Review of my Heating and Cooling Service

Early Wednesday evening (01/20/10), our family noticed the furnace was no longer functioning. A strange noise was heard coming from the basement, it sounded like a screeching and scratching noise. In fact, we had intermittently heard a similar noise the night before. I decided to call the company who had serviced this furnace previously.

On Thursday morning, I left a message with Gleason & Elfering Heating and AC shortly before their business opened at 8 am. I was happy to receive a call back within 10 minutes. When your furnace is no longer functioning in the Midwest in January, you appreciate a quick call back from a company that had previously serviced your furnace.

Ron was the technician the company sent and he arrived a few hours after the initial call. Even though he had a strong idea about the issue, he wanted to prove it to himself and to me. He took the time to survey the cause of this screeching noise.

According to his diagnosis, the blower motor had to be replaced. The cost of part and installation was $650. If it hadn’t been an emergency, I may have been able to research the cost of a blower motor. Regardless, by signing up for the service agreement, I could save 10% or $65. Because the service agreement was about $90 for the annual service fee and I could save $65 on the replacement part, I felt it was a good idea.

Because the blower motor was to be replaced, Ron said it was a good idea to clean the blower wheel. Thinking this might help my 7 year old furnace last longer, I accepted and the fee for cleaning it was $50. Hopefully this is money well spent. Apparently he needed soap and water to clean this wheel which kind of put me in a bind as I do not have a utility sink. I suggested the guest room shower even though I was not completely happy about using our guest shower to clean this blower wheel. I just wish he would have cleaned the shower after he was finished. Unfortunately, from my recent experiences, many contractors and technicians do not always clean up after themselves.

The technician talked about other aspects of heating and cooling. First, he did not recommend having your indoor heat temperature fluctuate any more than 3 degrees on a regular basis. He said that if you vary the temperature by more than 3 degrees, you’re wasting money. He also sold me on the value of the service agreement. For $89 per year, you could have your furnace serviced, cleaned and reviewed for any potential problems. He also mentioned some industry insights on saving money with energy conversation. This could apply to adding insulation to your attic, replacing single pain windows, or replacing older furnace technology.

Brief Summary:
I am somewhat happy with the service I received although time will tell. I hope replacing the blower motor provides reliable heat to our house for at least a number of years without significant problems. I’m disappointed that I had to spend $750 on a blower motor for a 7 year old furnace, but this should not reflect poorly on my HVAC provider. It would have been nice for the technician to clean up after himself but I do appreciate that he was willing to discuss various heating and cooling issues with me. Time will tell if this was money well spent.

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