It happens all the time: a contractor is called to diagnose a problem with an HVAC unit. Once the problem is located and an estimate on repair costs is given, the homeowner decides to do the repair himself and save a few dollars.
“It’s a natural reaction,” says Clay Blevins, CEO of Comfort Supply, a leading wholesaler of Ruud HVAC equipment in middle Tennessee.
“Many people will hear that an exhaust fan needs to be replaced and think, 'I can do that.' And maybe they can, but in the long run, that could cost them much more than they save,” Blevins says.
Blevins advised that contractors can overcome this problem by helping the customer understand that they are providing more than a repair, but also the services of a trained professional, with the experience to do the job right, and the commitment to stand by the work after the job is complete.
“HVAC systems are complex and the training required to properly service these systems is thorough,” Blevins says. “A homeowner might be able to order a part online and figure out a way to install it, but what happens if the part isn’t right or the act of repairing it actually damages other systems? The result could be that the homeowner’s savings of a few dollars ends up costing him much more to fix the damage caused by his repair work.”
Mike Ward, residential manager for Total HVAC, Nashville, TN, says he’s seen the results of inadequate repair work.
“From time to time when you open up a unit you’ll see something that doesn’t look quite right,” he said. “These systems are very sensitive and interlinked. If one part isn’t installed properly, it can cause issues throughout the system.”
Besides assuring that work is done correctly the first time, professional contractors can offer warrantees for parts and labor and they can extend the life of the HVAC system by set up seasonal service contracts to assure the equipment is properly maintained. They also have relationships with suppliers that ensure the proper parts are delivered and any problems are handled quickly. These are among the many benefits contractors can talk about when discussing with homeowners the real value of the services, versus just the price.
“A $2,000 condenser isn’t just a condenser,” Blevins says. “It's a service call, diagnosis by an experienced expert who has good relationships with trusted suppliers, and the services of a professional who will stand behind his work to make the homeowner’s family comfortable year round.”
Comfort Supply's blog can be found at comfortsupply.blogspot.com.