I am a relatively new home owner, young, and somewhat inexperienced. That being said, my spouse and I decided to purchase a relatively new home so that we would have fewer repairs to worry about. (Ha..) Our HVAC system is currently about 6 years old.
After a dreadfully sticky, sweaty summer in which our heat pump was failing miserably at cooling our home, we finally called in a repairman who determined we were low on freon, refilled it, charged us a fortune, and left barely saying a word. Needless to say we never called that company again.
Fast-forward to the winter when a different company offered us a free tune-up. We took it, figuring we could ask them about the freon issue at the time. They were MUCH nicer, and found a leak in the evaporator coil which was causing the low freon. They replaced it and did a few other small things, and in the process we got a 'membership' because the cost of the membership was less than the discount we were getting from it. [A few weeks later we also had a minor plumbing disaster and a nice bill from that.. Hurray for our newer house saving us money.]
The membership includes a free A/C, heating, and plumbing tune up every year and needless to say, they always find things that are either wrong or that they strongly recommend. We are smart enough to know we don't need special de-clogging fluids in our pipes, but the HVAC stuff really gets to me. Our heater seems to be working fine, but today the tech told me that the defrost board is not going into defrost when he tests it, and that usually means it's broken. He recommended replacing it to the tune of $457.
In addition to the defrost board, the dual capacitor is dying (running at 33.5 instead of 35.3) for $197, we need a new pan treatment ($29, know this is unnecessary), and the contactors are burnt ($197).
How do I know when to trust them? How can this much break every year? Is there a good resource online for looking these kinds of things up? Should we quit having them come out every year? Thanks. Sorry this is long.