Hurricane Florence is still fresh on everyone’s mind, but the one thing Swift Services Heating, Cooling & Electrical in Myrtle Beach, SC wants every homeowner along the Grand Strand to beware of is HVAC storm damage scams.
Most homeowners in areas ravaged by severe weather already know they should be on the lookout for fly-by-night roofing repair companies, but this type of scam extends beyond roofing – similar companies travel around the country offering HVAC repairs to storm-ravaged communities like ours as well.
You need to set your radar to high alert to look out for the warning signs of a scam by taking the necessary steps to make sure the person who is selling an HVAC repair service to you is not in reality only looking to steal your money. Shady salesman like these travel the country offering repairs to storm-ravaged communities, so be particularly on your guard for technicians who are not from our local area looking to sell you services.
The most critical HVAC equipment is located outside. These units are built to withstand the elements, but large hail and flying debris can still cause serious damage.
An especially common problem occurs when the metal fins covering the condensing unit become dented in a way that restricts airflow or refrigerant flow. There may be no immediately noticeable effects, but this damage can reduce energy efficiency, diminish system performance and accelerate wear on essential parts. It’s important to inspect your condenser after any major storm to catch this kind of damage early.
If your HVAC system is operating in any way differently after severe weather strikes, it’s important to call on a service professional you know you can trust. Major problems like refrigerant leaks can be both expensive and hazardous. Unfortunately, with these HVAC storm damage scams, unscrupulous contractors take advantage of this urgency when HVAC services are in high demand, only to disappear soon afterward.
How to Spot HVAC Storm Damage Scams
A great way to know if the HVAC service person you’ll be considering for work on your home is reputable and reliable is by doing a background check and checking their references. It is a quick and easy way to find out for sure whether they are a legitimate professional, or an HVAC storm damage scam artist on the make, out looking to take advantage of people and willing to say anything to make a quick buck. In a previous blog post, we wrote about the importance of checking to see if your AC pro is fully HVAC certified – well there’s no better time than after a storm to make sure that you only work with genuine certified HVAC professionals so you can be confident the job will be done the right way.
With a little common sense, you should be able to spot HVAC storm damage scams a mile away. However, it’s important to follow a few simple precautions before doing business with an unfamiliar HVAC business in the wake of a severe storm:
- Contact your insurance company to see if you’re covered for any of the damage. Coverage levels and exceptions vary, so should always check with your carrier for a definitive answer about whether you’re protected.
- Research any contractor you’re thinking about calling before making the decision to do business — check for online reviews, ask for customer references and check out their reputation with the Better Business Bureau.
- Ask to see licensing information and proof of liability insurance for any contractor you’re considering hiring.
- Request everything in writing, including bids and estimates on any repairs.
- Make sure the company follows proper protocol and gets permits from the county or city (depending on where you live.) All of Horry County requires companies to pull a permit for all HVAC installations to protect the consumer by ensuring the work is properly done and safely installed.
- Avoid contractors who engage in aggressive sales through unsolicited phone calls or door-to-door sales pitches. If your gut tells you that you’re dealing with a shady contractor, trust it, you probably are!
Shoddy HVAC repairs can be much more than a waste of money — they can even cost you a bundle by causing additional damage to your system. Before entrusting your heating or air conditioning equipment to anyone, do your homework to be sure you’re working with an HVAC tech. you can count on.
Call Swift Services Heating, Cooling & Electrical in Myrtle Beach SC today at 843-236-9060, or contact us now and someone will contact you as quickly as possible to answer any questions you may have about your HVAC system.