The Other Side of the Story

[Editor’s Note: This letter is in response to Joanna Turpin’s article “Commercial Service Goes National,” May 2.]

It was a rather interesting article, however I am disappointed that Joanna Turpin did not print the other side of the picture if you will.

On the residential side, the same basic “service” is done by the home “warranty” companies of which I was a vendor for. These companies overpromise and underdeliver.

Moving on to the commercial version of these so called “services,” one company contacted me for a service call and promised 30-day payment. I began to call them around 45 days, and they said as I was a new vendor, the first check would be just another week or so as I had to be set up in the system. That check came at 93 days.

They then asked me to go to a different store. Forty-five to 60 days out I called them [the national service company], and finally got someone in accounting who told me that they won’t pay me until they received payment from the end customer. So I asked them, “Well, if that was the case, what if I had to replace a complete unit for several thousand dollars? Would I have to finance that as well?” This person told me yes I would, and if I didn't like it, then resign my vendor agreement, which I promptly did.

I would recommend any reputable contractor to stay away from these so-called national account service vendors, as they will most likely be taken advantage of, and any end user retail operation should stay away as they will most likely be grossly overbilled.

Don Dalphin Jr.
Aspen Cooling & Heating Inc.
Oceanside, Calif.

Where, Oh Where, Is a Contractor Who Zones?

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Barb Checket-Hanks article “Clearing Up Zoning Misconceptions,” May 16.]

That’s a good article. You wouldn’t believe the trouble I had to go through to go from a 3-ton unit for the middle and bottom floors and a 1.5-ton unit upstairs, both conventional air-to-air heat pumps, to a single 3-ton, closed-loop, variable-speed, geothermal system with four zones in my trilevel house.

I had quotes from several contractors and even the contractor I went with was leery of giving me what I needed. None wanted to perform a Manual J load calculation. I ended up doing that myself. It clearly told me that 3 tons was the answer. Bedrooms are a zone, the downstairs is a zone, the living area is a zone, and the kitchen is a zone.

My electric bills are way down, and our comfort is way up. You just don't know how nice it is to cook in the kitchen and have it be the coolest room in the house! The fact that the ductwork was sized for the oversized heat pumps made zoning a breeze.

There really is an opportunity for the industry to give people more value for their money when they have to replace old units. I was fortunate in that I am an engineer who had time. Both of my units were near the end of its life. Both air handlers were rusted through, but both were still working.

That gave me the couple of months I needed to study the problem and come up with a solution. I had to learn way more about HVAC than I ever wanted to know. I shouldn’t have had to.

Rob Mackin
Aerospace Engineer
Niceville, FL

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Publication date:05/30/2011