Cold call­ers con­fuse heat­pump is­sue

Do heat­pumps need reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing? Or are those cold-call­ers try­ing to pull the wool over your eyes? Chief re­porter Joe Daw­son in­ves­ti­gates.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

A heat­pump ser­vic­ing busi­ness has been cold-call­ing cen­tral Auck­land house­hold­ers and of­fer­ing what some say is un­nec­es­sary work.

But Air Force One says it pro­vides a le­git­i­mate ser­vice to keep heat­pumps work­ing ef­fi­ciently and it’s the cowboy in­stall­ers peo­ple should be wor­ried about, as they of­fer lit­tle in the way of fol­low-up care.

Mt Roskill res­i­dent Chris­tine Gal­lagher con­tacted the Cen­tral Leader af­ter she was called out of the blue by a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Air Force One, who of­fered her $310 worth of ser­vic­ing for her three heat­pumps.

The of­fer in­cluded the clean­ing of fil­ters and fil­ter coils, check­ing of gas pres­sure, de­greas­ing of the out­door unit and dis­in­fect­ing of the in­door unit.

She was told the unit could be­come faulty if it was not reg­u­larly ser­viced.

Mrs Gal­lagher thought this was odd. She be­lieved heat­pumps re­quired min­i­mal main­te­nance and could gen­er­ally be looked af­ter by the owner. She wants to make sure other heat­pump users check with the in­staller or man­u­fac­turer of their heat­pump be­fore agree­ing to any work.

She con­tacted the com­pany that in­stalled her three Pana­sonic heat­pumps to check if the ser­vice was re­quired and was told it was not.

Paul Varcoe of Varcoe Re­frig­er­a­tion says he has re­ceived many such calls from cus­tomers, es­pe­cially over the last year, and says the work be­ing of­fered is not nec­es­sary.

‘‘There’s noth­ing to re­ally ser­vice on them,’’ he says.

‘‘Peo­ple ring up all a-flut­ter but as long as you have clean fil­ters that is all you need to do.’’

He says el­derly peo­ple can be con­fused when con­tacted out of the blue.

‘‘They think it is us call­ing them.

‘‘If you don’t clean your fil­ters and it breaks down it can be a prob­lem. Some older peo­ple can’t do their fil­ters and we go and do it for them.’’

Air Force One owner op­er­a­tor Shawn Blanchfield says heat­pumps are like cars and need ‘‘a bit of love’’ to keep work­ing ef­fi­ciently.

Com­mer­cial build­ings re­quire air con­di­tion­ing units to be ser­viced sev­eral times a year in or­der to meet war­rant of fit­ness re­quire­ments, he says.

‘‘If you do noth­ing with it it’s not go­ing to last. The fact is when the coils get dirty they lose ef­fi­ciency.’’

He also says many are poorly in­stalled by trades­peo­ple op­er­at­ing in an ag­gres­sive mar­ket.

Com­mon mis­takes he sees are out­door units placed on un­even sur­faces or too low to the ground, re­sult­ing in mois­ture pool­ing or not drain­ing prop­erly and caus­ing rust to build up.

Daikin tech­ni­cal sup­port ad­viser Ed­ward Du­p­lessis says it is rec­om­mended that Daikin sys­tems be ser­viced by a qual­i­fied per­son ev­ery 12 months.

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