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  1. #1
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Hi,
    Sorry my first post is a book.
    In June my 2005 house developed a freon leak in the 3 1/2 ton air handler coil in the garage. A local family owned company did the troubleshooting and then replaced the unit with a 4 ton Lennox. During the installation I was not very impressed with quality of the work and spent a lot of time catching sloppy mistakes. So this week I asked a second AC installer to estimate replacing the outside unit. When he arrived the first thing he asked was whether or not the previous company pulled a permit. I contacted them and the answer was no. They said it is not common for replacement work. (I should have known that due to the absence of an inspection}
    Well he opened the unit and found standing water, all the insulation moist, and a mildew issue all ready well under way, as well as wiring issues, general ceiling and wall touch-up work not done, and using untreated lumber to support the unit up off the drain pan that is suspended from chains to the attic. He also shook his head at the price I was charged.
    I called the company and asked them to pull a permit and order an inspection and called the owners son to explain my concerns. He sent the same installers out to make corrections. They explained to me that because I keep the house at 74deg and the garage is hot, the condensation inside the unit cannot be helped with today's cheaper made units. As long as the unit keeps the water cool, it should not be a mold issue.
    I let them leave and reminded their office that I want a county inspection ASAP.


    After all that, my questions before an inspector shows up are;
    1 Is there any part of that explination I should believe?
    2. Is the lumber support in any way passable here in FL?
    3. What are my options when the inspection most likely fails? Can I hire another company and send the bill to the original one? Or this going to be a constant fight?
    4. Should the air handler be replaced due to the water damage?

    Thanks for your Patience,
    Greg

    Similar Threads:
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  2. #2
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Can you post some pictures of what you are describing?


  3. #3
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    I did not take any with the unit open. I will take some of the outside. I think there is a post count limit before posting files.


  4. #4
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
    Bob Spermo Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Greg,

    Sounds like a typical HVAC contractor! In many muinicipalities the replacement of a coil and/or condenser requires a permit/inspection. Did the HVAC contractor do a load calculation? Did he/she match the new coil with the old condenser? Why was a 3 1/2 ton coil replaced with a 4 ton coil? I could go on!


  5. #5
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Spermo View Post
    Why was a 3 1/2 ton coil replaced with a 4 ton coil? I could go on!
    Although they had already picked out the 4 ton, I did agree to the idea of upgrading the outside unit as well in the near future to match. 1700+ sq ft, but most of the house is 10' to 16 ft ceilings and it runs constantly during the summer.


  6. #6
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    I opened the unit and took pics.

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    Last edited by Greg Armstrong; 10-01-2011 at 05:36 PM.

  7. #7
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    There has been some improvement in the 24 hrs since they left. Yesterday before they reworked on it, the electrical wiring flexible conduit was just shoved through the hole unterminated. Now there is a clamp. Although I was told by the second company, that the wire sizes are not right. The panel in the picture with more mildew that was cleaned yesterday is now dry. Yesterday after leaning up on the floor, it developed a 1/4" deep puddle around it.
    The picture with the insulation pulled up was to represent how soaked it is, but it is hard to tell. I can push down with my finger and water pools up.
    The drip pan is now dry, but you can see the where the paperwork was left and the outline of the amount there was.

    I am wondering if that tiny open space around the conduit was enough for it to suck moist garage air in and cause of the damage?

    Most of the obvious mildew was wiped down yesterday.


  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    A properly Licensed Florida HVAC Contractor already knew they were required to pull a permit to replace your A/C system, This shouldn't have been a surprise to them at all.

    That being said, they should be able to correct the deficiencies in the original installation. Push them to correct any problems that you have been made aware of, and insist on a (properly City/County inspected), permitted HVAC installation.

    Sounds like a huge headache to me.

    Dom.


  9. #9
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    A properly Licensed Florida HVAC Contractor already knew they were required to pull a permit to replace your A/C system, This shouldn't have been a surprise to them at all.

    That being said, they should be able to correct the deficiencies in the original installation. Push them to correct any problems that you have been made aware of, and insist on a (properly City/County inspected), permitted HVAC installation.

    Sounds like a huge headache to me.

    Dom.
    It is. But I will rely on the county at this point to direct them to comply. Hopefully that will ease my pain. I just hope they do not drag their feet on the permitting process.


  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Fredericksburg, VA
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    885

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    1) ACQ treated wood could easily result in rusted out pan and air handler.
    2) The tangle of wires looks like low voltage wiring and although a rats nest the inspector probably won't say anything about it since isn't covered in codes unless FL has additional codes. Was the outside of the case wet? Can you feel cold air leaking out of the cabinet? An air handler installed in an unconditioned air space is going to have to work harder. Think about having the space enclosed an insulated. The front would have to be removable & gasketed to allow service. A small vent into conditioned air space would normalize the environment temperature in the air handler space, which should improve efficiency & reduce sweating. I wonder if the condensate pipe is draining. The insulation should't be wet unless the cabinet has massive air leaks or the condensate isn't draining. If the unit is leveled correctly, the condensate could be running into the fan space instead of collecting in the interior pan and draining.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    I don't see a trap on the condensate line! Being a heat pump, the condensate is running into an air-dam all the time the fan is running.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  12. #12
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    1) Was the outside of the case wet? Can you feel cold air leaking out of the cabinet? An air handler installed in an unconditioned air space is going to have to work harder. Think about having the space enclosed an insulated. The front would have to be removable & gasketed to allow service. A small vent into conditioned air space would normalize the environment temperature in the air handler space, which should improve efficiency & reduce sweating. I wonder if the condensate pipe is draining. The insulation should't be wet unless the cabinet has massive air leaks or the condensate isn't draining. If the unit is leveled correctly, the condensate could be running into the fan space instead of collecting in the interior pan and draining.
    Was the outside of the case wet?
    No, but the drip pan had water where you now can see the rust/white remnants. I assume it found its way out of it somewhere between the 2 access panels by its location.

    Can you feel cold air leaking out of the cabinet?
    No but the unit sits too close to the sides and ceiling to fit my hand.

    I wonder if the condensate pipe is draining.

    Yes, I have a constant flow and the rock filled area it drains into is always flooded. I also suck it out with a wet dry vac twice a year.

    If the unit is leveled correctly...
    This I need to check, there are turnbuckles on the chains for adjusting. But at this point the unit needs to come down to replace the white lumber with metal separating it from the drip pan.


  13. #13
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I don't see a trap on the condensate line! Being a heat pump, the condensate is running into an air-dam all the time the fan is running.
    The condensate line is gravity fed to the outside and then the last connection before it drips is an upturned pvc 90. Does that mean a trap? It is not unique to all the Florida home setups I have seen.

    Or maybe I missed your point?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Armstrong View Post
    The condensate line is gravity fed to the outside and then the last connection before it drips is an upturned pvc 90. Does that mean a trap? It is not unique to all the Florida home setups I have seen.

    Or maybe I missed your point?
    That may work (need pic) but it is not approved method by any of the installation instructions I have ever seen, therefore not approved.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  15. #15
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Just an update:

    The permit was filed and I am getting an inspection sometime tomorrow.

    I will report back after.


  16. #16
    Greg Armstrong's Avatar
    Greg Armstrong Guest

    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Inspection has come and gone. He passed it with advice to have the problems repaired by a third party and chase the contractor down in small claims court. He said that there were no code violations from the outside and they do not open the units during the inspection. As long as the condensation line, AC breaker, and secondary pan drain exists, then it passes. He called a co worker about the lumber under the unit and they agreed the county does not want to get involved in a dispute between a homeowner and a contractor.



  17. #17
    Join Date
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Armstrong View Post
    Inspection has come and gone. He passed it with advice to have the problems repaired by a third party and chase the contractor down in small claims court. He said that there were no code violations from the outside and they do not open the units during the inspection. As long as the condensation line, AC breaker, and secondary pan drain exists, then it passes. He called a co worker about the lumber under the unit and they agreed the county does not want to get involved in a dispute between a homeowner and a contractor.
    Welcome to the political world of municipal inspections!

    Hire a good(been in the business for 5+ years and has litigation experience) to document your problems. This will be helpful down the road.

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

  18. #18
    Join Date
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Getting the run around from AC replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Armstrong View Post
    Inspection has come and gone. He passed it with advice to have the problems repaired by a third party and chase the contractor down in small claims court. He said that there were no code violations from the outside and they do not open the units during the inspection. As long as the condensation line, AC breaker, and secondary pan drain exists, then it passes. He called a co worker about the lumber under the unit and they agreed the county does not want to get involved in a dispute between a homeowner and a contractor.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Welcome to the political world of municipal inspections!
    That's not the way it works where I do the inspections.

    The contractors would really like me to do my inspections that way ... but it ain't gonna happen.

    Hire a good(been in the business for 5+ years and has litigation experience) to document your problems. This will be helpful down the road.
    Agreed.

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

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