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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    1,217

    Default Missing A/C Condensing Unit - Take 2

    A couple of weeks ago I had a client who was upset that the seller's previous tenants "stole" the condensing unit for the central air conditioner. I found no trace whatsoever of the house ever having central air conditioning (no evaporator coils, no refrigerant piping, no pad for a condensing unit, no wall penetrations for refrigerant piping, no disconnect, no breaker for the condensing unit and no room for one in the main panel). The buyer's only "evidence" of central air conditioning was a check under "Working" for "Central Air Conditioning" on the seller's disclosure (an obvious mistake by the sellers who are stationed in Germany).

    Today's inspection was the complete opposite. The condensing unit was missing but everything else was present. The refrigerant piping and control wiring were terminated at the wall. (Strangely the refrigerant piping and control wiring were run through a vent in the wall. The vent served no other purpose.)

    I asked the buyer if the seller mentioned central air and he said, "No." I checked the seller's disclosure and "Central Air Conditioning" was checked "N/A". I told the buyer that he was getting central air (less the condensing unit) for free. All he has to do is install a condensing unit, connect the refrigerant piping and controls, charge the refrigerant piping and he is in business.

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  2. #2
    Tim Moreira's Avatar
    Tim Moreira Guest

    Default Re: Missing A/C Condensing Unit - Take 2

    Bruce,

    Sounds like the previous owner had a complete AC system in place and then the condenser went bad and they could not afford to replace it or some other reason. So they had the condenser removed and checked off no ac on the disclosure.

    Pretty weird, but why would someone do that.

    Was the seller elderly and possibly on a fixed income and could not afford to replace it? Maybe that's why they were selling the home. Could not afford the upkeep.

    Just my guess.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    4,112

    Default Re: Missing A/C Condensing Unit - Take 2

    Bruce, this is very common in certain areas of the country. The copper and other metals are worth enough to make crack heads do a little work.
    Some areas around the Dallas area have cages, fences, guard dogs, etc. just to protect the units. I have heard the power companies are getting away from using the copper grounding wire on poles. That may explain the case with your seller, of course around here (Texas) A/C is not an option, the seller would have to replace the unit to have any hope of selling the property.
    Jim


  4. #4
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Missing A/C Condensing Unit - Take 2

    I recently did a 4-plex inspection for an investor from CA. I'm glad I had a helper with me and that we did the job at 10:00AM. Was in part of town that I'd prefer not to visit "too many times".

    As Jim noted RE: condensers. All had cages mounted over them and bolted to patio slab. Yet there were some that were stolen. Left remaining was "live" electrical coming out of wall.

    What hurt even more was that a single-mom was living (or maybe existing) in the unit.

    Inside was not much better.

    Property management gave me keys for units and they had 'contacted' all residents, but only two answered. One refused my access and the other two units could not be opened.

    Buyer wanted me to cut my rate as I did not "see" all the units in detail. I told him he got a "deal" as it was and kindly declined any rebate.

    Back to missing units (Dallas-Ft. Worth and TX) lots of theft for the copper. Staging for new construction installs is even very tight to minimize theft as well.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,317

    Default Re: Missing A/C Condensing Unit - Take 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    I told the buyer that he was getting central air (less the condensing unit) for free. All he has to do is install a condensing unit, connect the refrigerant piping and controls, charge the refrigerant piping and he is in business.

    I would not put that in the report, and I would tell it to them differently too.

    Something like:

    'I told the buyer that he MIGHT BE getting A central air (less the condensing unit) for free. All he MAY HAVE to do is install a condensing unit, connect the refrigerant piping and controls, charge the refrigerant piping and he is in business. Of course, there is also the chance that there is a leak in the refrigerant line and that it was not worth it to the previous owner to have the leak found and repaired.'

    Did you verify there was an air handler / evaporator unit and that it was 'at' the refrigerant lines?

    I would hate to see you buying your client a "central air conditioning system" when their HVAC contractor comes out and finds other things missing and tells your client (now their client) 'Your inspector said WHAT?'

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Dan Phillips's Avatar
    Dan Phillips Guest

    Thumbs up Re: Missing A/C Condensing Unit - Take 2

    I did an Inspection a few weeks ago with a crawl space. This was in the Memphis, TN area. The home had sat abondoned for a few months and was being purchased as an "investment property". While walking around the exterior, noticed that the condenser unit had been stolen. There was a water faucet right next to the condenser unit. So, I went to turn it on and pulled the faucet out of the wall with about a 6" piece of copper with it. HeHe, all the copper supply pipe had been stolen, along with most of the romex copper distribution wiring. I thought it was great advertising for PEX.


  7. #7
    James Foy's Avatar
    James Foy Guest

    Default Re: Missing A/C Condensing Unit - Take 2

    I can verify the propensity for condenser theft in Dallas. My brother brought me out to look at units he was considering. I agree with Jerry, in that you should report that equipment is "present but has not been tested and may or may not work" to cover your assets.


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