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Cold callers confuse heatpump issue

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2014

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

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.

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

- Central Leader

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