Avoid These 4 Common Furnace Repair Scams
Waukesha HVAC Specialists Caution Furnace Owners about Dubious Practices
Winter is about to rear its ugly head. Your air conditioner is exhausted and ready for a break. Your furnace is ready to shoulder the load—hopefully.
Don't Bet On It—Take Preventive Measures
Your furnace is never more likely to malfunction than after several months of inactivity. If you fire up your furnace in the fall and find there’s a problem, you may need professional furnace repair services to get your unit up and running again.
Shady heating and cooling companies capitalize on your immediate need by scamming you into purchasing parts or services you don’t need in order to get a quick buck.
Be aware of the shifty, bogus tactics repair technicians use to get in your back pocket. Read on for a few of the most common ways HVAC companies scam customers into spending money unnecessarily.
Cracked Heat Exchanger
We show you exactly what's wrong with your furnace and give you the best price for repairs.
Perhaps the most common furnace repair scam is the “cracked heat exchanger” scam. A shady repair technician may try to trick you into believing the heat exchanger in your furnace is cracked and leaking deadly amounts of carbon monoxide into your home. They will push you hard to either get it fixed immediately or replace the unit entirely on the spot.
Remember: it is possible for your heat exchanger to be cracked and it is a dangerous problem needing immediate attention. However, it is also very rare.
If your repairman claims to have found a crack in your heat exchanger, insist on seeing the crack for yourself—particularly if it took very little time for the repair technician to make the diagnosis.
If you cannot see the crack, do not take it on faith that only the expert’s eyes can see it. Get another opinion as soon as possible to make sure you aren’t getting scammed.
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When a repairman tries to warn you your life is in danger and you can’t afford to wait another moment to repair or replace your furnace, a few red flags should go off. Reputable repair technicians will not attempt to frighten you into a sale. If a tech makes you feel your safety is threatened (most often because of a cracked heat exchanger and a carbon monoxide leak) and you need to pay him immediately to fix the problem, demand to see hard evidence of a critical problem. If the tech continues to push you for a signature, say farewell and get another opinion.
A huge giveaway you’re probably being scammed is if the furnace service tech says they’ll lower the repair price if you agree right then to have them fix it. Honest HVAC repair companies do not offer “Sign Now” rebates.
Do not repair or replace your furnace based on fear. Never give in to a technician pushing you into spending money if you have any reservations about it.
Rest assured, the furnace repair experts at Hot Point would never try to scare you into a big expense. Our number one concern is getting your furnace up and running for the lowest cost—not tricking you and lining our pockets.
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Learn to identify the warning signs of a scam.
Bait & Switch
Many unreliable furnace repair service providers will try to tempt you with an unbelievably low (or even free) offer on furnace repair services for the sole purpose of getting a technician into your house. These companies train their on-site technicians to create problems that aren’t there and charge you massive sums to “fix” them.
Beware of solicitors via telephone or mail promising offers so attractive they seem suspicious. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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Unnecessary Duct Cleaning
Some HVAC companies will try to get you to invest in expensive duct cleaning services. They might point to one or two dirty air registers on the floor or ceiling as proof your ductwork is clogged and needs cleaning.
Just because your registers are dirty doesn’t mean your ductwork needs cleaning. Chances are, you really don’t need it. Most biological contaminants need moisture to survive. When heat pumps through your ductwork, it is far too dry for most bacteria to remain alive and pollute the air.
Don't be tricked by offers that are too good to be true—they probably are!
Here are a few scenarios where duct cleaning may be necessary:
- Animals have nested in the ductwork. Remove them and get it cleaned.
- Renovation. Ductwork should be sealed during renovation, but if it wasn’t, it’s a good idea to get it cleaned out.
- If there is visible mold.
- If you can see pet hair or debris coming out.
- If there is a foul odor coming from vents.
- If someone in the house has an unexplained allergy-related illness, clean out the ductwork as a last resort.
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How to Avoid Getting Scammed
The best way to avoid getting scammed is by getting multiple opinions. Never be content with just one quote, especially if the amount the first service company quotes sounds high.
Pay close attention to your heating system and perform simple furnace maintenance tactics to do all you can to avoid emergency repairs in the future. A surefire way to dodge a scam artist is to avoid the need of HVAC service in the first place!
The furnace repair professionals at Hot Point Heating & Air Conditioning understand we shouldn’t be the only company quoting your repair or replacement services. However, we’re confident we will provide the services you need at the lowest price on the market and we offer a great furnace repair guarantee.