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May 17th, 2010

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10:57 pm - Heating the house and Crooks
Update October 18 2012: The crook finally received what he deserved, Mike Preston was sent to jail, to serve a 6 months sentence, AND he has to give back all the money he defrauded others.

Given some recent development, I am going to write a series of entrees related to installing a heating system in our house.
If you want to follow this series, use this tag:
Mike Preston Geothermal

We bought a new house in late 2007 that needed some renos. It had a really old heating system that needs changing (oil furnace). We did not know how bad things were till we moved in, we spent over 3000 on oil just for the first winter we moved in. That was insanely high.
So we looked into different systems, gas furnace, geothermal system. The geothermal system seemed promising, since the cost of running such system was very low, plus it is environmentally friendly, not to mention that the air is much better using that system (no fumes or gas burning...etc). The government was giving some pretty good rebates almost 10K, so that brings the total cost of installing it to only 20K.
After some calculations, the geothermal system would pay back for itself within 8 years, while the HE gas furnace would pay for itself within 7 years... and if you factor in 10 years worth of use, the geothermal system would be ahead.... this made the geothermal system a no-brainer.

So we started looking around for a geo-thermal installer. WOW that was an insane experience, nobody seemed interested in doing business, only few people called back and came for a quote... anyway. so the story begins:

In August 2008 I found Max Air’s contact info on the GeoExchange Coalition’s website (listed under George Njegovan). I contacted George, and we scheduled a visit for them to see our residence to provide a quote. George was very prompt and the appointment for their visit was sometime at the end of August. Mike Preston and George showed up for the inspection. They were very friendly and assured us that their company has been in business for a long time (If I recall correctly, they claimed it was established sometime in the mid nineties). We also checked BBB for any reports and there was only one report against them that was marked as resolved.
Later on Dave Madill(One of the employees of MaxAir) provided me the quote which did not include a hydronic auxiliary heater as per Mike’s visit (Dave used 10K electrical auxiliary heat system instead). I spoke with Mike soon after and we agreed on a price that included the hydronic system, and we asked for references.

In September Karen(Another MaxAir employee) provided 3 references. We were not able to reach one of the references, but we were able to speak with the other two and one also allowed us to visit his home with Mike Preston to have a look at the installation.

We liked everything we so thus far, and he seemed way more responsive than any of the other contractors. To us that mattered a lot since nothing is worse than your furnace breaking down in winter and you cannot get hold of the contractor to fix it. So we decided to sign a contract. Mike provided the new quotation which includes the hydronic system and the price agreed upon previously.
I spoke with Mike and we agreed to add a condition that the project is to start by October 15th 2008 (since we have new baby and we did not want to be without a furnace during winter). I signed the agreement on September 4th and a payment of $7K was made using a credit card. I usually insist on using credit cards and contractors who accept credit cards definitely get better ranking when I evaluate contractors.

The story gets better.... stay tuned

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