Spotting an AC scam can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Every day, in every state, thousands of homeowners are victims of unscrupulous salespeople, service technicians, and contractors. But in Florida and other hot weather states where people rely on air conditioning to keep life comfortable, scammers run rampant.
Tips on spotting an AC scam
We really need to say this up front: if you work with an honest, well-established company that uses experienced, bonded, and insured service technicians and reputable salesmen like we do here at Avis Plumbing and Air Conditioning, then this blog post won’t apply to you. Likewise, if you have signed a service contract with us, you won’t need to worry about falling prey to an AC scam. But for those of you who don’t, beware of these ruses.
The oversized AC unit
Some contractors will try to sell you the biggest unit they have for one simple reason — the profit margin is usually higher. Your HVAC unit should cycle on and off as little as possible, and the cycle should be consistent. A unit that’s too large for your home or business will quickly cool down or heat up your space, but it will also shut off quickly. This will fool you into thinking you have an efficient system, when in reality it will cost you more to run over its lifetime. Protect yourself from this scam by asking for the numbers and the formula used to calculate the load and size of your unit. Compare them with the research you have (hopefully) already done.
Using used parts
If your repairman points out a part that needs replacing and says he can do the repair on the spot, because he has a used one on his truck, stop him right there. No honest AC repair company would install used parts. Think about it — why would a repairman even have a used part on his truck? It was removed from some other person’s home or business because it wasn’t working.
Like any mechanical system, your AC unit needs a tune-up regularly. But beware the serviceman who suggests a tune-up at the start of every season! At Avis Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we recommend having your AC system tuned up twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
This AC scam is actually based on truth — AC systems can lose their refrigerant. But it doesn’t just happen. If you are low on refrigerant, it’s because your AC system has a leak. Refrigerant is a liquid/gas that’s used to cool your home. It circulates between your inside and outside AC units. Because your AC is a sealed system, the only way refrigerant will escape is if there is a leak. A dishonest contractor will tell you that you’re low on refrigerant but won’t mention a leak. He’s hoping you won’t know any different. That way, he can keep coming back to you and charging for more refrigerant.
We hope these tips help you in spotting an AC scam. We hope it never happens to you. And if you deal with Avis Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can guarantee it won’t! Call us at 239-542-4421 with all your AC questions.