Question about home warrenty coverage and upgrading

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  #1  
Old 10-10-05, 12:54 PM
RickDIII
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Question Question about home warrenty coverage and upgrading

Allright, I will do my best to ask this question but I know NOTHING about the heating/cooling units in my house. I am a fairly competent diyer but have not forged into this area.

I live in Charlotte NC in a two story house with three combination Gas Heat/ AC units. Unit 1 is main floor - 1100sq ft, Unit 2 is upstairs 1100 sq ft, Unit 3 is addition 1000sq ft. Because we have three units and the newest is over 8yrs old we decided to keep the home warrenty current every year.

Unit 1 is OLD. Home inspector could not even find out any details about it because all of the labels were so faded/worn. Unit 1 is fading quickly. We have had multiple repairs because of freon leaks, blower problems, and now it appears we have a crack in the heat exchange. The repairman thinks that the warranty company is going to opt for a new unit over the repairs to the old.

Repairman says that warranty company will only replace like w/ like. Makes sense to me. He says that we should consider upgrading while we are at it. Please let me know your thoughts on the following two items and whether they are worth the additional cost:
1). Freon vs. Puron - repair dude says that the warranty company will only supply a freon system and we should upgrade to puron because freon will cost us a fortune in the future.

2). Seer amount - repair dude says that current unit is a 10-12 seer unit and we should upgrade to at least 13.

I certainly am not calling the guy a scam artist - these might be very worthy upgrades, but I would like to know your opinions in an effort to protect myself. Any info is appreciated!

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 10-10-05, 06:21 PM
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Not knowing what the company name from home warranity co. Most of those warranity wants things CHEAP!

The company I used to work for dumped them.. They want the cheapest thing as possiable, and we never got the money out of it. or enough to do a good quality job.

Anyway, as for R-22, it will be around for awhile.. R-410 right now are expensive, and will come down over time. I'd stay with R-22 "Freon"(Freon is a brand name.. Puron is a brand name carrier uses)

I don't think your old system is 10 seers.. I'd say it maybe less.. MOre in the 6-9SEERS.. After the new year, only 13 and higher SEER can be sold. For you being south, I'd say 13-15 SEER.
 
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Old 10-11-05, 09:49 AM
RickDIII
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I'm confused...

It's interesting that you brought up the r-22/r410. The AC guy only brought up the freon/puron thing as though they were the two categories. Regardless, I think he was trying to sell me on the idea that I may not be able to get r-22 for the new system by 2010. He says it will not be available, or if it is it will cost over $100 a pound.

Can someone explain the whole debate here and what the truth is?

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-11-05, 07:55 PM
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R-22 vs. R-410a

R-22 is going to be around for many, many years. I think they have to stop making it as of 2010 but there are probably millions of tons of the stuff being recycled. If I were to put a new system in my house today, I would use an R-22 system.

Begining in Jan. 2006, PRODUCTION of systems under 13 SEER will not be allowed. Remaining stock may be sold. That being said, in your area, I think I would suggest equipment in the 13-15 SEER range, like Jay said.

As for your home warranty: In my experience in dealing with them, I would say to put the premium in the bank. As with Jay's former employer, my employer also refuses to deal with home warranty companies & for the same reasons. The only two service companies in my area which will do home warranty work, both have horrific reputations.

I'll get off my soap box now.
 
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Old 10-12-05, 05:10 AM
RickDIII
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Thanks!

Thanks Jay and Grady! I'm going to push for a unit that has at least 13seer (I'll have to pay for the diff) and stick with the R22.

I'll post a follow up and let you know how it goes. I can already tell there are going to be problems because the warranty company is balking at the fact that the repair guy discovered a crack in the heat exchange and the work order was for AC problems.

I guess he should have pretended the crack wasn't there and let us all croak from carbon monoxide.
 
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Old 10-18-05, 12:49 PM
RickDIII
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Here's the info I have received

Warranty company has decided that I should indeed get a new unit. Unfortunateley, if I had waited to Jan they would have had to have given me a 13 seer unit, now they are only going to replace my 10 with a 10. They have a contract with Carrier and buy the units direct and forward them onto my local repair company. I could opt for a "buyout" in order to upgrade to a 13, but the difference in cost is not going to be fruitful for some time.

Here is the list of items that the warranty company will not cover that I am to be held responsible for. Please let me know if these sound true to form.

1. Permits - $155
2. Freon recover - $55
3. Electrical upgrades/mods - $155
4. Raising the concrete slab to current code (3") - $85
5. Change in ductwork from Trane to Carrier (according to the repair dude this is significant changes) - $350

Now, he's telling me that the normal cost for the whole deal would be between $3000 - $3500. If that is true I do not feel so bad about parting with my almost $800.

Comments are welcome!
 
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Old 10-18-05, 05:33 PM
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When i used to be in the field, the warranity company paid for everything... But they wanted it cheap!!!!

As changing the duct. ???? I guess diffrent size for the air hander??

Are they changing out just the outdoor unit?
 
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Old 10-18-05, 06:07 PM
RickDIII
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Are they changing out just the outdoor unit?
I'm not sure I understand the question...the whole unit is outdoor. It's a combo gas heat and AC in one unit. Does that tell you anything?
 
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Old 10-18-05, 06:09 PM
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Oh ok. Yeah.. I thought you had a split system.
 
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Old 10-19-05, 03:56 AM
RickDIII
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When i used to be in the field, the warranity company paid for everything... But they wanted it cheap!!!!

As changing the duct. ???? I guess diffrent size for the air hander??
Yes, they sure are nickle in diming me for almost $800. I guess in the big picture it's not that bad. Mostly I'm disturbed by the duct fee. The company is forcing me to go from trane to carrier - it just seems they should have to cover the pieces to make the switch!
 
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Old 10-19-05, 04:20 AM
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This contractor is more than likely only making a couple hundred bucks on this changeout from the warranty company. If they do a quality job you're getting the deal of a lifetime. "Well maybe not "lifetime" but you're getting a good deal"

You could have got the fly by night warranty contractor that would have just slapped it in there with the ducting not attached properly, inadequate electrical service, and a unit sitting on the ground.

The refrigerant charge is a little questionable but I don't see a problem with the rest.
 
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Old 11-02-05, 12:56 PM
RickDIII
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Just a follow up

Just wanted to follow up and let everyone know how the whole deal went down. Might be interesting to folks with home warranties or considering them.

I was unable to upgrade to a 13 seer unit cost effectively. The warranty company was supplying the unit and a "buyout" would not have supplied enough $$ for me to recoup costs within the next 15 or so years.

Had a few unexpected things come up. The warranty company said they were supplying me with a Carrier unit...but they supplied me with a Payne unit through a Carrier supplier. I do not know anything about Payne and whether this is a quality provider or bottom of the barrel.

The installers tried to leave without testing the AC unit. Wife insisted they test it. When they turned it on they realized they had wired something wrong. Blew out a capacitor on the blower, made the house stink, etc. Then the wife noticed the blower was not working correctly (almost no air coming through). They argued with her for about 2 hours before I told them that I was not going to pay until it was working right. A quick trip to the crawlspace revealed a section of the return ductwork had collapsed. It was opened back up and everything started working correctly.

All in all I'm happy. The total cost to me was $705. The unit I originally had was probably borrowed from one of the great pyramids. I expect the efficiency difference between a unit so old and a new one will be nice. The warranty costs me about $400 a year and so far I have gotten my money's worth every year (house is 40 years old). Of course you have to look at the contract carefully as there are many things that are not covered. I'm a fairly handy diyer, and the warrenty covers a lot of the big items that are beyond my skills, leaving me with a lot of the stuff I can handle. The furnaces (3 of em) are one of the items I would rather leave to the pros.

That's my $0.02.
 
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Old 11-02-05, 06:59 PM
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RickDIII

Glad you got fixed up. Honestly you are the exception rather than the rule.
FYI, Payne is made by Carrier & is their "bottom of the barrel".
 
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