Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ARS: The Evil Furnace Guy

I have two heating a cooling units that are 14 years old. Nothing good can come from that bit of information, but I had a $50 off coupon for regularly scheduled maintenance and I had let our AHS home warranty lapse for the year. The home warranty is a separate future blog post on the pros and cons of a home warranty. So back to the regularly scheduled maintenance...

I called ARS to schedule a winter switch over to heat. Since the units are old, they usually need the corrosion cleaned off, the heat coil and exchangers inspected for cracks, and checks on the safetys, etc. The first scheduled maintenance day...nobody showed. Nobody called.


I rescheduled for the following week and my technician shows on time, this time and immediately pulls apart the propane gas pack. After about a half hour on the unit, I check in with him and he immediately launches into a laundry list of issues with the unit. As I am dazed by the endless laundry list of issues with this unit, he smacks me with...

"the unit will burn your house down".

Me: Well...if it burns my house down, I won't be able to buy a new unit from you. I'll be dead.

Technician: The unit is working now.

Me: It's working? I thought you just said this unit was going to burn my house down?

Technician: We can discuss your options.

Me: Dead is not a option.

The technician moved on to the heat pump. Minutes later he reported that we were, "about to have a bad day up in the attic". Apparently, the pan that catches the condensation was full of water because the drain line was clogged. It was not overflowing because I had a switch installed some years before that would shut the unit off if that ever happened.

4 hours later...

We sit down to complete the paperwork and he runs through his recommendations and ends with:

"The gas pack will kill you as it spews carbon monoxide into your house".

He immediately got "dispatch" on the phone and tried to close the terror he had begun with a sales call. Flashes of being in a car sales office with the finance guy came to mind. "You have to buy today, because this unit will not be here tomorrow, and I have 10 people lined up to buy this very unit".

Yeah. Right. Walk. Away.

So that's what I did. I refused to meet with an ARS sales guy that same day. I called a friend instead, and he gave me a referral of her "guy". This "guy" is local, lives close to her, and installed 4 air units in her house. I called her "guy".

He showed up first thing in the morning, peeled back the gas pack lid and revealed that the insides of my gas pack are only 6 years old. There is no crack in the heat exchanger. The burners are brand new. He trotted into the house and TESTED for carbon monoxide and there was no reading of carbon monoxide in the house. We've lived in the house for 5 years and it looks as if the system was completely overhauled before we moved in. As far as the smaller heat pump is concerned, my second opinion said it is only worth it to let it die and then replace the entire unit.

All that makes sense to me.

But this makes this ARS guy an evil liar who was trying to wrangle me into two new units when I didn't need them "yet". So here's to you ARS:

1) You won't be honored with my service contract...ever.
2) You'll never look at another unit, drain, or whatever you work on...ever.
3) You won't be selling me two new units.
4) Your unethical sales tactics have now been featured in my blog :)
5) Countless people will read this post, which in no way can be retracted by you, ARS.
6) Quit trying to scare, terrorize or otherwise manipulate people into the sale of new units.

Evil guys finish last, ARS
~ The Serial Renovator

Monday, April 26, 2010

Flagstone Patio...2 Tons

I haven't posted since August, however, I've discovered I have a 6 month itch. No, not the kind of itch I need to see a doctor about, I don't think! I've discovered that the maximum amount of time I can go without a project to occupy me is 6 months.

Introducing my new project, the Flagstone Patio. The itch hit me about the same time as spring fever, no, still not the kind of fever I need to see a doctor about, I don't think! I wanted to put together something I could set my little fire pit on. I set it in the grass last spring for a dinner party and yes, it burnt the grass and thus a project itch began.

So off to the Landscape supply store I go. Of course I am surrounded by a bunch of men, all wondering what in the world I'm doing in a trailer office in their supply place. Obviously, they don't get too many girls hanging around the office. Except for the one behind the counter taking orders. She was a rough personality, a little gruff, with a whole lot of southern attitude. She didn't put up with any funny business on the phone or in front of her, and she had those boys hopping for her. When I asked for help, however, she didn't miss a beat in telling me she was too "dagg-on busy" to show me flagstone, but that I could go pick out what I wanted and come back and order it. She had confidence in me, and I now had confidence in her.

So that's what I did. Without a clue as to exactly how much I needed, I set about finding the biggest patio pieces I could. The following week, I had two tons of flagstone delivered, 5 cubic yards of granite dust, 25 bails of pine straw, and 13 cubic yards of mulch delivered. The delivery guy asked me with a deep southern drawl, "Where's your huuusband? Should't he be out here building you a flagstone patio?" All I said was, "Yes, sir, he's a hard working man!"

I knew this guy couldn't handle the truth.

My next post, I'll post pictures of the patio ;-)