It’s interesting how some of us tried not to listen closely to our parents when we were kids, but their messages sank in anyway. Those messages tend to come back in time, and we find ourselves repeating them.

One piece of advice mom told me was “don’t say anything at all if you can’t say something nice.” She probably had a reason for telling me that! Most of us have heard that saying and may even have used it ourselves.

A similar message Deb and I used with our daughters as if they said something negative, they were required to say two positive things. It was a fun game that encouraged them to be more positive.

Even though I work hard to avoid saying negative things, the best way to get the message across of “you get what you pay for” in this article may sound a little negative, but it’s meant to be positive advice. Let’s go back to what prompted this article.

“Charley”, an acquaintance, asked for a quote for a new heating and air conditioning for his son’s home. “Charley” was hoping to get a special discount just for knowing me. After he received the quote from our Comfort Consultant nothing was said for a few weeks.

Yesterday, “Charley,” told me his son located used heating and air conditioning equipment in another state on the Internet. “Charley” bragged about how cheap the equipment he found. He wasn’t familiar with the brand. I bit my tongue and kindly said, “at least it should heat and cool his son’s home”.

Mom would have been proud I stopped talking because there was so much more to say. Here is the rest of the story of what I could have said.

  1. You get what you pay for. That cheap equipment was not comparable to what was asked for and quoted. It wasn’t apples for apples. It was used equipment of questionable quality.
  2. Most responsible HVAC contractors do not install used equipment for a multitude of reasons. Was the heating and cooling equipment stolen? Will the customer expect some form of warranty? Is the equipment defective? The list goes on and on.
  3. Cooling equipment removed improperly has the potential to develop a condition called “green slime”. It can transfer into refrigerant gauges and other systems. Eventually, the entire cooling system will need to be tossed.
  4. Odds are a novice will install that used equipment. Maybe it will be Uncle Ed that knows a little about refrigeration. Will it be installed properly to get top efficiency? Will the airflow and refrigeration pressures meet the design? If not, utility costs will be high and equipment life will be shorter.
  5. A factory-approved dealer probably will not install this used equipment. If a novice installs it there will be no warranty. Imagine paying for the equipment and installing it, only to have it fail immediately because it was installed wrong or was defective in the first place.
  6. Cheap equipment will probably have a lower efficiency. It may be 30% to 50% or lower than new, quality equipment. The true cost of free or cheap equipment will be reflected in higher energy bills. In some ways, “Charley’s” son will pay for a new system and not get it!!!!
  7. Odds are there will be no humidifier or a quality air filtration system because the newest goal was to go cheap. Very little value will be placed on healthy skin and lungs. “Charley” taught his son a lesson, but his kids and grandkids will pay part of the price in health and comfort. How comfortable will this cheap system be?

A cheap or free furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump is kind of like getting a “free” puppy. The initial price is right but will cost a lot over time.

There will always be “Charleys” in this world that brags about how cheap they purchased something as they try to make us feel inferior. They want to be perceived as brilliant, but they pay a price and live with the results. At the risk of sounding negative, I better close with something more positive.

The majority of us are much smarter than “Charley”. We are willing to pay for quality at a reasonable cost. The next time “Charley” tells you how great their deal was you can decide whether to tell them, “That’s nice” or maybe, “you get what you pay for!”

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