Frustrating HVAC purchase/installation
Here is the situation:
My husband and I bought a 95 year old renovated farm house. When we bought it, it had a propane furnace on 1/2 of the house and standalone propane heaters on the other but no AC system. We are in North Texas and it gets 110+ in the summers and -5 in the winters. So one of our first priorities was a central heat/air system. We decided to use a well known nationwide company that offered great prices and servicing. They came out to our house, did an evaluation and sold us a Propane furnace and Electric AC unit for $$$$$ and scheduled an installation time. The contractors that were sent left (2) 2 ft x 1 ft holes where old return vents were, cut registers in wrong rooms, and stepped through the ceiling. Within 2 weeks we were having problems. We came home one evening to a HUGE water stain underneath where the furnace/blower was up in the attic and the AC not turning on at all. The contractors were sent back out and fixed it (blamed it on us for not changing the filter even though it had only been on 2 weeks). Within a week we had another water stain in the same place. They fixed it. Next day ANOTHER Water stain and more workers to fix it. This has been going on/off for last 6 months.
The other night we came home and the AC/furnace not working AGAIN. The contractors came back out and said that the furnace was set up for natural gas and not propane and it burnt out a switch and "shut off" the whole system. They converted it to propane and its working for the moment. The contractors say that the company didn't tell them that we were on propane. We had been using the furnace on the wrong fuel source for over 6 months! In the 6 months we've had the system there have been over 9 problems and I've had to call them over 25 times.
I haven't called the company back that sold us the unit and is responsible for servicing/warranty. I've been trying to let my temper cool down before speaking to them. After paying $$$ for something I had expected better quality and service and not constant inconveniences and frustrations for the last 6 months. And now I know that they put out entire family and home at risk with installing the furnace for the wrong fuel type. Even though there are safeties in place, so many things have gone wrong with the unit at this point I question whether they would have continued to work correctly.
What would you do in this situation? I'm at the end of my rope on dealing with this and need some advice on how to deal with the company that sold us the unit.
Last edited by jpsmith1cm; 10-30-2012 at 04:44 PM.
I would call in another contractor to fix the mistakes then hand the bill to the company that installed it. If that doesn't work go to small claims court.
The "we didn't know it wqs propane" priceless.
post some pics if you can.
Wow! Just Wow!!!
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". -Vernon Law-
"Skilled Labor Isn't Cheap, Cheap Labor Isn't Skilled" - Unknown
I think you'd given them more than enough opportunities to correct the problems. Time to brign in someone else fix everything that was done incorrectly.
I feel for you. While I didn't have as many problems as you on my home, I has to correct quite a few sloppy installation issues including things as simple as not glueing PVC vent pipe. Now I know why PVC glue is tinted purple.
I agree to hand them the bill, or simply subtract it from the original proposal. If they refuse to pay it or negotiate a protion of it, then I'd resubmit it with a letter from a lawyer highlighting the serious safety issues. Not knowing that it was propane and not natural gas... I would consider that gross neglegence on their part. If they followed even the most basic procedure and checked incomming gas pressure, they should have realized it was WAYYYY too high to be natural gas.
Not converting a NG furnance to LP is a MAJOR fire hazard! I'm happy no one was hurt.
Your heat exchanger is now clogged with soot. It needs to be pulled and cleaned (at the least). And even if cleaned, it still may not ever be correct.
Call another contractor. Your current contractor has already endangered your home and family. DO NOT allow them to work on your equipment again.
Here in Missouri, we (the HVAC contractor) has to have our employees/installers certified to install or service Propane furnaces. I'd check with your state. As to the "did not know" you were using Propane, uh.....it's THEIR responsibility to know stuff like that! Horrible excuse. I agree with others, to hire a competent HVAC person to look over installation, note problems, and then you send them a letter requiring they correct. Give them a firm deadline, and if not corrected, hire contractor to correct, and then go after initial company. Right now I'd start with the BBB complaint, and maybe internet postings to help others not have same problem. Don't delay on this as you'll have more problems the longer you wait.
Oh yeah, have the independent contractor check the furnace as it may be damaged beyond repair by using the wrong orfices for six months!
What national company was it? One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning? They will repair all problems for you.
you need to know what it would take & cost to have it fixed/replaced/repaired properly.
this would mean having another company evaluating the system.
not home depot or sears..btw.
sounds like your hvac company was sub contracted ..maybe thru nationwide set up like
sears & hd..who knows..and at this point..it is moot.
6 months out from install..company is paid.
the good thing..is that in a/c mode the heating fuel source isn't an issue.
so it is only the last few weeks of operation in heating mode that is the source
not to make light of the issue..just trying to find something positive.
at least it is the beginning of the heating season..and not 6 months into it.
once you have a comprehenisve evaluation of what is going on..then you
negotiate with original installer.
if your equipment is registered with mfg..you can switch the warrenty to another
I'd be shopping for that company..now.
I've never seen tech measure gas pressure. even seen techs sit on propane tank
without realizing that propane is fuel source..you can't fix stupid.
so cool down, shop for contractor of same brand, get refrences. get evaluation.
negotiate. be as civil as possible. (this would be biggest difficulty for me)
there should be some compensation for water stains in this negotiation also,
if leaks caused staining on interior of ceilings.
check site map here for someone in your area.
btw..mods will edit out pricing. not allowed on this site.
sorry to hear you have had such a bad experience. hope you have
better experience with another company.
best of luck.
The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato
Pricing isn't allowed here.
I edited the original post to remove it.
wo hold the door
document, document every step
try to get the owner or official of said company out to give the first assesment
when in court this will mean alot
sounds like they have returned each and every time you have called them so try going to the top
ask them to remove it and refund all moneys paid .hope it was not the lowest bidder
I supposed they didn't notice the huge propane tank in the yard?