Saved $2,100 - HVAC

Not open for further replies.


$100 site donor 2023
Feb 19, 2013
Phoenix, AZ
We've got an 18 year old York 3-ton package unit that has a gas furnace. It works great and has been extremely reliable. I noticed that for the past week there was a squeaking noise when it was running. I called out a local chain HVAC/plumbing repair company, they're rated well here. I was outside with the guy and he popped off the side cover and immediately saw that the squirrel cage fan for the ducts was badly loose. After wiggling it it actually wouldn't come back on so we had no heat, but not an emergency here in Phoenix. We have space heaters too.

Anyways, we were quoted $1,700 for a new fan motor but they recommended if fixing it to replace the squirrel cage fan because it was dirty, for a total of $2,200. They actually recommended a new HVAC system which they said would start at $12k, which is also a total joke. I paid the $79 and he left. I took the side cover off myself and the 2 screws that hold the fan assembly in and slid it out within 5 minutes. Realized the motor is fine, but the bracket that holds the motor had a broken leg.

Went to Grainger and got a bracket but it was too small. Went back and got another one that I had to drill new holes in at the end so it would fit the bolt pattern (barely). Also had to use some spacers for the screws so it wouldn't hit the fan. I cleaned the fan assembly with a small brush and blew it out with the leaf blower, worked perfectly. It runs as quiet as ever now. Probably more airflow without so much buildup on the fins. $27 for a new bracket.

Even if just the motor was bad, I took the part number to Grainger and they sell the motor for $210. So the HVAC company makes $1,500 on the install?

I guess the lesson learned here is to be observant and not too trusting. We just need maybe 2 more years out of this unit. The entire house will be getting remodeled and the unit needs to be replaced with a new larger one, relocated to the roof with new duct work, so expensive repairs and a replacement isn't a good option just yet. And yes, the loose insulation was taped up before the cover was put back on.

Last edited:
Always do basic troubleshooting before calling anyone in. Most failures are pretty basic...unless there's a leak you diy.
Last edited:
When selling my old house, the central a/c compressor died. Had an hvac repairman out and he said that he checked on his phone and no parts were available for such an old compressor. Claimed that the only fix was about $10-12k for a new system. SAME EXACT EXCUSE as @Nick1994 !! Had to tell the same exact story!

I got online and Rheem had not discontinued any parts! The fan motor, contactor was still available. The fan blade was the only thing discontinued. Wasn't that hard to remove and install that blade on the new fan motor! Got a new run capacitor and contactor too, hooked it all up.. BOOM! Running just fine!

Cost? $160! that's for the fan motor, contactor and capacitor! There was never an issue with the compressor itself.

I'm telling ya, these HVAC people are worse than used car salesman! Complete liars, gives the good ones a bad name!
I had a easy deal with furnace rattle noise with the blower squirrel cage on our 3-4 year old Carrier. Neither set screw were very tight on the motor shaft. That's it after 33 years.
Good job!

These companies work on commission, so therefore they'll try everything they can to sucker people into spending big bucks on stuff they don't need. 10 times out of 10 it's something simple that can be diy'd. (y)
IME HVAC are the biggest thieves of them all. No ability to even remotely justify their pricing. Case in point.
The problem is that they have so many customers that are ready and willing to drop $12-18k on new units that they don't need to concern themselves with making comparatively small potatoes each week by diagnosing repairs and sourcing replacement parts, making 2-3 trips between your house and the HVAC supply, etc. etc.

Installers around me charge 13-15k to install heat pump combos that the HVAC supply sells for $6550 and depending on where/how the air handler is installed it takes them 5-10 hours with a two man crew. That's far better money than burning an entire day to make $600 troubleshooting a malfunctioning furnace.
I live on the outskirts of our state capital.
I do not know of any HVAC company that does not push to sell you a new unit. It's a major business here, must be a dozen well known companies and its like whenever someones system needs a repair from 8 years old to 20, three days later you will see them installing a new unit.

This is how they work here.
1. Most are 1099 employees with some exceptions. On a repair call they get to charge the company repair price AND they can increase the repair cost to ANYTHING that they want and get that full extra amount in pay.
2. Sell you a brand new unit and even bigger payday.

I am CONSTANTLY amazed seeing new HVAC systems being installed in my community of 200 homes since we bought new 16 years ago. Laughable but what can I say? It's like homeowners can not reason and think for themselves anymore, heck, most young people dont even paint their own homes anymore or cut their own grass.
I felt so bad for a neighbor, elderly lady (but wealthy) must be pushing 90, really nice person, still always working in her yard. Some years back her condenser fan went out, the well known HVAC company with a fleet of shiny trucks charged her over $600 for a new fan. SOME YEARS LATER she had the unit replaced along with all the flex duct to sheet metal.

I had my own experience with one of my two units, main floor unit never really got cold, had a few people look at it, of course wanted to sell me a new one. I stood over the guy because I just wanted some freon put in it, still the older 22 but the unit is capable of conversion to the new. At the time I also had him replace the expansion valve and dryer.
Anyway he was "afraid" to put any more into it because the pressures. I put up with the marginal cooling for a couple years, since it was the main floor unit it wasnt a big deal as the second floor unit worked well AND never did it have an issue of keeping the house cold enough but I know refrigeration units and knew it should be colder and cycle off sooner. It was running too much and the low pressure side too warm.
All I ever heard was I should replace it from many people.

No way, I bought a gauge set and tank of freon off eBay many years back. I looked at the charge pressures of the second unit as the unit I was working on the sun baked the stats off. Hooked up the gauges opened the valve for the freon to flow and charged to the pressure I thought it should be. Right away for the first time ever the low pressure side got cold, inside the home the temp difference between the intake and output was about 18 degrees if I remember correctly. We just sold the house and I did this 5 years previously and the system still working perfect.
Over time some minor repairs, I replaced the capacitors in both units and one contactor. Also at one time the fan motor went in one of them, had a HVAC company replace it, long before I started doing my own work, they used a generic one size fits all motor that crapped out in 3 years or so, I replaced with a OEM motor.

Ok, with all that said! Here is some creditability to this.
We just sold this house and our real estate firm sent two true professionals to do pre inspections. One for termites, (none)
and one HVAC inspection guy. He tore into everything, removing covers testing ect, I was surprised how long he was here. Anyway, (this was mentioned above) he did pick up one contactor was pitted and said the capacitor should be replaced at the same time. I said YAY~ ! I got them in the garage, I just haven't had time to replace them because we were moving. I paid him $50 and he put them in and left it off the report which the report was perfect.

Anyway. this guy was as professional as they come. SO I asked him, curious, is there ANY HVAC company that he could recommend to people. (keep in mind, this is a HVAC inspector, his only business ) and he replied, "honestly no".
Its just luck, so he didnt want to say too much and I suggested their only objective is to sell you a new unit and he shook his head yes, I also told him about the lady next door and its my understanding that they can charge whatever they want and keep any amount over what the company charges, again, he said you got it and WHY HE got out of the service business and went only into inspections. The dishonesty in the business was overwhelming to him.
How many of you are bragging about your kids going to trade school to become HVAC techs, installers, auto techs, electricians or welders at the cocktail parties?

1 of you? 2 of you? None?

About 7 years ago, I was telling people that they will be crying and screaming about $2000 they were going to be paying for a replacement water heater in a few more years. No one believed me, no one could figure out why.

But here we are. Water heater replacements are $1700-2000 in most areas. Yes, your typical 3-ton residential replacement is $8-12K now. There's a lot that goes into that price, most of it is new government regulations and the fact that most companies have 60% of the people show up for work that they need to.
I used to have a buddy that was an HVAC repair and salesman (didn't do install) and he's always tell me the ways HVAC guys, including him, will do to get more sales. 1-3 units bought per day equated to a $2-$3000 bonus on his check per week. It's like $600 for a capacitor and install of it when you can buy the same one yourself from the hvac distributor warehouse down the street for like $8.
I never call them, with all the info on Youtube these days there is no reason to call a repair person unless you need brazing done and don't have your own torch or you need to vacuum down and capture the entire system. My 30 year old Carrier units are still kicking on R22 and their original compressors. I JUST replaced the start cap on the upstairs unit squirrel cage motor. The downstairs unit has ate 2 circuit boards over the years and the upstairs has ate 3 or 4 resistive heat flame starters over the years.
Not open for further replies.