HVAC Scammers

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Hello, I decided that it will be easier to become an HVAC repairman than to rob banks. Since most banks only contain several hundred thousand dollars in the till, I can take more in by telling people what is wrong with their system and then charge them $1500 for fifteen minutes of work. That works out to a cool $250k for the 40 hour week.
Now I digress...My wife calls at work and says the A/C made a gasping noise and died. I drive home from work, check the system and yes, there is no A/C blowing through the house. I go to the basement, and hear the freon circulating, the outside unit still spins, etc. Therefore, I think it is the blower motor (quick google search). I call the repairman, he comes out and "yes, it is the blower motor and the control board." I now notice the lack of status light and a burnt mark in the middle of the Goodman board. He lets me know that he can repair the whole thing for $1500. I get my game face on, google some more and discover the board can be here in two days (he needed three...wonder if he orders from the same web site). $125 dollars and 15 minutes later, the board is swapped out and the A/C is blowing like a champ. Funny, but the motor was not bad. I am tempted to call him and tell him what a loser he is...but, he has my address.
Anyway, if it is not the freon or gas connector, you can repair it yourself and make $250k a week (at least for fifteen minutes).
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The "highball pricing" trick. There are 100 other tricks.
The only defense is knowledge and diagnosis on your part. If you blindly bargain over price, you'll just be slightly less swindled.
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If you appear the slight bit knowledgeable, they will never come back. They rather deal with someone they can rob. Just like walking in a car dealership and telling the salesman you have all the prices from the Internet.
Al
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Richard J Kinch wrote:

sizing, duct sizing, and proper installation procedures! That free knowledge could save you a ton of money! Darrell - udarrell
--
Air Conditioning\'s Affordable Path to the "Human Comfort Zone Goal"
http://www.udarrell.com/air-conditioning-total-heat-enthalpy-latent-heat.html
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On 2 Jul 2006 21:29:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

So, what caused the scorch mark on the control board? Could an intermittant problem with the motor have caused it? How long until the new board has the same scorch mark? I'm not saying that the motor is definitely the cause, but it could be. And then again, it could be something else. The chances that the board just decided to smoke with no outside influence is not likely. Possible, but not likely.
I doubt you are done fixing this unit.
CWM
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Actually, the chances fo the board smoking without outside influence are VERY likely.
Those components on that board have failure rates just as high as condenser fans, compressors, etc.
All HVAC crooks I know carry a nice supply of them in their robbery vehicles (vans).

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Depends entirely on which specific component you are talking about. Mechanical relays? Sure they can fail without encouragement. A resistor burns without an external reason? Nope - highly unlikely.
CWM
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Amen. By replacing your own parts you are not out by much even if it doesn't solve the problem. In any event you have put in a brand new part that will likely fail some time in the future and you can argue that the replacement was preventive maintenance to avoid a future failure.
The chances are that a simple swap out repair will fix most problems. That is how the service industry makes its money. They can't afford to spend hours troubleshooting or repairing components. Manufacturers who don't put easily replaceable and easily accessible parts in their products won't last long in the market. No service department can afford to service their products.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yep, usually only one component fails at a time.
By the way - the board wasn't bad either. Just one component on it.
A real tech would have fixed the board in one hour with a $3 part from his junk box.
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wrote:

other parts on the board? We'll warranty the relay we replaced, but nothing else. If another part goes out, you'll want us to replace that part for no charge. It's chaeper in the long run to replace the entire board.
Do you have a clue what it really costs to be in this business?
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HeatMan wrote:

Yes, I do.
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You sure?
Name 15 of the 'hidden' costs of doing business.
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HeatMan wrote:

They are only hidden if you don't take the time to recognize, understand, and account for them.
I submit one of your hidden costs is the time you waste reading and posting on Usenet. In my business I account for that. Do you?
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If I gave you a dollar, would you buy a clue?
Usenet is one of my inside (as opposed to outside of the house) forms of recreation. I also like helping people where I can.
People that actually are in business for themselves would know what I mean. What's your excuse?
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I could have sworn those boards are about $42 including sales tax.
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He got the blower motor, too.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Glad you saved yourselves some bucks.... The board may last for the life of the equipment or it could go out today....hopefully it will last.
I hate solid state boards on hvac equipment.....they do it cause its cheaper to manufacture that way and easier for uneducated slackjaw hvac people to diagnose..... ( "it's that dag gummed brain board" )...lol....but the boards are fragile...manufactured to standards that just get them by....almost designed to fail in the hvac environement of vibration and moisture....
I work for a large hvac/mechanical contractor doing work in industrial plants now...I do repair quite a few boards...no pressure from my company...I fix what I can and what I cant they usually end up paying out the ass to replace.... We maintain a lot of equipment where if we cant fix it we replace it at cost to us.... and a lot of it is old and obsolete....board replacements cost us 600.00 some even 2000.00.... so letting me have a go at them sometimes saves a lot of money.
Couple of weeks training and you could accurately diagnose any refrigeration related problem....you might not have the skills to use that knowledge to do the repair....but diagnosing a refrigeration problem is easy.....set up your gauges and take a few temperature readings... supply and return air....liquid line (small) and suction line (big) temperatures....these readings will tell you EXACTLY what is wrong with the system....
Do a google search on "diagnosing superheat and subcooling"....or "troubleshooting with superheat and subcooling".... I bet the guy who looked at your unit cant even tell you what superheat and or subcooling is....
Electrical troubleshooting isnt much harder....learn what the various relays and parts do ...learn some basic sequences of operation for equipment then you just check for voltage where it should be at that particular time.....find out where the voltage stop...BAM you found the problem....lol
Its actually not that simple and it does take some learning...and some experience.... but its far from rocket science....
At least 50 percent of the HVAC people walking into your home to do repairs are unqualified slackjaws......they are guessing.......parts changing...........
anywho ??? ...you almost got screwed over by an hvac guy...... realize this....you were lucky...a consumer only stands at BEST a 50 percent chance of getting his equipment repaired by a reputable repairman...... one man show company or spiffy 200 men fancy uniforms etc...company....all can either treat you right or screw you.
I worked for the premier residential HVAC company in my area for a few years....Trane Comfort Specialist....fancy office, uniforms, trucks...
We had books that detailed how to scare the customer into buying new equipment...books that told how to sell replacement parts that were not neccesary
Technicians...lol... with sales plans....... you sell X amount of parts this month or sell so many changeouts or you would lose your job..... raises depended on how much sales you generated. Guys were willing to give in because they could make more off commissions....Even knowledgebale guys would go out and screw over people...for the almighty dollar.
We had guys who would go out to new and sometimes repeat customers and would make leaks...loosen electrical connections....clip wires..... all in order to get a vulnerable person to buy a new system.....
Our repair costs were driven so high as to make replacement of the whole system worth it....We would quote 600.00 for boards that cost us 40.00...and that didnt include the labor.....this was to steer the customer toward a new equipment purchase....
By the way..I didnt partake of any of these shenanigans....I was kept around because they actually had to have a couple of knowledgeable people to make honest repairs on contract customers......
As for contract customers.....records were kept of all service maintenance and parts changed on their equipment so that someone didnt go out and sell them a new contactor 3 months after someone else did....lol.... we would wait at least 2 years before selling the same part to the same customer....lol
This isnt an isolated incident either...there are actually people who give training seminars on doing all this..its thinly veiled....they dont say go out and rip off the customer...but you will get their meaning...really clear.
We had books......printed up books with laminated pages that explained how to sell parts and new equipment....I dreaded any "training" as it was training in salesmanship and conning.......scare the customer.......make the customer buy now...... it was a joke.
Not all companies are like that...you need to start now and research...get recomendations from people you know....do this now and find someone good before they can get you behind the 8 ball......
I "knock" hvac on here quite a bit and will even do it in public...advising people I know or people I know who need work done....people say its wrong that I would knock the very business that puts food in my families mouths...but Im not..... I have nothing against an honest reputable person who cares about what he is doing..... the sad fact is that HVAC and a lot of other repair trades have become flooded with many people who simply are out to make a fast buck......there are honest people out there but for every honest man out there it seems there is half a dozen people out there who will screw you over in a heartbeat.......
Dont worry about getting ripped off though.....if someone quotes you a repair price of over 300.00 dollars or so...get a second...even a third opinion...... if you are currently not having any hvac problems...start reserching...seek out recomendations for repair companies from friends relatives coworkers etc......
I had to have my car worked on last year...took it to a garage who could get to it ...didnt have time for recomendations etc..... diagnosis ended up being the "brain board"...lol...they said it took a month to fix cause they had to have the board sent off for repairs.... ok...I finally got my car back and besides numerous cigarette packs in the front and a whole pack of small cigars in the floorboard I found the old ignition coils and plug wires and also my old fuel filter in the trunk.....they had in fact parts changed till they found the real cause of my problem..... I felt ripped off but I learned my lesson....I quickly sought out references for a good reliable car repairman... and after getting good recomendations asked everyone I knew about them.... still havent had to use this guy but next time I need a mechanic I will go to him...and I'll go completely understanding that there is a 50 percent chance that he will rip me off............but hopefully with all the good recomendations he wont..... its all I can do...
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Far be it for me to defend HVAC guys, they seem to be slightly worse than average for the trades, but think of how difficult it is for any one human to know every kind of system out there and be able to troubleshoot it. Yes they should be better, but what this guy was really saying was that in his experience, the motors and the board are bad. It doesn't sound like he ws deliberately ripping you off. If he told you it would be 1 hour and a 50 cent part and it was really the motor, you would still be pissed, wouldn't you?
Also, you lack the 'fear' that keeps most people from fixng things themselves, so repair men are not needed for you.
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yourname wrote:

You dont need to know every type of system out there.....they are all basically the same system and they all work the same way using the same individual components manufactured by the same manufacturers......
600.00 for the motor and the board replacement would be what I think would be the high end of charging "what the market will bear"....1500.00 is outright robbery......
I will agree though that this guy may have been ignorant....a lot of hvac companies...especially in the summer....... do hire a lot of totally inexperienced people....the "professional" coming to your home that you may be being billed 70.00 an hour or more for may not be worth a dime.....another reason to research and find a reputable contractor who will only send out a qualified individual to your home.
You should be hopping mad that this company sent out an inexperienced, uneducated moron to your home...why he could have really messed something up...could have ended up burning your home down messing with electricity without any technical knowledge of electricity.
It sends shivers up my spine just thinking about some of the guys out there who are passed off as professional hvac technicians.....the ones who dont try and fix anything but just try to sell sell sell are not the ones to worry about.......its the uneducated slackjaw with just enough knowledge to pass.....he is the one who will jump something out to get things working again......think about it....gas furnace down in the winter...slackjaw hvac guy comes out and promises you heat......your furnace vent is blocked or not venting well and this sob just jumps around the safety switch to get her going....... this guy will get you and your family killed......it happens every winter too...... Ive seen these dumbasses use copper tubes to replace fuses cause they didnt have a fuse on their truck....replace the fuse and leave....leaving a fire hazard cooking for you and your family....
Im glad I will never ever have to call a repairman to my home....I thank god that I will never have some uneducated buffoon charging me 70.00 an hour or more to come in and cause more damage to my equipment than is already done.
Original poster not only saved a few bucks....he may very well have the lives of himself and his family............
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

That last bit may be a bit over the top, but the underlying principle is that it's cheaper and more reliable to learn how to do the job yourself and be sure it's done right, than to gamble that you'll find a reputable company. Hell, an HVAC or refrigeration class at a tech school is only a couple hundred dollars.
Pete C.
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