Attic and Whole House Fans

Attic and whole house fans are designed to keep your house cool at night when the temperature drops. These fans are well known for saving homeowners money on utility bill and for cooling down a house quickly and efficiently. But did you know that attic and whole house fans only work when it’s cooler than 82 outside? Attic fans work by sucking all the warm air out of your house up through the attic vents. When it’s nice and cool outside, this is a great concept, but when it’s warm outside and the ventilation in your attic hasn’t been serviced in a while, this does not work as it’s intended to. The Inland Empire is too warm of a climate to install attic fans or rely on one to cool down your home. Shingle color, sun exposure and insulation are exponentially more important to overall energy efficiency than ventilation. Out of curiosity, I’ve tested several different attic and whole house fans on my home. My HVAC system ended up having to run longer and work harder to cool down the house when using the attic fan. Because I’ve tried this myself and have done a lot of research, I try to deter customers from installing these. Instead, I recommend servicing your HVAC system twice a year. This will allow your system to work efficiently, increase the life of your HVAC system, and keep your house cool during the hot summer months. 

 

A Foot in the Door

As with any trade, it can be easy to sell homeowners services or products they don’t need simply because they don’t know. Unfortunately, some plumbers and air conditioning technicians use savvy advertisements as a way to get in the door. For example, some large HVAC companies advertise annual “protection plans” or “maintenance packages” when installing new HVAC units or  seasonal “tune ups” to keep your HVAC system operating efficiently. These are sold at a very low cost and sometimes are even paid monthly by the homeowner. What the homeowner does not know is that this is a great way to get a technicians in the door. Technicians arrive for a “tune up” or “maintenance inspection” and are able to inform the homeowner that they are in need of new parts or services that they actually don’t need. Some large HVAC companies even have a team of maintenance professionals who are only trained to do inspections and cannot actually service HVAC units. They do the “tune up” and inform the homeowner that a technician will be on the way to take care of a larger issue, at cost to the homeowner. Many large HVAC companies require technicians to sell a certain amount of services each month and also pay on commission. Technicians are often pressured to sell things to meet their quota or raise their commission – even more of a reason to be more of a salesman than a HVAC technician! Quiet often, these “tune ups” are advertised as taking only an hour to complete. This is not realistic; there is no way to complete a thorough 24-point inspection on an HVAC system in an hour. The acid flush alone takes about an hour to complete. This is one of the reasons CL Robert Plumbing, Heating & Air Inc. has such a strong clientele. We’ve had several calls from homeowners needing a second opinion when their HVAC system that was being “tuned up” malfunctioned. Most often, they thought they were doing the right thing for paying costly maintenance packages only to find out that their HVAC systems were not even being protected. This happens far too often. Homeowners be aware; advertisements that seem really cheap or too good to be true, are most likely just that! While not all large HVAC companies practice these kinds of tricky salesman techniques, some do and it can end up costly for homeowners.