In a perfect world, your HVAC equipment would run like a dream, providing you and your family clean, comfortable air during the best of times and the worst.
Alas, it will probably need repairs once in a while. After all, machines fall apart even if they receive yearly maintenance.
And thus arises the quandary: Do you call the company that can get to you the quickest? Do you call the company that installed your air conditioner or furnace? Do you listen to your friends, or do you turn to Google reviews?
No matter where you turn, you’re hoping for the best: a perfect repair as well as a good experience. After all, we at Fire & Ice have performed thousands of repairs. And we drill into our repair technicians the concept that the customer must be happy in the end, regardless of the complexity of the repair.
And that requires technical expertise and a pleasant interaction with you, our customer.
Regrettably, there are HVAC companies in Columbus that can’t or won’t be as thorough. This article will go over some common errors HVAC repair technicians overlook in the hopes that you won’t know the difference between a good repair and a sub-standard one. They both may look the same, but the lessor one could lead to more rep[air bills, and even the premature failure of your HVAC.
What Should an HVAC Repair Technician Check?
Some poor repair jobs will be obvious to customers; others, not so much. You’ll learn about these issues only when you have to make another call for service to fix the thing that should have been fixed right the first time. Substandard companies constantly have to find new customers because it’s hard for customers to feel any loyalty to them if the work isn’t remarkable.
We’ll touch on just a few of the many things a technician should pay attention to, including:
- Condenser coil
- Line set seal
- Condensate trap
- Gas furnace burners
When a repair person services your air conditioner, he needs to clean the condenser coil if it’s dirty. The condenser coil removes the heat from the refrigerant; the fan pulls air across the condenser coil so that it condenses it into a liquid. The dirtier that gets, the harder your air conditioner has to work. The efficiency is reduced, which means that you’re paying more than you need to stay comfortable. That is a common occurrence.
The coil can get dirty from grass clippings, cottonwood, dirty air, etc. People think they can just spray it with a hose and clean it. All that does is drive it in deeper. The proper way to clean a condenser coil is either chemically, or open it up and spray it from the inside out. That forces the dirt out.
If an air conditioning system has lost refrigerant through a leak, the leak must be sealed and the lost amount of refrigerant replaced (which is known as recharging). A poor HVAC technician may try to tell you the AC needs recharging but doesn’t mention the leak. If not fixed, the refrigerant will continue to leak, leading to another service call.
Where the line set goes into the exterior wall, check and see if the seal is still intact, that you can’t see inside, if the foam is starting to crack. If there’s a hole that bugs could crawl through, maybe you take some thumb gum and shove it in there as a courtesy move.
A 90% furnace has a condensate management system. Part of a good furnace service call should be to clean the condensate trap. If the line isn't cleaned, algae and mold can grow inside and clog the drain, causing elevated humidity, musty odors, and water damage.
If the fan motor on a condenser is being replaced, the blades need to be aligned. That fan blade is supposed to sit in a certain spot. If it’s in the wrong spot, it won’t work properly, and it will make the air conditioner work harder.
The capacitor on an air conditioner can go bad. It has a lot of different sizes, and the HVAC tech may not have the exact size, but they have one that’s close. So they put it on there. It will work, but it could potentially short-life the equipment.
If the burners on the furnace are dirty, they need to be cleaned so the gas-air mixture stays proper.
The flame sensor on the furnace needs to be cleaned. If it isn’t, it will fire sometimes, and other times it will fire and then quit. That can be a source of irritation.
Some techs don’t change the batteries in the thermostat, or they don’t let the customer know that they need to change the batteries.
Techs don’t always change the filter. We’ve seen techs pull the filter out and tell the customer they need a new one without replacing it. They make the customer do the work. If the HVAC company has been there before, they should have a history and know what filter they need.
The airflow should be checked. That includes giving the ductwork a general look-over to make sure everything is intact. I’ve been in houses where half of the registers were closed and the furnace was overheating. If it can’t be fixed, the homeowner should be made aware of the issue. Even if the HVAC repair person didn’t do the insulation, it’s good service to advise the homeowners on the other work their home could use to improve its overall performance. Leaky ducts can pull airborne debris from attics, crawl spaces, and basements and distribute them throughout the house.
Sometimes the condensate on the evaporator coil should be inspected. If that’s not cleaned and draining properly, then it’s going to run water on the furnace and short out the furnace’s circuit board.
Other missed steps include:
- Not checking the refrigerant charge or adjusting it incorrectly
- Not checking the temperature rise on the furnace
- Not checking the gas pressure on the furnace
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HVAC Technician Best Practices
Say a technician shows up to a customer’s home late, smelling like cigarettes, mumbles a short greeting before demanding to see the system. This isn’t just a bad impression on the tech, but also the company they represent.
A large part of the job is the impression a repair person should make, and that includes such mundane habits as not parking in the driveway when the service van is leaking oil. I always park in the street unless I can’t.
Repair techs should wear shoe covers. Otherwise, they can drag mud - or something worse - inside.
They might let the cat or dog outside.
We get a lot of comments from customers that say another company’s repair guy was nosy or rude. If you do the best job in the world but miss some of the soft skills, it doesn’t matter how good of a job you did, you’ll leave behind an unhappy customer if you’re condescending.
As someone in the trade, you need to understand that not everyone knows something that to you is obvious. You have to have patience and understanding.
Read more about HVAC repairs:
Why Choose Fire & Ice for Columbus HVAC Repairs?
We are constantly evolving and improving the way we do business. Whether your repair needs are small or large, we stand by awaiting your call if you’re in Columbus or Central Ohio.
As we’ve talked about, we believe our training and best practices will make the difference between a sloppy repair and a thorough one, one that leaves your HVAC equipment in the best possible condition. And if you aren’t satisfied with our service, then we haven’t done our jobs properly.
Fire & Ice offers:
- 24-hour service
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year, you have Columbus's leading furnace repair specialists awaiting your call.
- We service your area
We service all of Columbus metro, Columbus, Powell, Westerville, Grove City, Dublin, Pickerington, Worthington, and more.
- Affordable repairs
After diagnosing the furnace, your technician will verify the repairs and cost before he performs the work. There are never any surprises at the end of the service.
- One-year warranty
We stand by our work by offering a one-year warranty on all our repairs and extended repair warranties for our Maintenance Agreement holders.
Fire & Ice technicians go through ongoing training year-round in the largest training facility in Central Ohio, also owned by Fire & Ice. Because HVAC systems get more sophisticated through the years, it’s essential that repair people understand - and have hands-on training - on new technologies.
- All makes and models
Fire & Ice can repair any furnace regardless of make and model.
- Superior service
With our accreditation and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, you can trust that your furnace is in good hands with Fire & Ice.