Air Conditioner Freezes Up, Not Heating or Cooling
I posted a few years ago about my Tappan unit. I've owned it almost 5 years now and it breaks at least annually, sometimes more.
It's been 10 months since the repairmen were out addressing a bent fan which they said was causing the unit to freeze up. They replaced the fan. In Texas this time of year, we have a week where you might use the heat and then a couple of days where you use the cooling. It switched to cooling because it was warm outside, and the unit froze up again.
When the heat has been on during the last month or so, it has not been blowing hot air, either. The unit is a 5 ton two-stage unit. I was told it was a 15 SEER unit. It runs constantly and has not saved me any money on electric bills over the 15 year old unit that actually heated and cooled the house.
The company that installed the unit sold me a 10-year parts and labor warranty. Last year when they came out (year 4) the owner said it would be the last time he worked on the unit. Was rude to my my wife as well during the visit. He bought the franchise from the owner that installed the unit, but the repairmen have been the same ones the entire time.
There have been leaks. They've filled the unit on several occassions without fixing the leaks, resulting in repeat visits. The unit at one point was vibrating so badly that an electrical jumper vibrated loose. Was charged $XXX.XX for a guy to come reconnect one jumper (wasn't interested in fixing the vibration, and I didn't pay the bill due to having a warranty for P&L). He was mad that I wouldn't sign up for an annual maintenance contract ($$$). I asked him why I needed annual maintenance since they were at my house every 6, 8, or 10 months anyway fixing a unit that has never run correctly for an extended period of time. And yes, we change the filter regularly (every 1-2 months).
I guess I need some advice and maybe a recommendation of someone who can service Tappan in the Waco, Texas area. I'm guessing that the 10 year parts and labor warranty (still have the paperwork) I bought is worthless and I'll have to eat that money and pay someone who's competent to come repair this unit.
Year 1: coolant leak. 5 visits to "repair" leak. Some trips they simply refilled the coolant and left.
Year 2: would not heat correctly. Basically blowing cold air during the winter. Repairmen came and rigged the system to try and force it to bypass the heat pump and use electric heat. Air from register was room temp, not hot. 3 visits, never really fixed the problem (I paid for a two stage unit, why should it have to be "rigged" to bypass part of the system for which I paid extra?).
Year 3: coolant leak again. 2 visits to repair.
Year 4: Vibration causes jumper to become disconnected. 1 visit, reconnected jumper, left, billed me $XXX.XX.
Year 4: Air conditioner froze up badly. Water everywhere. A/C guys said it was a problem with a bent fan. Replaced fan.
Year 5: has stopped heating effectively and when it switched to AC yesterday, it froze up. Outside temp was 84, thermostat set to 75.
We're just tired of this thing not cooling and heating effectively, costing us a ton of money to run, and having to have someone come out and not correct the problems.
If your extended warranty is backed by the factory it may still be good provided that you can find another Tappan dealer in the area.
It does sound like you may still have a refrigerant leak somewhere in the system though.
Tappan is built by Nordyne, you may have luck finding a dealer in the area for one of their other brands that can help. I'm not a dealer for Nordyne products, but it is another thing to try.
If people only focused on the important things in life there would be a shortage of fishing poles.
Contact Tappen, there should be a link on internet and ask for a local dealer in your area (besides this joker). Keep track of who and what is done and go from there. The factory carries this extended warranty so it should still be good. Good luck.
Unfortunately, Tappan doesn't appear to want you to call them (couldn't find a customer service number on their contact us page), nor do they have any dealers listed in Waco on their web site. I will try calling Nordyne tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I cannot afford to have someone from 50 miles away come to service this unit.
I'm afraid I'll have to simply buy a new unit from someone else and get a lawyer and go after the company that sold this unit to me for breach of contract. I hate to do that.
How about looking at our contractor locator map and seeing if you can find a qualified contractor.
Being endorsed by a dealer doesn't necessarily make you a great tech.
I know there are guys from Texas here, but I don't know if there are any from Waco.
How would that work with the Tappan parts warranty? Can pretty much any good hvac professional work on any brand?
Thanks for the suggestion.
I don't pay any attention to the manufacturer label until the times comes to order parts.
Originally Posted by j_n_waco
I've lost count of the brands I've worked on as most pros have, I'm sure.
Use the attached brochure for Tappan on there extended warranty. It has their number, frequently asked questions, etc.
Thanks a bunch for taking the time to help, guys!
I'm not clear on the sequence of events. Is this the OUTDOOR unit that's freezing in the cooling mode or the indoor unit? You stated "water everywhere" but is that because ice melted in the overhead or are you referring to ice that melted outdoors? I'm thinking you may have a stuck 4-way valve that no one's ever identified. You clearly need a real tech on the job, someone who know how to use the tools and apply the science. I'd ask any tech who comes onto my property, "How will you check the refrigerant charge in my HP?" Is he doesn't say "in the cooling mode using superheat and subcooling, after establishing proper airflow", then throw him away and get another one. Keep the hiring/firing process going until you find a really knowledgeable tech. Otherwise, the guessing games will continue in perpetuity or at least until someone guesses correctly. A good tech will have you money in the long run.
If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.
If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!
It is the inside that has the frozen pipes/tubing with ice hanging off of it this time. We turn the unit off completely (it's been off for about 36 hours now), so the ice has melted and beneath the inside unit it is/was wet.
Again, I know next to nothing about these things. I just know when the air coming out of the vent is not cool when it is supposed to be cooling or hot when it is supposed to be heating, and we check the inside and outside units for any obvious signs of trouble (they'd have to be real obvious for me to spot them). That's when we noticed the wetness last year when it had frozen up. Beneath the inside unit is the air intake and filter. It's line with something like a sponge material and it was soaked and squishy. There is some tubing around the inside unit that gets frost and ice on it that drips. That part is freezing up again this time.
I contacted Nordyne by phone. They could not recommend another warranty service company in Waco. The nearest they had was Dallas or Austin. Nordyne had me calling distributors in Dallas and Austin to ask for names of a warranty service company. Both distributors acted like I was from Mars.
I checked the professional map here and there's not a Waco member either.
I hate to have someone work on the system and void the warranty because they're not "authorized" (even if they're clearly better than the guys that installed the unit). But at the same time, Tappan's warranty seems pretty useless to me at this point because of this particular situation.
My next step is to call an HVAC shop that my co-workers recommend highly, have them come and try to diagnose the problem, and pay them for parts and labor.
OR, have them completely install a new system. At this point, I simply have no faith in this one. I guess it depends on what the HVAC guy recommends after looking at it.
The simultaneous step with the above is going to be to talk to an attorney. I bought the system brand new, cannot get it serviced within the warranty period, even after contacting Nordyne. It is not as if this is the first time it has broken, leaked, or frozen. It's been almost 5 years of hell and I've now spent at least two weeks of vacation time meeting techs at my home. I just don't feel like letting the installer and sales company off the hook this easily on a unit that still has 5 years of warranty left.
Thanks for the tip, Skippedover. I will definitely ask that question of the next tech that comes out.
Called a different ac company. Tech found yet another leak at the header of the interior coil. Third leak in third different location in 5 years. Very low on refrigerant and suspects that is what caused it to freeze up.