Don’t Get Burned by Furnace Fraud as Weather Turns Colder

Connecticut Better Business Bureau alerts homeowners about common scare tactics used by unscrupulous service providers.

Wallingford, CT, November 14, 2008 --( As Connecticut consumers begin winterizing their homes, a warning from your BBB: watch out for “furnace-fixing” con artists.

While most furnace repair companies are honest, reputable and fair, there are a few that may try to frighten you into repairing or replacing the core of your home heating system, even when it is functioning properly, according to Paulette Hotton Scarpetti, President of Connecticut Better Business Bureau.

“Unscrupulous furnace repair companies may warn you that your furnace is leaking dangerous gases that could explode or harm people in the house. The most important first step—is don’t panic. Ensure your home is safe and then get your furnace inspected by your oil company or a second repair service.”

BBB offers the following tips to ensure you don’t get fleeced by disreputable operators:

•If you are told your furnace must be replaced because it is too small, think back to whether it has ever failed to properly heat your home. If you do buy a furnace, don’t waste money on a furnace that is unnecessarily large for the size of your home.

•Check the warranty on your heating system. Many of them come with long-term warranties

•Always get a second or third opinion as to whether repairs or replacement are needed. All bids should be in writing and provide a full description of services provided and materials used.

•When considering a bid, compare more than cost. Check the size and efficiency rating of the equipment each bidder proposes, and then ask how they arrived at recommending a particular sized system.

If you determine repairs or replacement is necessary, select a contractor with a solid reputation for dependable, reasonably-priced work. Ask friends, neighbors and family members for recommendations, and check out any company you’d like to hire at for a Reliability Report.

Do not hesitate to call your public utility if you heat with natural gas, and ask a serviceman to inspect your system. If you believe you are in physical danger, leave your home until your heating system is checked out.

Better Business Bureau CT
Howard Schwartz
203-279-2700 ext. 103
94 South Turnpike Rd
Wallingford, CT 06492