System Replacement Suggestion

Service customer concerns that a technician is overselling a replacement.

We have had one person register a ‘doesn’t recommend’ on City Search in May 2012 as Jemily S, and then she posted a similar complaint on Google+.  Her complaint was that she called us to repair her heat pump but was pressured to buy a new unit, and then she later found another company to do the repair.

With the exception of our previous blog posting for overpriced replacement part sales, this is likely the second most common service customer complaint.  Indeed there are heating contractors out there who pressure customers to replace parts and units that do not need to be replaced or repaired; our industry is not alone as this happens in auto repair, plumbing, etc.  However, as with a car with over 100,000 miles and out of warranty, one repair may lead to many more.  It is poor customer service on our part to repair an old system ‘on its last legs’ only to drain the customer’s bank account when they are better off investing in a new system.

Our company does between 1000 and 2000 service calls per year, and technicians do make mistakes, it is entirely possible that there was poor communication on the part of our technician which caused this.  However, historically our company (and many like us) have been guilty of doing the opposite – fixing a furnace or heat pump that needs to be replaced.  When you fix a system that is better off being replaced there can be many problems:

  • the costs of repairs and higher utilities add up to where it costs you more in the long run;
  • you have a system that does not work and are uncomfortable for an extended period of time; and
  • you need to be home from work or other family responsibilities multiple days for the repairs.

In addition to all this we, the contractor, always are dealing with an unhappy customer that wishes we had told them earlier about the problem, and wants credit for the multiple times we had to send a technician out.  In essence, no one wins in this deal, not us the contractor or you the homeowner.

So what is the solution?  To encourage our technicians to review with you the costs and benefits of BOTH repair AND replacement, and also notify you of the risks of trying to fix a system that, at best, has a short and expensive shelf life left.

I often wonder how Jemily S’s heat pump is working today almost a year and a half later.  My guess is that there have been more repairs in the intervening 18 months and likely she has had another company replace it, but she is too proud to post an apology for her mistake in accusing us of high-pressure sales.

Heating & Air Conditioning Q/A

Recent Testimonial

"My first contact was with Leslie, she was knowledgeable and examined the existing system, gave ball park recommendations. When Rich came out to examine the duct work in the crawlspace he found several issues that he was able to fix. The estimate was fair and complete. I left for 3 months and returned to a quiet comfortable operating heat pump and have had no problems. Periodic maintenance is scheduled."

Heat Pump Replacement

Job Score: 99
HVAC System:Trane
Bill S. of Langley, WA