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maintenance service call cancelled

PM Home and Cabin Services
PM Home and Cabin Services Member Posts: 23
edited November 2014 in Gas Heating
I am a contractor in northern wisconsin. Been reading The Wall for years as the information found here is valuable, thanks guys! Wanted some opinions on this.
Got a call last week, which resulted in having maintenance scheduled for next week. When originally talking to customer he described he had two buildings, one an occupied rental home the other a vacant rental home. He stated both had "maintenance free" gas furnaces (he wasnt sure of the brand) but wanted to have them checked out, as nothing has ever been done to either since new 14 yr ago. I stated there is no such thing as "maintenance free" furnaces and every manufacture and utility provider recommends maintenance/inspections by a licensed, insured, qualified, reputable heating contractor. I would be happy to come out. He stated they were working fine and then made a peculiar noise to simulate the exhaust outlet, I asked him if he might have lennox pulse furnaces , "Yes thats what they are". I said 14 year is a long time to lapse with no inspections and assured him I was familiar with this brand/model ( worked for a lennox dealer most of my career) and have been trained specifically on this model and have test kit.(most contractors in this area wont touch that model) We set a time/date. He called me back today and cancelled appointment because he decided to winterize the vacant property, and the occupied rental property hasn't paid rent for months, so if they have no heat it is too bad. He said they have a CO detector which he gave them, but if they didnt install it or dont put batteries in it,its not his problem. I once again explained the importance of having maintenance/inspection at least on the occupied equipment, but felt they could move out if there are any problems this winter. I was quite disappointed to lose the appointment, but uneasy. Hoping I dont read about it in the news.
Thanks for reading this.


  • Docfletcher
    Docfletcher Member Posts: 487
    A Man Convinced Against His Will Is Of The Same Opinion Still.

    That said , it's worth knowing people don't do what their doctors tell them either.
  • mars_6
    mars_6 Member Posts: 107
    Wow the lawyers will love to eat him up if something goes wrong with the system.
    Matt Rossi
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    In my world, I learned to wish customers like him, "Health, Happiness & Long Distance".

    Remember, he's smart, you and I aren't. We're just out to steal his money. Or so he has been told by almost every consumer watchdog agency.

    My 2001 BMW 325XI wagon (that I bought new) had a factory recommendation and set in the onboard computer that the oil change levels were 15,000 miles. But the onboard computer could tell you by your driving habits if the oil should be changed earlier, at as low as 10,000 miles if you really drove hard. All the dealers were complaining that they were loosing sales on oil change service, so they put stickers on to get everyone to change every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. My new 2014 X-1 128 X drive still recommends 15,000 mikes in the manual but as a "gift" to the dealers, say it might need to be done sooner because of driving conditions or driving habits. Like putting your foot into the Turbo.

    I get a monthly call from Blue Cross for Medicare and if I am taking my blood pressure medications. What a waste of a call. Check the pharmacy records. What do you think I would do? Pay a Co-Pay and flush them down the toilet to contaminate the waste water?

    Your customer is one who probably doesn't buy his medications because his Co-Pay's are too high. Any amount would be too high. Even if it was free.
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    I am a homeowner up in the area you speak of. And what you describe does not surprise me one bit. The years we rented before buying our first (and hopefully only) home were pretty bad years...the city I live in has NO laws or statutes regulating rental properties. As a result, I've seen basement apartments with one entry/exit and no windows, places equipped with a Kero-Sun in the middle of the living room, the list goes on. I feel for you. Landlords and property owners around here are ridiculous. I retract that and say. MANY of them are. I do know several that are actually concerned about their tenants.

    If I was him I'd be worried about frozen pipes, etc, ruining the house if the furnace quit, regardless of tenant nonpayment. But that's me. Shows how much they care about their properties.

    You did all you could. Hopefully he has the sense to reconsider and call you back. Whereabouts up here are you? I'm always looking for a trustworthy heating contractor to keep on file.
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,835
    Actually, given what you've told us, it sounds like you don't want to work for this guy to begin with. Good riddance.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • PM Home and Cabin Services
    Thanks for your input guys. I think I am glad it was cancelled.
    To FranklinD: I'm in the Crivitz area (do travel to wherever quality service is needed). Its a different world up north. Most people expect and accept poor service at best, I change there misconceptions.
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    Dang...all the way across the state from me. I'm at the NW tip. I've had decent luck around here with heating folks, but have yet to meet one that knows of the Wall or 'pumping away' concepts. Around here, every pump is on the return, and bypasses are what you get after a lifetime of tube-form meat, cheese, and beer ;-).
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833

    Many many years ago I serviced a A/C system that had failed in July. After cleaning the condenser coil and evap. coil and tightening the belt, yes it was a belt driven furnace. I explained to the customer that if he had a service contract he would not have had this break down and he would have had a much more eff. system. And he would get two service calls a year to check and clean his equipment. How much he asked. $95.00 per year. How much for todays call $105.00 I said. Well since this is the first time in 18 years anybody has serviced the equipment I'm at least $1500.00 ahead. There is some logic there.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    Very short sighted. What about equipment longevity with and without service? My parents have had their oil fired furnace serviced every year since new. It was a Tappan (don't know the model) and it lasted 33 years before it finally got a crack in the heat exchanger. If it wasn't for that crack it would still be running today. They continue to have the new unit serviced yearly. Would it have lasted 33 years without service...I doubt it. To me the 1500 is money well spent. In addition it ensures a certain level of safety with equipment that could kill you or burn your house down or any number of terrible outcomes. Neglect should never be justified with money. People are just cheap then want to complain when things go wrong. Just one homeowners opinion.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Docfletcher
    Docfletcher Member Posts: 487
    XYC Co. gas here wants $200 a year for their service plan. They cover 1 yearly inspection. They cover most common combustion components that both boilers and furnaces use. So I'll show you what they don't cover...

    Ifyourequipment requiresa part that is notcovered under the plan, we will be happy
    to provideservice. You will becharged for thecost of the part(s)and associated labor
    at theapplicableservicelabor rate. For equipment that performs both heating and
    cooling, the plan covers only those parts related to heating.
    Air conditioning coils and relays
    Air vent valves
    Automatic fill valves
    Boiler sections
    Circulator bearing assembly
    Circulators, one-piece
    Cleaning or system light-up
    Electronic air cleaners
    Expansion tanks
    Heat exchanger
    Hot water coils
    House wiring
    Leak detector
    Plastic exhaust vent pipes
    Power vent assemblies
    PVC venting system
    Re-lights of pilot lights
    Remote control
    Retrofit energy-saving devices
    Tank leakage
    Thermostats, programmable
    Venting radiators
    Zone valve body
    Any part or service and associated labor
    not listed in“Parts Covered” (above).

    So to me it's not worth it. But I do think most homeowners should have it.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
    I have always done any repairs needed on the steam side of my system so I never had a service plan. When I had oil I did have the boiler cleaned and tuned every year.

    Now that I have a gas gun that was installed on a brand new boiler I will probably have someone go through that every second or third year, I will check the pigtail and LWCO every year myself.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Unless you get annual service by someone properly trained and equipped, I consider it almost a waste of time and energy. Many oil cleanings are little more than a Dust & Buff job. If you don't wipe the dust off the jacket, and the lint from around the burner, you didn't clean it. If you don't have the equipment in the truck and use it, its a waste. If they don't have an analyzer with a printer, and leave the results there for all to see, you might as well have a dubber from the street come in and polish the equipment.

    An oil company I used to help out had a policy with their tech's. Demanded by their liability carrier. If they touched the burner or boiler in any way on any kind of a service call, combustion test it before you leave and staple a copy to the customer service record card. So that if anything goes wrong after you leave, you have legal proof that the burner was running properly when you left. No test, a problem, you're on your own. With gas now, you REALLY need to test. The more you use an analyzer, the better you become with it.
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    Cancelling, may have been the best thing.

    For you!