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  1. #1
    Eric Smith's Avatar
    Eric Smith Guest

    Default Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Please view the attached photo. I also attempted to attach a .pdf file detailing the technical specs of this compressor. Here is the link to the .pdf if it did not attach. http://www.grandaireac.com/Products/JS3BA_TS_418b.pdf
    Page 3

    Here is what happened, I wrote in a report that I recommended that the 30 amp fuse in the panel (which was from the previous compressor) be replaced with a 15 amp fuse to comply with the manufacturers label. I do see the +sign in front of 15amp max on the label, but I also recommended that the work be done by a licensed or qualified person.

    The sellers agent had the work done by "their guy". About a month and a half later I got a call from the client that the compressor had stopped working and that the "home warranty" company sent an HVAC tech out that said "I dont know what kind of home inspector you got" but these things always need at least a 30amp fuse. He recommended changing the fuse. The tech was also able to get the compressor working and the client tells me that the fused was not tripped when the HVAC tech came to evaluate the unit.

    Any comment on this?

    Here is what I have learned, instead of recommending a specific fix, I will instead say "recommend repair of the condition as noted by a licensed HVAC tech".

    Thanks guys

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  2. #2
    Eric Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    I forgot to write that I really appreciate you gentlemen for sharing your knowledge.


  3. #3
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Hey Eric,

    Hope this helps...

    IRC SECTION G2408 (305)- - G2408.1 (305.1) General. Equipment and appliances shall be installed as required by the terms of their approval, in accordance with the conditions of listing, the manufacturer’s instructions and this code. Manufacturers’ installation instructions shall be available on the job site at the time of inspection. Where a code provision is less restrictive than the conditions of the listing of the equipment or appliance or the manufacturer’s installation instructions, the conditions of the listing and the manufacturer’s installation instructions shall apply.

    ALSO

    IRC 2003, E3602.11 Branch circuits for air-conditioning and heat pump equipment. The ampacity of the conductors supplying multimotor and combination load equipment shall not be less than the minimum circuit ampacity marked on the equipment. The branch-circuit overcurrent device rating shall be the size and type marked on the appliance and shall be listed for the specific purpose.

    Rich


  4. #4
    Eric Smith's Avatar
    Eric Smith Guest

    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Hello Richard, that does help.

    The only reason that I am 2nd guessing myself is because of the +sign on the label to the left or infront of the 15. Any idea what that means?


  5. #5
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Sure. It means the in the good ole US of A, we use the HACR type breakers (no one uses fuses anymore).

    rr


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Eric, that + sign does not mean "plus" and in plus or minus. It is the same as an asterisk * to tell you to read the foot note about fuses or specific breaker types down further on the label.

    Stick to you guns, if the breaker was not tripped, it was not the problem. Breakers (unless defective) are either on or off. If it is on, it is supplying power as it should. Now if it was tripping and was not a HACR type breaker, the tech might have had a point (even though he was dead wrong) that the breaker was at fault.

    The manufacturer uses the properly sized breaker to protect the equipment, so the tech disagrees with you and the manufacturer of the equipment, and the code.
    Jim

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  7. #7
    Eric Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    You guys are great. I figured I was doing the right thing but it's always good to hear it from someone with more experience than yourself.


  8. #8
    Ron Dawes's Avatar
    Ron Dawes Guest

    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Did it have a fuse or a breaker? You used the term fuse several times in your original post. If a fuse, then it needs to be a time delay as the data plate and specs indicate so it will not blow on starting. If it was a breaker then the comments above are on target.


  9. #9
    Eric Smith's Avatar
    Eric Smith Guest

    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Im sorry, I rarely see fuses and from childhood it is a habit to refer to overcurrent devices as fuses in general. There was a breaker employed in the panel for this device. The home did not have any fuses.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Eric,

    I use the following comment that someone posted on here before.

    Consult a licensed HVAC contractor for repairs and itemized estimates. HVAC contractor may identify and recommend additional items, not noted in this report that requires repair, replacement, or installation.

    Rick


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Useful table in that documentation:

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  12. #12
    Chip O'Brian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Gentlemen this is becoming more common on newer HVAC condeser units. It "appears" newer units, the lower the recommended size breaker. I agree with Richard. Butt if the unit is original and 5 amps over IE calls for 25 amp max a 30 is in place I normaly do not note. Now if a replacement and I have seen it call for a 20 amp and a 40 even a 60amp is in place different story. The argument HVAC tech's have is the start up pull is which will trip the breaker. I have told more than one thats what the DATA plate calls for is what I report. Let them wite a letter to the fact that the over size is ok.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip O'Brian View Post
    The argument HVAC tech's have is the start up pull is which will trip the breaker. I have told more than one thats what the DATA plate calls for is what I report. Let them wite a letter to the fact that the over size is ok.
    Any HVAC tech making that argument doesn't understand basic electricity as it applies to the equipment.

    Inrush current to get the rotor spinning in a compressor only last a split millisecond, if the breaker keeps tripping they need to find the real cause of the rotor locking.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Also, it is not a '+' sign, it is a sign indicating to see the '+' note below. Kind of like putting an '*' behind something.

    If you read the '+' note, it states
    CAUTION +
    USA: Use "Time Delay" or "HACR Type" circuit breakers per N
    CANADA: Use "Time Delay" fuses or circuit breakers.

    So, what that label is stating is:

    MAXIMUM OVERCURRENT PROTECTION is 15 amps.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    (I wanted this in a separate post from the above.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Smith View Post
    I wrote in a report that I recommended that the 30 amp fuse in the panel (which was from the previous compressor) be replaced with a 15 amp fuse to comply with the manufacturers label.
    Well, ... you said it a bit wrong, but you were *mostly* correct.

    You should have stated '30 amp fuse needs to be replaced with a 15 amp fuse or 15 amp HACR rated breaker installed as stated on the nameplate label.'

    Here is what I have learned, instead of recommending a specific fix, I will instead say "recommend repair of the condition as noted by a licensed HVAC tech".
    NO! DON'T DO THAT! You will only be perpetuating the incorrect installation.

    The nameplate rating is listing the MAXIMUM overcurrent size which should be installed, and, if it trips that, it is indicating there is a problem.

    My guess is that the 30 amp fuse was replaced with a non-time delay 15 amp fuse, which would - DUH! - blow ... just like it is supposed to.

    A time delay fuse, which WAS SPECIFIED on the label, was used, and *IF* there are not other problems with the unit, then the 15 amp *time delay* fuse is all it needs and is all it should have installed.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip O'Brian View Post
    Butt if the unit is original and 5 amps over IE calls for 25 amp max a 30 is in place I normaly do not note.
    You should

    Now if a replacement and I have seen it call for a 20 amp and a 40 even a 60amp is in place different story.
    No it isn't.

    The argument HVAC tech's have is the start up pull is which will trip the breaker. I have told more than one thats what the DATA plate calls for is what I report. Let them wite a letter to the fact that the over size is ok.
    I would not even accept the letter from the HVAC technician or the HVAC company - have them get one from the manufacturer of that unit.

    That letter *will not* override the nameplate as that (the nameplate) is the way it was listed and labeled, but, if the manufacturer writes a letter stating you can overfuse it and the unit burns up - THEY (the manufacturer) just "bought it".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Jerry said,
    Also, it is not a '+' sign, it is a sign indicating to see the '+' note below. Kind of like putting an '*' behind something.
    Jim said,
    Eric, that + sign does not mean "plus" and in plus or minus. It is the same as an asterisk * to tell you to read the foot note about fuses or specific breaker types down further on the label.
    Jerry, have you got me on your "ignore" list again?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Jerry, have you got me on your "ignore" list again?
    Oops ...

    I read right down through the posts and picked up much of what was stated, but, as you saw, did not (obviously) read all of every post - in other words, *I* was trying to 'speed read' through them, turns out *not* to have been a good idea.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  19. #19
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    I think that's what my reply meant also... Maybe not in english but when I say:
    "Sure. It (the + symbol) means the in the good ole US of A, we use the HACR type breakers (no one uses fuses anymore)."

    Maybe I gotta try that new-fangled 'ignore' list-- JP you're goinna be on it!!


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    For the life of me I just can't wrap my brain around the concept that: if the manf. label states that the equipt. should have a xxx amp MAXIMUM fuse/breaker, that it is OK to put one in that is just a little bit over.

    And here I thought that MAXIMUM meant just that.....not "OK to use one just a little bigger".

    I guess if I carry that thought further, a 14ga wire should be OK for a 20 amp circuit, since it is really just a "little bit" smaller than the 12 ga wire. Right???
    JF


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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    For the life of me I just can't wrap my brain around the concept that:

    a 14ga wire should be OK for a 20 amp circuit, since it is really just a "little bit" smaller than the 12 ga wire. Right???
    JF
    By jove, I believe 'e's got it!

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
    Matt Hawley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    I spoke with a rep from Goodman headquarters about a week ago. They have 24 hour tech support for HVAC contractors, home inspectors, builders ect. and are more than happy to answer any questions. The number is 877-254-4729, ask them for business tech support.

    The person I spoke with said that if the max over current protection exceeds the data plate it is wrong. They said if the breaker exceeds the data plate max that it will not only void their warranty, but will likely void a home warranty protection plan as well.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Hawley View Post
    I spoke with a rep from Goodman headquarters about a week ago. They have 24 hour tech support for HVAC contractors, home inspectors, builders ect. and are more than happy to answer any questions. The number is 877-254-4729, ask them for business tech support.

    The person I spoke with said that if the max over current protection exceeds the data plate it is wrong. They said if the breaker exceeds the data plate max that it will not only void their warranty, but will likely void a home warranty protection plan as well.
    That is true!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  24. #24
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    Cool Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Any service technician who justifies his position with a phrase about "that's the way we always do it", will make a good witness for the plaintiff. Like a double amputee, he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

    Back to DavidR's point--why is this unit tripping? If a motor is pulling too much amperage for the rated breaker, then find the problem and correct it--period. To knowlingly ignore such a warning sign could be contrued as negligence or reckless endangerment. You have a motor pulling way too much juice to get up and going yet you not only leave it in service as is but defeat a primary safety control?

    The rating plate is the law--period. If the unit is performing outside specs., it should be taken out of service until repaired.

    If a tech does not notify a homeowner in writing of such as problem and there is a loss, he will be creamed for failure to warn among other charges and possibly could face criminal charges. Stick to your guns.

    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  25. #25
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    This contractor reminds me of the guy who got caught cheating on his wife...

    "Honey, this isn't what it looks like. Honey... Honey.... C'omon, Honey... Who-ya goinna believe, me or your lying eyes?

    rr


  26. #26

    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Eric,

    The Breaker as you probably know cannot exceed the size of the wire used for the circuit. In other words the maximum breaker on a 10 guage wire is 30 amp. If the Compressor is wired with a #10 guage wire it can have a 30, 20 or 15 Amp breaker. The breaker is merely a heat protective device and will trip when it senses a particular pre-set temperature in the wiring leading to over heating. The fact that the breaker was not thrown could be a result of many things including a bad or defective breaker. The owner of the HVAC company should have been notified of the technicians comments and liability for their company. If the unit calls for 15 amp protection it should handle the demand or load from the unit or trip the breaker. We normally do not get in a pissing match with the "experts" but remember he is just a person who has some specilized training in the field of blame the other guy.

    Larry Sparks
    Sparks Certified Inspections, Inc.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Sparks View Post
    Eric,

    The Breaker as you probably know cannot exceed the size of the wire used for the circuit. In other words the maximum breaker on a 10 guage wire is 30 amp. If the Compressor is wired with a #10 guage wire it can have a 30, 20 or 15 Amp breaker.
    Absolutely incorrect.

    The breaker, regardless of wire size, *is not allowed to be any larger than stated on the name plate*.

    Likewise, the conductor, regardless of breaker size, *is not allowed to have an ampere rating of less than that stated on the name plate*.

    Put the above two *requirements* and *allowables* (is that even a word?) together, and, indeed, you can have a breaker larger than that normally allowed for a given wire rating.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 08-13-2007 at 04:01 PM. Reason: speeling
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  28. #28
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    Talking Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    But Jerry..."It's only a "little" bit over"....and that's the way my Daddy always did it........and it hasn't been a probelm YET...."

    Geez, what a picky guy.


  29. #29
    Michael Greenwalt's Avatar
    Michael Greenwalt Guest

    Default Re: Possible Dispute with HVAC tech

    And don't forget, an oversized breaker that exceeds the data plate *VOIDS* most manufactures warranty. Just another reason to note it in *Your* report as defense when the warranty company gives you a call.


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