When looking for AC repair in Ft Lauderdale here are some helpful tips and tricks to understand what your repairman does not want you to know.
- Low on Freon. Your system does not require annual Freon to make it work. Air conditioning systems are sealed and do not require Freon unless you have a leak.
Tech trick: Techs can ring the register with just one lb. of Freon R-22. The cost of R-22 has skyrocketed due the reduction of ozone depleting gases. By 2015 there will be a 90% reduction of all import/manufacturing of R-22. This means the price will continue to rise. This means companies are charging more. Don’t be afraid to ask a company what they charge. Currently the average price is between $45-$55 per pound. I hear people charging more than $90 per pound. Imagine you need 7 lbs. at $90 that’s $630 just for the gas.
Solution: Ask How much the per pound will be before they send a tech if you think you need Freon. If they are going to add Freon watch to make sure they weigh before and after the tank of gas. If your low by more than 1 lbs you should have a leak test done. If the coil is leaking you might need a repair or replacement. Don’t just add gas one week and then next week need additional Freon and a repair or replacement. Remember companies love to build the sell. By not completely fixing the system the first time allows them to come back for additional revenue.
- Tech Pushing A New Air Conditioning System
The biggest profit for an air conditioning company is replacing air conditioning equipment. Techs can earn big commissions. You call because your A/C is leaking water, next thing you’re being told you need to buy a brand new unit. Watch out for this tactics. The tech opens the air handler and says, “wow you have to see this” he then tells you that mold has infested your entire unit. He’ll tell you this unit is causing health issues and is not safe. Another common scare tactic is to tell you that your unit could blow up or catch on fire. You need to replace right away or you’ll cause damage to your home. Watch out for when a technician tells you that you need a special part and it’s no longer available.
Solution: Before you get pushed into anything pause, and think it over. Don’t rush into anything. Now ask a lot of questions. For example what’s wrong with my unit? What will it take to fix my A/C? Be wary when they say you need a part that’s no longer available. Check online or call other HVAC companies and ask for a phone quote for a part. Most units should last at least 10 years. The main reason you should replace your unit is when you need a coil either evaporator or condenser. Those parts tend to be very expensive and not always available. The mold issues are sensitive most HVAC techs are not experts in mold. Most homes have some type of mold in them and in the air conditioner. Don’t panic. Mold spores are natural in the air and outside and can be harmless. If you’re having health issues seek mold experts and you will need to find the source of the contamination. By replacing the air conditioner may not solve the issue.
- Your Coil Needs Cleaning
A lot of commissioned techs are required to sell something each call. They have quotas. This is something that frustrates me. How can they sell something you may not need.
Solutions: If a technician tells you that you need your evaporator coil pulled out and cleaned, ask this question, “What is my Temperature Difference Across the Coil (TD)”. The tech’s jaw will probably drop. You’re now talking his language. The proper range is between 16-20 degrees. If you have a dirty coil your TD will be above 20 like 22, 23, 24 degrees. If your coil is just filthy dirty you may still need a cleaning. To avoid coil cleanings keep changing your filters every 30-60 days. Use an inexpensive pleated filter spend, around $4-$6.00 per filter. Coil cleaning should not be done every two years. You should only clean a coil when necessary. The chemicals are harsh and will wear out the coil if treated too often.
- Multiple Part Orders
Tech Pushing Up Sales: It’s okay to suggest products or services. It’s not okay to push parts that are not required. It’s very rare to have multiple functioning required parts fail at the same time. It’s Red flag time if the tech says you need a new fan motor, 3 lbs. of Freon and a new contactor for a total price of $945.00. If he uses scare tactics, such as it’s going to blow if you don’t replace all these parts then go to the solution below.
Solution: Stay calm and then ask him to write down everything. The best thing at this point would be to get a second opinion. If the first technician was wrong call the company and ask for a full refund for the initial service call fees.
- Out Of Warranty?
Deceptive Practices: This tactic really fires me up. You call a company out to check your system that may be only 5-8 years old. They tell you your equipment is out of warranty. Then they proceed to give you an inflated price to fix it or try to scare you into replacing the system.
Solution: Find your equipment’s part warranty. Call the manufacturer of the equipment. You can find their number on the internet. If you have the model and serial number they may be able to look it up. You can also find an Air Conditioner Contractor that specializes in the equipment you have and call them. Most dealers (contractors) will help right over the phone. Most good companies believe in good will.
There are a lot of good companies and technicians in the market place. Some companies employ rather unethical behavior while others sometimes just make mistakes. If you’re not happy with something call and speak with a manager or owner. Most good companies try to run a fair business. I don’t like people using scare tactics to sell products or services. Never rush into a decision you are not comfortable making. Get a second opinion if it does not make sense.
Price AC provides complete AC installation & AC repair in the Ft. Lauderdale area and surrounding cities.
By Howard Pearl State License # CACO57227 Air Conditioning Contractor for over 17 Years.
I have a B.S Civil Engineering From Florida State University.
No use of the information without written consent from Howard Pearl. This information is based on experience and is the opinion of the author. No liability will be assumed for information listed above.