This morning, my first call was to a two story house in Lansing. My coworker was told me the customer said the circuit board needed replacement. Too often, the customer gets involved in the diagnosis and makes the job even harder. However, in this case it at least gave them an idea of what we were going to have to charge them.
This wasn't the only surprise in store. A young woman greeted me at the door and explained that she had hired another contractor to fix the furnace last night. Instead of fixing the problem, he condemned the thermostat wire. According to this gentleman, the customer would have to hire an electrician to run 5 or 8 wire from the furnace to the thermostat. This was on top of the repairs that she needed just to get it working. Electricians don't work pro bono very often; who can blame them .
The most expensive repair is an unnecessary one and I questioned this gem straightaway. The wire was regular 2 wire. Since there was no air conditioner, one could argue that 5 or 8 wire wasn't needed. I went downstairs and confirmed the thermostat was calling for heat and the control board was getting high and low voltage in. Since the inducer fan kept cutting in and out without the ignitor coming on, I checked the pressure switch and it was closing (so no worries with the heat exchanger, venting or tubing as well as the switch). The thermostat never lost its call for heat when the inducer cut out, but the relay to the inducer did. The problem was with the board. After making a trip to the supply house and replacing the board, they had heat. The furnace was fine. The thermostat wire can wait until she gets air-conditioning.
The moral of the story is to fix the problem. The customer is always right and we need to help them. The customer didn't pay this guy, she should have run him out on a rail.