Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Bad weather can appear just about anywhere, so most homeowners have experienced with some degree of storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can impact many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

High winds and water damage are also common issues for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, equipment will sometimes be forced out of position, often falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems remain upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other sediment, which must be cleaned out before they can operate like they're supposed to.

For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until after it's gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling specialist. The trick is identifying who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your system might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then vanish without a trace.

Situations like these often escalate around storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, here are the top six questions to raise 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 delivers peace of mind that whoever is working on your system has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Continued 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 decades of service 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're able to, look up the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.

At the same time, research the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from prior customers present a better idea of what to expect.

For even more comprehensive answers, ask potential contractors for the contact info of previous customers. As you call these references and look over online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:

  • Did the contractor end the job on time?
  • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
  • Was the final bill the same price as the starting 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 reassurance 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 mandated before introducing new hires to the team.

4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling system?

If the storm damage is severe enough to destroy your HVAC system, you will sometimes need another one. However, 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 it uses. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions:

  • Do you perform heat loss/gain evaluations?
  • Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
  • Do you investigate the duct system to guarantee appropriate sizing and configuration?

5. Can I get an estimate in writing?

A written, itemized estimate is vital when comparing bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that includes free estimates and trustworthy, direct pricing. Also, don't forget to ask whether the company charges per hour or per job so you know what you’re paying for. Just remember that the cheapest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, particularly if it’s far lower than the others. It’s likely that the contractor will either cut corners to make the price attractive or tack on hidden fees at the end.

6. Do you have any special offers?

Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a major storm isn’t always low cost. 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 carries as a stress-free way to afford unanticipated HVAC services after a storm.

Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Do you need a proven contractor to repair your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you prioritize fair prices, enduring results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office for help checking and repairing your HVAC system.