HVAC drain service - $197

5 Replies

My tenant's air conditioning cut out recently, so I had a company do a service call. End result is $197 for the technician to pour some hot water and bleach down the drain line. The drain had gotten stopped up, which cut off the unit.

How would those of you who are more experienced handle this? I live 5 hours away so I cannot make repairs like these myself. The house is in SC, and it is an elderly couple, so lack of air conditioning can be a serious issue. I had a company do a semi-annual servicing on the unit back in February, yet this clog apparently developed over the course of the last few months. That, or the company doing the servicing didn't do a thorough job.

Also, this probably didn't happen because of any negligence from the tennant. It is just a little fustrating because this basically killed a month's worth of cash flow, and yet the repair was pretty darn simple. Any suggestions on how to prevent this or save money in the future? I considered having my handy-man go by, but if it's out of his league then I have to pay him in addition to the HVAC company.

I don't think it is tenant's negligence; I experienced that of you wash / clean your system outside every 4 months and replace filter regularly if you can avoid similar problems.

Originally posted by @Syed Firoz :
I don't think it is tenant's negligence; I experienced that of you wash / clean your system outside every 4 months and replace filter regularly if you can avoid similar problems.

Changing the filter will help, but not prevent it. Nothing on the outside will affect the drain getting clogged up, it will help your a/c run more efficiently though. $197 is a little steep for a drain call. Just find somebody else that isn't one of the big guys in town to fix it next time.

AC tune-up should have included blowing out condensate line and this would have helped with the issue.  I would find another company for service calls and tune-ups.  The price of $197 is very steep for a job that takes mins to perform.  I have a residential service company in DFW and typically charge about $100 for this service.

@Michael S. It sounds like this particular contractor knew you were a long distance landlord and in a time sensitive spot given the AC was for an elderly couple & might have taken a little advantage of that with the price they charged.

All you can do now is learn for the next time I guess and take note of this contractor to never use them again.

In the end if the tenants pay on time and only call when legit problems arise you will do fine in the long run. In my experience it is very hard to find a reliable "jack of all trades" handyman to have on retainer. Usually all of the quality ones get full time or close to full time work from elsewhere.

Thanks for the replies everyone.

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