Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Severe weather can happen anywhere, so the bulk of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can damage many aspects of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

High winds and floods are also common issues for outdoor heating and cooling systems. In severe weather, equipment may be forced out of position, often toppling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems stay upright, they may amass mud and other debris, which needs to be cleaned out before they can function like they're supposed to.

For your safety when assessing your storm-damaged home, don’t use the HVAC system until it has received the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is understanding who to hire for the job. After all, any random guy with a truck can claim to be an HVAC technician. A poorly trained person tampering with your system may make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then disappear without a trace.

Situations like these often escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, learn about the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?

The majority of states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the proper training and coverage if an accident occurs. Continued ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to ensure high-quality service.

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

While longevity alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a good job, it indicates that they are experienced enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, look up the company’s name online to confirm that they’re telling the truth about their experience.

Simultaneously, look up the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Feedback from past customers provide a good idea of what to expect.

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

  • Did the contractor end the job on time?
  • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling comfortable?
  • Was the total bill the same price 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 like reassurance that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For total peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before introducing new hires to the team.

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

If the storm damage is severe enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a comfort system is only as effective as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement following 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 provide appropriate sizing and configuration?

5. Can I get an estimate in writing?

A written, itemized estimate is crucial when exploring bids from different HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that provides 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 remember that the most affordable bid isn’t always the best deal, especially if it’s far lower than the rest. Odds are the contractor will either 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 serious storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a better way to afford sudden HVAC services after a storm.

Choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Do you need a reputable 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 above the competition. If you appreciate good prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office for help checking and servicing your HVAC system.