Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Severe weather can roll in just about anywhere, so the bulk of homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many parts of your property, like the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

Strong winds and floods are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, systems may be pushed out of position, often falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems remain upright, they may accumulate mud and other debris, which must be cleaned before they can function properly.

For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it's received the all-clear from a heating and cooling technician. The trick is knowing 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 equipment might make matters worse, and overcharge you and then vanish 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 implement licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This offers peace of mind that whoever works on things has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident unfolds. Continued ACE certification only further helps a contractor’s means to ensure 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 great job, it demonstrates that they are proficient 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.

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

For even more specific answers, inquire with potential contractors for the contact details of previous customers. As you call these references and read online reviews, seek answers to these 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 initial 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 like confidence that the HVAC staff who perform the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have near 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 evaluate the entire home HVAC system?

If the storm damage is severe enough to destroy your HVAC system, you may need another one. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to merely 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 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 determine the duct system to provide 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. Try to get a company that provides free estimates and honest, fair pricing. Also, don't forget to ask if the company charges by the hour or by the job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the most affordable bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, namely if it’s much lower than the rest. Odds are the contractor may try 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 serious storm isn’t always cheap. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your HVAC system. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to afford sudden HVAC services as a result of a storm.

Choose Knochelmann Service Experts

Do you need a reputable contractor to restore your HVAC system after unexpected flooding? You can’t go wrong with Knochelmann Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value fair prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Knochelmann Service Experts office for help examining and repairing your HVAC system.

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