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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Hi,

    Firstly, I apologize for this lengthy post, but I felt like I needed to provide some background.

    I am a complete newbie on this board but I feel like I should have visited this while researching on a replacement unit for our 9-YO house. For some reason, while researching this topic, this board never showed up. I figured I just didn't enter the right search words. This board needs to be the first stop for any homeowner who wants to upgrade or replace HVAC systems.

    My story: We had about 4 bids for replacing our unit (the guy we hired to clean our external unit said that our compressor was on the verge of breaking down and that it was undersized [3.5 tons? not sure now] for our 2,100 sqft house. The lowest bid came in at around XK range and the highest came in at XK range [a bit high, but the contractor wanted to replace or fix the ductwork, upgrade registers, etc.]. We went with a XK range bid from Sears [I know--I did a search for "Sears" on this board and the results weren't that warm and fuzzy. But they threw in a 12-month no interest payment, etc. etc. and what appeared to be reasonable warranty arrangements]. The contractor came in and installed a new Kenmore 14 (4 ton) condenser unit as well as a new evaporator (up in the attic). The sales people who came over did not recommend new lines or duct work or offer a new thermostat (the tstat angle will become an important issue towards the end of this post).

    We detected the first "freezing" incident last March when it got warm in our area. Called it in, contractor came, checked the pressure, made sure the drain lines were clear, and left. We didnt run the AC until about a month ago and then then the "freezing" restarted. Contractor came in again and "adjusted the fan speed." Ran OK for about a couple of weeks and then the freezing came back. Called the Sears help line, lady told me to run the fan until the icing goes away and that the contractor would come in 2 days. Contractor called (didn't come) and told me to call him if it freezes again. Called the contractor 2 times in 2 days because the line was freezing everytime I came home from work. He called again and claimed that Sears techs diagnosed it as "thermostat" problems but he would not come in on the clock because it was not covered by the warranty. At that point, I was totally sorry I went with Sears. With my family to think of, I told the Sears rep "fine, I will pay him after he replaces the thermostat and if the freezing will go away." He is supposed to come in today and install the new thermostat.

    I hope the thermostat is the problem (did a search on this forum and found at least 2 hits indicating possible relationship with freezing). I did my own investigation and suspect something is not right, i.e., liquid line drier on what I suspect is the suction line? I this a proper way of installing the drier? I have attached a couple of pictures that would pretty much sum up my predicament. I would appreciate any comments from HVAC professionals on this board:





    (No pricing, due to site rules )

    [Edited by Jultzya on 05-20-2006 at 01:18 PM]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    michigan
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    674
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    You should have bought from a reputable contractor instead of a credit company that sells stuff. Trane offers financing and I'm sure all the rest of the manufactors do too. Call a real service company to straighten out your unit before you need a warrenty compressor.
    Good luck
    Wally
    I am the "Wally". All others are meer imitations of the original.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks for the response. After the 2nd phone call I realized I made a terrible mistake. I will make sure I refer people to this site if I become aware that they are contemplating any HVAC-related projects.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Portage
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    Gee i love your low volt wiring! did they replace the line-set?I was always not to leave a suction line drier on a system longer than 2 weeks,have them check for pressure/temp drop @ the suction line and the drier
    I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos-Equis. I am the most interesting man in the world. Stay thirsty my friends.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    29
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    Thread Starter
    I have seen other posts of low volt wiring dangling around and apparently some amused responses from the pros on board. Oh well. What I thought were technical reps (I now realize they were just salespeople) did not recommend replacing any lines---they sold me a new condenser, a new evaporator, got conned (willingly--my 5YO has allergies) into purchasing the high efficiency (passive) filters, and almost (almost), bought into the UV light idea. BTW, the contractor told me to remove the high efficiency filters after the 2nd service call.

    So there are no apparent problems with the setup (liquid line drier on what I think is the suction line)? Update: the line froze up again and both lines leading and going out of the compressor are cold.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Tucson AZ
    Posts
    55
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    what the

    I did not see any mention of replacing the furnace/blower is this correct? With a split system the blower, evaporator, condenser and metering device need to match. The thermostat is not your problem, the installation is. If your existing furnace is not rated to blow enough air across the evaporator coil then it will freeze up. Your existing furnace may not be adequate. I would suggest contacting the licensing agency in your area and register a complaint. You have major issues that if not corrected will cause more damage to your new system. This installation and the description of the work ie: not replacing the lines is poor quality at best. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    485
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    That's either a suction line drier or an accumulator.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    5,745
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    Why are they blaming the thermostat?

    Is the unit not shutting off? You could tell this if the house is getting too cold.

    Tell them to check the thermostat not just change it.

    You paid good money and deserve better.

    Does your local news do "help the consumer" type of stories? They probably would like doing a story on a company like Sears.

    Keep us posted. Know a good lawyer?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    29
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    Thread Starter

    Unhappy

    @sayco bob - thanks for the response. That is correct, the furnace/blower was not replaced. It wasn't even mentioned when the salespeople made their pitch. While I am pursuing getting this issue fixed with Sears and their contractor, I am now researching on how to file a complaint at the city, parish, state , and federal levels.

    @newoldtech - when the contractor and the Sears rep started to blame my thermostat, well, that got me really upset. The unit does shut off (the iced line blocks the flow?) and of course we're warmer than outside temp. Good point about the local news angle, definitely worth looking at.

    @star882 It says on the casing "ALCO Control" Liquid Line Filter Drier Model EK-307S. Apparently, there's lot of this stuff floating on EBAY. Pls see pic below.

    As for lawyers, well that's part of my current research activity. Don't want to do it, but I have to keep that option open. If any of y'all know a good one, we're in Northeast Louisiana/North Louisiana area.

    Again, I do appreciate all your responses. I am pretty sure others will stumble on this board and learn from all of this.



    [Edited by jj2000 on 05-20-2006 at 10:52 AM]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
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    So did they check to see if your duct work was big enough to handle the 1/2 ton increase in size.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Florida
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    First off, they have a liquid line drier installed on the suction line, and no visible drier installed on the liquid line, unless it's factory installed inside the condenser. If that's a heatpump, it appears to be the wrong drier. You really need to go talk to Sears about getting a contractor of your choice out to correct your problems. If the unit is turning on/off, it's not your t-stat causing the freezing problem. Tell Sears you expected more from them for your $$$, and sending Larry,Mo and Curly to diagnose the problem isn't going to cut it. With their "customer satisfaction" warranty, they'll receive their next payment from you when you're satisfied. Good luck.
    If everything was always done "by the book"....the book would never change.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Thread Starter
    @beenthere. The Sears guys (2 salespeople) checked the condenser, went up the attic, and recommended the system, which I assumed was compatible with our current duct work. It is entirely possible that our duct work cannot handle the 1/2 ton increase in size.

    @smokin68. I've attached a photo of the external unit. Does it answer the question of whether or not it's a heat pump? Thanks.

    Our contractor has to drive in over 50 miles across the state line. He just called me to pick up a new thermostat at Home Depot. This is really getting outa hand...

    Note: re "satisfaction guaranteed or your money back"---I mentioned this to the lady who has handling my case (escalated from call center to some regional, official sounding guy), says she: "well we keep fixing it until you are satisfied" (or something to that effect). Whew, I'm officially a trial and error demo here...

    By the way, the suction line (should be cold but not freezing cold), it goes in to the compressor, right? The other line, liquid line, goes out (should be warm?). I'm just trying to orient myself here when I talk with the contractor in a little bit.



    [Edited by jj2000 on 05-20-2006 at 01:11 PM]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Print out this page and show it to him. Let him know this is not acceptable. And you will not let them get away with it. I like the idea of not paying them any more money until they get it fixed properly. Just keep us posted and we will help you.


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