I was reminded a couple of weeks ago just how valuable it can be to have a smart and knowledgeable service technician work on your project. In my case, it was my upstairs air conditioner.
I put in a new AC unit probably 2 or 3 years ago. When I received quotes from different contractors, they were split on what size unit to install. About half said put a 3 ton unit in and about half said to upgrade and put in a 3.5 ton unit. I put in the 3.5 ton since my upstairs is having to heat/cool a lot of square footage. Anyway based on what I’ve seen over the past couple of years, I probably should have gone with the 3 ton. Our 3.5 ton unit seems to short cycle and doesn’t get rid of humidity as well as I would like.
So a couple of weeks ago I contacted a local company to come out and check my upstairs system and see if there was any way that we could make the situation better, possibly with a whole house dehumidifier. The first company that I contacted came out and gave me a price on a whole house dehumidifier which I had requested. But he also pushed his company service agreement as well and how great that would be. He and I agreed the best thing to do would be to have his service technician come out the next day and see if he could slow the HVAC blower down or make an adjustment on the thermostat settings.
The next day the tech came out and looked at the unit and had to get his manual out (he first asked if I had the manual) and then he tried to make a few adjustments to the blower. He then had to go out to his van and call his service manager to determine what he could or could not do with our HVAC and our thermostat. He came back and said that I would need to get a new, more advanced thermostat installed. He then went outside to check the outdoor unit. He then tells me that he found the system operating with fluctuating pressures and the system really needs to be recovered, vacuumed, and charge the unit.
And this is one of the main points I want to make in this article. I am no HVAC expert. I had to take his word that what he was saying is true. So I agreed to the additional service. Now he presented the “discounted” price to do this, provided that I signed up for his twice a year service agreement! Once he finished charging the unit, the AC did an even better job cooling my upstairs and shut off even faster than before! So in the end, I still had high humidity. In other words, he didn’t fix the problem.
Now let’s bring in company number two. The salesman comes in and listens to what I tell him. He then says let me take a look at the system. Yes, that’s right, the salesman does this. He acknowledges that the system is over-sized but says he can make a few changes to slow the blower down. He makes these adjustments and changes a couple of settings on the thermostat. Yes, the same thermostat that I was going to have to replace according to the first company. The end result is the indoor humidity dropped somewhere between 5 to 10 points on average.
The point that I wanted to make in this article relates to service technicians. The experience above reminded me just how important it is to have honest and knowledgeable service technicians who can troubleshoot and make correct recommendations.
In the first example, I was “sold to” by not only the salesman but also the service tech that I need to have this service agreement. Also, the first tech may have fixed a legitimate problem. I had to trust that he was telling me the truth, all while “mixing” in a service agreement charge. But, overall he did not fix my number one issue, the humidity. In fact, he may have actually made the problem worse. Compare that to the second company. The salesman came out and fixed the issue that I complained about, all with no service agreement up-selling.
To me it was a really interesting (and expensive!) case study on service technicians, salespeople, and companies trying to do the job right. It also reinforced some of the positive strategies that we do here at C.C.S. For example, we are always emphasizing that our technicians talk with the customer to understand what they are or are not seeing and what problem(s) they need fixed. We always promote product education through factory training, webinars, etc… We do offer customers the opportunity to be a part of our preferred customers program, but we certainly don’t overly promote it. If you are one of our customers, I hope that we are providing you with good service. Please contact us and let us know. We always appreciate your feedback!