Getting the run around by my A/C company ?

Old 10-26-17, 01:20 PM
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Getting the run around by my A/C company ?

I guess you could say this was the last straw that broke the camelís back. Anyway, Iím a home-owner and landlord, that has used this company a few times in recent yrs. Even had this company put a new 5k system in my rental, to keep my tenant cool and happy. (Pardon the pun) Large company in my area... This was in late 2015. So unit is just under 2yrs old... Low and behold the annual contract that was free with the install has come to its end, and this was the last service call. So instead of calling it good, the tech in a carefully worded proposal said my HTC was going bad and that it would be $250 to fix. Failure to do so, would result in a premature failure of my condenser. My initial thought was What the &^$# this unit is new and what is an HTC ? So i didn't accept the proposal, and especially as i wasn't there in person. So instead, I got on the phone. After 10secs or so asking what is an HTC I quickly realized that they were talking about a capacitor. So i said really? The least they can do is replace this $10-$20 part for free, to a customer that spent 5k less than 2yrs ago... After trying to drop the price to $100 they agreed to do it for free. Good deal, feel i shouldn't have asked, but they are a business and they have to make money right! So wasn't too annoyed about this. HOWEVER the tech that came around to replace the capacitor, seemingly on a mission to make a nice sale, decided to tell my tenant that he's checked over the system, and the AC unit is now running good, however the reason the capacitor failed so early, is that the ducting is way too undersized for the unit and home and that she'd be paying through the nose on electricity costs cos the AC will be over working itself... Then sent me a proposal for 5k..... Needless to say, my tenant, who literally signed 10days ago, flipped out, who's now saying, that she wants out of the lease, because the electic bill is going to be too much cos of what the AC company said... After calming her down, I went ape at the AC Company, telling them how dare they use what is almost considered a predatory sales tactic approaching my tenant with this instead of me. They said really sorry, no way should our tech of done this, and what can they do to make it right.. My answer was nothing! i didn't want them anywhere near any of my properties again and that i was going to file a complaint to the BBB and attorney generalís office as i believe this to be a underhand scam !

Here's the thing, i have had them out in the past at my own home, to offer their advice on an indoor air handler coil clean, that sucked up too much dust, while i was sanding down my flooring in a DIY hardwood floor install. Preferring a pro, instead of actually doing a clean myself, all they tried to do was sell sell sell me a coil clean in way of removing it and pressure washing it. $1700.... or a vac and wash with coil cleaner for $450... I was like erm ok, thanks but no thanks, and just did the vac and bought some coil cleaner and a spray pump, and took care of it myself... But again, it is a business and they're there to make money. I personally think its outrageous and thought that's what a service call was for, not just to sell you more services and do nothing, so sent them on their way empty handed and paid for the service call as a lesson learned to myself. Besides which a new handler is only 2k. go figure... $1700 to pull and clean the coil and introduce leaks as coils do not like being removed, or just install a new unit.. anyway all it needed was a clean and i ended up doing it myself.

But it doesn't take a genius to realize how these companies make lots of money... Anyway that's a different story in itself! The up selling to the tenant is what really got to me, especially the grief i rec'd from the tenant as a result!! So i really kicked off and told them i was going to take action, cos i was fed up with this kind of BS. Now i have them really trying to back track and cover themselves, which at first included tales of ducting going bad by itself and it was probably good at the time they installed the AC, then to them never checking the ducting when selling the unit as I called them out that theyíre just saying itís a sizing issue and not it going bad. Which would have been a great sales tatic, had they not installed the unit less than 2yrs agoÖ. Then they went on to say they only replace the AC on what was previously installed...Now theyíre dropping their price from 5k to 2k, so that i don't complain... Which i do actually appreciate that at least they're trying to make it right... however 2k for something that probably doesn't actually need doing is still annoying me. Thing is i'm not an AC specialist, how can i really tell if they're telling the truth or not.. They installed a 3 ton Bryant unit for 1700 sq ft home. (vaulted ceilings) They're trying to sell me the following for 5k. The unit works fine as far as I can tell. Hereís what they quoted me on..

Upsize 14" return to 18"
Upsize 12" supply to 14"
Upsize 9" supply to 14" New supply plenum
New return plenum

5k !!

I know my main supply (before it breaks out to the rooms) is actually metal duct wrapped in insulation rather than just regular ducting, which i recall an ac installer commenting how good it was to have that as appose to the regular ducting, that is only ever installed these days. I've been up in my attic a million times, and have curiously felt around each plenum or duct looking for any leaks, and there isn't any. I'm really not sure how long ducting is supposed to last. According to this site, it says 60-100 yrs.

Ducting -- The NAHB estimates that the ductwork in your home should last about 10 years. A report done by InterNACHI might be more accurate on this HVAC component: their study indicates that ducts should function properly for 60 to 100 years.

I don't know who the NAHB is, or the InterNACHI is either, but there's a bit of a large discrepancy is what they're saying.. 10yrs vs 60-100 yrs ?

What is the truth out there... And should i take them up on their offer to do the above for $2k instead of the quoted 5k, as an apology for messing things up with my tenant.

With AC installations, shouldn't a county inspector not looked at my system and decided at the time that my ducting was too small for the AC that they're permitting for? In which case, they're just trying to make a quick 5k by an underhand sales tactic talking to my tenant. Just really want some answers.... I know there's a limit to what can be answered on the internet... I'd like to get an inspector out and really check to see if what they're saying is true or not... They seem very keen to get my duct replaced TOMORROW! Sounds to me that they don't want an inspector sniffing around. Anyway, any experts on ducting in here know their stuff? I'd like to hear from you.

Thanks in advance.
Old 10-26-17, 02:30 PM
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Your duct sizes are definitely on the small side for a 3 ton system. This most assuredly should have been caught BEFORE the installation of the new unit. Sheet-metal ducts can last virtually forever. Ducts made of duct board maybe 25 to 35 years and flexible ducts...well, flexible ducts are a sign of a low-cost installation.

NAHB is the National Association of Home Builders. InterNACHI is a similar organization for home inspectors. The discrepancy between the two organizations "life spans" is probably in not making a distinction on the materials used in the ducts.
Old 10-26-17, 08:20 PM
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An electrical inspector would not be checking the ductwork size. I'm not sure what other inspection you may have had.... plumbing ? As far as I know the inspectors very rarely, if ever, check for proper duct size.

I agree your ducts are slightly on the small side but what are they going to do...... yank the steel and put in crap ?

the reason the capacitor failed so early, is that the ducting is way too undersized for the unit and home
Malarkey! I doubt the capacitor was even bad and if it was..... it was a defective cap.
Old 10-26-17, 10:44 PM
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Totally nonsense. . these days people(techs and AC firm) are so dishonest. I have seen several cases like this already just the last few weeks.. push, push, push... all they want to do is to sell you a new system no matter what the problem was. ( if there is no problem, they will make up one). In this case, just report them to BBB. Done.
Old 10-27-17, 12:40 PM
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Yes i think they're full of crap, but if i'm to make a complaint i need to present something solid. If someone was to rip you off 5k by a different scam like check fraud or whatever, they'd be going to prison, yet these companies just get away with it, and given the amount of calls they take care of everyday, and EVERY single call out i've had them out on, its always something (which goes in one ear and out the other) but for AC companies it seems fair game. They don't expect the owner to go and check the duct seals himself, nor measure up their duct size, which i'll be doing soon enough. I'd also like to get a county inspector out, and see if any of the BS holds true.
Old 10-27-17, 02:39 PM
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There are plenty of ways to report them. Contractor board in your state, referral sites, BBB maybe. They don't need proof of wrongdoing, they need testimony of attempted gouging or bad business practices.
Old 10-27-17, 06:14 PM
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Undersized air ducts can not wreck a capacitor. Impossible.

You're dealing with crook looking to increase commission.

Upsize 14" return to 18"
Upsize 12" supply to 14"
Upsize 9" supply to 14" New supply plenum
New return plenum

5k !!
If the trunk lines are undersized, odds are the branches are too.

No, undersized ducts do not cause a unit to "overwork itself", yes they do reduce capacity and efficiency.
Old 10-27-17, 08:00 PM
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Many contractors, especially residential ones, now offer sales commissions to service techs. Some go so far as to pay the “tech” a very low wage so they are looking for sales commissions to up their paycheck. The “techs” are often poorly trained and inexperienced, with very basic troubleshooting skills only. Anything above that and sell a new system.
In the industry, they are known as sales techs.
For the record, I don’t agree with this type of company. And my company does not operate in this manner.
But the industry has shifted this way, unfortunately. Cheap equipment, cheap consumers, and poor quality work help push this style company.

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