Did I get screwed? Anything I can do?
Hi, I live on the sun, aka Houston, TX. A few months ago my 15yr-old A/C unit started smoking in the attic. It was real rusty and other issues so I just decided to replace the whole thing rather than have it fixed and run the risk of my house burning down.
At the time, I didn't know much about HVAC units and the contractor I was using was referred from a friend so I just decided to trust his judgement (bad idea). His quote was a lot cheaper than the ARS quote that I got and I was (still am) broke so I crossed my fingers and hoped everything went smoothly.
Since then, I've learned a little bit... I'm not sure if he did a Manual J calculation on my home or not, but he decided to install a 3-ton unit. He says now that is the same size he replaced but I'm not sure. The compressor sits on the concrete slab the old one was on and it is physically way smaller. Here is what I know:
- It is a 1-story 1600 sq ft home with mostly tile and concrete floors, vaulted ceilings, and horrible insulation in the hottest place on earth
- The new unit uses the new freon type, old one had the old type.
- He replaced everything except for the line-set and I'm not sure if or how he cleaned it out.
- I've lived here 4 years and never once had to add freon to the old unit
- The freon line froze up after about 2 weeks, his worker came out, defrosted & refilled it, said he couldn't find any leaks, and then said the leak is in the line set and I need a new one (it never leaked before... ).
- It hasn't frozen up since, but has a slow leak. I've had it topped off twice now and even immediately after filling it up, it runs and runs all day and will only cool about 17 degrees or so from the outside temp.
- 3 different professionals have told me the unit is just too small
- The contractor has been ducking me for 2 months now. He has answered one call and a couple texts saying he will come out and look at it but never makes it out.
I'm honestly thinking about taking him to small claims court if he doesn't do something soon. This is Houston and I have 2 small kids. I need the right size unit.
Any comments or advice on the technical side of things or on my chances of recovering some of the expenses would be greatly appreciated.