The Heating & Air Conditioning Specialist
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
- Many flat rate contractors have cheap trip fees and shocking hourly rates.
- If your AC needs Freon then it probably has a leak that needs to be repaired.
- Freon costs about $12 a pound wholesale. It’s being sold for up to $200 a pound.
- Many, if not most, large contractors pay their repairmen on some form of commision.
- A real checkup is good. Most tune-up specials aren’t. There just isn’t much to tune up.
- Bonus: 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) The air conditioner never uses up its Freon or Puron. If it’s low on either then it almost certainly has a leak. Freon and Puron can be topped off without fixing the leak, but it’s just going to leak out again. Sealant sometimes works, but it comes with the risk of expensive complication. Learn about Freon and Puron leaks here.
3) Many contractors are charging between $100 and $200 per pound retail for Freon. Since it is a commodity, and since production of new Freon is winding down, the price will probably jump this summer. Even so, prices are currently stable. And at $11.50 per pound wholesale, it’s just not that expensive yet. Puron costs $2.90 per pound wholesale.
4) 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 something, a lot of something.
5) 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.
If you’ve found this interesting, browse the links below or the menu above. There’s a lot more!
Tips & Tricks
What will it cost me?
Show Me the Money
Ten Tall Tales
The Truth About Maintenance
The Home Warranty
The next maintenance season starts in September.
Click here for details.
I perform routine maintenance only during the slower months of March, April, May and September, October, November.
If you’re having an air conditioner or furnace repaired and you’d like maintenance performed on that same system, then of course that will be fine any time of year.
I know this is a bummer for some and I am sorry about the inconvenience. If you’d like to know the reason for this policy…
Imagine a doctor performing routine physicals while the emergency room is overflowing. The peak summer months are when my proverbial ER is full. I spent a great deal of the last few summers performing the HVAC equivalent of physicals while turning away the HVAC equivalent of trauma patients. I’d like to focus on the trauma patients.
I realize this policy is a little unusual, but I think it’s better than the alternatives. Some contractors avoid such limitations by hiring temporary summer help. Temps may be good for business, but they’re not necessarily good for you. I’m happy to tell you more over the phone or in person.