Well, with the weather warming, AC maintenance calls are lighting up the phone lines trying to convince homeowners that they need to use them for a low fee. I get these calls too and find it frustrating from my perspective as an AC company owner. There are basically 7 part in your cooling systems.
I will absolutely GUARANTEE that if you fall for this worry free summer or its fixed free check up, you will get a laundry list of expensive things that need to be cleaned or replaced and the ultimate… the unit should be replaced. So the guarantee they are giving you is 100% worthless. It’s a ploy to make you think your in great hands and you have nothing to worry about. This is exactly where the power shifts from you the homeowner to the contractor.
I can’t predict how long an AC unit will last. However, I can tell you a unit properly maintained and cleaned annually will last longer than one that’s not. When getting service, look at the age of the technician. If a young person shows up expect a list of things to be replaced or cleaned. If a seasoned veteran shows up get ready for the units shot speech and needs replacement…. wont make it through the summer etc…. fear induced sales.
Ultimately, you the consumer has to make a decision on what to do. I am here merely acting as an advocate to help you make better AC buying or AC replacement decision. That’s why we do free second opinions on AC systems and repairs. Oh, and we DO NOT pay sales commissions to employees.
When told you need a new AC system, your heart will most likely sink. No one wants to here that but if you are told that here are five quick tips to ensure a better AC replacement buying experience.
1. Make sure the recommendation comes with substantiation on why the replacement is needed. If given a laundry list of parts that are bad from a spring maintenance check be cautious. Mrs. Jones, you need $1150 in repairs and that’s a great down payment toward a new system. NOTE: Most technicians doing spring checks get paid on commission for upselling parts and repairs to you. PriceMyAC.com doesn’t pay commissions!
With the Valley weather starting to heat, be on the look out for heating and cooling companies that use deceptive business practices. Yesterday we installed a new air conditioning system for a client. When we proposed the price, he was taken aback by sticker shock. New systems are expensive. He was unsure of how to proceed, however, because he had great tenants he decided to go ahead with the investment. After the installation, the tenants raved about the airflow improvements as well as distribution into rooms that previously didn’t have proper airflow with the old system. A new AC system will provide a payback of about 3-4 years.
The Clearly when your AC system breaks down these are the last words you want to hear. Unfortunately, you may need a new AC unit but let’s look at the areas where you might need one and why. But before we get to that, let’s explore some other areas as well as an example of how not to buy a new system.
In the spring of 2012 we were called to a home to provide a second opinion. The system was 12 years old and they were in the final year of a 4 year prepaid maintenance contract. The home owner said the competitors’ tech showed up, took a look at the system label on the side of the unit, and declared it was shot, “Need a new unit and there is nothing we can do to fix this one.” When we arrived, the system was cooling, but intermittently. The reason was the outdoor fan motor was not operating properly and needed to be replaced. When your goal entering the house is to sell something you sell something, when your goal is to fix something you identify the fix. Very contrasting ideology!
The other day I was shopping my competitors and saw this lovely guarantee. I wanted to see how effective it was and requested 10 estimates from people who had this guarantee. To my surprise, the first few kept beating each other up and I was able to get a 20% discount. Oh, and the bigger guys started adding all kinds of things to the estimate to “void” the beat any price guarantee.
The problem was, the equipment, warranty and installation processes they proposed were total crap. They tried to convince me that certain things were not required to get the sale.