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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    11

    Should I Keep Trusting My AC Guy?

    I have used a sole proprietor AC guy for quite some time. But I am constantly nagged by doubts about whether I could do better. I have a few rent houses. The AC condensor went out on one last Nov. and I wasn't prepared to buy a completely new system, so I asked about a used condensor and he happened to have one and installed it for a reasonable price. Since then I read up and it seemed like it is foolish to replace a condensor without also changing out the coil. This is a very old system.
    The other rent house he did a check up after purchase and okayed the system and then my husband had to go back with an air compressor and clean out the line because we had water--a few days later. And a month later the bearings went out on something and I had a $ AC repair from a company who worked weekends--which he doesn't.
    The house before that he okayed the system when we had the house inpected. After the remodel and before renting itit was summer and the AC wasn't very cool. He came out and added a wire kit of some sort and said we were good--until we went out of town a month later and the AC compressor went out. The guy our tenants called said the wiring problems were common before compressor burn out. (We were out of town).
    But he has put two systems in our house and they work fine. And he has 20 years experience. And he is not stupid. But I wonder... It seems like he gives us advise that benefits him and not me long term. I just want to spend my money wisely--I could have paid for the coils when he installed the condensor andhe knows that. I just didn't want to spend $ if I didn't have to on a rent house.
    Now if I want to change out the coils it is labor intensive $$$
    Last edited by beenthere; 02-24-2012 at 02:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Zelienople, Pa
    Posts
    2,965
    Sounds like a match made in heaven. A landlord buying used junk off craigslist and a hack handyman...

    I don't think you're telling the whole story...
    How tall are you Private???!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    2,190

    Should I Keep Trusting My AC Guy?

    It takes a good customer to do a good job! So before you think badly of a contractor who doesn't argue with what the customer wants to spend, look at your directions/ instruction to that contractor!

    You sound smart enough to know "pays me now OR pays me later!"

    Really low first cost and higher repairs and operating costs. You posted because of your repair bill not the operating cost

    Low first cost and higher operating cost ( you don't care what the tenants bill is do you?) maybe you should because if their utilities are affordable then they have an easier time paying their rent.

    I have some investment property and speak with some experience, not just an opinion
    You have got to learn from other people's mistakes! Because God knows you don't live long enough to make them all yourself !!!!!!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL.
    Posts
    4,313
    You had a used condenser installed on an old system - you're not gonna find a coil that's not used to match-up w/it. So my opinion is, you're making a mountain out of a mole hill on that one.

    As far as the other issues mentioned I'm beginning to wonder if you're a slumlord looking for the cheap repair on everything. To that I say, you get what you pay for & if you want quality work then you're gonna have to pay for it. Sorry.

    Air conditioning repair/installation has no Walmart equivalent, that is to say, while you may be able to get genuine, money-saving deals @ Walmart it's not the same w/HVAC repair. You will almost ALWAYS get what you pay for.
    WHY?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    he gave you what you wanted and at the time as you wanted saved you a few bucks. Now if you wanted new he could have done that also but would have cost that much more

    things happen with old unit and good or bad we can not predict when bad will happen

    you didnt have the funds for new and elected or even asked for used and then you question his intentions. Tipical

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,842
    We are not trying to be harsh but you answered your own questions basically. When you start with junk, you end up with junk. You seem happy with YOUR new equipment and how it was installed, that says it all. Blocked condensate lines can happen anytime. Old compressors drawing too many amps and frying wires, everyday. Asking for a condenser on the cheap (a used one at that) and then wondering if it is a system match, not going to happen. Bearings going out a MONTH later, that ones a "tail light warranty". Your contractor KNOWS what you want, and he's trying to give it to you.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Powell River, BC, Canada
    Posts
    763
    Quote Originally Posted by marianlibrarian View Post
    I just didn't want to spend $ if I didn't have to on a rent house.
    That one line speaks volumes. Why is THEIR comfort less important than your own? It's this very attitude that causes high tenant turnover, lower quality tenants and consequently more time and cost to YOU!
    Where are you? Are you done yet? I got ONE more call for you.....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,721
    jovusun, this is the Ask Our Pro's forum, and only Pro members that have been vetted by the AOPC may post advise here. Please apply to the AOPC today, thank you.

    You can find the rules for posting and qualifications here.


    Further infractions may result in loss of posting privileges.
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    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    11

    Let me be clear

    The compressor was a year or 2 old but removed bcause it was undersized and couldn't keep up where it was installed. Should that be put in the landfill?

    I had 15" of attic insulation blown in all 3 of my rent houses prior to renting them. Not one prospective tenant has ever asked me about attic insulation. I hate waste, my money or theirs--but I also believe it will save wear and tear on my systems.

    The tenant in the used compressor house is renting for well below market rent and I am not raising the rent until her daughter graduates from high school in May 2013. I have known her for years and she was having trouble paying $200 more per month a few blocks over.

    You think I am cheap. I put 25% down on my rentals and own my home free and clear. Your tax money will never be used to bail me out. I drive a 2000 Silverado but I take good care of it and I expect to keep it a while longer. The last bank foreclosure I bid on had granite in the kitchen, mine has ceramic tile.

    And yes I bought a 2005 Ameristar unit off craigslist. 2.5 compressor, 3 ton Aspen coil and Ameristar gas furnace. The "HVAC Team" sold the homeowner a package energystar deal that required he buy ductwork, insulation, solar screens and a certain seer system to get a low interest city green loan and the 2008-9? tax rebate. Great advice to trash a 3 year old system--kind of the slumlord equivalent in the AC industry. No?

    They told him he could sell his 3 year old system for $. He never got any bids and reposted it numerous times. The last time was just after Christmas for 75% less and I jumped on it. I had just had the 2009-10 used compressor installed 11/22/2011 for seven hundred dollars (instead of thirty eight for a complete new system.) And I was hoping to find a scratch and dent or something because I read that without a new coil the compressor would have a very limited lifespan. The installer said I wouldn't get the seer performance with the old indoor components but I was fine with that as the bills had been very reasonable. He didn't mention the lifespan issue.

    The savings on the electric bill of a new system for the tenant would be offset by higher rent to pay for it. I actually don't know how much savings that would even be anyway. 1200 sq ft house. R42 in attic and a large tree shading most of the house. 8 seer vs 12 seer? What do you think? Eleven cents a kilowatt hour or maybe more because she has bad credit because of the divorce.
    Last edited by beenthere; 02-25-2012 at 03:58 PM. Reason: price

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,829
    It would seem you're trying to do some things correctly but perhaps are sending mixed messages. We're certainly getting mixed messages and so I suspect is your contractor. We also do work for landlords and I can tell you that the vast majority want the cheapest repair they can get. Same thing for building management companies and insurance companies. However, there are the few exceptional landlords for whom we do service work and they put more value on getting repair requests taken care of in a respectable amount of time, understand they're not getting the lowest price but are happy that they don't have to 'ride herd' on the repair company, their phone isn't ringing with unhappy tenants and life goes on smoothly.

    The question is really, which type of landlord are you? You seem reasonable. Does your contractor get clear guidance on how a repair should be done? Have you addressed the issue of "tell me if what I'm requesting is not in the best long term interest of either myself or my tenant"? If not, perhaps it's time. Allowing an otherwise contractor to continue making decisions for you that he thinks are in accordance with your wishes, when in fact they're not, is unfair to the contractor. I don't think you need a new contractor, you just need to buy him a cup of coffee and have the conversation. I'm betting he'll welcome the conversation and be only too happy to accommodate you.
    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!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    11

    But to ask the question again

    Should one always replace the coil when replacing the compressor?

    And what kind of problems should a pre-season inspection prevent or predict? Does a compressor show signs of failing a month before. Do the bearings go out on something in a month with no warning?

    I called the supply house that sold the Ameristar matched system initially and got a referral for an individual AC guy and he came out and gave me a bid. He also trashed the "generic" aspen coil and told me numerous stories of AC guys ripping people off. It started to be rather bazaar.

    I don't want to use him. But I'm mad that my regular guy didn't didn't replace the coil at the same time as the compressor if that was in my best interest both from a labor cost and from a system preservation point of view.

    So I guess I need to get another bid. I don't like yelp because it can be faked. BBB seems like extortion and the members seem to be larger firms so probably won't switch out used units--and you don't know if you'll get the new guy.

    Also, my usual guy put a drier on the line with the new compressor. He said he'd put another new drier on the line for a hundred when he put the furnace and coil on. But the outside compressor probably has been used 3 or 4 days since installed late Nov. Why would the drier need to be replaced? Wouldn't it make more sense to do it mid season after it had been used a while?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    11
    Thanks for responding. I have talked alot with my ac guy. I've used him for years. I have used another company 3 times and gotten 3 different guys. They were all fine, except one tried to sell me a thermostadt. The tenant said it worked fine, but I got a new one at HD and put it in. Later I read that the lifespan for a thermostadt is something like 40 years. I don't know what to think. He was the one that replaced something that the bearings were out on for five hundred. I'd have to check the receipt to see what he replaced--but I'm sure it was correct because the unit works fine 1.5 years later.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,829
    Quote Originally Posted by marianlibrarian View Post
    Should one always replace the coil when replacing the compressor?

    Did you ask for a new coil? The point I'm making is that you led the contractor down a dirty path by ASKING for a cheap way out. Will the used condenser work with the old coil? YES it will. Will you get the maximum efficiency of a matched system? NO you won't. But you didn't ask him for any of those options. Your approach to the whole issue is a bit of a bait and switch tactic. You did your research after you baited the poor tech by asking for a USED condenser and now you've switched your emphasis to efficiency. That's just plain not fair.

    And what kind of problems should a pre-season inspection prevent or predict? Does a compressor show signs of failing a month before. Do the bearings go out on something in a month with no warning?

    I called the supply house that sold the Ameristar matched system initially and got a referral for an individual AC guy and he came out and gave me a bid. He also trashed the "generic" aspen coil and told me numerous stories of AC guys ripping people off. It started to be rather bazaar.

    I don't want to use him. But I'm mad that my regular guy didn't didn't replace the coil at the same time as the compressor if that was in my best interest both from a labor cost and from a system preservation point of view.

    So I guess I need to get another bid. I don't like yelp because it can be faked. BBB seems like extortion and the members seem to be larger firms so probably won't switch out used units--and you don't know if you'll get the new guy.

    You can all around until your dialing finger gets sore but I doubt you're going to improve things. Why not just tell the guy you've been using what the score is? You didn't tell him that before and now YOU'RE upset? He's the one who should be upset. It was YOU who changed the rules. You can't have it both ways. You're being unreasonable.

    Also, my usual guy put a drier on the line with the new compressor. He said he'd put another new drier on the line for a hundred when he put the furnace and coil on. But the outside compressor probably has been used 3 or 4 days since installed late Nov. Why would the drier need to be replaced? Wouldn't it make more sense to do it mid season after it had been used a while?
    He's following standard procedure for opening a refrigerant system. If the system gets opened, the filter drier gets replaced. That's standard good industry practice. So there you go again, hanging the man for doing the right thing. I think you need to back up and take a look at how you're treating this tech. From here, I don't think I'd appreciate having you for a customer in all honesty.
    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!

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