Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Severe weather can happen anywhere, so most homeowners have experienced with some degree of 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 water damage are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, units will sometimes be forced out of position, even toppling over and causing damage to electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems remain upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other sediment, which must be cleaned before they can operate correctly. 

For your safety when evaluating 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 guy 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 leave without a trace. 

Incidents like these tend to escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being exploited, here are the top six questions to ask 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 whoever is working on your system has the correct training and coverage in case an accident occurs. Additional 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 length of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a great job, it shows that they are proficient 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 interested in on Google and other third-party review websites. Reviews from past customers give you a better idea of what to expect. 

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

  • Did the contractor complete the job on time? 
  • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied? 
  • Was the overall bill the same price 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 want assurance that the HVAC staff who complete the work are clean, reliable and safe to have around your family. For complete peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are compulsory before bringing new hires to the team. 

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

If the storm damage is severe enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you may need another one. However, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re thinking about HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions: 

  • Do you offer 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 essential when exploring bids from various HVAC contractors. Look for a company that includes free estimates and transparent, up-front pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges by the 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 considerably lower than the rest. 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 offers? 

Getting your HVAC system back to normal after a severe storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s worthwhile to ask about any savings you could qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as a stress-free way to afford unexpected HVAC services following a storm. 

Choose Matz-Rightway 

Do you need a reputable contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with Matz-Rightway. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you prioritize affordable prices, lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Contact your local Matz-Rightway office for help checking and repairing your HVAC system. 

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