What should and shouldn’t happen during a furnace checkup

Published by Parisa Ostovari

Bell Brothers service technician meeting with client

If it’s the first time you’re having your furnace checked, it can be hard to know what to expect. With many companies and claims in the area, there are some best practices you can look to when choosing a heating and cooling contractor.

  • Free evaluations and cost estimates — You should not pay for evaluations or estimates of work that may be needed in your home.
  • Clear plan for work — While unexpected obstacles or additional repairs can come up during any project, your contractor should be able to outline the plan for work and a cost estimate in advance.
  • Respect for your home — Your home should be in the same condition after the contractor’s work as it was beforehand. This includes the contractor handling cleanup and any repairs to walls, etc.
  • Right tools for the job — Your contractor should have all the tools needed for the job, including ladders.
  • Insurance to protect you — Reputable contractors insure their workers to protect you in case they are accidentally injured while working in your home.

Unfortunately, not all HVAC contractors have your best interests in mind, and they may be looking for a way to make a quick sale. The following scenarios are signs of improper sales tactics:

  • Carbon monoxide claims — You should not be told that carbon monoxide is present in your home without the use of a measuring device. Other signs to watch for include being told that your lips are blue, or that the technician is lightheaded and that these conditions are being caused by carbon monoxide in your home.
  • Heat exchanger excuses — If you’re told that your heat exchanger is cracked, you must be given proof or a reasonable explanation. Be careful of pictures of a heat exchanger crack that may actually be a stamping mark. Another poor sign is if you are not told that a heat exchanger warranty may be in effect if your current unit is less than 20 years old.
  • Another questionable tactic is a contractor advertising a special maintenance price, but you find out later the fee only covers an inspection — not the actual maintenance cost.

Purchase-process red flags — You should never feel forced to buy. In the state of Iowa, any contractor must honor your request to cancel a contract within three days of signing. Here are some red flags:

  • The brand name of the equipment you’re buying is withheld from you.
  • You see an ad for something that appears too good to be true and the company cannot provide you with clear terms or “fine print” to back it up.
  • You’re forced to return product brochures or proposal paperwork to the representative unless you sign a contract to buy.
  • The company can’t support their claims that the new “high-efficiency” equipment you’re buying truly meets the industry definition — and isn’t just performing at a higher efficiency than what you have now.
  • You’re being asked to buy due to “factory overstock,” “truckload pricing,” or “never-pay-for-a-service-call-again” promotions.

Bell Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning was voted the best HVAC contractor in the Des Moines metro by readers of the Des Moines Register. We are proud of this title and take the responsibility of keeping our customers’ homes safe and comfortable very seriously. If you have any questions about the maintenance and equipment service process, don’t hesitate to call us at 515-244-8911.