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Opinion vs. Fact: The Difference Between Guesswork and Fact-Based HVAC Diagnostics

Opinion: a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

When something goes wrong with an HVAC system, there can be great value in seeking the opinion of an HVAC professional – if, that is, the opinion turns out to be correct.


How do we know when we can have confidence in an opinion, even an informed opinion? The fact is, you can’t, unless that opinion is supported by collected data and established facts.


“When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras”.


This phrase has long been used in the medical field to remind doctors to look first to the simplest explanation before considering a more unlikely diagnosis. The same applies to HVAC diagnostics, as well, but as in medicine, this doesn’t mean it’s always a horse and zebras don’t exist. Would you allow a doctor to perform surgery without going over your medical history, determining all of your symptoms, and performing tests? Of course not, and the same standards should apply to your HVAC system.


Accurate HVAC diagnostics requires a combination of knowledge, experience, the right tools and instruments, and some good old-fashioned detective work. Unfortunately, though, many contractors don’t bother to invest the time, money, or brainpower required to collect the pertinent information necessary to accurately diagnose and solve problems in an HVAC or process system. Why? Because opinions are easy and cheap. They instead offer diagnoses and perform repairs or replacements based only on vague symptoms and customer complaints. All too often, the diagnosis is wrong, and it’s the customer that bears the cost.


As the only HVAC service subspecialist in the tristate area, MSC in the business of fixing and optimizing what you have, not performing unnecessary repairs and selling new equipment. We don’t substitute opinions for solid diagnostic work. We discuss the issue with the client, observe, perform all necessary testing, analyze the collection of testing data and other information to come up with an accurate diagnosis. Customers receive a detailed diagnostic report, including information on how the data was collected, a conclusion, and recommended repairs or other options.


To find out more, please visit MSC’s Diagnostics webpage.