Today I went on an “estimate” for a new customer who called me for a second (third, fourth?) price on a new central air conditioning system. When I arrived and met the nice couple, they explained to me that the company that normally services their home told them that the unit cannot be repaired and needs to be replaced. A couple of carefully chosen questions later, and I came around to learning that the technician was there for about ten minutes, gave no real explanation as to what went wrong with the unit, and gave the couple an astronomical quote for replacement (the latter of which I can only assume amounts to the reason I find myself standing in their living room).
An hour later I had replaced the leaky filter drier that was connected to their (only) 8 year old system and collected $350 in lieu of what could have been a 7 or 8 thousand dollar sale simply because I cannot stand for the deception. Over the last 15 years or so, it has always come as a surprise to me how many home owners are purposely mislead. Although it may be a scary place, in my head honesty will always shine through in the long run, and the conclusion to this visit is living proof: The couple signed up for a service contract, opting to have me service and maintain both of their air conditioning systems from here on out and, after a brief discussion of the efficiency related advantages of system replacement, they’ve decided to replace both systems in a year’s time when they get their next tax return! By discussing real life advantages of new higher efficiency air conditioning equipment, after showing the good faith to repair what they’re already working with, I put the ball in their court and gave them a decision rather than an ultimatum. Now, having worked for my share of companies along this Long Island, I can honestly say that this kind of thing normally occurs for one of two reasons, both of which I find to be rather sad: Either the company’s business plan is overly sales-oriented (I’ll say it: PUSHY!), or the particular technician who was at the home was LAZY. In either case, the real problem is either upsold or completely undiscovered, in favor of a more convenient “discovery” such as, “you need a new system and it’s going to cost you X-thousand dollars.” For this reason, I am here to lay down a basic foundation for home owners who want to be in-the-know and avoid being taken advantage of!
On the topic of air temperature: if it seems like your system ambientec gradually lost capacity until the point where it was blowing warm air, it is most likely due to a refrigerant leak. If your system started blowing warm air overnight, it is likely that there is a control \ component failure at the outdoor unit (so check to see if it’s running, and if not inspect your circuit breakers!) Refrigerant leaks can be difficult to find, and will be the number one thing guys try and get out of. If you’re already at the point where somebody is telling you that there is a leak and it cannot be repaired, ask to see the location of the leak (within reason, of course- some attics are a no-go for most people, but you can always ask them to snap a photo!). Most leaks (90%) can be repaired and even if they can’t, component replacement (evaporator coil, condenser coil etc.) is almost always an option as long as the unit isn’t ancient (20 years or more- if you’re unit is that old, I’ll be right on board with telling you it has to go!) Any one who is telling you that a unit which is less than 12 years old isn’t worth repairing should immediately be suspect. Be aware that I have seen, many-a-time, when someone has blown off trying to find a leak by selling the customer a new system, the problem resurfaces, because even though both units were replaced, the refrigerant piping (which could potentially reside inside a finished wall or ceiling at some point or another) remains, and was the real source of the leak all along! That right there is a customer\contractor relationship ender, and goes even further towards proving my point that dishonesty will catch up to you in the end.