The Heating & Air Conditioning Specialist

One Man

You needn’t worry about trainees. I’ve been in business for 12 years and in the trade for 21 years. I still don’t know everything. I just think I do. ;^)

Stay and Watch

Great technicians don’t mind homeowner participation. In fact, this great technician prefers it. Hang around and watch for as long as you like. You’ll be glad you did.


Peruse the site and see the transparency. Or give me a call and ask questions you never thought a contractor would answer. Knowledge is power. Let me empower you.


The Top Five Tips

  1. Most flat rate contractors have cheap trip fees and shocking hourly rates.
  2. A typical circuit board costs $100 wholesale. They’re often sold for $800 installed.
  3. Most large and many small contractors pay their repairmen some form of commision.
  4. A real checkup is good. Most tune-up specials aren’t. There just isn’t much to tune up.
  5. Equipment lifespan is longer than you’ve heard. Click here for audio commentary.

Click here for The Top Five Tips explanation.

1) I’m certainly not cheap, but at $120 my hourly rate is half that of most big and many small contractors. All contractors have an internal hourly rate and parts markup, even those that say they don’t. Knowing one is no good without the other. Don’t be afraid to ask about both. My T&M formula is here. You can learn more about this trade’s pricing practices here.

2) As mentioned in the first tip, the going hourly rate with virtually all large contractors and a great many small ones is $250 to $300 per hour. Throw in a sizeable markup on parts and that’s how an average circuit board that costs $100 wholesale can cost $800 installed. I usually charge around $450. I am by no means cheap, but I am fair.

3) Most large contractors and many smaller ones pay their repairmen a low base pay plus commision. Others pay a higher wage, but then tie future raises to meeting certain sales goals. The specifics vary from one contractor to the next, but the trend is clear: Most repairmen can expect to make a poor living unless they sell you something, a lot of something.

4) It’s important to stay safe and have your equipment checked periodically. However, to call a checkup a “tune-up” is potentially misleading. In many cases there just isn’t much to tune up. Learn the difference between a checkup and a tune-up, and why most tune-up specials are bogus, here. Please see the note at the bottom about my maintenance seasons.

5) The average air conditioner lasts 20 to 25 years. The average furnace lasts 25 to 30 years. That’s what I’ve experienced locally. We have relatively mild weather in the SF Bay, so our equipment lasts longer than other parts of the country. Quite naturally the equipment fails more often towards the end if its life. Click the audio link above to learn more.

If you’ve found this interesting, browse the links below or the menu above. There’s a lot more!



The Trade

Understanding Freon
Topping off is not normal.

Tips & Tricks
Knowledge is power.

HVAC Installation
A Guide for Homeowners



What will it cost me?
Example Repair Prices & More

Show Me the Money
An Insider’s Look at Pricing

Ten Tall Tales
Marketing Gimmicks Exposed


Secrets Revealed

The Truth About Maintenance
A tune-up isn’t a tune-up.

Duct Cleaning
Wallet Cleaning

The Home Warranty
Consider it expired.


Maintenance Season Is Over

The spring maintenance season begins in March and ends with the first heat of late spring. The fall maintenance season begins in September and ends with the first cold of late fall. I am sorry about the inconvenience. The best way to explain it might be an analogy:

When the ER is full and there’s only one doctor on duty, checkups have to wait. Similarly, the peak summer and winter months are when my proverbial ER is full. Being a one-man operation, I am the only “doctor” on duty. Routine maintenance has to wait.

I realize this policy is unusual. However, the reasons for it go well beyond what I’ve explained above. I’m happy to share that information with you over the phone. I’m also happy to share this page with you. It explains the pros and cons of maintenance programs.