Blown Compressor- Tech did it?

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Old 11-04-08, 07:51 PM
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Blown Compressor- Tech did it?

Carrier mod#38YCC060300 heat pump just over 5 years old. Problem was that it wouldn't defrost. Tech replaced circuit board. Didn't fix it- said new board was no good. Replaced it again and still didn't fix. He's working on it again and blows 60 amp breaker 3 times and doesn't know why. Tells me that fan on heat pump might be blowing it- at this point, I'm sure he doesn't know what he is doing. He comes back for the 4th time (doesn't have a new fan motor with him) and then tells me the compressor is blown and he'll have to order new one. I look at it and find the reversing valve unplugged. I believe that he was trying to force the system into defrost cycle and blew the compressor - does this sound likely or possible? Unit was heating and cooling fine until the tech. blew the breaker 3 times. Compressor was said to have an "open" according the other tech that was sent out to clean up the mess. I told him that I wanted the old compressor- but it dissapeared. Still have frosting issue after new compressor installed and $1400 later. We feel that we shouldn't have to pay for the compressor that we feel the tech. blew- the repair company won't budge and wants us to pay in full. What did the tech do to cause the compressor to blow? I don't buy that it just happened to blow while this rookie tech was bumbling around. last compressor lasted well over 10 years. Even when the 2nd "expert" tech was charging the system, I caught him making a mistake by undercharging the system! What's the fair solution in this situation? Thanks for taking the time to read this and respond!
 
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Old 11-05-08, 06:59 PM
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This is a tough one. It just may BE that he caused this. And where DID that 'bad' compressor run off to?

I would transfer the post to the legal questions forum below, and see if you get any bites there.

I'm surprised AC techies here did not bite on this. Heat pumps are basically AC units capable of reversing. And compressor issues should be answerable by AC guys here.
 
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Old 11-05-08, 07:30 PM
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Thanks ecman51'. I'm not looking to legaly hold anyone to an answer or any legal action. I just want to have some idea of what I'm talking about when I talk to the repair company about this. I just want to know what the possibilities are. I'm pretty sure that if you revearse the system when the pressures or valve isn't right can cause some kind of harm. I've read that the revearsal valve has a default mode when it's unplugged. Their own expert tech. told me that this system won't go into defrost when the revearsal valve is unplugged. I'm not going to hold anyone to thier answers, I just want some opinions. Maybe I'm all wrong? I'm just looking for a fair solution. Thanks again.
 
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Old 11-05-08, 10:17 PM
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I'm no expert but tend to agree with you that your tech blew the compressor. Your description of his troubleshooting methods also suggest he had no idea what he was doing. If your heat pump produced decent heat and the A/C worked fine it is not a problem with the reversing valve or with the level of charge IMO.

Tripping a 40A breaker, not knowing why, and resetting it is not at brilliant thing to do. Again I'm not an A/C expert, but it sounds like the compressor was somehow placed under a load it could not handle and tripped the breaker. Repeatedly resetting the breaker without rectifying the problem probably killed the compressor.

Also personal experience with my own defrost board has brought me to the conclusion that defrost boards are a PITA. Every manufacturer seems to have their own. Some work on timers, the better ones have temp sensors on the coils, and some work on a combination of the two (these are the worst to diagnose). If yours has a temp sensors on the coil one could be bad or not properly attached. This will prevent your unit from going into defrost. These can be hard to see, but you can usually spot the wires running off the defrost board toward them. These can be diagnosed with a ohm meter if you have the chart indicating what the resistance of the temp sensor should be at different temperatures (note only the instantaneous reading counts as the ohm meter actually heats the sensor and causes its resistance to change).

All reversing valves have a default position, either a/c or heat. With no power applied mine defaults to A/C. Yours may be opposite. You can test if your reversing valve works just by checking if your heat pump can run in A/C mode and in heat mode. If its stuck in only one mode it has issues, otherwise its fine. Wait 5 minutes between switching modes. Compressors do not like to be restarted without some wait time in between. Most have built in circuitry to prevent this, but play it safe.

One last note. Light frost on the coils is not a sign of failure. Neither is short term low heat output. If your model uses a timer it may not have reached its defrost time yet.

Good Luck.
doug
 
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Old 11-06-08, 04:40 AM
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If you say you are "not looking to legaly hold anyone to an answer" what do you hope to accomplish by calling the company.
If you have not yet paid them you hold all the power and do not be talked into paying if you are not satisfied.
If you do not get satisfaction and have not paid, threatening to call another company and settling the final bill in court may soften them up a bit.
And even if they agree to make it right still do not pay right away, make sure it works right.

You need to lay out your facts in an orderly manner when talking to them and having them written down before calling will be important.
If they are as bad as you say they have much more experience screwing people than you have had defending yourself in these matters.

You would need to settle this directly with them as going to court and being successful would be nearly impossible without someone testifying on your behalf.
 
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Old 11-06-08, 05:54 AM
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To GregH

Thanks Greg. No, the last thing I want to do is to go to court. I've gone that direction in the past and it's a no win situation-- just makes the lawyers a lot of money. As I said I just want to know what possibly happened so that I can talk to the company owner about it and settle it with him. I'm not saying that the company is bad, but I think the first tech they sent out was not experienced enough or professional enough. (he brought is child out on the job with him also). When the tech. told me that the fan on the heat pump *might* be blowing the 60 amp breaker, there was no doubt the he was in over his head. A) if that fan did blow the 60 amp breaker 3 times, it would be very obvious. B) it would be a very simple matter to put a meter on it and know for sure. C) that fan would not still be running fine today. He told me that because he didn't know what he was doing and was stalling. When he came back the next time, he didn't have a new fan motor with him.
You say that I have all the power because I haven't paid-- that would be true if the repair company wasn't worried about collecting. They are, and I imagine that they will probably take me to small claims court. It will probably show up on my credit reports also. In the mean time I'm getting charged finance charges which adds up to over $200 so far.... so I can't see how I'm in a posistion of power right now unless I can explain to the owner of the company how it's possible that his tech. blew my compressor and work out a deal with him. Maybe we need to pro-rate the price of the compressor. It was only 5 years old and *just* out of warranty. I just don't feel that I should have to eat the compressor because of a mistake from the tech. and the fact that I still have the original problem. Mistakes happen and I need to be able to explain how it might have happened. At the time, we did call the company and tell them to send out a different tech, but the damage was already done.
Hiring an attorney to go to court or defending myself in court will cost much more than paying the bill. I have no money for this and I'm sure the repair company has plenty of money to drag me through court. So- how am I in a position of power in this situation?
I need to know how that compressor went while the tech was working on it.
Thanks
 
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Old 11-06-08, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by lab902 View Post
I need to know how that compressor went while the tech was working on it.
Thanks
A new air conditioner I bought some time back had this big warning sticker on it that said not to turn the unit off, then back on right away (when in A/C mode) without waiting like 10 minutes or so. I have a feeling something along these lines may have happened, as one possibility that comes to mind.
 
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Old 11-07-08, 07:16 AM
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Many HPs have locks outs on the controller boards to make the system wait some time before reversing. It can vary up to 5 minutes. Even some tstats have this built in as well. If he forced it into defrost too soon or in any other way overrode the systems safeties without following proper procedure compressor damage could certainly occur. Call the manufacturer and see what they can tell you about the systems safeties and what you think the tech did. You can then present this information to the contractor. I would definitely withhold payment until you are satisfied, or just pay them for what you think was reasonable work for starters. They don't want to go to small claims any more than you do and make a lose-lose situation.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 02:09 PM
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Exclamation

Thanks Doug, EC, dac and all.

I think the tech. did force the unit into defrost without the unit pressures and valve being in proper position.

He blew a 60 amp breaker 3 times and I'm guessing that the compressor being overloaded is what caused it. How else could he have done that? After he left, I also found that the reversal valve was unpluged. I'm guessing that if that valve is unplugged, it's default mode would be heating? Tripping the system into defrost a few times under those conditions would not be good for the system I'm guessing? The next tech. that came out said that the compressor had an "open" in it and since the breakers never flipped again after the first tech. was messing with it, I think it stands to reason that he is the one that caused the "open" or blew the compressor. Since the outside unit was frosting up when the tech. got there to begin with, it's obvious that the compressor was working and no breaker had ever flipped before the tech. started poking around in there. The sad thing is that the tech. didn't know why the 60A breaker kept tripping and that he thought that it *might* be the fan on the outside unit.
What happens when you force a defrost cycle 3 times when the valve is in the wrong position? The pressures wouldn't correct either?
 
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Old 11-17-08, 04:19 PM
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Exclamation ***Update***

Just got another invoice from the service company and in the description of service it says, "Unit would not go into defrost mode, tried to force unit to go into defrost mode control board would not allow. Replaced defrost board." What it does not say is that he did replace the defrost control board and then said that the new one was no good and replaced it again. That didn't work and then he proceeded to blow the 60A circuit breaker 3 times. Now the compressor is blown and they want me to pay for it. Does this sound right to anyone?
 
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Old 11-17-08, 05:43 PM
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If it was me, I would not pay. Your original problem has not been rectified. The only problem you had was that it didn't go into defrost. Well, it still doesn't. Tell them that they cannot use your system as a training tool and keep changing parts until they fix the problem.


I had a similar problem with a car about fifteen years ago. As I recall, I had a coolant leak. They changed the water pump and I still had the leak. I forget what the problem finally turned out to be. But I insisted that I get my money back for the water pump and I did.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by lab902 View Post
What happens when you force a defrost cycle 3 times when the valve is in the wrong position? The pressures wouldn't correct either?
I don't know enough about heat pumps to be able to say what would happen if the valve was in the wrong position. Offhand I would say nothing bad, just that you would get heat when you wanted defrost or the other way around. What would trip the breaker would be an overload on the compressor from either not waiting long enough between compressor restarts or some other pressure problem.

Personally I would not pay them unless they agreed to a reduced price AND fixed your heat pump. Failing either one of these I would hire another company to come out and repair the heat pump and wait for the original company to take me to court (keep lots of documentation date -time - pictures - video -what was or wasn't done - you'll need it). Nobody wins in a court battle, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

-Doug
 
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Old 11-18-08, 06:42 AM
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Have you contacted the manufacturer as I suggest to see what the effects of performing a quick reverse on your system might do? As mentioned many systems are built with lockout timers to prevent this, and to prevent the compressor from starting from a power-on-off cycle. If you observed any of these things, or the tech otherwise disregarding procedures that might have led to this failure, and the manufacturer agrees, you might have a better chance for resolving this situation, or possibly splitting the cost in some way.

I might suggest you post this question over at hvac-talk.com. Be careful to present just the facts and ask the tough question. The forum is run and active with pros so keep speculation to a minimum. If nothing else you might get the companies perspective.
 
 

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