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Grinding, Squealing and Screeching: Interpreting the Noises Your HVAC Makes

If something is failing or going amiss with your HVAC unit, chances are, your HVAC unit is letting you know something is not quite right. However, most of the cues come in the form of sounds that many of us may overlook. If you hear your HVAC unit grinding, squealing, screeching or squeaking, it is letting you know it needs help. I was unaware of these cues and overlooked them. It ended up costing me a lot of money in repairs. I want to make sure that does not happen to other people, so I made this website. I hope you learn how to interpret the noises your HVAC unit is making so you can get it the repairs it needs before you incur a costly repair, or worse, permanently ruin your unit for good.

Grinding, Squealing and Screeching: Interpreting the Noises Your HVAC Makes

Is Your HVAC Repair Bill Reasonable? Here's How To Tell

by Billie Carlson

Oftentimes, home repair bills such as heating and air conditioning charges seem unreasonably steep. If your home isn't cooling or heating properly, you might panic at the thought of hiring a contractor because even a routine maintenance can cost $100 (or more). If you're wondering what a service visit will cost you total, there's simply no way to know before a technician diagnoses your problem, and they usually won't do that for free. If your final repair bill or estimate seems higher than necessary, however, there are ways to tell if it's reasonable or not. Here are some things to consider when you're reviewing the total with your contractor.

Base Rate

Most HVAC contractors charge a base rate just for coming out to inspect your problem. In some areas this rate is as low as $49 (or even less). Charges of $100 and up aren't unusual in many parts of the country, however. This may seem high for the five or ten minutes of time the repairman spends at your home, but this rate usually only covers the company's basic costs for diagnosing your problem. Though he or she only spends a few minutes at your home, the company must pay the employee for the time it takes to drive to and from your home, as well. Once you factor in the gas it takes to get there and the overhead charges the company must consider, this rate won't seem so high. In fact, this is often where companies lose money in an attempt to get your business.

Labor Rate

The labor rate for any repairs is normally charged by the hour. If you compare this rate to a normal hourly wage as an employee, you'll probably think you're getting cheated. Once again, though, you need to look at the big picture. This rate covers the employee's hourly wage plus the contractor's fee. It also usually includes small materials that aren't itemized on the bill, like wire, duct tape, and screws. Normal labor rates range from one area to the next, but the general range is $80 to $160 per hour. Keep in mind that this price is per technician. If your repair requires two or more technicians, you should expect the rate to be much higher.

Parts Plus a Reasonable Markup

If a substantial repair is necessary, the materials used by the technician should be itemized on your bill. If they're not, ask for a list. The prices for materials vary wildly, but they should generally include the contractor's actual cost plus a reasonable markup. It's difficult to know what the contractor's cost was, since most companies aren't keen on divulging this information. If you're really curious, though, you can search for the part online or call local HVAC suppliers for an estimate. Keep in mind that a reasonable markup by industry standards is up to double or even triple the cost. After all, the company must see some profit to stay in business.

There's no simple way to tell if your bill is too high, but you can break each item down to see what you're paying for exactly. If the amount seems too high, call the company's billing department and ask for a reduced bill. Most companies will work with customers to keep them happy. It's also possible that the technician made an error when they were calculating your total. It never hurts to ask for clarification. If you're looking for a reputable HVAC company in your area, visit D & R Service Inc.