There’s such a great need for heating and cooling services that there are unscrupulous people who will use this need to try to scam homeowners out of their hard-earned money. In this blog, the HVAC contractors at Schmitt share the most common HVAC scams and how you can avoid them.
Selling Oversized HVAC Systems — When buying HVAC systems, bigger is not always better. An oversized HVAC system can result in short-cycling, which means it turns on and off too often, resulting in high energy consumption. Bigger units also command higher installation costs, which is where scammers make their money. They use the bigger HVAC units as an excuse to inflate the installation cost. When reviewing estimates, be sure to ask the contractor for a load calculation, which will outline how your home’s heating and cooling requirements—and its matching HVAC system size—is calculated.
Free Tune-Ups — Be wary of unsolicited phone calls from people who offer free “tune-ups” of your heating and cooling systems. While tune-ups are an important part of paid HVAC maintenance services, contractors would go bankrupt if they actually offered it as a free service. During these “tune-ups,” your HVAC system will be “inspected”. The inspector may utter remarks such as “I’m surprised this hasn’t broken down yet,” and could even remove or damage parts when you’re not looking. While the “tune-up” will likely be free of charge, you’ll get charged ludicrous prices for subsequent “repairs”.
Pressure Tactics — High-pressure sales tactics are employed by many scammers. You’re probably already familiar with some of them: offers that expire “if you don’t sign up today,” or with an estimate price that may go up if you don’t sign up right away. Legitimate contractors will stand by the price as stated in the quote, and will give you ample time to review it before making your decision.
Full Payment Upfront — The contract should include a description of the payment plan. If the contractor tells you you’re required to pay for installation or repairs upfront, don’t sign the contract. Like most home improvements, a typical HVAC payment plan begins with a down payment of up to 30%, followed by one or two additional payments, with a final payment after completion of the project.
Call Schmitt for All Your HVAC Needs
Schmitt is your leading provider of residential and commercial HVAC repair and installation services. Give us a call at (415) 689-7849 or fill out our contact form to find out more. We serve customers in San Francisco and nearby areas.