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St Louis BBB Warns Consumers To Be Wary Of Air Care, Duct Cleaning Firm

St. Louis, Mo., April 23, 2013 – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends that consumers use caution when dealing with Air Care and Show Me Air Duct and Carpet Cleaning, two new St. Louis area businesses tied to Noach Palatnik.

Palatnik is the former owner of US Air Ducts and president of Pure Air, both companies with dozens of customer complaints with the BBB.

The BBB has received several reports in recent weeks from consumers who said they received automated “robo” phone calls from Air Care offering air duct cleaning specials at prices ranging from $30 to $59.95. Consumers who hired the firm said technicians charged them for additional work once they arrived at their homes.

“It was not a good experience,” an 82-year-old Maryland Heights woman told the BBB after Air Care charged her more than $1,000 last month for what she thought was a $59 service call.

US Air Ducts, which has also used the name US Air Duct, has logged more than 60 BBB complaints; Pure Air has been the focus of more than 30 complaints.

Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said Palatnik’s involvement in the new companies is reason for concern. “Mr. Palatnik has a troubling history with consumers and the BBB,” Corey said. “Consumers say US Air Ducts and Pure Air have used bait-and-switch promotions. There is no reason to believe these new companies will be any different.”

Palatnik, also known as Israel Palatnik or Aselector Palatnik, first came to the BBB’s  attention in 2011 as owner and president of US Air Ducts.  US Air Ducts reported an address on Kingsland Avenue in University City.

In November 2011, the BBB issued a news warning about US Air Ducts, noting that consumers complained they were lured by advertising flyers promising $49 air duct cleaning only to be hit with bills of $1,800 and more.

Shortly after that warning, Yogev Buskila told the BBB he had purchased the equipment and business of US Air Ducts from Palatnik. Buskila said he had set up a new, independent duct cleaning firm called Pure Air. Within weeks, customers of Pure Air began complaining of bait-and-switch marketing tactics similar to those alleged by customers of US Air Ducts.

Even though Buskila claimed that Palatnik was no longer involved with Pure Air, Missouri secretary of state records show Palatnik as the current president of Pure Air.

Buskila told the BBB earlier this month that he did not know why Palatnik is listed on the documents. “I am the owner of Pure Air,” he said.

In February, Palatnik registered Air Care as a fictitious name with the secretary of state, indicating that business was owned by Pure Air. Both companies list addresses on Tulane Avenue in University City. Buskila told the BBB he was not aware of any company called Air Care. In January of this year, Palatnik registered Show Me Air Duct and Carpet Cleaning at the same Tulane Avenue address.

The BBB has been unable to reach Palatnik despite repeated attempts.  A woman who first answered the phone at the Air Care phone number said that no one named Palatnik or Buskila worked for the business. But several days later, when a BBB investigator called the number again, another woman said that Palatnik was not available.  That woman said she did not know why anyone would say Palatnik did not work there.

Customer billing forms for US Air Ducts, Pure Air and Air Care are all strikingly similar, with virtually identical wording.

The Maryland Heights woman said she was stunned when an Air Care worker handed her a bill for $1,043. She said there had been no previous discussion about any charges above the $59 fee. “He knew I was upset,” she said of the technician.

An Air Care customer from Crestwood, also 82, said she also agreed to the $59 Air Care special, but ultimately was charged $135 for what workers said was additional cleaning.

She said her son noticed later that her dryer vent, which was supposed to have been included in the cleaning, was “loaded with dirt” after the workers left.  “They hadn’t even touched it,” she said.

She also was suspicious when the workers declined repeated requests to give her a business address.

Since Air Care came to her home, she has received several automated calls from the same company.

BBBs in St. Louis and across the nation have issued numerous news alerts on duct-cleaning companies.  Law enforcement agencies have sued some firms for defrauding consumers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urges consumers to be wary of any company that makes sweeping promises that air duct cleaning will improve residents’ health. The EPA suggests cleaning in cases where there is visible mold growth, vermin infestation or if the ducts are clogged with excessive dust and debris. It also says that homeowners need to fully understand the pros and cons of using chemical treatments

The BBB offers the following tips for consumers looking to hire a duct-cleaning firm:

 

  • Deal only with reputable companies, preferably businesses in your area with a good track record. Ask for references from homeowners in your neighborhood. Always contact the BBB for a Business Review by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
  • Beware of advertising offers for air duct cleaning at extremely low prices. Often, businesses use these promotions to get an appointment and then try to sell additional services once they get inside your home.
  • If a company discovers a potential problem in your furnace or ducts, do not be pressured into paying for additional services until you have contacted a heating and air conditioning professional for a second opinion. While the second company may charge you for a service call to check out the problem, the call may save you money if no service is needed.
  • Try to have a friend or family member with you during a scheduled appointment with a salesman or service technician. If that is not possible and you feel threatened or intimidated during the visit, ask the person or persons to leave your home immediately. If they refuse or hesitate, call police.

 

 

The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior.  The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews of more than 4 million companies, 11,000 Charity Reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.  Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.

Read more: http://interact.stltoday.com/pr/business/PR042313103612654#ixzz2RVyHZhBD

 

RCS provides NADCA trained and certified duct cleaning services for St Louis and Southern Illinois.

Honest UPFRONT pricing with 15+ years of experience , means you get what you pay for, a through cleaning meeting or exceeding NADCA standards.

Clean Coils Make Sense — and Save Cents

Air conditioning and refrigeration coils are sized to match the BTUH cooling requirements of a home or building. Both the condenser and the evaporator coils are engineered to provide optimum heat transfer as required by the area being cooled. Optimum heat transfer and system efficiency, however, is predicated on clean coil surfaces.

The air moving across these coils will in most cases, contain soils such as dust, dirt, pollen, grease, and moisture. Airborne contaminants will settle on the coil surfaces, adversely affecting the coils’ ability to transfer heat. Pollen, bacteria, and mold spores on the evaporator coil will not only reduce heat transfer but will also affect the quality of the air within a home or building.
In addition, the cost of operating dirty air conditioning and refrigeration equipment is greater than you or your customer might suspect. Dirty condenser coils increase power costs. When the coil becomes fouled with dirt and grime, it cannot provide its designed — or, in some cases, even adequate — heat transfer.

Soiling insulates the coils, increasing discharge pressures. Higher discharge pressures increase the amperage draw and run time of the compressor, while simultaneously reducing capacity. Equipment operating with dirty coils can use more than 30% more energy than equipment with clean coils.

The Costs of Dirty Coils Add Up

The cost of dirty coils goes beyond energy use. As dirt and grime collect on the condenser, they restrict heat transfer and cause the compressor to work harder. This adds more heat to the system and causes the head pressure to rise. Rising head pressure will result in a loss of cooling capacity of up to 30%. A 10-ton system with a 30% loss provides only 7 tons of cooling. This loss of capacity will typically be most noticeable on the hottest days when cooling is needed the most.

The bad news does not stop there. Higher operating pressures and temperatures caused by a dirty coil may reduce the equipment’s life expectancy. The elevated system temperature and pressure may lead to the breakdown of the compressor’s lubricant. In addition, acid formation can occur, leading to an acid burnout. Lubricant breakdown and acid formation will seriously compromise the compressor and ultimately lead to equipment failure. Compressor failure means no cooling. No cooling means no comfort for the home or building occupants. And, compressor replacement means a considerable cost to the home or building owner.

Coil cleaning and preventive maintenance enables the servicing technician to offer his or her customers the following benefits:

• Significant energy savings

• Peak equipment efficiencies

• Enhanced reliability

• Longer service life

• Reduced breakdowns

• Improved indoor air quality.

A less tangible yet important benefit is energy conservation. If a large number of systems were properly maintained, significant energy savings would be realized. This energy savings would be most significant in times of high energy demand: the hottest days of the year, when comfort cooling is most critical. Many home and building owners welcome opportunities to practice conservation, specifically in cases when they will realize savings without sacrificing comfort. Most of these equipment owners are unaware of the significant energy savings and comfort benefits of a regular coil cleaning and maintenance program.

 

Don’t Forget Indoor Air Quality Issues

A fouled and dirty evaporator coil creates an excellent harbor and breeding ground for bacteria and mold that can impact a building’s indoor air quality. Cleaning, sanitizing, and protecting the evaporator coil, condensate pan, and surrounding areas is critical. Care should be taken to use the proper indoor cleaners and to treat surfaces with the proper EPA-registered products created for the HVAC industry.

An IAQ perspective will enhance the health, safety, and comfort of the home or building for its occupants.

In addition to the coils, another location in a system that is prone to the build-up of bacterial slime is the condensate pan. As condensate collects in the pan, it can become a breeding place for harmful bacteria. This build-up can cause odor as well as plugged drains and overflows, which in turn can cause water damage. There are multiple products to prevent this bacterial slime from building up in condensate pans and causing these problems.
Cleaning coils and condensate pans and showing customers the value of a coil-cleaning preventive maintenance plan is the first step in helping them solve any IAQ issues they could be having. Don’t underestimate the importance of these steps.

 

Article by: Troy Rybicki is manager of technical training at GW Berkheimer Co. Inc., Portage, IN.

RCS provides commercial, industrial, healthcare, educational and residential coil cleaning services and maintenance programs.

RCS Air Duct Cleaning St Louis Mo