Cracked drain pan in newer Lennox
Water drips out of the side of my Lennox GCS12 AC/heater unit that sits on the roof. The leak makes a large puddle on the patio.
The unit was installed new in July 2005, three years ago.
Week before last, the company that installed it came out for the twice a year maintenance service and changed the filter. I told him about the leaking. He checked it out, and i thought he said there was no problem.
But the puddle kept returning and i can see the dripping coming out of the side of the unit.
So last Monday i called them to say this was still happening. I was given an appointment for Wednesday between 4 and 6. At 5:30 no one had come and i called. I was told i didn't have an appointment on Wednesday, my appointment was from 4 to 6 on Thursday. I had stayed home from work on Wednesday. Apparently they wrote my appointment down for Thursday even though they told me Wednesday.
I needed to be at work on Thursday. but, i took the afternoon off because i need to have the AC fixed. It was stressful to miss work and not be able to get work done, and to rush home through the traffic.
I got to my home exactly at 4. The phone was ringing, it was the technician calling, asking if i was there and if he could come over. Then, we talked about the problem, on the phone, and he remembered when he was out the week before, and he said he had tried to fix the problem by sealing the leak when he was there but apparently it didn't work.
So then he said the drain pan was cracked. He said there was no point in him coming over that day because he needed the drain pan part which would have to be ordered, and also the labor would take a while. I was upset about having to take time off from work just to be told he couldn't fix it until some time in the future. I missed work two days in a row because they gave me appointments and then no one came.
He said he would call the office and call me back and tell me how much this would cost. He called back and said that usually it costs $750 but since i'm a regular customer, they will do the repair for $475, and he will let me know when the part comes in.
I did not feel good about this, so today, i called another company and they came out to to look at the unit. The man said the other guy had wrapped duct tape around the drain pipe, which he had to peel off. He said the drain pan was cracked. He said this is a very unusual unheard of repair in newer models, the pan is made of plastic and is made to last many years. He said that the cause of the crack appeared to be that whoever installed it did not provide any support for the drain line. The drain line, as i could see, was hanging in the air, it was not laying on the roof but was suspended about 4 to 6 inches above the roof. He said when water is in the drain line, it can get heavy and the weight of the drain line pulling down has cracked the drain pan. He said that proper installation would've involved putting two by fours under the drain line so that its weight would be supported.
He also said there was no P trap attached to the the parts and that a P trap needed to be installed.
He also said that the return duct had come loose and was hanging free and was sucking hot air from my attic, instead of whatever it's supposed to be doing. He said the return duct needed to be reattached.
So the needed repairs included a new drain pan, repair or alteration of the drain line so that it would either lay on the roof or be supported by 2x4s, installation of a P trap, and re-connecting of the return duct. He said that just replacement of the drain pan with parts and labor would be $375. But he said the additional work, installing the P trap, reconnecting the return duct, fixing the drain line so that it was supported, would bring the cost up higher, he wasn't sure what, but guessed it would be around $700 total.
He said he recommended that i not have his company do the work. He said that the problems were all the result of improper installation, that i should not have any of these problems with this almost new unit, and that in the 10 years he's been working for this company, he's never seen a cracked drain pan since they've been using plastic. He said that's why the part has to be ordered, they don't keep them on hand because it's not a common repair.
He said the damage to the drain pan is not from normal wear and tear, and is not from any kind of misuse. It's unrelated to maintenance or lack of.
So, now, i'm waiting til Monday to call the company that installed the unit and ask them to fix it at their own expense and to make it the way it's supposed to be when installed properly.
Because i know nothing about any of this, i am posting here in hopes of having some other opinions about the likelihood of a cracked drain pan on a Lennox 12GCS installed in 2005, and whether this is a failure that a customer should have to pay to have fixed. The guy from the second company said that Lennox has a 5 year warranty on parts, but that this is only if they are defective, and that it's probably not a defect in the plastic, in fact, he said there was no sign that the plastic was defective. He said it appeared that the weight of the drain line pulling down on the pan caused it to crack.
If approaching the company who installed the unit is the right thing to do, i would like pointers on how to ask in a respectful way that invites the company to do the right thing, and i am nervous about the fact that i don't have any technical knowledge about this, and if they tell me that this is a normal wear and tear problem, i don't know what more i can say. I plan to say that i wanted to get a second opinion so i had this other company look at it, considering how new it is, i wanted to double check on having such an expensive repair, and tell them what the other company said--he put it in writing on the invoice for the service call.
The guy from the second company said if the first company won't agree to fix it, i should call Lennox and ask them for help in solving the problem. He said they are a good company and they could either intervene with the company that installed the unit, or they could pay to have another company fix it.