Please check if my A/C diagnostic is reasonable.


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Old 09-22-07, 07:16 PM
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Please check if my A/C diagnostic is reasonable.

Hi, thank you in advance for helping out. FYI, I do not know much about air conditioning.

Here is my situation:

My air conditioner unit started leaking, and from what I saw, it looked like it was coming from the primary drain pan. I first thought is that it is rusted through since the unit is nearing 30 years old.

I called my home insurance and they sent out a licensed AC technician to diagnose the leak.

The technician came over and just visually inspected the unit without touching anything said "Okay, your drain pan is rusted through, and you will need to replace the air-handler."

I asked him if it is possible for them to repair/replace the drain pan, but he said no.

He wrote up a invoice report for me which states:

Service Rendered: Primary drain pan is rusted through. Stud mount air-handler needs to be replaced.

Make/Model/Ser.# of the unit:
Magna flow Ind.
MFVX-185
D-S211-84

A few days later, the insurance has reviewed the report and has denied my claim. Their report from the technician stated this:

Report: Evap. coil is 50% dirty causing the evap. coil to leak into the drain pan which caused it to rust.

The insurance agent told me they do not cover cleaning the coils, and that they will not proceed with the claim until it is cleaned. I also told the insurance agent that even if I do spend about $300 to get the coils cleaned, the leak will still be there because the drain pan is rusted. And they will have to replace the air-handler anyways.

I talked to my relative, who is a licensed AC contractor, and he told me that even if the evap. coil is dirty, it will not cause the drain pan to rust. He told me that a clogged evap. coil will cause the drain pan to overflow, but our drain pan never overflowed. He also told me that there is no need to replace the air-handler, and that if the drain pan is not welded to the coils, then I can just get the drain pan replaced, but sometimes the drain pan is welded to the coils, so then I would just need the evap. coil and drain pan replaced. (Makes me wonder why the technician told me that the only solution is to replace the air-handler.)

And from what I understand, the drain pan always have water running through it when the AC is running, which in that case it is just old age that caused the rust.

Another thing is the location of the drain line that connects to the drain pan. I was told that drain lines are supposed to be connected to the bottom of the drain pan, but in ours, it is connected through the side, which leads to about 1cm. of water sitting at the bottom of the drain pan most of the time.

Sorry about such a long post, but I just wanted to cover it completely.

Short-version: Insurance denied claim on our almost 30 year old AC unit because the technician reported that a dirty evap. coil caused the drain pan to rust through causing it to leak. Technician reported that air-handler needs to be replaced, when it is possible to just replace the drain pan or drain pan/evap. coils.

Thanks again,
Anthony
 
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Old 09-23-07, 03:49 AM
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First, I have never heard of any insurance covering normal wear and tear on any appliance in a house. That would be a dream come true.

At least, that is the way I see this on a 30 year old unit.

The technician erred in the report of why the drain pan rusted through, you are correct. It is normal for condensation to continuously be running through the pan.

But, on a 30 year old unit a new pan would probably have to be custom made, and although that is likely a minimal cost, the labor to install it might be cost prohibitive on a stud mount air handler. If it were a horizontal unit in the attic maybe not.

Then you have to consider that possibly a new unit might save you enough in electricity to pay for itself in as little as 24 months. And if your condenser unit is also 30 years old, a complete replacement of both units might save you much more in the long term.

Placement of the drain lines are negligible. Many are on the side. It's not a big deal.

I do think your homeowners insurance should pay for any water damage that occurred as a result of the pan leak.
 
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Old 09-23-07, 08:47 AM
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At 30 years old Id say forget it and get a new set up for sure. The seer of that unit is about 8 or 9 at the most. Today we have units up to a seer of 19. So Id say go for a better and higher seer new unit inside and out . If you do you can get a tax credit from the IRS. A 10 year warranty on it all and save a lot in your electric bills.
 
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Old 09-23-07, 11:42 AM
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That is one of the reason why I never trust those home insurance company... They look for any excuse to save every penny the can!

If I were you, just cash out the company, and buy a new up to date system.
 
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Old 09-23-07, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mdtaylor
First, I have never heard of any insurance covering normal wear and tear on any appliance in a house. That would be a dream come true.

At least, that is the way I see this on a 30 year old unit.

The technician erred in the report of why the drain pan rusted through, you are correct. It is normal for condensation to continuously be running through the pan.

But, on a 30 year old unit a new pan would probably have to be custom made, and although that is likely a minimal cost, the labor to install it might be cost prohibitive on a stud mount air handler. If it were a horizontal unit in the attic maybe not.

Then you have to consider that possibly a new unit might save you enough in electricity to pay for itself in as little as 24 months. And if your condenser unit is also 30 years old, a complete replacement of both units might save you much more in the long term.

Placement of the drain lines are negligible. Many are on the side. It's not a big deal.

I do think your homeowners insurance should pay for any water damage that occurred as a result of the pan leak.
We have home insurance with First American Home Buyers Protection Corp. and their coverages are: Plumbing, plumbing stoppages, heating, ductwork, water heater, electrical, kitchen appliances, pest control services, and central air conditioning.

They do not cover any floor or wall damages.

And the insurance agent did say they do cover the air-handler.

My relative which is a licensed AC contractor already picked up a fairly new, but used condenser for me. He will be replacing it sometime in a month or two.
 
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Old 09-23-07, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay11J
That is one of the reason why I never trust those home insurance company... They look for any excuse to save every penny the can!

If I were you, just cash out the company, and buy a new up to date system.
Yeah that is what we are planning to do once we get the situation resolved.

We have been with that insurance company for a little over two years paying $40 a month.
 
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Old 09-23-07, 08:40 PM
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Thats $ 960 you have paid out . Dont take a lot more and you paid for a new blower coil already.
 
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Old 09-24-07, 05:51 AM
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I hear lots of complaints about home warranty companies.

Anyway, while your pan could be replaced, it would probably have to be custom made like already mentioned. Magna Flow parts can be hard to find. Does anyone know if they are still in business? Well, in those units, you would likely have to recover the freon and pull out the evaporator coil before you can get access to the pan. An old unit like that will have additional problems down the road. Such as freon leaks from the evap coil and other assorted problems including the blower motor. You could spend a lot more on repairs later on.

I usually suggest replacing those wall units with a new one made by First co. or Goodman. It's easy to get the parts with those brands.

Ed has a good point, the $40 could be better spent.

Good luck.
 
 

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