the same amount as the up-front 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 deserve reassurance that the HVAC technicians who perform the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have around 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 HVAC system?
If the storm damage is significant enough to ruin your HVAC system, you may need another one. However, it isn’t enough to merely swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, an HVAC 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 offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
- Do you analyze insulation levels and air leaks?
- Do you determine the duct system to provide proper sizing and configuration?
5. Can I get an estimate in writing?
A written, itemized estimate is crucial when exploring bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that provides free estimates and transparent, fair pricing. Also, don't forget to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you know what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the most affordable bid isn’t automatically the best deal, namely if it’s much lower than the others. It’s likely that the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price doable or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.
6. Do you have any special promotions?
Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a major storm isn’t always low cost. 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 better way to afford unanticipated HVAC services as a result of a storm.
Choose Winnipeg Supply Service Experts
Do you need a trusted contractor to fix your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Winnipeg Supply Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate affordable prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Winnipeg Supply Service Experts office for help inspecting and fixing your HVAC system.