|American Residential Services at 15750 East Centre Tech Circle Aurora, CO 80111 did a furnace inspection/service at my house Monday 01/24/11. They are the vendor of choice via Home Depot. Matt Stringer was the technician they sent out along with another young man - an apprentice maybe. Matt said the furnace was overheating/cycling off every 5 minutes because of a big crack in the heat exchanger and that carbon monoxide was at dangerous levels. Matt said my furnace was condemned and it could be deadly to use it.He had me sign an Unsafe Furnace Safety Disclaimer.|
Matt gave me a bid of $3862 to replace it - which he claimed was the lowest price they could give me. Since I've been unemployed most of the last 3 years and now have no income (which I told them), I decided before signing the purchase contract to look for financing. I spent hours working with my credit union to get a loan. I spent hours filling out the LEAP application and drove across town to get it approved. I spent 3 days trying to get financing instead of job hunting. I found out about the federal weatherization program through my county that might pay for a new furnace. After spending3 days applying for the assistance and making numerous phone calls, I got LEAP approval and contacted the Arapahoe county weatherization office.
After 2 days of living with no heat during 20 degree weather, on Wednesday 01/25, the Arapahoe County weatherization office sent out a contractor from Bob's Heating and Air Conditioning in Arvada. At 4 PM the 25th, the contractor named John tested the furnace and told me the furnace was cycling off early and overheating because the air filter was choking the air supply - not because of a crack! He said filters that get out pet dander and pollutants actually choke furnaces and cause over heating. He had me watch his test to confirm his conclusion. When the air filter was removed, the furnace performed normally!
John was in my house for an hour with a carbon monoxide detector that is sensitive to 1 PPM and the digital readout stayed at 0, even next to the running furnace. He tested all over the house. He said the carbon monoxide levels that ARS got me scared about as lethal was less than what a cigarette generates. In the Unsafe Furnace Safety Disclaimer, ARS noted "4 PPM in the air flow" as if it was a deadly danger. Cigarettes emit 12 PPM. There was NO carbon monoxide danger in my house! John also told me the $3800 bid for a new furnace was at least $1000 more than what Bob's Heating and Air Conditioning would charge me for the same furnace.
I had also asked ARS to relight the pilot light of my gas fireplace. Matt told me he couldn't get it to light and the fireplace needed new parts which they couldn't provide. When John from Bob's Heating tried to light the pilot light, he found that one of the fake logs was blocking the gas flow to the spark igniter. It took 5 minutes to remove the glass, move the log, and light the pilot light.Problem solved!
So I spent 3 days without heat in 20 degree weather because of them. I had also purchased space heaters to try to stay comfortable. I was put in great stress because of this! I spent many hours driving around town, making phone calls, and filling out applications - all for nothing!!! ARS didn't care my dire financial situation. They just wanted to sell me a furnace I didn't need.
ARS used a camera with a bendable scope to look into the furnace and take a picture. They showed me a picture of a crack in "my" furnace, but the scope was not in the furnace at the time they showed me the picture. This means that the camera has a memory to store pictures. I suspect that the camera has a stored picture in it of a cracked furnace. Once in a persons house, they display the picture from the memory card and tell the customer the picture is from their furnace. I'll bet this is part of their ruse to dupe customers. John from Bob's Heating said he sees lots of fraud in his industry. He told me he's seen lots of fraud with ARS.
Be smart and get multiple bids and inspections when dealing with big ticket items. Buyer beware!!