Before I begin, let me explain that I have not suffered a monetary loss. I am complaining about an
unethical business practice used by One Hour Heating and Air
Conditioning that could have resulted in a monetary loss if I had hired them to do the work.
The business practice is this: We requested One Hour to come to our house to clean our old furnace and
to tell us why the furnace was behaving erratically (it would sometimes not come on in the morning unless we shifted the thermostat from automatic to manual). The tech came to the house, removed the blower from the furnace, peered up into the heat exchanger, said it was cracked, and declared that the furnace was a "hazard."
He said he was legally obligated to shut it down. However, he needed this to be confirmed by his supervisor. He made a call. The supervisor arrived at the house about thirty minutes later and confirmed the diagnosis. However, the supervisor was also a high-powered salesman in disguise. He promptly sat us down and tried to sell us a $40,000 new replacement furnace. We deferred and so he started lowering his price, until he arrived at the bottom line price of $17,000.
The price included a new furnace and air conditioner, and $6,000 of new duct work. The supervisor said he was a duct work expert and that a new furnace required much larger ducts than we presently had in the attic.
Two days later we called two local companies and asked them to give estimates. Both companies sent their techs who said:
(1) Although our furnace was old and probably in need of replacement within the next year or two, it was
not hazardous. There was no sign of a crack in the heat exchanger.
(2) There was no need for new duct work. The present duct work only needed new insulation in some
places, and re-hanging in others.
(3) One estimate for a new furnace and a/c was for $10,800 and the other estimate was for $5,800. Both
estimates included the same equipment included in the One Hour estimate of $17,000. The only difference is that the One Hour bid included duct work we did not need.
I was not ripped off by One Hour because I did not allow this to happen. But I am afraid for vulnerable elderly people who have their furnaces declared "hazardous" and then have their furnaces shut down by One Hour.
This puts them in a position which is easily exploited by sales people desperate to make a sale and increase their
The lesson: Always get at least three estimates, and always get second opinions if anyone declares your
furnace "hazardous" and wants to shut it down. Be wary of large heating companies employing sales people who work on commission. They want to optimize their commission and will gladly sell you expensive equipment you do not need.