Was I ripped off for my cleaning?

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  #1  
Old 11-06-18, 04:51 AM
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Was I ripped off for my cleaning?

The handrwitten receipt says that I paid $135+tax for:
1 New Nozzle
1 New Filter
1 New Strainer
Cleaned and serviced burner
Vacc'd Boiler, Base, and Smokepipe

This is what I got:

https://youtu.be/DnJCsnLgNV4 (real quick version) He turned the vacuum on at the 11 second mark in the video, but he clearly didn't vacuum anything!



https://youtu.be/J6CxFUglBTw (Little bit slower version)


Was I ripped off?
 
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  #2  
Old 11-06-18, 04:54 AM
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Ooh yea .. the boiler is 8 years old, we've had it cleaned (supposedly) every 2 years. I try for every year, but it doesn't always work out. Shouldn't the tech have looked inside at all?! Or, am I overthinking this?
 
  #3  
Old 11-06-18, 06:58 AM
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The old story is turn on the vac on long enough to have a cigaret , or to read a magazine. Nowadays.just the time to check the phone. Yes you have a legit gripe. Show the vid to the owner of the shop, and or just hire a new company, and keep a vigil.
Sid
 
  #4  
Old 11-06-18, 11:11 AM
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To directly answer your question, yes you are overthinking this.
Your describing the video as a "Burner Cleaning Fail" before digesting opinions from this forum tell me you have already made up your mind.

Unless he knew he was on video and faking his motions you got what looked like some serious effort to clean and tune up your burner and charged a very reasonable price to do it.
The first sped up video seems to be a deliberate attempt to make him look bad.

You now really need to post the entire video to be able to form an opinion on his work.
What you have shown so far says more about you than him.
 
  #5  
Old 11-06-18, 11:17 AM
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I didn’t see him vacuum anything either. Nozzle, filter, and strainer are probably less than 10 bucks total. But I don’t think you got full service by any means. The tech should use a combustion analyzer to check the burn for proper combustion and I think he should have used a draft gauge to check proper draft, and should have checked stack temperature. I think you got bare bones minimum just to ensure your burner keeps running and doesn’t stop on you in the dead of winter- and you didn’t get a cleaning which you should get yearly. He should have opened up and cleaned the heat exchanger, smoke pipe, and chimney base.

Where I live yearly service was about $240 ten years ago, but you also needed to sign up to an oil delivery contract. That service contract did include some parts. The service was more than you just got however. It included what I mentioned above.

So your guys probably figured out how to do a not-quite-bare-bones minimum service for $135. I think that price is pretty low, so I guess you have to beware when you see a real low price. Maybe other people here will disagree that that price is really low - for a full service that is.

Turning on the vac for noise would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Bad thing is they leave you thinking you got a proper service. That’s why I started to do my own service 10 years ago and never looked back.

I agree with sidny, something wrong with those guys. If that guy turned on the vac (if that’s what he did) to make it sound like he was vacuuming, then I don’t think you can trust those guys as far as you can throw them. Especially when they put that on the receipt.

Ahaa! just saw Greg made a post and disagrees. I will read that with great interest - I thought the video was the full thing.

Just watched the videos again. Looks to me like they cover the entire time from start to finish, but maybe I am not seeing it properly.
 
  #6  
Old 11-06-18, 01:06 PM
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My last cleaning was $150 up here in Maine, up from $135 last year. Reasonable and a guy I can trust. I specifically don't watch what he does because I have used him for several years (10+). The idea of having to use a camera to verify the service I get is (I'll be polite) unacceptable. Maybe it is because this is small town America, but guys that turn on a vac to fake doing the cleaning just won't be in business up here very long. On the coast they would refer to them as "Lobster Bait".

Bud
 
  #7  
Old 11-06-18, 01:45 PM
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Thank you all for your thoughtful replies.
@GregH, you are absolutely correct, and I changed the title of the video to Time lapse Cleaning. I have a camera in my basement due to an insecure door, and we want to see what kind of trouble the cats get into down there. While reviewing the day, I noticed that the vacuum cleaner was never unwound, so I decided to first ask the forum before I made the decision to call the company. I figured that perhaps with a newish looking boiler, that it was not common practice to open it and vacuum. But, then, why write it in that it was vacuumed on the handwritten receipt?!

the video is a time lapse of the still images that capture motion. It covers 40 minutes of real time. In version 1, each frame is 0.1 second. In the second version, I doubled the length of each frame.

I wasn't trying to 'get' anybody, but in the past, I've seen my boiler actually get vacuumed. My wife said that she heard the vacuum, and she even tipped the tech.

thank you again for sharing your comments.
patrick
 
  #8  
Old 11-06-18, 02:52 PM
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I'm assuming oil boiler and from my experience (owner not HVAC) they need to be cleaned every year so no excuse about it looking like it didn't need it. Turning the vac on was a deceptive step and the video needs to be shown to the owner and the tip mentioned. If the owner is reputable he will take steps to satisfy you and make sure it doesn't happen again. How he reacts will help you decide your next step. Don't be angry, just present the facts and ask what he thinks.

Bud
 
  #9  
Old 11-06-18, 04:11 PM
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I figured that perhaps with a newish looking boiler, that it was not common practice to open it and vacuum.
No it should be cleaned. When I had a yearly service contract it would take the tech 2+ hours to do the yearly service. It also takes me about 2 hours or more. I donít know how your service was advertised. Maybe it was presented as an itemized few points of service, and not a full blown service, especially for the low price of $135, but I canít see any excuse for putting the vacuuming job on the receipt. I think you just flat out caught him (them).

There may be a lot of pressure on the techs to get in and out fast for the company to make any money at that price, but itís not right.
 
  #10  
Old 11-09-18, 02:38 PM
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I forgot in my earlier post, that the basic idea of the fuel dealers is to sell oil. So a number of them will on purpose,not do a very good job cleaning the boilers, and furnaces .
Sid.
 
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