Stick to the Facts when purchasing a New Heating or Cooling System

28 11 2012

Okay, your old furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner has finally gone out or maybe you where smart enough to plan ahead, either way it is time to replace.  So, you’ve done your research and learned as much as you can and it is perfectly clear as to what the best solution is, right?  Doubtful!  Unfortunately, purchasing a new system can be about as clear as mud.  So, I offer this little bit of advice.  Stick to the facts!  Learn the exacts of the equipment and the company putting it in.  If the company representative who comes to your home doesn’t provide you with facts to back up their solution, then you can dismiss them right away.  Furthermore, stay clear of what you read on the internet unless it comes from a factual source (i.e. BBB, Department of Energy, Energy Star, or Consumer Reports).  There are plenty of “backyard professionals” who post information on the internet and they don’t know much more than you.  They know only enough to pretend they know what they are talking about.



Why Use a Company Whose Owner Puts Thier Name On It

21 11 2012

This is a follow-up post to answer some questions I received concerning a comment I made a few days ago.  I commented that it was a good idea to use a heating and air conditioning company whose owner was proud enough of the service they provide to put their name on the company.  So, what does that mean.  Well in our industry new companies pop up every year.  In fact, just look at your phone books from one year to the next and you will see different ads from one year to the next.  People start new service companies and either they fail or they have such a bad reputation that they shut down and start back under a new name.  Someone who puts their own name out there and stakes the reputation of their company on their name can’t hide.  They get one shot to do it right.  A company owner who really wants to succeed and provide great service is also willing to stake their name on it.  Having worked in the heating and air conditioning service industry for decades, I have come to the conclusion that if their name is on it, then you are probably better off.  But, there are exceptions, so always do your research and check their Better Business Bureau ratings and ask for references (ask for 100 as anyone can provide 3 to 4).

By the way, I always encourage people to check the Better Business Bureau ratings for a company.  The Better Business Bureau is the only ratings service that actually verifies and concludes every complaint.  There is no other source of verified reviews for a company available on the internet.  Trust me, I have seen companies post fictious reviews about other companies on the internet.  And, you would think that a company could get those reviews removed, you would be wrong.  So, lesson is use the BBB and don’t believe everything you read on the internet.  More often than not, it is misleading.

Take Care of Your System

21 11 2012

The average homeowner has no idea how their heating and cooling system works nor how to take care of it.  The lack of proper maintenance is one of the most popular causes of system failure.  (Outside of just age, the other is incorrect installation)  Your heating and cooling system is the hardest working appliance in your home.  It works 24-7 to keep your home comfortable.  It consumes on average 60% to 70% of your energy usage.  It is the most expensive appliance to replace with an average replacement cost of $5000 to $8000 per system.  Given those statistics you can understand why taking care of it is so important.

The two most important things a homeowner can do is to change their air filter on a regular basis and have their system properly maintainance at least once a year (preferrable twice).  How often you change your air filter is dependent on what type of air filter you use.  Typically the 1″ disposable filters need to be changed every month.  When it comes to maintenance, make sure you have a professional company who does a thorough “preventive” maintenance on the system.  Many companies offer low-cost “seasonal” maintenances that are more designed to lure you in as a customer than take care of your system.  A true preventive maintenance takes a technician hours to perform.  The technician cleans and analyzes every component of the system.  They check each component for signs of wear and potential future failure.  Only a true preventive maintenance will protect your system and lengthen its lifespan.

The True Cost of Service

19 11 2012

Most homeowners only understand one thing when it comes to service, and that is “How Much”.  I get countless phone calls asking how much we charge to provide service.  Well, here is where the problem starts.  Homeowners need to be aware that there are companies who pray on people who call in with that question.  They quote a low service call fee in hopes of luring that customer in.  This is where the true cost of service comes into play.

  1. If, and that is a big if with these companies, the service technician knows what they are doing and they find the problem and repair it, then they bill the customer at a higher rate to make up for the lower service call fee.
  2. However, more often than not, that service technician isn’t experienced or trained will enough to properly assess the problem.  He or she then replaces numerous parts in order to resolve the problem.  The homeowner then pays for un-necessary repairs all because of the incompetence of the service technician.  In addition, the repairs that are done are not done correctly causing the system to run inefficiently.
  3. And finally, you get what I call the “greedy thief”.  Unfortunately just about every service industry has unethical people who take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners and our industry has its fair share.  These companies send out service technicians that are under paid.  It is up to the service technician to “up sell” the homeowner in order to earn more money through commissions.  Here again, unsuspecting homeowners are taken advantage of and sold un-necessary parts and repairs.

The bottom line is that un-necessary repairs and incorrect repairs will cost you much more than the few dollars you think you saved by calling the other guys.  So, do your homework.  Ask for references or check out their rating on Better Business Bureau.

And here is one last quick tip, a business owner who is truly proud of the service they provide puts their name on the company.