the problem started with the smell of gas around the gas water heater. gas company sent out a tech immediately with a detector. he tested for gas and found levels above normal around the burner upon startup. he left with the diagnosis "intermittent gas to burner without ignition".
i called highland mechanical and was explained a $89 diagnosis fee. the tech came, using his nose as the detector - he smelled nothing. he then turned the heater on/off 6 times and determined no issue. he called his boss bob and discussed the problem for about 10min. the tech then spent another 5min explaining to me the multiple safety features of the heater, saying that if there is any abnormal gas leakage the heater would shut off automatically. he slapped on another $96.96 fee on top of the diagnosis fee for his time which was a surprise to me.
when i called the office regarding the additional fee, they explained that since there was nothing wrong with the unit the tech had to charge extra to run a "complete diagnosis".
also, within the last 2 months i've asked 3 times for an estimate to add a heater in the garage. bob has never called back.
i guess they can afford not to have customers. i will not use nor recommend their service.