Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Bad weather can roll in wherever, so most homeowners are familiar with storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many portions of your property, such as the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

High winds and water damage are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, units could be pushed out of position, frequently falling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems remain upright, they may collect mud and other materials, which has to be removed before they can work like they're supposed to.

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

Situations like these tend to escalate after storm cleanup. To avoid being cheated, here are the top six questions to raise when hiring a heating and cooling contractor.

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?

Most states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This provides peace of mind that anyone who works on the equipment has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident takes place. 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 longevity alone doesn’t promise a contractor will do a better job, it indicates that they are skilled enough to stay in business for the long term. If you can, search for the company’s name online to determine that they’re telling the truth about their experience.

At the same time, look into the contractors you’re interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers give you a detailed idea of what to expect.

For even more definite answers, ask potential contractors for the contact information of previous customers. As you get in touch with 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 satisfied?
  • Was the overall bill the same cost 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 assurance that the HVAC professionals who complete the work are clean, reliable and safe to have near your family. For complete peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before bringing new hires to the team.

4. Can you examine the entire home comfort system?

If the storm damage is significant enough to ruin your HVAC system, you might need another one. However, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for others. After all, a comfort system is only as efficient as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re considering HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors the following questions:

  • Do you offer heat loss/gain evaluations?
  • Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks?
  • Do you check the duct system to provide correct 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 find a company that includes free estimates and honest, up-front pricing. Also, make sure to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you understand what you’re paying for. Just be aware that the lowest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, namely if it’s much lower than the majority. Odds are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price seem fair or tack on hidden fees at the end.

6. Do you have any special discounts?

Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a major storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s advisable to request any savings you might 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 pay for unanticipated HVAC services after a storm.

Choose Golden Seal Service Experts

Do you need a trusted contractor to fix your HVAC system after a nasty storm? You can’t go wrong with Golden Seal Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you appreciate fair prices, long-lasting results and complete satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local Golden Seal Service Experts office for help inspecting and repairing your HVAC system.

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