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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,317
    My thoughts, based largely on my local climate, is the following:



    • Natural gas and propane fired furnaces should be inspected and serviced yearly. This includes heat exchanger inspection, venting safety inspection, and combustion analysis, not a $29.95 "special"
    • Heat pump and regular a/c outdoor coils should be cleaned at the beginning of the cooling season, every year
    • Heat pump and straight a/c outdoor compressor contactors, terminal connections, wiring, and capacitors, outdoor fan motor, blades, and capacitors, and all wiring associated with all components require annual inspection and testing, at minimum
    • For cheap 1" filters, homeowner should change them every 30 to 45 days
    • For a deep pleated (4") media filter, homeowner should inspect it every three months, consider changing it after six months, and definitely not let it go more than one year without a change
    • Refrigerant level should be checked only if a leak is suspected, or performance deficiencies have cropped up, provided the technician or company is already familiar with the system's history. A new tech/contractor to the system should check levels to establish a baseline comparison for future visits. Leaks should always be repaired; "topping off" a system places system longevity at risk (i.e. potential compressor death)
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Pavilion, NY
    Posts
    2,123
    Spark,,, based on your location I would imagine it would
    ...

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    21,021
    I agree with Shophound, that is a good list.

    Think about it like your personal auto: Would you let it go until it quit? We all know that could mean a multi $thousand repair... We all know preventative maintenance is a good idea on the auto... and on the home heating and AC system also. Pay now or pay later...

    BTW: Any tech with any amount of experience can look at a system and tell in a minute how long it has been since maintenance. When we come out to a 'no heat' or a 'no cool' call... and find a system that has not been PM'ed regularly... well we look for all possible issues... and it is gonna cost. Problem is... one has to get it running before they can check many other things... which probably will need attention.

    It is not uncommon to have a $1K+ bill for a no cool call... if the system is seriously neglected.

    Note my area is one where AC runs 4-5 mos a year... a short swing season, and then 4-5 mos of heat season followed by a short swing season. Equipment in my area gets run regularly, and needs regular maintenance.
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Quality work at a fair price with excellent customer service!

    Romans Ch's 5-6-7-8

    2 Chronicles 7:14

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    West Monroe, LA
    Posts
    1,530
    Quote Originally Posted by Shophound View Post
    My thoughts, based largely on my local climate, is the following:



    • Natural gas and propane fired furnaces should be inspected and serviced yearly. This includes heat exchanger inspection, venting safety inspection, and combustion analysis, not a $29.95 "special"
    • Heat pump and regular a/c outdoor coils should be cleaned at the beginning of the cooling season, every year
    • Heat pump and straight a/c outdoor compressor contactors, terminal connections, wiring, and capacitors, outdoor fan motor, blades, and capacitors, and all wiring associated with all components require annual inspection and testing, at minimum
    • For cheap 1" filters, homeowner should change them every 30 to 45 days
    • For a deep pleated (4") media filter, homeowner should inspect it every three months, consider changing it after six months, and definitely not let it go more than one year without a change
    • Refrigerant level should be checked only if a leak is suspected, or performance deficiencies have cropped up, provided the technician or company is already familiar with the system's history. A new tech/contractor to the system should check levels to establish a baseline comparison for future visits. Leaks should always be repaired; "topping off" a system places system longevity at risk (i.e. potential compressor death)
    Perfect way to look at it. A system that is not maintained will fail sooner, cause for higher electic usage etc...

    It's like anything mechanical it needs to serviced at least once a year. I recommend twice as most do. Once for heating and once for cooling before it gets cold or hot.


    In my area not uncommon to see a unit that has not had maintance done to it and when techs go out the bill can be pretty high to get the unit back running and performing like it should. Often when we get a call for no cooling is a small part that has failed but before it can be checked for any other problems it has to be cleaned and ran to get acrate readings.

    To many companies don't express the importance of maintance on a system and will just fix probelm and move on but wait what if there is something else going on that could have caused the part to fail? The key is to find a good company with maintance program that is reasonable and clean the unit as it needs to be cleaned not just hose off outside condenser from outside only.

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,643
    Quote Originally Posted by pookley View Post
    Thanks for the info. I live in Los Angeles. Our AC is used maybe 2 weeks a year, mostly in the late afternoon, and before bedtime to get to a comfortable temp. Once in a while it'll run a bit at night if it's really warm.

    Our heater is used more often since we have a cold house and a sensitive member of the household. This might run for a few hours every day for a couple of months.

    The reason I asked my question is not just about saving the $ or so per visit, but also because I read some other posts where people's systems were unnecessarily "adjusted" and caused further problems.
    I was at a lady's house last night that didn't do her annual maintenance and her whole kitchen ceiling collapsed. I guess you live and learn.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,721
    So, I'm the customer. How do I know what I'm getting? That the work is actually done? Kangas list, nothing is filled out but some scratches on the bottom. What was done?

    Where is the accountability? Proof shortcuts weren't taken?

    If there is no clear list, how am I to differentiate between the $29 and the $129 service? I think we need some type of list outlining what should occur, and the numbers the tech should leave behind. Otherwise is it any surprise the $129 looks like someone just trying to grab an extra Benjamin?
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
    Posts
    15,918
    Quote Originally Posted by toocoolforschool View Post
    I was at a lady's house last night that didn't do her annual maintenance and her whole kitchen ceiling collapsed. I guess you live and learn.
    So, if the line was clear and draining at the time of your PM, and this happened later on, how would a annual maintenance check helped? Your post is what we sometimes called scare tactic in this business, I would like to know the percentage of the times, someone actually prevents something drastic from happening as in your post above, compared to nothing being wrong at all.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

    "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart". - Unknown

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    21,021
    Quote Originally Posted by tedkidd View Post
    So, I'm the customer. How do I know what I'm getting? That the work is actually done? Kangas list, nothing is filled out but some scratches on the bottom. What was done?

    Where is the accountability? Proof shortcuts weren't taken?

    If there is no clear list, how am I to differentiate between the $29 and the $129 service? I think we need some type of list outlining what should occur, and the numbers the tech should leave behind. Otherwise is it any surprise the $129 looks like someone just trying to grab an extra Benjamin?
    Hmmm, I am gonna play devil's advocate with you: Lets say I make up a really nice looking list, and fill it out...

    How do you know the numbers are real?

    It all boils down to trust... do you trust the HVAC guy you called out?

    In reality... there is NO WAY one can totally verify what was or was not done... unless one totally understands the equipment... In that case, why pay for service you can do yourself.

    "Consumerism by the numbers alone" does not work.... one has to have a 'relationship' with the service provider as well as use a little common sense.
    A business-owner (and IMO anyone that gives it any thought) will understand one cannot make enough $$$ to keep the lights on and eat on $29 service calls... just common sense. Remember the old saying: You get what you pay for? Consumers that think they can beat the system... usually get what they pay for.

    Not busting you... just pointing out 'verification' is not reality...
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Quality work at a fair price with excellent customer service!

    Romans Ch's 5-6-7-8

    2 Chronicles 7:14

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
    Posts
    15,918
    Quote Originally Posted by ga-hvac-tech View Post
    Hmmm, I am gonna play devil's advocate with you: Lets say I make up a really nice looking list, and fill it out...
    Going deeper here, what if the list has 5 things to check on it, and they all are just visual things, and the homeowner don't know any better? Well you have done your job according to what your company states what is involved in a PM. Most homeowners are good to go with just seeing you check the freezon.
    Everyone runs their business differentially, if you are doing a PM based on some of the lists I have seen in the past 30 years, your would be there half a day, so most PM lists are like a buffet for most company's, I will check this, and that, O that looks ok.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

    "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart". - Unknown

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,643
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    So, if the line was clear and draining at the time of your PM, and this happened later on, how would a annual maintenance check helped? Your post is what we sometimes called scare tactic in this business, I would like to know the percentage of the times, someone actually prevents something drastic from happening as in your post above, compared to nothing being wrong at all.
    I like to play the law of averages. No maintenance will guarantee some probs, some maintenance will decrease the odds of having problems. Anyways I don't use scare tactics I just tell the truth and clean up the mess.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  11. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
    Posts
    15,918
    Quote Originally Posted by toocoolforschool View Post
    I like to play the law of averages. No maintenance will guarantee some probs, some maintenance will decrease the odds of having problems. Anyways I don't use scare tactics I just tell the truth and clean up the mess.
    For the record, I did not accuse you personally of using scare tactics, I said "Your post is what we sometimes call scare tactic in this business" "sometimes" being the key word.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

    "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart". - Unknown

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,643
    I didn't take it personally. We all need a little maintenance once in a while.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  13. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    nw ohio
    Posts
    189
    pookley said "I read some other posts where people's systems were unnecessarily "adjusted" and caused further problems."

    i think the same thing when when my doctor tells me to come in for blood work.
    compressors never die; they're always murdered!

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