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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    10

    blower motor replaced - am I being ripped off?

    Hi everybody,

    I have a 3.5 ton heat pump by Rheem. Summertime, hot weather. I noticed the blower motor would not kick on even though the outside compressor was still running. Coils were starting to ice up by the air handler.

    I call the A/C guys who come out after it thaws; they disconnect the power and re-connect it again and the blower motor works. They tell me to call if it happens again.

    Well a few hours later the same thing happened again. They came out the next day and discover the blower motor is shot and needs to be replaced but it's under warranty. I know I still have to pay for labor; when someone works they need to be paid. But they are charging me 1 hour for one guy and 2 hours for the other guy, for a total of *** bucks.

    So my question is, does *** dollars to troubleshoot and replace a bad blower motor still under warranty sound like a fair price?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Mechanicsville, Virginia
    Posts
    1,417
    FYI: Discussing pricing is against forum rules, but prices vary by locality, that may seem inexpensive in a different area.

    It wouldn't hurt to ask your provider to explain the pricing, the nature of the failure and if the root cause has been remedied.

    It's good practice for the mechanic to show you the failure and leave your parts with you, but for warranty purposes, the parts often have to be returned to the distributor and a claim has to be filed. Some distributors even charge service companies a warranty processing fee.
    "If perfection is your goal, you may end up with good enough, what might you end up with when good enough is your goal?"
    efficientcomfort.net

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    10
    Sorry about that - I removed the price they are charging me. Is it ok to ask whether 3 hours is a reasonable invoice to troubleshoot and replace a blower motor still under warranty?

    They told me the reason for failure was that the capacitor in the blower motor was shot. They said they have problems with this type of blower motor failing, and they have moved away from Rheem as a result.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Mechanicsville, Virginia
    Posts
    1,417
    3 hours could be reasonable. A typical travel/diagnostic fee can be greater than the hourly rate. Difficulty of the repair and access to the equipment can justify the time. (and there is the claims process)

    It's also reasonable that the first technician might have determined the failure on the first trip and therefore a second would not have been needed.

    Most all companies want their customers to be satisfied and would welcome a chance to address your concerns. A quick call to the service manager should clear things up.
    "If perfection is your goal, you may end up with good enough, what might you end up with when good enough is your goal?"
    efficientcomfort.net

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    2,620

    blower motor replaced - am I being ripped off?

    There's a lot of factors that go into pricing a warranty item. Did they install it? How old is it? 6 months? 4 years? Huge difference. Even if the first tech diagnoses it correctly there'd likely still be a second visit since for warranty they'd need to obtain the OEM parts. The other thing to consider is how accessable is it? Some motors come out easy, others require major disassembly.

    If you're still concerned I agree with penderway, definitely call the service manager and ask about it. I'm sure he can give you a much better explanation than an internet forum that's never seen your install.
    Good? Bad? I'm the guy with the gun.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    10
    Yeah I get that. I'm not just randomly asking an internet forum instead of talking to them. I am very familiar with the accessibility and install (easy). I framed the house and facilitated the installation for them during the new construction phase (same HVAC company installed system 3 yrs ago during build).

    I am just trying to get some perspective, because to me it seems like I am paying for them to figure out what they're doing. They come out twice because they can't problem-solve very well. I told them from the start that the blower motor was the problem. I've been down this road with them before, so I anticipate getting a lot of BS when I call them. And I will be calling them for sure

    But I am ready to jump ship and go with a different tech company. So what I am asking you guys is if you had to troubleshoot this blower motor, which is in a comfortable walk-in mechanicals room, and replace it, would 3 hours seem like a reasonable time to get the job done? Take the panel off the air handler and the blower is right there. The first day you spend 20 minutes and seem to think everything is working fine, only to be called back the next day because it's failing again. Then you replace it, and you didn't even have to climb in an attic or gingerly step over any joist bays.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold.calm
    Posts
    6,094

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,371
    If in the end they told you the capacitor was bad, the tech should have caught that the first day by checking the capacitor with his meter. Experienced techs can also look for indications a blower motor itself may be failing.

    That's all hindsight. Your motor was under warranty, so you're only out for labor. I would take my lumps on this one and then go forth in search of a more competent service company. Seems to me you already have doubts about your current provider; if that's so I doubt taking them to the wall over this repair will get you more satisfactory service in the future. Nor would I put much confidence they would adjust your bill.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    10
    Thanks everybody for your input. I love this place!

    I will post a new thread when I get time about the failure of blower motor itself.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Mechanicsville, Virginia
    Posts
    1,417
    It's a common belief that when someone calls an HVAC company for a repair, that they'll get a licensed and well trained service technician and not a well trained installer or salesman.

    But this is not always the case. Here in Virginia as long as one state licensed mechanic (usually the owner) is on the payroll then the company is an official State Licensed HVAC company.

    They can send anyone they wish to your house or building to make repairs. If the repair involves working with CFC's or HCFC's, well then an EPA Certification is required. This certifies that the certificate holder has shown at least a minimal understanding of the rules and regulations governing the these refrigerants. Kind of like having to know the rules of the road to get a drivers permit.

    I advocate that consumers ask for credentials. Other professions require formal education, training and testing for someone to claim they are a professional. I think it's time ours did too.
    "If perfection is your goal, you may end up with good enough, what might you end up with when good enough is your goal?"
    efficientcomfort.net

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