(WHAS11) -- With temperatures on the decline it's time to make sure your furnace is fired up and ready for a long cold winter. If it stops working in sub-freezing temperatures you're going to pay for it.
The last thing you want to do this winter is be forced to hire the first repairman who can come to your house when you need them really badly because that's when you're most likely to fall victim to a scam.
"In today's world, we have lots of people what are preying on the unsuspected. When a company comes out to service your unit, you should have already investigated that company at some point, either it be through social media or word-of-mouth," said Roy Rogers Feltner and HVAC contractor.
Feltner says you need to beware of common scams. If a contractor asks for a lot of money upfront buyer beware, any more than one third is out of the question. Avoid the bait and switch by having a contract, and for a change read the contract. Avoid unlicensed contractors, and to avoid unneeded repairs ask for your old parts up front.
Angie Hicks from Angie's List says our heating and cooling system is one of the most complicated mechanicals in our houses and HVAC companies know that.
"A common complaint we hear about HVAC companies is when it's recommended that the consumer replace their system when a simple repair may do the trick. Keep in mind these systems can last up to 20 years and cost a good deal of money to replace so if someone recommends a replacement, get a second opinion," said Hicks.
If we live long enough eventually we'll all have to replace our heating and cooling systems because eventually it's cheaper than keeping them. More than half of our energy costs come from those unit's alone.
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