Most people dread heating and AC repair because it is an expensive task that signals the AC or furnace is not working correctly within a home. We understand that because we often get called in when people are at the end of their ropes with their furnaces or AC units. In some places, you can get by without an AC, but in Texas air conditioning is not an option which can lead to some challenging situations. When people feel trapped the situation tends to become emotional, and if you don’t choose the right heating and AC repair company these feelings can escalate quickly.
While most heating and AC repair companies are knowledgeable and trustworthy, there is a handful that is not. Like everything in life, there are always rotten eggs. Some companies are purposely trying to make more money and others simply have inexperienced technicians who don’t know any better and make mistakes. Either way, the best way to protect your home is by ensuring that you choose the right company for your home unit. This requires a little extra work and some research, but when your visit goes smoothly you will be thankful.
The following are a few stories of people who didn’t research the companies they chose and the disastrous results that followed. The best way to ensure you don’t end up like one of the homeowners in these horror stories is by learning to reference check any company you welcome into your home. Taking an extra 20 minutes to read reviews and check licensing can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.
The Standard Runaround
Kathy found out the hard way how hard it can be to get a quick heating and AC repair completed if you don’t choose the right professional. In her case, she wasn’t sure whether the technician was simply untrained or attempting to rip her off, but it was a hassle that she never wanted to go through again either way. What should have been a simple part replacement turned into a nightmare that just seemed to keep recurring. Kathy learned quickly that next time she needed to talk to friends and family for recommendations and read reviews. Had she done both she probably would have found out that the technician had horrible customer service and really didn’t know what he was doing.
When Kathy first called for heating and AC repair she had high hopes that the situation would get resolved quickly. While her unit was about five years old, it was still well within its lifespan and she was careful to make sure that it was maintained properly. Every year she had it serviced by the original company who installed it and she changed her filters every three months. Therefore, she knew whatever was wrong wouldn’t take her terribly long to fix. It wasn’t as if she needed a new unit. However, when she heard a jangling noise coming from her unit she knew that she had to call someone to take a look.
The first thing she did was turn off her furnace. It wasn’t terribly cold so she could make it until the heating and AC repair technician came out. She wanted to make sure that she didn’t cause any additional damage by running it while there was a damaged part. For the most part, Kathy was very educated on the basics of proper HVAC repair, which is why what happened next both surprised and frustrated her. She called her regular company which came out of service once a year, but they were booked out and wouldn’t be able to get to her for a while.
Kathy was okay with that because she figured this was a standard repair and someone else would be able to jump in and take care of it. She did a quick Google search and called the name that jumped out at her in the results. It would have taken her a few extra minutes to click on the review tab, but she didn’t even notice it. All she cared about was getting a number and a visit scheduled. This was a mistake that would haunt her soon enough.
When the HVAC technician arrived at her house, Kathy wanted to talk about what was wrong, but the tech (who turned out to be the owner), didn’t want to chat. He just wanted to look at the furnace. While she understood this, she wanted to make sure that he understood what was happening and why she called. He seemed to brush her questions and concerns off and didn’t spend any extra time with her. Not only did this seem rude, but it made her question if he was really looking at the real problem. It also made her feel quite unsettled.
When he talked he was not very clear about what he was saying, and that led her to have many questions. Kathy was the type of person who liked to have a clear grasp on what was going on, and the heating and AC repair technician was making it very hard for her to do so. She knew that wouldn’t be a good match for this reason, but he was here now to fix it and she was trying to muddle through and get this done. However, in her opinion, he wasn’t even trying to address what she was saying. He was just plowing through this preset speech that didn’t seem to change regardless of what she said.
He kept saying that most of her problems were caused because the system was working too hard since the filter was dirty and the system needed to be cleaned. She had a hard time believing this because the air filter was only three weeks old and you could see right through it. How was it possible that this was the cause of any of the issues? It seemed absurd and like he was just reciting a speech that he gave all of his customers. She told him that she already had a company that serviced her unit every year, she just needed him to fix the noise.
He continued to say that the part that was rattling was broken because it had to work harder to compensate for the dirt. Kathy was annoyed at this point because you could still see through the filter that she had just put in. There was no way that there was a massive amount of dirt in her furnace. It was like he was not even looking at her unit but just telling her what he told all his clients.
Her first impulse was not to trust him, but she had to get the unit fixed and regardless of the garbage about the condition of the unit, she knew that there was a part dislodged and making noise. He told her that the part would cost about $600 plus labor to install. That sounded high, but Kathy didn’t know the individual pricing of parts and didn’t want to mess with someone else so she said okay go ahead and replace the part so she could get some heat back into the house. It wasn’t below freezing, but it certainly would feel better to get some heat flowing again.
The heating and AC repair technician said okay, but reminded her that she should get additional cleaning services. If she chose to have him clean the furnace until it would cost her another $300. She declined once again stating the filter was not that dirty and that she already had someone clean her unit once a year. Kathy did not think that the cleaning was necessary right now and just wanted to address the broken part. He gave her a hard time about her choice but agreed to fix the part that he identified as worn out and broken.
After the repair was finished he said that she should not turn on her furnace for three hours. Due to an abundance of caution, Kathy waited four hours and then turned her furnace back on. The shocking problem was that it would not turn on. It was still broken and now the heating and AC repair company was closed for the day. After spending so much money on the repair and arguing with the man for basically two hours, Kathy was incensed. It looked like one more cold night until the morning.
In the morning she called the heating and AC repair company again and was told it would be three days before he could get back out to address the issue. Kathy was quite angry, but she thought it fell on him to fix the problem and she didn’t want to start over again with someone new so she waited three days and dealt with more cold weather. It wasn’t freezing, but it was cold enough that her sore joints ached and after spending that much on repairs, she wasn’t happy that she was suffering once again.
When the owner of the company came back out he took a while to look at the furnace and once again avoided all of her questions. She had a lot this time since it seemed that he wasn’t entirely sure what was wrong either as he spent a lot of time looking over the unit. He dodged most of her questions however and stated that the general dirty state of the furnace probably affected more than just one part. In the end, he said that she needed another part replaced that would cost her around another grand when the process was over including labor. He also pushed cleaning again stating that it was the dirt and grime that had led to all of her problems. At this point, Kathy had enough of him and politely declined to make the repairs now stating that she needed some time to think about it and to move money around.
She knew she wasn’t going to replace the unit, which she could tell he had also been thinking about, but she also wasn’t going to make a second huge investment into her furnace without getting a second opinion. After the first repair, it would be a lot of money to put into a unit that was only five years old in one week. She was pretty sure that he was either purposely looking to gauge her for money or just just didn’t know what he was doing and had misdiagnosed the problem the first time around. Kathy certainly wasn’t going to play a guessing game along with him.
This time around Kathy spent a little time researching the heating and AC repair company that she would use for her second opinion. She was tired of playing games and wanted to work with a company that was a straight shooter who would answer her questions and explain the issue to her. She also did not want any more guessing games and wanted a fair quote. She wasn’t sure what a fair quote was, but she had her suspicions that she wasn’t getting one.
The second company came out within a day and reassured Kathy that she did not have an extremely dirty or worn-down furnace. He explained that the dirt and worn down parts were normal wear and tear which was unavoidable as a furnace started to age. He complimented her on having her system cleaned on a regular abscess and told her that booking another cleaning right now would not have saved her anymore. Kathy felt a little better after hearing that because she did work hard to keep her furnace in good shape so that she would keep the warranty intact.
The second opinion heating and AC repair technician went on to explain that as systems age there is some wear and tear and some parts do break down. He was unable to tell her definitively if the first part needed to be replaced because it had already been replaced and he couldn’t see the condition the first part was in. However, he did state that she would need to replace the same part that the first HVAC company had told her about in order to get her furnace working again. However, he quoted her a price that was half as much as the first guy.
Kathy was instantly relieved, although she was very suspicious she probably overpaid for the first company’s negligence or inexperience already. She agreed to let the second opinion company repair the broken part and within hours finally had heat back in her home. While she was glad that she was smart enough to call for a second opinion, she learned that it would have been smarter to have done some research first. Had she looked into the situation better in the first place then she would have been in a better place anyhow. The first company had a lot of negative reviews, and now Kathy fully understood why.
Now Kathy has added one more thing to her list of HVAC maintenance tasks: clean her HVAC system once a year, change the filters every three months, and properly research any heating and AC repair company that she hires to come out to her home. She tells everyone she can about her poor experience as well in the hopes of preventing someone else from having to deal with what she did.
A Poor Install Leads to a Lifetime of Problems
While Kathy’s issues were frustrating, they were much better than Mike’s issues, which turned into a revolving door of problems until he gave up on his new unit. Mike thought that installing a new AC unit would solve all of his issues with his air conditioning system, but instead, it caused so many problems and headaches that he found himself in need of a new unit in just four years. If that sounds like a nightmare situation, Mike could tell you that it was. The installation of an AC is the number one factor that affects lifespan, and Mike learned the hard way what happens if you don’t allow a professional to handle the installation.
Although, to Mike’s credit, he thought that by choosing an HVAC technician he found on Google that he was hiring a trained technician. He didn’t realize that not all companies were licensed, bonded, and insured and he certainly didn’t realize that there were people running HVAC companies who were essentially glorified handymen. Had he realized all of this he would have done his due diligence when choosing someone to install his new unit. Unfortunately, he did not and the following story of what can best be described as an HVAC nightmare ensued.
Mike knew that a few of the AC units in his home were starting to show signs of wear and tear and one had stopped working altogether. Mike didn’t want to play the game of surprise repairs so he decided to schedule a complete replacement of two units in his home. Over the last few years, he had used a variety of HVAC companies based on who was available and always generally seemed to have good luck so he went online and scheduled with the company that had the quickest openings.
He didn’t want to pay for emergency heating and AC repair since only one unit was bad and he still had some airflow in his home, but he also didn’t want to wait forever. Mike was aware that with the hot humid air in Texas if he waited too long there could be mold growing in the attic and other spots in his home and he certainly didn’t want to walk into that issue. Unknownst to him, he would end up dealing with mold anyhow but for very different reasons.
The company was run by a father and son team, and the son came out to do the AC unit replacement on a sunny day. The son was very chatty and Mike had a good time shooting the breeze with him. Everything seemed to be going well. The units were delivered on time, and they were fitted into their spots, but then when it came time to turn them on, one unit would not start up and the other unit was making an odd noise. Given they were brand-new units this was immediately alarming. The son attempted to troubleshoot the issues for about an hour and then called his dad in to help.
Now Mike was on red alert, he had never heard of units having trouble from the start and was concerned that maybe the units needed to be replaced. Was it possible that two defective units had been delivered to the home by the manufacturer? The owner of the HVAC company attempted to smooth things over and kept saying that this was just a bump and he would fix it. However, Mike doubted this because there was a lot of language passing between the son and the owner and none of it sounded good. Mike wasn’t sure what language they were speaking, but he knew what yelling sounded like, and the son was certainly on the wrong end of the conversation.
Mike attempted to leave them alone to finish the job, but he was also very concerned about the situation given the units were already in this much trouble and they weren’t even working yet. For new units, he knew that things should have been going a lot smoother. Thus, while he didn’t hover he did pop back into the room off and on throughout the day checking on the installation and asking for an update on the situation. It was clear the owner didn’t want to talk and was not in a good mood, but he would turn a bit of charm on when Mike was around.
At this point, there wasn’t much Mike could do since the installation fee was already paid and the units were already in his home, but he was certainly uncomfortable with the whole mess. From what he could tell it looked like the owner practically had to uninstall the units and start completely from scratch again. This was not an ideal situation during an installation, and he wondered if this would lead to issues down the road. However, the owner continued to reassure him that everything was fine and the installation just hit a few snags.
After what seemed like the longest installation process ever (Mike and his family had time to eat an entire dinner and dessert before it was completed), the owner of the heating and AC repair company turned on the units again and cool air filled the house. The feel of cool air was very reassuring and Mike was happy to say goodbye to the techs and get them out of his house. The sound of the two squabbling so much around his kids was not a good look. Finally, that was over and he could move on with his life.
However, those two units haunted him for the next four years. Both units at different times overflowed and left water pouring into the house. The first time it happened the owner came out (Mike never saw the son again) and stated that it was a drain clog that caused the issue. Mike was a little suspicious about this because while he did see the owner clean out the drain, he also noticed that he rehung the piping that led to the drain. He shortened the track quite a bit and corrected the sagging pipe that no doubt had allowed the water to back up in the first place.
After the HVAC tech left MIke also checked to see if the killswitch was in place and noticed that it was not sitting correctly in the pan. He guessed it probably never was and that is why the water was able to overflow and start leaking in the first place. Had it been in the right place the unit would have just kicked off and Mike could have solved the problem without the help of an HVAC company. At the very least he could have skipped the water damage.
This visit cost him some flooring repair and a visit from a mold remediation service because he was afraid that the leaking might have led to some mold growing under the flooring. However, ripping up the old flooring and putting down some new vinyl planks seemed to be all that was necessary. In retrospect, Mike wished that he had thought to check the other new unit to make sure that the kill switch was on, but he didn’t because he still thought it was all a result of the accidental mistake. He was yet to realize how inept (or potentially crooked), the HVAC company that he was working with was.
A year passed and things were fine, but then his wife was in the laundry room one day doing laundry when she noticed that water was dripping off the ceiling onto the washer. She looked up and the entire ceiling was bowing slightly. She quickly called Mike and within a day the HVAC company was back out to take a look. They claimed once again that the drain line was clogged, but since only one unit was having issues with water (the other was not leaking at all), Mike was a bit more suspicious this time. When he asked about the kill switch they also cleverly avoided his questions and mumbled an answer that did not sound like the right one. This time around he was a lot angrier.
It was clear that the laundry room ceiling was bowing and he was sure that there was water damage throughout the ceiling and the upstairs flooring. While he didn’t care as much about how the flooring looked in the attic, he was not happy with the damage to his laundry room. The only good thing about the entire scenario is that the leak happened to be dripping straight into his washing machine basin so at least the flooring wasn’t ruined in the laundry room as well. In fact, the direction of the leak probably is why they didn’t notice it sooner- because the water wasn’t collecting in a puddle on the floor.
The HVAC owner was not apologetic at all and just stated that sometimes this happened and refused to take any responsibility for the situation. Mike was angry, but he just wanted the problem fixed and this time he stayed and watched while they cleaned the drain line and then repositioned the piping. He noticed that they fixed this very similarly to how they fixed the first unit and asked the heating and AC repair technician if they just hadn’t done that in the first place. He mumbled some explanation about working with the available space they had at the time, but no none of it made sense to Mike. The available space hadn’t changed. Either the owner was just too frustrated cleaning up his son’s mess to notice last time, or they purposely set up the unit to have problems. Both spelled problems.
After they left Mike was hopeful this was the last time he would see them. After all, now both of the drain pipes had been fixed and Mike himself had checked the kill switches. He was not about to have any more problems that were easily preventable. His wife told him that if there were any more problems they should just go with a different HVAC company, but Mike felt they should stick with this one since they had done the difficult install and should know how to fix the issues quicker (and possibly give him a discount).
His wife disagreed though and mentioned that after the second leak, she had gone online to look up some reviews on the HVAC company and found that a lot of people complained about problems with leaks and that the communication and customer service was horrible. Other people had noted that they avoided questions and the owner seemed to dodge any questions that didn’t fit with his narrative.
Mike kept quiet because he didn’t feel like admitting he hadn’t done any research before inviting the heating and AC repair company into his home. All he had done was make phone calls down the list until he found someone that was available quickly. Now he had a feeling he knew why he was available so quickly, but it was too late to do anything about that so Mike just dodged his wife’s questions and hoped that this would be the end of the repairs.
Unfortunately, it was not. Mike ended up having the heating and AC repair company out to his house four more times over the next couple of years because he kept having issues with leaks and sometimes the units would quit altogether. After the fourth visit and no sign of a discount from the owner, who argued quite passionately when the issue had to do with price, Mike finally gave up and called in another HVAC company. It was clear that this guy was just ringing him along from the start and nothing that he nor his team did ever fixed the real issue.
To be honest, Mike started to feel the same as his wife, that this HVAC company was just ringing him along to make more money. Fixing the issue just enough that it would work for a while and then go bad again at which point Mike would need to call him back to the house. He had never heard of anyone having this many issues with new AC units. He purchased new AC units so that he wouldn’t have to deal with this type of mess. Enough was enough. The only good news was the new company was able to fix the issue and it held for a bit.
However, the new heating and AC repair company did warn Mike that due to the poor installation of the units, it was highly unlikely that he was going to get the full lifespan out of them. Air conditioning units are very fragile pieces of machinery, and if something gets out of calibration it can mess up everything. That is why they are typically delivered to the home of the person who is having the machine installed instead of to the HVAC company. The idea is to reduce travel and the chances that something would get knocked out of place.
Unfortunately, since the AC unit was installed, and then taken apart, taken back out of place, and put back in place there was a great chance that things had been messed up inside. This was the type of situation that most HVAC companies work extremely hard to avoid. He also said that if the heating and AC repair company was reputable they would have offered an extended warranty program in lieu of exchanging the units altogether. Of course, the company hadn’t offered any of that and instead fought over pricing when it came time to address the problems that Mike had.
Even though he suspected all of this, hearing it from the second HVAC company he hired for repairs was still tough. He had effectively rolled the dice when he installed the units and it appeared that he rolled the lowest number on the dice. In the end, one of his units only made it to four years because it was installed so improperly that the wear and tear on the model just killed most of the components inside. He had already sunk so much money into it that his new heating and AC repair company advised him against putting any more time or money into it.
While Mike knew that was the right call, he couldn’t believe that he was replacing a unit after only four years. That was probably the biggest sting of the entire mess, and there was a good chance he would end up replacing the other unit prematurely as well. The problem is there is no way to reverse the damage caused by a bad install, which is why it pays to wait a bit and to look around and read reviews before hiring someone to come out to your home.
Mike learned that while it stinks to have to wait for someone to install an HVAC system sometimes, it can also be well worth the wait if that means you are going to get someone who is fully qualified to complete the job. There are sometimes perks to waiting for a company that is always booked, because it is probably an indication that they do the job right. Annoying yes, but it could have saved Mike four years’ worth of trouble and a new unit.
Both Mike and Kathy learned the value of doing the research before hiring a heating and AC repair company to come to fix a unit. They both attempted to take a shortcut by hiring a company that could get out to their home quickly when they should have been more concerned with the quality of service they would receive. Anytime you are faced with a heating and AC repair, your first concern should be quality and experience. Then you should worry about the timeframe. We recommend looking at the reviews online and ensuring that any company you choose is licensed, insured, and bonded so that you are protected in case anything happens during the repair or installation process.
If you are searching for an experienced heating and AC repair company that maintains a high standard of customer service and excellence, contact One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas. We will be happy to service your unit and ensure that it runs for years to come.
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