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. Equipment lifespan is longer than you’ve heard. Click here for audio commentary.
  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. Freon costs $15 per pound wholesale. Many contractors are charging $200 per pound.

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 contractors. All contractors have an hourly rate and parts markup, even those who say they don’t. Ask for both. After all, a great hourly rate doesn’t help if the part is marked up by 1,000%. My T&M formula is here. You can learn more about this trade’s pricing practices here.

2) 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.

3) Most contractors pay their repairmen a low base pay plus commission. 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 result is the same: 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) As of 4/7/16 the wholesale price of Freon (R-22) is about $15 per pound. A great many highly rated and certified contractors are charging $200 per pound. I charge less than half that. Why the disparity? Freon is being phased out. That fact is being used as an excuse to raise prices. Puron (R-410A) costs about $5 per pound wholesale.

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 Ends May 1st

If you’d like a routine check of an air conditioner that is (as far as you know) running well, then please schedule that as soon as possible. The “maintenance window” closes on May 1st. After that I’ll be doing repairs only until the weather turns cool in fall.

I’m sorry about the inconvenience. The best way to explain it might be with an analogy:

When the ER is full and there’s only one doctor on duty, checkups have to wait. Similarly, the weeks before and through summer are when my proverbial ER is full. Since I’m the only “doctor” on duty, I focus on repairs during that time.