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 affect many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

Heavy winds and floods are also common concerns for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In extreme weather, units will sometimes be thrust out of position, even toppling over and breaking electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even in situations where systems manage to stay upright, they may amass mud and other debris, which needs to be removed before they can function properly.

For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until after it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is understanding 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 equipment might make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.

Situations 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?

The majority of states implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever is working on things has the correct training and coverage in the event an accident occurs. Continued ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s means to ensure 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 demonstrates that they are skilled enough to remain in business for the long term. If you can, 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 thinking about on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from prior customers present a detailed idea of what to expect.

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

  • Did the contractor end the job on time?
  • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
  • 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 like reassurance that the HVAC professionals who do the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For your peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before bringing new hires to the team.

4. Can you evaluate the entire home HVAC system?

If the storm damage is significant enough to ruin your HVAC system, you will sometimes need a replacement. Unfortunately, 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 thinking about HVAC replacement soon after a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:

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

5. Can I get an estimate in writing?

A written, itemized estimate is essential when exploring bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that includes free estimates and trustworthy, up-front pricing. Also, don't forget to ask whether the company charges per hour or by the job so you know what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the lowest 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 seem fair or surprise you with hidden fees at the end.

6. Do you have any special discounts?

Getting your HVAC system back online after a severe storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you might qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a better way to afford sudden HVAC services as a result of a storm.

Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Do you need a proven contractor to restore your HVAC system after a natural disaster? 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 complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.