Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Severe weather can appear anywhere, so most homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many aspects of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows.

High winds and water damage are also major problems for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In dangerous weather, units may be forced out of position, often toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even if systems manage to stay upright, they can amass mud and other materials, which needs to be removed before they can operate like they're supposed to.

For your safety when evaluating your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until after it's gotten 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. An unqualified person tampering with your heating and cooling may make matters worse, plus overcharge you and then leave without a trace.

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

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified?

Many states have implemented licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that whoever works on things has the appropriate training and coverage in the event an accident takes place. Extra ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to supply high-quality service.

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

While length of service alone doesn’t offer a promise that a contractor will do a good job, it indicates that they are experienced 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.

While you’re at it, look up 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, check with potential contractors for the contact information of prior customers. As you call these references and look over online reviews, seek answers to the following questions:

  • Did the contractor complete the job on time?
  • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling content?
  • Was the final bill the same amount 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 deserve confidence that the HVAC professionals who perform the work are clean, trustworthy and safe to have around your family. For your peace of mind, check with the contractor if background checks and drug tests are required before adding new hires to the team.

4. Can you assess the entire home comfort system?

If the storm damage is serious enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you might need a replacement. However, it isn’t enough to just swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, a heating and cooling system is only as effective as the ductwork it uses. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement following 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 determine the duct system to ensure appropriate sizing and configuration?

5. Can I get an estimate in writing?

A written, itemized estimate is vital when exploring bids from various HVAC contractors. Try to find a company that includes free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, be sure to ask if the company charges per hour or per job so you recognize what you’re paying for. Just remember that the most affordable bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, particularly if it’s much lower than the majority. It’s likely that the contractor will either cut corners to make the price doable or sneak in hidden fees at the end.

6. Do you have any special offers?

Getting your HVAC system back online after a severe storm isn’t always inexpensive. That’s why it’s beneficial to request any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, figure out what financing and leasing options the contractor carries as a stress-free way to afford unexpected HVAC services as a result of a storm.

Choose Church Services

Do you need a reputable contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Church Services. We are a national company with hometown heart, a formula that helps us stay in front of the competition. If you value good prices, enduring results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get a hold of your local Church Services office for help examining and fixing your HVAC system.