I had my furnace repaired & they charged me over $700--and the guy was only there a total of 40 minutes.

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On Sat, 19 Jan 2008 05:42:20 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Exactly why I charge flat rate pricing. I quote you a diagnostic fee on the phone. I come out and diagnose the problem. I then have you sign my invoice stating what Im fixing and what Im replacing. The total cost is shown. If agreed, I repair it and get paid. If you dont like the quote, you now know the fix, you pay me my diagnostic fee and Im on my way. Bubba
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On Fri, 18 Jan 2008 09:34:51 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Time to recap and close off this thread.
Furnaces are built to work for years without trouble. You don't need to know anything about how they work for fixing the most common problems. That's why HD, Lowes, Canadian Tire, etc. can sell furnace parts for the home owner to do repairs himself. The instructions are right there on the package and in several languages. People who are expected to read those instructions to do the fix don't need to be experts in anything.
1. The most important regular maintenance is to change the filters regularly. The advantages are obvious. I have seen furnaces where the houseowner had not done so for years. Their furnaces still work. Vacuum the insides of the furnace during the warm season so that the furnace will work fine in winter.
2. There are three items that (most commonly) go wrong. The 24Vac voltage to the gas valve, the thermocouple and the thermostsat. To work on furnace switch off the power supply to the furnace.
2.1 Before switching off the power do this. There is a pair of wires from the small transformer to the gas valve. If the wire looks flakey, that is the insulation is baked hard or broken, or just looks old, replace the wire anyway. Its easy to do and eliminates right away flakey wire as the source of the problem while your try other fixes. Measure if there is 24 volts ac at the gas valve screws after replacement. If not measure if there is 24Vac at the transformer end. The thing that must happen is 24 Vac at the valve screws. If there is no voltage at the transformer any harware store will sell you a new one for under $20.
2.2 The next item is replace the thermocouple. This costs less than $20. If that doesn't solve the problem put back the old one and return the new one for a refund.
2.3 The third item is the thermostat. Disconnect the thermostat and connect the two wires together. If that fires up the furnace you need a new thermostat. If it doesn't go to the furnace and from the connections diagram that is pasted in the furnace in the junction box short the wires there. If it still does not solve your problem put everything back as before (leave the new wires in 2.1 as installed).
3. Then call the gas company and find out what they provide as service. They have seen a lot more hairy home fixes than you can imagine so they are not going to frown on your attempts to fix your furnace.
4. If like me you like to really get into the guts of the furnace go to a HVAC parts supplier's store that trademen also go to and ask for advice and to purchase parts. The two I went to belong to two large National Chains. You get treated as they would treat a tradesman as to parts pricing and advice. If there is something that you shouldn't be doing he will tell you. You won't feel as if someone is protecting his turf and not telling you the full story.
5. Beyond that call a tradesman. Just hope you won't get one from hell like our bubba.
6. If you need to put in a new furnace go to 4. and get excellent advice. You will learn enough to make an intelligent assessment of many overhyped claims from different vendors. If you ever met a TRANE salesman you'll know what I am talking about. TRANE makes excellent furnaces. But they are no different from their competitors'. You pay a few hundred bucks extra for their "independent" salesmen's hype. Ask them what makes their furnace super efficient as compared to the other brands. They will bamboozle you with unverifiable numerical data in the style bubba's earlier rant, but nothing of technical substance because they don't even know how one works. TRANE hires retired authority figures like teachers and policemen to do their sales solicitations. Most people would be too respectful to ask hard questions.
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If there are skilled folks around...why do things like this occur... Years ago (before we had NAT,about 12yrs) I bought a gas range from a large appliance dealer. I had to buy a propane conversion kit (couldn't order it that way). The dealer would not do the conversion, the gas company wouldn't either (I assume they had liability issues).
I followed the directions, and assumed my own liability...I needed no degree...it was straight-forward.
Trained people are under pressure...they sometimes make mistakes. If you are patient, logical, and read the directions...you can make many repairs yourself.
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PaPaPeng posted for all of us...

WRONG I decide when to do that!

Teachers - authority figures! What a hoot. PingPongBoi you are too much! What BS. Ok BoingBoing get lost you are a luser.
--
Tekkie Don\'t bother to thank me, I do this as a public service.

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PaPaPeng wrote:

I'd say you are a blithering idiot. When your house blows up I hope there aren't any innocent children in there.
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wrote:

Just crossed my mind. Do you actually adjust CO, O2 levels or do you just fake reading them with some instruments with unfamiliar dials to bamboozle your clients? If you are the guy who installed the furnace and those readings were out of line its says a lot about your professional competency. You risk losing your license. If you are just there to fix a simple problem and you pull this stunt to convince them their furnace needs major surgery then you are a fraud and a criminal. CO has specific symptoms that any doctor can diagnose. Their furnace would be still running and their CO poisoning diagnosed first, long before they would think of calling you. They don't need you to test for CO on a regular service call and scare the shit out of them. There nothing you can do about O2 levels. CO poisoning problems would appear first long before they suffer from lack of oxygen.
The furnace burners can only put out heat at a fixed rate and do what it does. ON fire up. OFF shut off. That's it. There's nothing to adjust. That's BS about temperature rise being a factor in your troubleshooting and service provided. Sub cooling in a furnace? LOL. Superheat? Very LOL.
You are one big fraud.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Hmm, That is outrageous! Called on week end? Parts cost is ~50.00 tops. Either one is not a major component.
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On Jan 14, 7:41pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I don't get it. You paid for a bill that you couldn't even read, without questioning it?
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Larry, My husband & I were both at work. My mother was at the house & signed. Believe me if I was there, things would have been different
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Where did you get the name of the company that did the work? Was this a company you'd done business with in the past?
How long has it been possible for you to establish a relationship with a reputable company? In other words, did you just move to your area, and had no idea who to call? Or, have you been there for a number of years?
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Heh Joe, give the guy a break. He already told you his previous service guy retired for health reasons and wasn't able to make recommendation for another company. If your heat was out in the middle of the night and it was getting cold, how much investigating would you do? Sure, it's always a good idea to ask around if you can. But sometimes you may not be able to.
Asking for a diagnosis and cost to repair BEFORE telling them to go ahead and fix it would have probably gone a long way to avoiding this.
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Heh Joe, give the guy a break. He already told you his previous service guy retired for health reasons and wasn't able to make recommendation for another company. If your heat was out in the middle of the night and it was getting cold, how much investigating would you do? Sure, it's always a good idea to ask around if you can. But sometimes you may not be able to.
Asking for a diagnosis and cost to repair BEFORE telling them to go ahead and fix it would have probably gone a long way to avoiding this.
======================
Honestly, if my winter sleeping bag couldn't get me through the night, I would've gone to a hotel and dealt with it in the morning. $85 for the hotel room seems like a drop in the bucket compared to getting reamed the way the OP did.
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On Jan 14, 6:41pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Ive had contractors rip off my parents and myself, I just stop pay on the check and renegotiate. I know at the time you paid you did not have the suspision to research the bill.
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FWIW, we would probably charge somewhere around $225-250 to diagnose the unit and replace the parts you mention. Transformers usually do not fail on their own. Usually a short in the 24volt side is the cause. The short is usually either in the wiring going to the a/c, or the homeowner accidentally shorting them attempting a DIY. I know that cost of living in Ca. is much higher than here, but from what you describe, it sounds like you paid about twice as much as the repairs should have been. Larry
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If you don't like what contractors charge, learn hw to fix stuff yourself.
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On Jan 15, 12:49pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Whats your problem? I didnt know that we would get charged that amount, like I said-If I were there things would be different
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On Mon, 14 Jan 2008 16:41:05 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Perfect example of why "flat rate pricing" works. When you call they tell you, "We charge a diagnostic fee of $XX.xx to come out and diagnose your problem. That gets paid whether you want the repair or not. When the tech arrives he checks the problem, and then comes up, explains the problem and shows you what it will cost in writing to repair your furnace. At that point you agree and sign the paper work or you thank him for his time and pay the diagnostic fee. Its the same way car repairs get done and how you order breakfast at your favorite restaurant. By the way, would you feel better if they sent out a brand new 18 yr old tech and he took 4 hrs to do the same thing? Bubba
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I don't know anything about your furnace. My specialty is ghosts.
There are two in your house. Call me. Bargain rates.
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