ARS Rescue Rooter HVAC Review POFS Award Winner

ARS Rescue Rooter HVAC Review POFS Award Winner

ARS Rescue Rooter


I usually reserve my coveted “Piece Of Fucking Shit” Award for tech components.  Today however, we are breaking new ground and awarding it to an HVAC service.  ARS Rescue Rooter.

When your furnace or air conditioning goes out, the customer expectation is to show up within 5 minutes of calling and fix it within 10 minutes.  ARS response time is actually very good,  But let me spin my yarn.

It is 2 or 3 days before Christmas. I’m at the sink and the vent that usually blows hot air starts blowing ice cold air on my feet.  I go outside where the furnace is and it “STINKS”.  There is clearly something wrong with the combustion on the furnace.

I go flip the breaker and restart.  It blows hot air for about an hour and then turns cold again.  When I go outside again, it stinks even worse.

I call ARS and they actually show up in less than an hour.  The Tech was kind and went right to work.  When he opened the furnace panel it was obvious the burners were not blowing tight, blue jets of flame.  It was mostly orange and it wasn’t a compressed jet.  It was clearly dangerous.

Tech tells me I need new burners and it will cost $570 to install them.

While he is talking I notice a red light blinking on the Ignition Control Board.  I ask him about it. He has no manual, says that doesn’t know what the code means but says that we’ll change the burners and go from there.

The blink code 7 times was a Flame Rollout Switch trip.  That means the burner flames are rolling back inside.  The switch is a thermal switch that chops the flow of gas to prevent a build up of heat, flame, CO², and prevent a fire.

Hey, he’s the HVAC pro.

Parts Ordering

ARS orders three 1171095 burners.

ARS Rescue Rooter

1171095 Burner Assy.

The bad news is they are backorder and they give me an estimated date of 5 January.  On 5 January no one calls me, so I call them.  It’s now 12 January.  Then they tell me 25 January.   I ask for the part number which they provide me and I immediately order and receive 3 burners 3 days later.

This is an important point in my story.  I asked them for the part number and told them I would order them myself.  THEY PROVIDED ME THE PART NUMBER!  Remember that for later.

These are OEM original parts.  Not knock offs.

Price Gouging

The burners cost $15 each.  Removal and assembly involve 4 bolts which take about 5-10 minutes to accomplish.   This is worth $570?

Piss Poor Inspection / Troubleshooting

Just as soon as I remove the old burners I see that there is a flame sensor / ignitor behind it that has failed.  Think of the ignitor as a spark plug.  The sensor has a wire hooked to it which provides high voltage to create a spark.  There is a ground rod that it sparks towards.   The ground rod spot weld had failed and it was just laying on the deck of the burner cage.

Flame Sensor / Ignitor

As you can see the two rods are positioned with a gap sufficient to create a spark to ignite the gas.

Again, the little button on the left had a failed spot weld and it had fell way out of the range of being capable of creating ignition.

Let me state this in more clear terms.  Had the tech shown up with his $570 burner job he would have removed the burners and went, “Whoops!  Your flame sensor and ignitor is bad.  We’ll order one and come back.”

Meanwhile it costs $160 every time they just show up.

How long would it have taken them to get that part?  Another month?

Broken Ground Rod

I Call Them Back

“Hey, I have burners and I removed the old ones. My Flame Sensor / Ignitor is bad.  Can you send a tech to come look.”  They schedule me a tech and then an hour later call me and tell me no tech can ever come to my house and work on that system again because I HAVE TOUCHED IT.  Gee, that’s funny.  It’s my fucking house and my gas furnace.  Touch it the fuck I will if I want to.  The only reason I’m touching it is because they can’t seem to source parts.  I HAD TO DO SOMETHING.   They sure weren’t.

Naturally, I am pissed.  But I get it.  They aren’t coming.  I order the part AGAIN, myself.  And I know I can install it.

This is the part where I should say that I worked as a Field Service Electronics Tech Rep for DOD until I retired.  My job was to fix broken shit in the field that Navy and Marine Corps Techs couldn’t fix.  In short, I did emergency repairs in the field.  Not on HVAC systems, but I spent a lifetime reading tech manuals and swapping components and troubleshooting.

The Next Morning

On 19 January the Service Manager calls me.  For a minute I opt not to answer because I’m no longer mad and I figure he’ll just piss me off again.  I should have went with my first instinct.

He tells me he can’t work on my system because it’s dangerous.  I bought unknown parts.  And I’ve touched the system.  I asked him if he knew what a burner change entails.  He says “4 bolts” to my surprise.  Then I tell him I bought OEM parts from the manufacturer.

Then I tell him the Flame Sensor / Ignitor assembly is bad and that his tech would have walked away having to order yet another part and that his troubleshooting was not thorough or complete.

He then tells me about liability for his company and how they only do the right thing with the right parts.   In my mind it occurs to me that Mr. Morality here is charging me $600 to screw in 4 screws and didn’t locate the only problem.  And in fact fixing the ignitor isn’t going to solve the flame rollout switch problem either.

Fuck ARS

Fuck ARS and the van they drove in on.  They are straight up crooks.  They bailed on me simply because they lost almost $600 of income.  On top of that I was wildly misdiagnosed. I haven’t even talked about that Ignition Control Board yet.  And yep, I ordered one of those too.  I simply cannot trust these fucking clowns to properly follow through on anything.


Congratulations to ARS for winning my coveted Piece Of Fucking Shit award.  I went on Trustpilot to leave a review and found they barely had an overall 2 star rating.  I’m not the only one who thinks your company is a Piece Of Fucking Shit.

Fuck you!

UPDATE 19 JAN 2024

I had a tech come out who was highly recommended by friends and family.  He de-paneled the unit and looked inside for 5 seconds and looked at me and said “You have natural gas here?”  I pointed to a propane tank.  He told me the gas valve was not configured for propane.  Then he reached in my furnace panel enclosure and pulled out a bag of parts that were stowed inside that were gas nozzles for propane.  The bag was labelled “For Propane Installation”.

My unit had never been installed correctly.

It should have had a propane conversion kit installed  There was an enormous build up of soot where there should be absolutely none.  There were literal hunks of glowing charcoal in the burner chambers.  Looked like the bottom of my Weber Charcoal grill.  I’m not kidding.  But the bigger story is the nozzle orifice is configured for natural gas and not propane.  That’s why the flame size and shape is out of control.   I’m amazed, stunned, and surprised this thing worked for 4 years.

Good Field Practices

He actually won my trust taking a panel off of the unit.  He has a nut driver and starts going after the bolt heads holding the panel on.  I told him I had a cordless drill with an 8mm socket and he shakes his head and says……..”I’ve been doing this 15 years.  Those things run in the bolts too tight and strip the screws and he doesn’t want to be responsible for messing up panel screws.”

This guy is ME when I was a Field Service rep.  I worked with Marines and they used to try to out Superman each other putting bolts and nuts on and breaking things.  I can see right off the bat this guy is cautious, careful, and thorough.

So, an actual tech tells me what is wrong within minutes while the ARS tech clearly had no fucking clue what he was looking at.  Again, they wanted $600 to replace the burners.  This would not have fixed the problem.  Then there is the broken ignitor.  This would not have fixed the system.  I’d have been playing fuck fuck with them for weeks probably until my house burned down.

My wife works for a good dentist and she calls bad dentistry “Drill, Fill, and Bill”.  That’s what ARS is.  Drill, Fill, and Bill.

I was mad before at the misdiagnoses. Now I’m fucking furious.  When their service van stops about 46 clowns should pile out of it.  Honka, honka, honka.

They are as fucked up as a soup sandwich.   No one should ever call these untrained monkeys.

Final Update

After the trained technician from another company shows up and actually shows me that the entire system has been installed improperly for 4 years and the internals are coated and caked with soot, and that by and large this is the greater problem.  I can confirm the soot buildup because after I saw the literal fistful of glowing charcoal in the burner chute I went and got my shop vac and blew as much out as I could.   Then I reached in the exhaust with a long screwdriver and rapped the blower wheel as best I could.  Every time I started the unit it would blow out soot and run longer each time before the flame rollout switch tripped.   I went from a minute run to almost a 30 minute run.

This is behavior I personally observed with no tech on site.  I could see that the buildup of soot was HUGE and very problematic and endemic of most of the remaining problem. 

So after my new tech explained why I had all this soot I told him I had almost no trust in this system even if he fixed it.   My words.  Not his.   He told me the soot buildup was problematic and that these units were not really designed to be disassembled to the point where they could be properly cleaned BECAUSE THERE ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE ANY SOOT INSIDE THESE AREAS.

A New Unit?

So I asked about an estimate for a new unit.  He came in and sat down with my wife and I and gave us 3 options.  He actually steered me away from the most expensive option because he said it had too many pressure switches and sensors in it to get the higher efficiency and he hadn’t seen that tech out in the field long enough to know whether to trust it or not.   That’s fair.

My wife and I decide to go ahead and buy a new unit.  I don’t trust this soot coated thing to work but another season or two.

Honesty, Is Such A Lonely Word

Then he tells me the online price of the unit vs. what the quoted price is.   WOW!  Transparency and honesty.   This is way unlike ARS who wants $600 to install 4 screws.

What he doesn’t know is as soon as he gave me the Model number of the unit I selected I googled the price.  It’s about half the cost of the quote.   I ask him how many guys are coming to do the install.  He says “3 plus a licensed electrician and probably him as well”. I crunch a couple of numbers in my head and tell him the following.  “You can respond to this or not.  But the cost of the unit, plus you paying 3 installers and an electrician for a 5 or 6 hour job and I don’t really think you are lighting the world on fire with profit here.”  While it was certainly an appreciable bill I know from a lifetime of experience that it is a very fair cost.

I know this from a career in field service work.  The component is usually about half of the actual cost.  If you buy it on Amazon for 5K it is going to cost you double to install it.  So I’m speaking to anyone who might stumble across this.  Unit cost + qualified, trained labor + plus a little profit for the company is going to cost double or just over.   That’s the way it is.  And don’t forget they apply for and pay for the permits as well.

There is a little more here to the story as well.  Wrapped up in that cost he’s going to get my old unit up and running until the new one gets installed (about a week).  Granted those costs are minor but it is his time and a part or two.   This guy encourages me to order the parts myself because I can maybe get them faster and cheaper. And he knows I only want OEM parts in my unit.  And he said if I do choose to buy a new unit he’ll not charge me to mod the gas valve so we can have heat.

Are you listening to that ARS?  Once again I have to say a giant “FUCK YOU” to ARS.

Yep, We Bought A New Unit

In the end my wife and I decided all by ourselves that we wanted a new unit installed.  Anybody want to guess who DID NOT get that business?  A 5 ton HVAC package unit ain’t cheap either.

So to ARS I want to say, “Did you see what happened here?”  Faced with reality and honesty I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want some soot caked unit that had been improperly installed and operated for 4 years at the side of my house where my precious wife lives.  You guys missed out on big installation money by being fuck knuckle, greedy pricks who pretend to have morality.  Fuck you once again, ARS.


I called him to ask a question and he called me back on a Saturday.  After a deep dive on the unit we bought (Goodman GPHM3) I realized it was a heat pump with no emergency electric heat.   I asked him if he would install one of the single phase emergency heat kits and I know that we hadn’t discussed it previously.  TRANSLATION:  I know it is going to cost me a little extra.

He responds by saying “Yeah I’m going to install an 8K emergency heat kit and already factored it into the price. ”

We had previously had a conversation about heat pumps and me only wanting one if it had auxiliary or emergency heat.  But we never discussed the configuration of the base unit I bought.  My fault, not his.


  • He diagnosed the ACTUAL problem instantly.  Instantly.  I’m not kidding.
  • Didn’t charge me for a service visit (because we are buying a new unit).
  • Isn’t charging me to repair my old unit so I can run it and have heat until the new install date.
  • Anticipated my needs regarding emergency heat.  The kits only cost $125 or so, but still.

Granted he probably tacked a few bucks on the new unit install cost but again, in my mind I don’t see how they are making tons of profit on this installation, especially by paying 3 installers and an electrician.


4 thoughts on “ARS Rescue Rooter HVAC Review POFS Award Winner

  1. CG

    Sounds like you could use one of your homemade pizzas, a couple beers, and some diazepam.
    Oh….and another label maker! 🙂

    Sorry to hear about your bad experience.

  2. Steve Hagensieker

    Apparently this appreciation for quality work runs in the family. Several years ago my heat pump went out and after getting a few quotes I went with a more expensive company. Two things happened to convince me that was the right decision.
    First during the install the owner/tech asks if he’d like the new gas line the length of the house in case I want to put in a gas stove. $25 for the pipe, no up charge on the labor.
    A few months later during a snowstorm the heat goes out. He comes right out, even though IU is playing basketball. If you know Indiana, you know That’s a big deal.
    In the long run the extra couple hundred bucks on the quote was well worth it.


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