Generally my temperament is predisposed to trust others, and to exhibit patience and grace towards most people. It’s a sweet spot for me… it’s how (I believe) God designed me. I’m also prone to be a perfectionist; although for most of my adult life, I’ve been working on getting that in balance.
However, after 20+ years as a Home Performance contractor, serving homeowners, there’s an anger rising up in me when I see where innocent homeowners have been deceived by dishonest or lazy & indifferent contractors.
Because I make my living crawling through the attics and crawlspaces of Atlanta’s homes, I see the stuff many of my clients never see. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a $2M home or a $200k home.
What I’m told is this:
“My living room and dining room never get warm in the winter…”
What I found in the crawlspace was an 8” diameter supply duct attached to a floor boot that had flooring installed over it! Also, the same flooring contractor covered the large, 10” central return floor vent! Upstairs, there were no vents in the hardwood floors. And, the 6” return duct serving the 3rd bedroom was completely sealed with foil tape. I have no idea why. It’s hard for me to believe the equipment even operates.
“My son’s bedroom, upstairs, never cools down enough during the summer.”
What I found in this attic, was the supply duct partially disconnected from the main trunk line, (like a very loose tooth flopping in your mouth). It was obvious! When I showed my pics to Ms Homeowner, her response was, “Last year we had a tree fall through the roof in that area…” They hired a contractor to make the repairs, how’d he miss that dangling air duct? And, they have a service contract with a big-name HVAC company, why hadn’t they found the problem?
“Bob, our baby’s room never gets enough airflow. We’ve even moved the crib so it’s directly under the vent…”
It’s because they were getting ZERO airflow! When I got into the attic, the supply air duct that serves her bedroom was lying on the attic floor, attached to the boot… blowing cold air into the vented attic. Returning to the baby’s room, I set my ladder up, removed the vent cover, and stared at solid sheetrock. The sheetrock contractor had screwed the vent to the ceiling, after never having cut the hole for the boot and re-installing the vent! Just as unbelievable, my homeowner has a service contract with an Atlanta HVAC company.
“We’re not getting much airflow into the dining room.”
What I found, at the back of the crawlspace, was a flex duct dangling from the strapping that was attempting to support it. It was completely disconnected from the floor boot. There were fresh support piers in that area, so I had my suspicions. Mr homeowner confirmed them, after seeing my pictures. I said, “Send them my picture and tell them to come back and repair it!” He said, “Bob, they are so slow to respond, I have no idea when they’ll come back…” Well, you can guess what I did for the next 30 minutes.
My Action Points, for When You Have Work Done on your home:
Ask plenty of questions. You deserve to have your questions answered in a way that you understand and comprehend what is being said to you.
If you cannot literally see the site where the repair or upgrade occurred, ask for pictures. Before & After pictures are good. It goes without saying, make sure you’re looking at pictures taken at your house.
If you’re confused or unsatisfied with the experience you’re having with your foreman, insist on a supervisor, or the owner, to come to your home and respond to your issue.
In Defence of Contractors, (My weak defence):
If you’re a decently good & honest contractor these days, you’re solidly busy! Being booked solid, and being busy, means some homeowners are waiting… and waiting, and that’s never good for the nerves.
Most residential contractors are one-man companies. Give him a little grace when it comes to the administrative stuff.
Returning phone calls is so time intensive, yet it’s a necessary discipline we contractors have to master. Texting seems to get quicker responses than leaving voicemail. That goes for both parties.
Send a picture of the issue to your contractor. Text it to him. We love pictures, because we can arrive prepared to resolve the issue with one trip!
As a final, last resort, you can “threaten” or warn your contractor that on such-and-such date you intend to leave a review of his company. That should get his attention, (it’s worked for me), unless he’s not on the internet…
Air Duct Cleaners
BTW, if you’ve recently had your air ducts cleaned, it may be a good idea to spend the $395 to have us test them, and confirm that your air duct system is intact. I’ve found a cleaning brush, and an air hose in ducts, left behind by the duct cleaners, as well as disconnected ducts after the cleaners left.
A Love Affair
Here at Bird Family Insulation we have a love affair with mistreated air ducts. Think of them as pets that are getting ignored by a busy family. They’re nice to have, important to our well-being, but under-appreciated much of the time. Call us, and we’ll love on your air ducts so they’ll reward you with years of dependable, faithful service!
What are people saying about Bird Family Insulation?
“Finally found someone for Attic Insulation issues. The Bird family came out on a Saturday and done the best work I have ever seen. My attic now looks like a picture. They are the most professional company I have every hired to work in my home and when they leave you can’t even tell they were there. I know who I will be calling when I move into my next home. Thanks Bob. Stay safe my friend!”