As the temperatures soar in Florida, the demand for air conditioning systems rises proportionally. The AC business in Florida is one of the most lucrative ones, and consumers are often vulnerable to scams and tricks that can leave them feeling cheated and frustrated. Today, we sat down with Robert Mafes, an expert from Global Cooling LLC in Clermont, Florida, to expose some of these tricks and provide tips for navigating the AC industry.
BRAND LABELING AND GENERIC EQUIPMENT
One common trick in the AC business is brand labeling. Many AC companies place their logo on generic equipment, making it appear as though they are selling a high-end brand. However, in reality, they are often selling low-quality equipment for a premium price. In 2019, the Better Business Bureau received over 2,200 complaints about air conditioning contractors across Florida. Many of these complaints were due to the use of generic or substandard equipment, leading to increased service costs and poor system performance.
TECHNICAL DETAILS AND OVERSELLING
When it comes to technical details, Mafes warns consumers to be cautious of companies that oversell the benefits of certain features. For example, some companies may claim that their AC systems have “variable speed” technology, which allows the system to adjust its output based on the temperature needs of the home. While this feature can be beneficial, it is not necessary for every home and can come with a higher price tag. In contrast, other technical features such as SEER ratings, can provide real energy savings. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) measures how efficiently a cooling system operates over an entire season. Mafes suggests consulting with an AC expert to determine which features are truly necessary for specific needs.
Another trick in the AC business is maintenance issues. Many companies advertise low-priced tune-ups, only to arrive and claim that the AC system requires expensive repairs. Mafes suggests that consumers avoid these types of offers altogether and instead seek out a reputable company that provides transparent pricing and honest service. Regular maintenance is a key to proper operation and longevity of the AC system. Manufacturers recommend that homeowners and businesses should have their AC systems inspected and serviced by a licensed contractor annually. During maintenance, the AC technician will examine the entire system, including the refrigerant, electrical components, and safety controls, to ensure they are operating correctly.
FILTERS AND MICROBIOLOGY
In addition to brand tricks and technical details, Mafes emphasizes the importance of filters and microbiology in the AC industry. Filters are crucial to the overall performance of an AC system. A clogged filter can cause the system to work harder, resulting in higher energy bills and potentially damaging the equipment. In addition to this, filters that are not changed regularly can become a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms. Mafes recommends that consumers change their filters regularly and invest in high-quality filters to keep their AC systems running efficiently. Microbiology in air conditioning systems is also a major issue as AC systems provide a prime environment for mold and bacteria growth due to the presence of moisture. This can result in poor air quality and potentially harmful health effects. Regular AC maintenance and cleaning are important to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria in the system.
COMPARING AC BRANDS
When it comes to comparing AC brands, Mafes emphasizes the importance of researching the reputation and reliability of the brand before making a purchase. In addition to this, homeowners and businesses should look for energy-efficient models that meet ENERGY STAR guidelines. ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps individuals and businesses save money and protect the environment by promoting energy-efficient products and practices. Mafes also notes that while some brands may come with a higher price tag, they can often save consumers money in the long run by being more energy-efficient and requiring less maintenance and repairs.
In conclusion, the AC business in Florida is filled with tricks and scams that can leave consumers feeling cheated and frustrated. It is essential to do thorough research, seek out reputable companies, and be aware of technical details and maintenance issues. Ensuring that the AC system is operating at peak efficiency can not only save homeowners and businesses money in the long run but also provide a comfortable and safe indoor environment. As Robert Mafes from Global Cooling LLC in Clermont, Florida, states, “Investing in the right AC system and maintaining it properly is essential for both comfort and long-term financial savings.”
- Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. (2021). Air Conditioning Contractor. Retrieved from https://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/cilb/documents/AirConditioningContractor.pdf
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). About ENERGY STAR. Retrieved from https://www.energystar.gov/about
- Better Business Bureau. (2020). BBB 2019 Scam Tracker Risk Report: Air Conditioning Contractors. Retrieved from https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/22634-bbb-2019-scam-tracker-risk-report-air-conditioning-contractors