Friday, April 22, 2016

HVAC Hell

The visit from the HVAC company did not go well.   I didn't know what to think.  I am unfamiliar with HVAC systems and what can cause problems like I have experienced with my system (failure to cool, when it was hot).

I had a couple of major worries over the visit. The first is why would he first tell us it was one thing wrong (undercharged, needed recharged which means a possible leak), then switch to say it was overcharged and that this was caused by a coil restriction?  The other thing was the price he quoted for the coil replacement with labor, of over $5000.

I had some minor worries too.  He spent a considerable amount of time on the phone talking to some friend, whom I think was a coworker, in his van, outside the house and inside the house.   It made me think he was killing time, to jack up the price, or didn't know what he was doing.

After he told me the system needed recharged,  I asked how much recharge would be and he looked it up and said $112 per pound of refrigerant, minus labor, but didn't know how much it would take.

My question immediately, in my mind, was if he seemed so unsure of the pressure reading and what it should be, how would he know what to recharge it to.

But that question didn't need answered because suddenly he switched, claiming the system was actually over charged and the problem was the coil on the inside unit that was restricted and it would need replaced, said the cost of the coil alone would be over $2000 and with installation, which includes first draining the refrigerant then recharging the system, the cost would be over $5000.  He then moved into an enthusiastic pitch for a new furnace/air handler.

Those actually cost less than the price he quoted for a new coil.  I was flabbergasted and my brain's scam alert was blinking fiery red.  How could he think one minute it was under charged, then the next, say it was overcharged.

Also, in yet another conversation with his friend, I heard only one word---"elderly".   Was he referring to me, I wondered.  If he was, why would he say the word "elderly"?  In a respectful way, or not so much?  I only heard him say that one word so I don't know.  But.....when someone doing repairs says that word, I immediately think a red laser dot is on my forehead.  We who are over 60 understand we have targets on us.

But being over 60 also means we've been around and we know a few things, like the fact we get targeted.  And some of us can even use the internet.

The moment he left I began looking up HVAC videos on youtube.  I found many many videos including a series on HVAC scams, created by a retired HVAC tech.  That was quite helpful.  I messaged a couple of them, asking if this sounded right, and quoted the prices given.  I was told I needed a second opinion.  That was a given.

I also looked up "Is my coil restricted" and found an interesting comment thread:

Read debates over coil restriction or not here.

It is quite complicated to determine, I realized.  One must take superheat and subcool readings, and take in account outside/inside humidity and temps also.  And what amps the condenser should pull as opposed to what it does pull.  Condenser coils should be cleaned out, to avoid high end resistance.  I've never cleaned that heat pumps condenser coils.  Maybe I should.

I looked up fixed orifice coils too, since that is what is on mine:
Read the differences between fixed orifice and TXP valve evaporative coils here.

You can see what a fixed orifice looks like on this link.  And my thought might be, if there is a coil restriction, maybe this could be cleaned or replaced?

Read more about TXP valves or see photos of fixed place orifice here.

I'm sure you're all just thrilled over the HVAC technical!  Makes for can't put it down reading, right?  Well, I have that sort of a brain.  I like to know.

We're back to square one on it.   My brother is having a company he does business with come up from Roseburg.

 I have no idea what's wrong with the system.  Hope the next company can figure it out.  After reading about the systems and how to test for problems, I am convinced if I had the right tools and gauges, I could figure it out.  But I don't.  Darn it.

8 comments :

  1. I"m sure you could figure it out if you had the right equipment, but the next best thing would be getting a repair person in whom you can trust. We were lucky that we had very trustworthy friend who was in the business help us with ours. But even more than being a friend, we knew several people who had used him and were happy with his service. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like you might need a second opinion... I know nothing about stuff like that and wouldn't even know where to start.... hopefully you'll find someone reliable who knows what they're talking about. So sorry....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we do. My brother is having a company he knows come up next week, to see what they say.

      Delete
  3. His words and actions certainly sound suspicious. I'm not sure I said so earlier, but complete reversal of the problem sets my alarm bells ringing. I hate that folks ever get scammed and am so glad you're too smart for these jerks. My father has told me disheartening stories about treatment he receives sometimes. Bless you, my dear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reversal was what bothered me most, but I didn't have a big say in it, since its my brother's place. He's having a company he knows come up next week. Fortunately the weather is wet and mild, not too hot, not too cold, so can live without heat/cool for now.

      Delete
    2. I hope the weather stays that way until you get resolution. Take care!

      Delete
  4. If I were you, I would call other companies that offer free estimates to take a look at your system. I experienced somewhat of the same problem, but in reverse. My unit had freezing condensation forming. The company I used charged $250 for parts and labor, and they had it fixed in about two hours. Good luck!

    Ambrose @ Brown & Reaves Services, Inc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. another company charged it up, for nothing! Problem solved in 20 minutes. Said it was to restore faith in HVAC companies, since the first company attempted to scam myself and brother severely.

      Delete