I would like opinions on how much would be fair to pay my HVAC repairman after 8 hours (assuming $80/hr) of diagnoses and $330 of replacement parts that did not fix the problem, and 3 visits over 3 weeks? The final diagnosis was that during my re-roof (which is when I told him was about the time my furnace stopped working), an improper vent cap/crown was installed on my intake/outtake mobilehome roof jack assembly.
Please read and let me know if I am expecting too much of an HVAC repair professional (who is non-licensed and maybe just lacks experience. I think my local mobilehome HVAC guy would have caught this on first visit…but maybe you have a different opinion?
My mobile home furnace would not stay lit due to a “weak flame”. (Flame went out after 6-8 seconds) right as fan would kick on. After replacing the ignitor myself, and then calling back my roofer (who replaced all venting on my roof which is very typical of a re-roof) to ensure they did not do anything to block the vent (we could feel the clear air-flow and very little debris could be seen), I called a professional HVAC repairman “Ed” who was referred by the appliance parts store ($85 for initial visit). I offered to email Ed a picture/model # etc beforehand since I knew my unit was one he would likely not be familiar with.
When he showed up he was not at all familiar with any type of unit similar to mine (a Nordyne M1MC, and I learned he was not a licensed HVAC. He mostly was a “fix it” refrigerator, stove, washer/dryer repairman (unlicensed for those types too). Nevertheless he was a nice guy and sounded confident, determined to fix it, fair, and very sincere.
At this point you authorized an unskilled guy to work on your unit and have to accept him for what he is. I would have paid him for his traveling time/callout fee and said goodbye and got the proper tech familiar with the unit. You are not cheated as you got the value of the new parts which will make the furnace last longer. You now own the parts as they cannot be returned and need to pay him for at least a few hours of labor and consider this expense the cost of education/learning on your part too. What goes around comes around so if you cheat Ed someone will get you probably sooner than later when you least expect it. Karma.