McCutcheon Air Conditioning and Heating Blog
With the exception of those with “high-end” majors, skilled apprentices in the U.S. earn more than the average 4-year college graduate over their lifetimes, According to Dr. Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
In addition to their higher lifetime-earnings potential, an apprenticeship allows workers to earn money while learning a trade and get the hands-on experience that employers are looking look for so they are at a distinct advantage over those that are coming straight out of a classroom.
In contrast to earning as you learn, many who attend 4-year college institutions enter the workforce with staggering amounts of debt.
So why is it that less than 1% of workers in the U.S. begin their careers as apprentices?
Colorado recently became first state to offer a statewide youth-apprenticeship program. The program dubbed “Careerwise Colorado” was instituted because industries in the state were facing a severe shortage of “middle-skilled” workers. Middle-skills are those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree.
This shortage of tradespeople is not unique to Colorado and it remains to be seen whether the success of Careerwise Colorado will lead to an increase in apprenticeship programs.
Scammers will often target neighborhoods with high concentrations of senior citizens then go door to door claiming to have spotted something in need of immediate repair like a hole in the roof, but this is only the first part of the scam.
Some scammers will use this tactic to simply gain access to a home. Often working in pairs, one of the supposed workers will distract the homeowner while the other enters the home and steals money or other valuables.
Some will demand payment up front then pretend to do the work they were hired to do or they simply won’t come back after they’ve received payment. Others will claim that, upon further inspection, the problem they had diagnosed from the street is more severe and will therefore cost more to repair.
Bottom line, good contractors are in high demand and they do not go door to door looking for business. These scammers are not licensed and they do shoddy work which can do more harm than good.
For more information on avoiding scams visit America's Repair Force
We love online shopping as much as the next guy, but there are some things you just shouldn’t buy online and one of them is an Air Conditioning Unit.
Lately, there’s been a surge in the number of people calling to find out how much we charge to install an Air Conditioning unit they bought online.
The short answer is $0.
Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating will not install a unit we did not purchase directly from the manufacturer and neither will most reputable Air Conditioning and Heating companies. You may be wondering why we wouldn’t just charge you for the labor and be glad that we didn’t have to deal with the hassle of loading and unloading this very heavy piece of equipment?
Air Conditioning and Heating systems are not “plug and play” like ovens or refrigerators. If you can save a few bucks by purchasing an oven or a refrigerator online, go right ahead. Air Conditioners, however, must be installed by skilled technicians who know how to purge the system, how to pull it into a vacuum, how to charge it with refrigerant, how to adjust the airflow, and much, much more.
But we have the skilled technicians, so what’s the problem?
The complexity of an Air Conditioning system installation gives online retailers a lot of room to shift blame, when a problem does occur, to issues related to the installation rather than a defect in the unit itself. This means they can easily get out of honoring the promises they make at the point of purchase and leave you holding the bag!
Manufactures don’t want to warranty equipment purchased online either…
Most manufacturer will not warranty equipment purchased online “unless installed by a licensed contractor”. This means you are covered, right? Well, not really. Because it is often hard to determine whether a problem was caused by a mistake in the installation, improper sizing of the unit, airflow issues or the equipment itself, the manufacturer can easily get out of honoring their warranty.
If you hire a licensed contractor and authorized brand dealer, like Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, to supply and install a unit and a problem arises, it does not matter whether the issue was caused by the installation or the equipment because, either way, you won’t be left holding the bag. The dealer that installed the unit will determine the cause of the problem, then work directly with the manufacturer to resolve the issue.
What happens if the equipment is damaged in transit?
Let’s say you do find a licensed contractor willing to install the equipment you purchased online and you agree on a price. The contractor clears their schedule, a crew shows up with all the additional materials required to get the job done, and they open the boxes only to find out that the equipment was damaged in transit and needs to be returned. Then what? If you guessed “I have to pay the contractor the agreed upon price”, you are correct!
You’ll also have to contact the retailer and return the unit yourself (hopefully the blame game hasn’t started yet). You may have to pay the contractor you hired to uninstall any equipment they already installed and then you’ll have to pay again to get the replacement unit installed.
What if the problem arises years after the initial installation?
Service companies, especially the ones that are not the most reputable, have a very high failure rate so it’s entirely possible that the company you used is no longer in business when your unit fails. Had you purchased the unit directly from a licensed contractor in your area, the manufacturer would be obligated to honor their warranty through another authorized dealer for their brand.
But what if I buy an Air Conditioning unit online from a company that offers installation?
Companies that provide installation for online purchases used to show the list of subcontractors that they essentially sold the lead to. This practice has fallen out of favor because online buyers quickly realized that these middlemen were not using top-rated companies. They use start-ups and other struggling contractors who need these leads to stay afloat.
This list of reasons why you shouldn’t buy and Air Conditioning unit online is by no means comprehensive but, hopefully, we’ve given you enough reasons why you should never buy something as intricate as an Air Conditioning system from anyone other than a licensed contractor in your area.
Don’t fall for insurance companies that offer policy’s that supposedly will repair or even replace your AC when it fails. They never replace the system – they will just keep sending people out to patch it up and keep it barely running.
According to Angies List “Historically, home warranty service companies have been one of the "worst graded" categories on Angie's List. Members misunderstanding or disagreeing with what their warranties cover and the quality of repair work are cited in the majority of complaints.”
Read the fine print. Some home warranty companies claim to cover major appliances but will in fact only cover a small portion of the total repair cost. They will also most likely send an Less than quality contractor out for the work.
The average cost of a basic coverage plan ranges from $350 to $600 a year, plus $50 to $75 per service call. However, consumers frequently expect more from these plans than they deliver. Home warranties aren’t insurance policies. They’re service contracts.
Some reasons not to use a Home Warranty Program:
- Don’t assume your policy will replace a faulty component. The warranty company may insist on repairing it instead.
- You may not be able to call your favorite service provider. Home warranties usually require you to use a contracted servicer.
- Home warranties rarely cover the entire cost. Claims may be rejected because of “pre-existing problems or insufficient maintenance”.
- When your AC breaks down in the middle of the summer you will wait a lot longer for it to be repaired because the HVAC contractors who work for the home warranty company will always take care of their own customers first. Also, most established air conditioning companies refuse to work with home warranty companies because there are very low margin, pre-determined, diagnosis and repair payment rates.
- The warranty companies have relationships with parts suppliers and usually want to provide the parts used for the repairs. The problem is they typically buy the cheapest part they can get…parts a technician would not put in his own AC unit because; “you get what you pay for”.
- Repair vs. Replace: There are conditions where repair is just impractical and if dealing directly with the customer, my advice as a technician would be to replace the equipment for improved comfort, efficiency, and plain common sense. The home warranty company however will only replace a unit that is unrepairable (very rarely is a unit unrepairable). Even when deemed unrepairable, they provide the cheapest, least efficient “pieces” of new equipment, not complete new “systems”.
- If you think that in the event of a catastrophic failure of your HVAC equipment you’ll be covered for a whole new central air and heating system…you’re probably in for more frustration and disappointment than you bargained for.
Find a good HVAC contractor to provide your maintenance and minor repairs as necessary, and when replacement time comes, you’ll get to choose the right system for you, your budget, and your needs.
Don’t trust anyone contacting you out of the blue with an unbelievable offer.
Reputable companies don’t go around promising free services or massive discounts. After all, they’re in business to make a profit. When someone makes you an unbelievable offer, you should maintain a healthy suspicion.
Be Cautious of Big Discounts or Phony Offers, especially when a company tells you they will give you cash for your old equipment. Most of the old equipment can be recycled and any coolant should be properly extracted from the unit and that can also be cleaned and recycled, but any reputable contractor will have already built this cost into their replacement estimate.
Any HVAC contractor who say’s they will give you $1,000 towards your new installation in exchange for your old equipment is makig up that money somewhere.
After all, this isn’t an old car you are trading in – once it leaves your home it will not be reinstalling it somewhere else. If an HVAC contractor is offering you cash for your old equipment this should throw up a huge red flag. This means that they are inflating the actual cost and overcharging you the amount they claim they are paying you.
It takes time, expertise and much work to properly dispose of HVAC equipment and nobody is going to do that for free. It’s Illegal to dispose of your own AC equipment, and only a trained professional will be able to remove the materials safely and according to specific regulations.
And even if the company is not offering cash back but the price seems too good to be true - make sure they aren’t cutting corners just to get the work and always get at least two quotes. It costs a lot of money to buy and install the best equipment and hire quality installers. Be sure the company you choose is not using second-rate equipment or taking shortcuts.
Today most of us shop on the internet – it’s quick, easy, and usually cheaper than any store.
However, sometimes attempting to save a few bucks can cost you plenty down the road.
Avoid HVAC discount websites - you are just asking for trouble. Those Too Good to be True cheap Internet deals usually do not carry a warranty! It’s standard for HVAC manufacturers to void the warranty on any system that was purchased online. This is because buying equipment online almost always leads to poor installation, which will, in turn, negatively affect how the system performs and how long it lasts. There is a very good reason reputable AC Techs are factory authorized – and that is mainly to protect you the consumer!
When you buy online, you’re taking on enormous risk.
HVAC is expensive and it’s tempting to try and look online for a good deal. However, without the advice of a knowledgeable HVAC specialist, you may get a lower price for the equipment, but will experience major consequences in the long-run with inefficient performance and replacement costs.
When trying to buy an HVAC system online the average person will not know which unit to get and will end up with something too large or too small. If the equipment is too small, it will never efficiently cool your home during the summer. If a system is too large, it will start to short-cycle until it breaks down prematurely. A qualified HVAC contractor will perform calculations to determine the right equipment.
Complicated systems need smart installers
Finding a quality contractor is just as important as having the right system, but professionals won’t install equipment that was purchased online because a warranty doesn’t cover it. They know what kind of risk the system is already running.
Even if you buy an energy efficient air conditioner at a lower price online, without proper installation, you can never expect it to work at the peak of efficiency and save you money. With HVAC, proper installation is critical for the best performance of your system.
When you go searching for a deal online, the lower price tag does look appealing. After all, installing a heating and air conditioning unit is a costly process. However, don’t let the lower price tag fool you. With no warranty, the wrong size, and improper installation, you are going to end up spending much more money trying to maintain your “bargain” system. That doesn’t sound like the smart thing to do. In the end you will always get what you pay for.
We are delighted to hear that Gold Star Father Kris Hager will be attending our Memorial Day lunch. Kris is the chairman of Gold Star Fathers of Florida, Inc. and he regularly speaks at events honoring our fallen soldiers. His son, SSG Joshua R. Hager, was killed in action on Feb. 22, 2007. Please join us as we honor fallen heroes like Josh on Thurs. May 25 from 11 to 2 at our shop at 5696 Pinkney Ave in Sarasota.
Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating is honored to have received the Angie's List Super Service Award for achieving and maintaining a superior service rating on Angie's List throughout 2016.
This achievement is particularly significant as Angie’s List experienced unprecedented member growth in 2016. More than 1.6 million consumers, many of whom were eager to quickly hire highly qualified service pros, joined Angie’s List after the company added a new, free membership tier.
“Companies that can meet higher demands without missing a beat in their exemplary performance standards truly do stand apart from their peers,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Only a fraction of the HVAC companies in Sarasota, FL were able to do it.”
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade. The SSA winners must also be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
High quality Air Filters can reduce the energy consumption of your Air Conditioning system by up to 16%. Quality filters may cost more in the short run, but they pay for themselves with lower energy bills, fewer repair bills, and cleaner air. Air filters with higher MERV ratings will remove more household allergens.
Ceiling Fans can save you money all year, but only if they're turning in the correct direction. In the winter, or whenever it gets cold enough to heat your home, adjusting the direction switch so that your fan is turning clockwise and setting the fan to a low speed will force the hot air that is trapped in the ceiling down and out towards the walls.
Keeping cool is great for you, but not for your attic...
According to FPL, over 70% of homes in Southwest Florida have leaky ductwork. If you live in one of those homes, you’re probably spending 20 to 30% more on your electric bill – just to cool your attic!
Why are we telling you this now?
If you need to repair or replace your ductwork in Florida, there’s no time like winter.
Attics in Florida can reach temperatures of up to 130 degrees during the summer, so technicians can’t stay up there as long during the summer as they can when it’s cooler outside. This means that a job that takes 1 day during the fall or winter may take 2 days during the dog days of summer.
Air Conditioning companies are also much busier during the summer, so you’re more likely to get a great deal between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day!
How do you know if your ductwork needs to be repaired or replaced?
Most homes in Florida have flexible ductwork. Flexible ductwork is less expensive and easier to install, but it’s just plastic and, as such, it will deteriorate over time. If your ductwork is more than 5 years old, you should inspect it at least once a year.
1. Start by visually inspecting your ductwork. Look for tears in the protective coating, kinks, flattened areas, or even exposed insulation.
2. Flexible ductwork is very susceptible to wildlife. If you suspect that you might have had rats, squirrels, raccoons or any other critter in your attic, make sure you check your ducts.
3. If your ductwork is rattling, clanging, or banging, you could have some loose connections.
4. If the vents that are closer to AC System have more air pressure than the vents that are further away or if some rooms are colder than others, take a look at your ductwork.
5. If your electric bill seems higher than it should be, your ductwork could be to blame.
If you would like to schedule a service or maintenance visit, call Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating at (941) 921-7208 and let us help you get your home ready for next summer!
Not all air cleaning devices are appropriate for home use; some can even be harmful to your health.
Ozone generating air cleaners, for example, can lead to respiratory tract irritations and other breathing difficulties, while passive electrostatic air purifiers actually do very little to clean indoor air.
The best way to promote cleaner air in your home is to have UV lights installed in your HVAC System.
For over 100 years, UV lights have been used in a variety of applications to safely and reliably kill germs on surfaces, in the air, and in water. Germicidal ultraviolet lights generate UV-C, the “C” in UV-C refers to the particular frequency of UV light that kills germs. Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. can safely and efficiently improve your home’s indoor air quality by installing germicidal UV lights in your air handler.
UV Purification is a cost effective way to bask stationary objects like your evaporator coil and duct walls with the germicidal power of UVC light. Most UV lights are installed in such a way that the UV rays directly treat the evaporator coil. Other types of UV lights can actually be installed in the return or supply air duct to treat the air as it passes through. There are even portable UV units that can purify up to 900 sq. ft. These portable units may be ideal for those who work in offices without a purification system, or for those who do not have a forced air system.
Whichever Ultraviolet Purification process you choose will help prevent and destroy mildew, biological odors and other microbial contaminants before they can reproduce and colonize.
One of the most important things to remember is that UV light sanitization is very cost effective and it should not break the bank. Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. can install a UV Systems for as little as $250.00 and rarely more than $675.00 for most residential applications per HVAC system.
We are constantly hearing horror stories from people who were talked into paying thousands of dollars for an installation we could have done for $250.00 so be diligent and at least get a second opinion. You can avoid getting swindled by an unethical contractor if you do just a little research.
Although some commercial versions can last up to 3 years, most UV lights need to be changed once a year to ensure maximum effectiveness.
If you would like more information about Ultraviolet Germicidal Lights and whether this is the right option for your particular HVAC system, call Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. and one of our expertly trained home comfort specialists will answer any questions you may have.
Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. has been named a Carrier Award Winning I.A.Q. Expert for three years running.
Chances are your air conditioning system is out of sight and out of mind, at least until there is a problem.
Adjusting the thermostat and changing filters is probably the extent of your integration with the largest appliance in your home.
So how do you know when it's time to think about replacing your air conditioning system?
If your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up, your cooling or heating equipment may have become less efficient. If your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old. Replacing your system with a high-efficiency unit can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
But replacing the system may not always be the only answer. It's very important to also make sure the ductwork is in good condition.
If some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold, this could be due to duct problems or inadequate insulation. You may want to have your ductwork inspected and tested for leaks. leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer which will also cause humidity problems.
Leaky ducts will also pull particles from the attic which will create excessive dust in the home.
During the cooler winter months here in Florida, it's a great time to repair or replace ductwork. Most air companies are not as busy as they are in the summer months, and they will most likely give you a nice discount since the technicians won't have to work in a 120 degree attic.
If you suspect that your ductwork may need to be replaced, please five Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating a call at 941-921-7208...For the quality and service you deserve!
There is an enormous temptation for business owners to be a "Jack of All Trades".
After all, none of us want to turn away potential business and "one stop-shopping" is very convenient for the customer so it's a win-win for everyone, right?
Customers like the idea of a one-stop shop, because it makes life easy if you have someone you can trust to take care of all your needs. Merchants like the idea because they aren't sending businesses elsewhere.
It all sounds like a great idea except that, when you are trying to be all things to all people, you quickly find out that you can't be the best at everything and nobody is ever completely satisfied.
Gone are the days of the days of the backyard mechanic, today's vehicles require skilled technician's that understand the science and technology required to keep them running, the same is true of your Heating and Air Conditioning equipment.
Advances in technology have made specialists more important than ever and Social Media and websites like Angie's List or Ask the Seal make it easier than ever to do a little bit of research online so you do not have to settle for a second rate company.
It used to be that hiring the best meant paying more, but that is simply not the case anymore, especially in a highly competitive industry like the HVAC industry.
In fact, quite often the opposite is true. When you hire a less expensive company, you frequently end up paying for parts you didn't need or inferior work that causes serious problems that could have been avoided by a specialist.
The "Jack of All Trades" business model is based on the philosophy that you should have a solution for nearly 10 out of 10 of the people you encounter. Specialization requires business owners to be comfortable with the idea that they may have to turn away some business.
The "Jack of All Trades" business model forces merchants to provide services they may not be able to stand behind, or even offer unnecessary or ineffective services.
For example: Anyone who understands HVAC systems knows that most residential flexible air duct systems cannot be effectively cleaned without dismantling or replacing the entire system. You cannot properly clean ducts by attaching a powerful vacuum to a vent, but the "Jack of All Trades" company will offer this service because they know that – if they don't, someone else will.
Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. specializes in the installation, repair and maintenance of residential and commercial Air Conditioning and Heating systems. We are not plumbers, we are not electricians, and we will never offer you a product or service that we feel is inferior, ineffective, misleading, or that you simply do not need.
If you need plumbing or electric work, do yourself a favor and call someone who is a specialist in that field, but if you are looking for the highest quality Air Conditioning and Heating installation, repair or maintenance in Sarasota and Manatee counties, call Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. - the premier HVAC Company in Southwest Florida.
Most of us rely on technology to help manage our daily lives more efficiently, so connecting our HVAC system to the internet may be the next logical step.
You can stay connected to your business or residential property wherever you are. Instant notifications of temperature and humidity changes are only a couple advantages of thermostat remote access.
One of the best products currently available is the Honeywell Prestige 2.0 Comfort System Thermostat. With a convenient iPhone app you can view and change HVAC system settings, View and set temperature, View indoor humidity, View outdoor temperature and humidity, Access multiple thermostats and even multiple locations, and get instant alerts via email.
Convenience is not the only reason to consider this thermostat, it could help save you money on your electric bill.
When the Prestige 2.0 is used for commercial applications the programmable display will register occupied, unoccupied, override, and holiday settings.
You can create custom events 365 days to program the thermostat based on business hours. To help save money, there is an economizer setting that switches between ventilation and cooling during occupied times depending on the outdoor temperature. With total control over your thermostat settings you can ensure the air conditioning or heating is only running at those times when it is needed.
Other features of this thermostat are return and discharge air temperature sensors, customer alerts if the system is not functioning as expected, and alerts that inform the customer that there could be an issue prior to loss of cooling or heating capability.
If you are interested in knowing more about this type of thermostat, please call Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning And Heating, Inc. and one of our comfort care specialists will be happy to help you determine if this is the right thermostat for you.
At Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning And Heating, Inc. we not only keep you cool, but we give you the quality and service you deserve!
Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. has just been recognized by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) as an ACCA Quality Assured New Homes Contractor.
This certification is awarded to HVAC contractors who satisfy the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR Qualified New Homes Program (Version 3). New ENERGY STAR certified homes are independently verified to be at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and they feature additional measures that deliver a total energy efficiency improvement of up to 30 percent compared to typical new homes, and even greater savings when compared to most resale homes.
If you have a winter home in Florida that is vacant during the summer months, or even if you just take your vacation in the summer, you need to take certain precautions to prevent mold growth while you are way.
Mold needs three things: Nutrients, a place to grow, and moisture.
So the obvious thing to do is check for any moisture problems, and fix leaky plumbing.
It is very important to have your air conditioning inspected and maintained so it is operating smoothly.
This summer you can prevent mold from developing in your vacant home by controlling the indoor relative humidity so it is below 60%.
One of the ways to manage humidity is to have a programmable thermostat installed that will run your air conditioner at 72° for just two hours each morning before sunrise and at 88° the rest of the time. This will help prevent mold by removing moisture from the air during the cooler hours when relative humidity is highest and your A/C runs most efficiently.
For more information, and to have your HVAC properly serviced, please call Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc.
Handymen are not required to be licensed by the State of Florida. However, there are restrictions on the kinds of services a handyman can perform.
If a handyman does work that requires a license, criminal prosecution is possible. The type of work that requires a license includes construction, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.
Don't confuse a Business license with a contractor's license. A Handyman is not a licensed contractor and cannot obtain permits. Most projects, even small ones, require permits and inspections. If your project isn't permitted or doesn't comply with the building code, you may have to remove or repair the work at your own expense and be subject to fines by local government.
Homeowners who hire unlicensed contractors face several potentially costly penalties.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation can issue an order to stop construction and can levy a $5,000.00 fine for aiding and abetting unlicensed contractors.
Other dangers of Hiring Unlicensed Contractors are the fact that unlicensed contractors typically do not have the education, insurance, or qualifications needed to get a license. They may perform poor quality work or even leave the project unfinished. They also often have criminal backgrounds.
There are times when a handyman can be convenient. If you have small jobs around the house or a "honey do" list that does not require much skill, a handyman may be fine. Just make sure the handyman does not claim they can do any work that should be done by a licensed professional.
You should also be aware that any work performed by an unlicensed contractor will not be covered under your homeowner's insurance policy.
If you do hire a Handyman – make sure he has workman's compensation and liability insurance or you will be held liable if any of his employees is injured.
If the person doing work for you is unlicensed and does not pay his sub-contractors or suppliers, You may be subject to liens placed on your property.
Sometimes trying to save a few bucks just isn't worth it. It's better to protect yourself and know all of the facts.
For more information about unlicensed contractors please visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/reg/UnlicensedActivity.html