Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Severe weather can appear anywhere, so most homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many aspects of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows. 

High winds and floods are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, units will sometimes be forced out of position, frequently toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they may accumulate mud and other debris, which must be cleaned before they can operate properly. 

For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has gotten 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 to be an HVAC technician. Someone unqualified and tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then vanish without a trace. 

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

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified? 

Many states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the correct training and coverage in case an accident occurs. Additional ACE certification only further assists a contractor’s ability to provide high-quality service. 

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

While decades of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a good job, it shows that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, look up the company’s name online to verify 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. Testimonials from past customers provide a better idea of what to expect. 

For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact information of past customers. As you get in touch with these references and read online reviews, seek answers to the following questions: 

  • Did the contractor finish the job on time? 
  • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied? 
  • Was the final bill the same cost as the starting estimate? 
  • Did a live person always answer calls, or did an answering machine pick up? 

3. Are your technicians background-checked and drug-tested? 

You deserve reassurance that the HVAC professionals who perform 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 compulsory before introducing new hires to the team. 

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

If the storm damage is significant enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you may need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a comfort system is only as good as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re looking at 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 check the duct system to ensure proper sizing and configuration? 

5. Can I get an estimate in writing? 

A written, itemized estimate is vital when comparing bids from different HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and transparent, up-front pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just keep in mind that the cheapest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, particularly if it’s far lower than the rest. Odds are the contractor could attempt to cut corners to make the price doable or tack on hidden fees at the end. 

6. Do you have any special offers? 

Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s worthwhile to inquire about any savings you may 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 unexpected HVAC services following a storm. 

Choose Chief/Bauer Service Experts 

Do you need a reputable contractor to restore your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Chief/Bauer Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you value good prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Chief/Bauer Service Experts office for help inspecting and servicing your HVAC system. 

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