Tech did not do leak test B4 recharging? It all depends what the exact
problem is. Leak can be repaired but if it was where another leak could
occur... Tech has to discuss with owner with honesty. Also higher
efficiency unit will save money over time. I have Puron high efficiency
unit which has been running for 5 years without an issue. Every spring I
just do basic maintenance(mainly cleaning the unit and check Delta T at
ODU and indoor). So far it's been 18 degrees F or little higher meaning
it's doing OK. I use 16x25x5 MERV 11 filter every 6 months. Some times I
switch to EAC. I feel sorry about a consumer who does not
know anything about anything.
That's the problem. I've been trying to come up with a reliable national
figure for heating and cooling scams, but haven't found it yet. What I have
found is example after example of TV stations investigating and finding
clear examples of fraud. It's just too easy to scam someone who is
completely uneducated in the subject matter. But is it reasonable for a 60
year old widow to be an A/C mechanic? There are also an awful lot of former
employees who tell how easy it is to screw up a customer's A/C so they end
up selling them a new system.
No doubt about that. Same with refrigerators, too. But there's a
perplexing problem that's yet to be solved with high-E units: they have
more breakdown points embedded in them. You didn't need a circuit manual to
figure out the old Chrysler Air Temp's circuitry but its efficiency was
I'd say a lot of people here do their own coil drop tests, etc. but that's
not reflective of the general population.
Me too. But asking some people to evaluate HVAC techs would be the same as
asking me to evaluate nuclear techs. As I was researching the subject I
came across a pretty useful guide to HVAC scams:
10 Tips for Avoiding Heating and Air Conditioning Scams in the Atlanta Area
Whether your air conditioner died in the middle of a heat wave or your
furnace is on the fritz on a chilly winter night, you're just happy to see a
But don't let your need for comfort blind you. There are some untrustworthy
contractors who take advantage of homeowners who are desperate for quick
Follow these tips to avoid being scammed by contractors in the Atlanta area.
1) Ask for old, broken parts that were supposedly replaced
Some contractors may charge you for parts they didn't actually replace. To
prevent this, ask the contractor for the old, broken part after it has been
2) Watch out for "free" tune-up offers
According to the BBB, a reputable contractor will offer you a free estimate
as a part of the typical sales process. But less scrupulous companies might
trick you by offering a "free" tune-up in order to make a high pressure
3) Beware of those asking for large amounts money upfront
Some contractors ask for a down-payment (which is fine). But if a contractor
asks you to pay him or her for the entire job before work is done, then hang
up and try someone else.
4) Get 2-3 estimates before deciding
Get cost estimates from at least 2-3 contractors before making your
decision. This gives you options, leverage and an average price to work
with. Trustworthy contractors don't mind giving free, no-obligation
estimates for a heating or air conditioning installation job.
5) Don't get scammed on Freon
Freon is what helps your air conditioner do its job. It's expensive, so
certain contractors will try to find ways to get you to buy more than
necessary or give it to you for "free", but in essence include it in the
price of some other repair. For one, if you're A/C is low on Freon, chances
are there's a leak because an A/C unit does not naturally lose Freon. If
they merely fill your A/C up with Freon and don't offer to perform a leak
search, you may be getting scammed.
Also, have the contractor stay awhile as you test your A/C to see if it's
working properly after the contractor says he or she is done.
6) Troubleshoot first
If you can solve the problem yourself, then the chances of being scammed go
down because you won't have to hire anyone at all. Research the symptoms of
your problems online before calling for service. You can even use us as a
resource by asking one of our experts for help.
7) Get it in writing
Getting everything in writing will prevent the crafty bait and switch. So
before a contractor starts working, make sure you have a written contract
Start and completion dates
Itemized list of materials
Payment penalties for not completing the job on time
8) Know if you really need to replace or just get it repaired
Don't get suckered into replacing your A/C or furnace if you don't need to.
Read our brief article: "How Do I Know If I Should Repair Or Replace My
Current Heating And Air Conditioning System?" to learn more about this.
9) Read reviews and ratings online
Good people get good reviews and ratings. Enough said. As you're looking for
your 3-4 estimates, look up reviews on Yelp and Angie's List, and find their
10) Know what a quality heating and cooling contractor looks like
If you know what a quality contractor looks like, spotting a potential
scammer is easy.
Quality contractors are:
Careful to survey your problem first and then give a final estimate, not
Patient when explaining why they're repairing and charging you for something
Local and work full time in an office--not part-time in their home's garage.
Have a problem with your heating and cooling system in the Atlanta area?
Contact us online for a free estimate. Want help troubleshooting your
system? Ask one of our experts for help.
(No affliation - found by Google!)
On Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 10:58:49 PM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:
You immediately jump to the conclusion that it has to be
fraud. How about if the techs know from experience that the
residential systems today are such pieces of crap that once
they have a leak, it's just not worth fixing? That if they
fix it, it's not cheap and the system typically winds up
needing to be replaced soon anyway? Not saying that I know
that's the case, but it's a possibility. People here seem
to agree that while systems used to typically last 25+ years,
today 15 is more typical.
There you go again with further expanding it into deliberate
sabotage, which there was absolutely zero evidence of in this
What $1000? I had two refrigeration repairs this year. One was an air
dryer with a 19# charge. That was $640. Leak was easily found and
repaired. The other was an older office AC, similar setup to a home
unit and that was $500. Leak (second time) has not been found and a
sealer was added. Yes, it is a bit of a crap shoot, but $500 and a
chance it is fixed is better than just putting out $5000 with assurance
of no leak.
Customer should have been given the option. Five years is not old. At
15 years I may agree to replace.
You are starting to sound like General Motors. I had a problem with a
heated seat. It was less than 3 years, but over the 36,000 miles. They
wanted $670 to replace the seat because the $10 element burned out.
They suggested I buy a new car. A $35,000 solution to a $10 problem.
BTW, I did eventually buy a new car, but that was my last GM.
On Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 1:03:19 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
I raised the example of where the leak was a failed evaporator,
which is a common failure.
I would think that could be $1000. First you have to find the
leak. Then you have to recover the refrigerant. Then you have
to replace the evaporator, flow nitrogen through it while brazing
it, then pressurize it with nitrogen to leak test, then evacuate
which takes time just standing there, then recharge it. Besides
all the time, you have the cost of the new evaporator, refrigerant,
The other was an older office AC, similar setup to a home
If the above attempt at leak fixing didn't work, would you still
have paid the $600?
I'm only trying to look at it from the HVAC guy's perspective.
After doing all of the above, it could turn out that the system
still has another problem and then what? Who eats all the work
already done? I guess the HVAC guy could just price that in,
that for every X systems where the leak fix works, there are Y
where they wind up eating Z dollars, so cover that by increasing
the price of the repair on all of them.
Sure, he did what I asked him to do. Took a chance and so far I'm
winning. Nice and cool in here.
You have to lay it out to the customer. These are the costs and the
potential results. Or we can just replace it all.
Look at it the same with a five year old car. What is the cost of a
transmission? Fix it and what if the engine goes? Where do you stop
tossing money at it and scrap it?
In the case of my 2001 Buick, I bought a new car in 2006 and the Buick
became my wife's car. Couple of years later it was deteriorating so
fast I gave it away. Long list of things going bad, expensive things.
Every GM car I bought new needed warranty repairs within the first
couple of months. I've had 3 Sonatas and one needed one repair under
warranty after 2 1/2 years and 57,000 miles.
On Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 3:49:12 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
I'll bet in the typical homeowner scenario the HVAC guys
wind up eating the $600. Typical customer is going to say
you didn't fix it, I'm not paying.
I agree. But that kind of analysis is beyond many homeowners
today. That existing system was probably worth $3000 when new.
Assuming it lasts 15 years, then 5 years in, it's worth ~$2000.
So figure out how much you're willing to spend to try to fix
something that worth $2000. And then there are a dozen forks
in the decision path, possibilities, etc. You could discuss
all those whatifs, and then when you hand them a bill for
$600 and the system isn't fixed, I think in plenty of cases,
whatever you told them is going to be forgotten and they
aren't going to pay you. But I would also
think that on the first service call they would at least go
looking for the leak. How long can that take? I would think
30 mins they could do a quick once over of the accessible
parts of the system. If they find it, then you have a good
starting point to figure out what to do. But clearly the
two or more companies they called in weren't going to do that.
I read this and said to myself "16's"? Sixteen what? What an odd name for a
new car model. Then I realized it's next year. Oy. Brain freeze.
My wife now drives a Honda but wants to trade it in for something more
comfortable. She reported she had read in Autoweek that all the German cars
she was interested in (BMW and Audi) were burning oil right off the showroom
floor. This site claims it's normal because of high heat and thin oil in
modern engines but owners aren't too happy with adding a can of oil every
<<Dear Doctor: I had the oil changed by the dealership on my 2011 Audi A4 at
22,000 miles. Then at 28,000 miles the oil was a quart low. Is this normal?
I'm using synthetic oil and drive about 250 miles a week on highways. Also,
when did we do away with dipsticks? -- Debra
Dear Debra: You are using a quart at about 6,000 miles. A quart of oil
consumption at even 1,000 miles-plus is considered normal. The oil we use
today is very thin. Today's engines run at hotter temperatures. This equals
oil usage. On some vehicles the engine and transmission fluid dipsticks left
us in the early 2000 model years, as did the conventional oil and filter
change every 3,000 miles or 3 month intervals. Some vehicles have an annual
oil change interval while some also hold 9-plus quarts of oil and most
require full-synthetic oil.>>
Here's the link to the Consumer Reports article referenced by Autoweek:
<<We focused on 498,900 vehicles from the 2010 to 2014 model years, many of
which are still under their powertrain warranty. Several engines emerged as
the main offenders: Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and
3.0-liter V6, BMW's 4.8-liter V8 and twin-?turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, and to
a lesser extent Subaru's 3.6-liter six-cylinder and 2.0- and 2.5-liter
Those engines are in models such as the Audi A3, Audi A4, Audi A5, Audi A6,
and Audi Q5; BMW 5, BMW 6, and BMW 7 series, and BMW X5; and Subaru
Forester, Subaru Impreza, Subaru Legacy, and Subaru Outback.
The worst case showed that, overall, owners of BMW 5 Series vehicles with V8
engines were 27 times as likely to suffer excessive oil consumption as
owners of an average vehicle. >>
And you know how these systems work. Imagine being a poor schlub that
doesn't know one bit about A/C and has to depend on the technician's word
that what he says is wrong is actually true. One thing's for sure. The
next time a tech comes out, I am going to set up one of my covert CCTV
cameras to make sure he's not up to any hanky-panky.
Agreed. The fact that they went straight to the new system without testing
for leaks pretty much tells me they're out to replace, not to repair.
There's an old IBM joke about flat tires that covers this:
A salesman, a mathematician, and a computer programmer are driving down the
road when the car they are in gets a flat tire. The mathematician says they
should sell the old tire and buy a new one. The computer programmer says
they should drive the car around the block and see if the tire fixes itself.
The salesman says that they should buy a new car.
My furnace/AC is 17 years old. Day before yesterday I had water all
over the basement floor. It's got 3 drains that go to 3/4 PVC.
I took off the exhaust vent to get at the panel covering the
evaporator and verified the evap trough wasn't draining.
Nice and clean in there. Surprised me.
Cut the PVC on the vertical and taped a hose to it leading to the
sump. Fixed. I'll replace most of the PVC later.
There's about 35' of it.
GM has been very good to me. Never bought a new one and I never
bought one with heated seats. Only one I didn't grow fond of was a
Otherwise I've run them to 150-180k miles with minimal issues, and
never had one strand me. They all rusted out.
But if I was a new car buyer, I'd probably go Hyundai. Three of my
daughters bought Santa Fe's.
Not that you asked, but....
Some times, you can blow the crud out with
air compressor, blow gun, and a towel to
seal where the air gun goes in.
It's wise to make a way to pour your own water
in, and once or twice a year to pour in hot
water with a bunch of bleach.
In alt.home.repair, on Thu, 23 Jul 2015 06:05:18 -0700 (PDT), trader_4
He shouldnt' have done all that work without knowing it would work when
he was done.
He should have explained the problem to the customer and told him the
customer has two choices, A) For the repairman to put enough
refrgerant in the system so he can test the system. If it tests good,
he'll be able to re-use what he uesd when he evacuates it and then puts
it back in. The customer will owe for the refridge and fixing the
If it tests bad, the customer has to pay for the refrirgerant and the
service call. $n Or he can go ahead and fix whatever else is
Or, he should tell the customer at the same time, B) I can just fix the
leak I found, but the system might not work because of other problems.
I'll tell you what's needed then and you can decide whether or not to go
further If you say no, then you'll just owe for my fixing the leak, and
recharging, which is $m, like above.
If you say yes, it's $p.
The expensive complete repair comes out the same price.
The two paths to get there, if not completed, are different prices,
Don't tell me the right choice is to sell the man an AC he doesn't need.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.