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The Hidden Costs of Cheap

If you see an air conditioning deal that seems too good to be true…it is.

There are many old adages to describe it, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” comes to mind.

As we slowly make our way out of the COVID recession, some consumer budgets are tight. As some companies become ever desperate for business, customer service, quality, and marketing are approaching new all-time lows. We see the ads:

  • “$39 air conditioning tune-up”
  • “Free furnace when you buy an air conditioner”
  • “Complete HVAC replacement for $2,400”

The list of promotions goes on. Candidly speaking, it sounds great! Who doesn’t love a good deal? Who doesn’t love saving money? We’d like to provide a little perspective on the hidden costs of these “cheap” (and sometimes predatory) promotions.

The $39 air conditioner tune-up

It all starts with the technician. A well-trained heating and cooling service technician makes at least $20 per hour. A typical air conditioning inspection accrues about an hour of time.  When you add in the costs of fuel to get to the home, the service van, overhead expenses for a basic office, people to answer the phone, schedule calls, process paperwork, etc. The average HVAC company has, at a minimum, hourly expenses of $50 per hour. When you schedule that $39 inspection, the company is losing money and we’d be hard-pressed to believe you’re actually going to pay $39 for any service.

How can a company stay in business by losing money? They can’t unless one crucial thing happens;  they pay their technician a heavily commissioned-based compensation package, encouraging them to find something else to repair or replace in your home – whether it needs it or not.  Their priority is getting a technician in your home and turning a profit on that single job, and not developing a trusting relationship.

Ground-floor pricing to get themselves in your home where they can then find costly and always “necessary” repairs.

Free furnace when you buy an air conditioner

The free furnace promotion (we’ve also seen these reversed; “free AC with the purchase of a furnace”) comes in many forms. From television ads, radio ads, to an amazing 2-page ad in the local clipper describing how the owner of the company got a deal on the equipment from the manufacturer so that he could keep his guys busy. It’s all a ploy. There is no such thing as a free [Insert a piece of equipment]. Oftentimes, the cost of the piece of equipment that isn’t “free” is so marked up it makes up for the allegedly “free” equipment.

In addition, it commonly only applies to the high dollar, super-efficient complete HVAC systems.  Don’t get us wrong, we sell high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment. There are a ton of applications and benefits when high-efficiency equipment is installed.  Is the contractor making it clear upfront what equipment qualifies for the “amazing deal”? Unlikely.

The $2,400 complete HVAC replacement

This is so far below the cost of even cheap equipment, let alone the cost of the labor to install.

Any whole-house system replacement that is properly engineered and sized for your home, and is properly installed by trained installers, can easily cost between $3,300 – $20,000 depending on the quality, size, functionality, and modifications to install said equipment.

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • First of all, realize that if the deal or deep discount sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Next, always get competing bids and ask a ton of questions. If one bid is vastly lower than the others, be careful.
  • When it comes to installations or repair services, don’t trust a price that’s given via email or over the phone. Every home has nuances and sometimes has problems created by improperly sized ductwork or poor design where modifications will be required. A company won’t know this without seeing what they’re pricing.

Sometimes, hard economic times are hard to avoid. Ask if your contractor offers financing or if they’d be willing to work with you. Most shops are made up of reasonable and compassionate people that will try to make a solution work for you if you find yourself in this situation.

Good deals do exist.

Good deals do exist and can be had when dealing with a good HVAC contractor. Here at Spurk HVAC, our goal is to provide you with superior customer service and repair/installation services at a fair price.

If you’re in need of a repair or replacement of your current HVAC system, click the button below to schedule an appointment or give us a call. Financing is available.

Book Now


Spurk HVAC was formed in 2018 and is located in Warrendale, Pennsylvania. We proudly serve Cranberry Twp., Wexford, Gibsonia, Mars, and the surrounding Greater Pittsburgh area.

We service all makes and models. If you are seeking a heating repairheating system replacementair conditioner repairair conditioning maintenanceair conditioning replacement,  or any other heating & cooling services. Whether you are looking for residential or commercial HVAC services, we look forward to any and all opportunities to become your preferred HVAC contractor.

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Spurk HVAC

Spurk HVAC

Spurk HVAC was formed in 2018 and is located in Warrendale, Pennsylvania. The combined experience of Dale and Jason, along with the desire to build a respectable, family owned business our community can rely on, are the driving factors behind the formation of Spurk HVAC.
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