HVAC Companies: Who’s in my home?

Watch Out For

This area will be for educational topics that are most concerning. I will discuss several topics from pricing to protection that will give you good information to make good decisions.

The Cons, Unethical Behaviors, too cheap to be true and why.

#1 Telemarketing. When you hear “ We have the lowest price and are in the neighborhood “ or something to that effect, or, we are doing the work for XYZ Heating & Air. Just hang up. Why? The objective is to just get in the door to get money out of you. No HVAC company does work for another.

#2 Free or Super Cheap Inspections. When you hear “Free Inspection” in any form or fashion, just hang up. Why? The objective is to get in the door and get money out of you.

#3 I need to get a supervisor out here to look at this problem, or something to that effect. Just tell them to leave. Why? The objective is to get money out of you. Think about it; why would a competent technician need someone else to verify an issue that they should be able to show and explain to you themselves. They are supposed to be well trained right? Wrong! Companies are hiring kids off the street, putting a shirt on them and sticking them in a truck with very little to no training whatsoever. The only training they are getting is to look at a few key areas for damage, then call the office. This is nothing but criminal behavior and the public deserves to know about this. This technique is used at every level from a maintenance call to a service call, and the supervisor/salesman or whatever he calls himself is in on it all the way. Sometimes he is right around the corner waiting because he knows specific information about your machine, either through previous visits or questions that you were asked during your initial service call. If you are not sure who is in your home, just ask the technician if he will call a supervisor should he find a problem. If he says yes, then chances are the company is running a Turn Over program. “Turn it over to a salesman program” 

You can call in a second opinion yourself, and may just find out it’s a quick repair. This is mandatory if you know that your machine was working before their arrival. For instance; it is 90* outside and you keep your thermostat set at 72*. You are then told that your system is gone, can’t be fixed and you need one today. ( you are out of refrigerant or your compressor is blown up etc.) But wait, the tech has only been there 30 minutes and the inside temp has hardly changed. The thermostat is reading 73-74*, take a pic or video of that thermostat, the companies truck and whatever else that you feel is in your best interest, because the tech isn’t working in yours. I mention this because, once a person is told their system is bad, they are not thinking about their indoor temp and that is was working. This usually happens on a preventative maintenance visit. A preventative maintenance is an inspection, testing and cleaning. A good tech will articulate the findings in a respectful and caring manner to give you the proper options to replace any deficient part(s) or even consider an upgrade depending on your situation. Not every 10 year old system needs replacing, might just need a little TLC.

#4 Long List of Repairs. An average service call to repair a machine only has one to three parts on average put on the invoice. If you get a ridiculously long list of repairs totaling in the thousands, just tell them to leave. Why? The long list is designed to make you feel overwhelmed into buying something. This is a strong arming technique that should be criminal. The companies running these programs are also strong arming their technicians to generate these lists and putting a lot of people in undue financial distress. Some of these technicians are already thinking about what’s going on the list before they pull up to your home. A good company, with your permission will repair what is needed and write down on your invoice other deficient parts that will soon follow. They should be able to communicate clearly and concise. If you feel like you are being forced to make an immediate decision, just remember you don’t have to and second opinions are always good.

#5. Cracked Chambers and Busted Coils. (See#3) If you do have a technician telling you that you have a cracked chamber, he should be able to show you or use other techniques to prove it. Leaking coils are common, but again he should be able to prove it to you. The industry has specialty tools for this, not to mention our phones. If the technician has only been there a few minutes and seems to have run straight to the problem, that could be a problem in itself. Ask questions, and if something just doesn’t seem right, ask them to leave.

#6. Cheap Furnace Sales or Tune Ups. Both are designed just to get in the door. The Cheap Furnace sale is designed to sell you a very cheap furnace but you will quickly find that it doesn’t include installation or that it will not work with the A/C or Heat pump you currently have. You will then be forced into upgrading your whole system which is the goal anyway. The cheap tune up ( not to be confused with discounted tune up) is also bogus. Discounted tune ups are normal when it’s not too cheap to be true. Example: $79 tune ups discounted to $59 or $69 are normal. The $39 $29 $19 scenarios need to be ignored. Good companies have to charge a logical fee to offer any service.

#7 Repair then Collect. Always make sure that you get a price before the repair starts. There are times when a technician has to make one repair just to see what other repairs need to be made. The tech should know the signs before starting and communicate this to you. You just don’t want to be surprised by a very expensive repair when you didn’t agree to having the work done.

#8 Cheap Service Calls. You think you are getting a deal, WRONG! Cheap service Calls are from companies running a numbers game to get in your home and sell you a new system before a legitimate company makes an honest repair. You should be weary of all cheap service calls. Good companies with well trained techs are well above $50.

#9 Cheap Clean & Check Calls. There is quite a bit that needs to be done while cleaning so a premium charge is commanded. A cheap cleaning call will not get everything, so don’t expect it. A proper clean & check takes an average of 1 1/2 hours on an A/C and a heat pump. A furnace takes 30-40 minutes. Clean and check prices by a good company should never fall under $125 annually. This usually includes two visits and perks.

#10 Cheap Duct Cleaning. The $60-$150 duct cleaning calls are to ignored also. The objective is to get in the door and scare you into spending money. It’s usually mold related. A real duct cleaning ranges from $600-$1500. You will actually spend a lot more going cheap by purchasing a large list of repairs or a new system than just paying the premium for a good company to come out, be straight forward and make the necessary repairs.

Remember …….Too Cheap to be True…….

Cheap Service Calls = High Parts Prices, Large Lists, aggressive sales.

Normal Service Calls = Moderate Parts Prices, Better trained and experienced technicians, No aggressive sales.

Soni Carlee

Comfy Cozy Heating & Air Oneonta, Alabama


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