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08-03-2005, 03:37 PM #1Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
OK, after much investigation, I finally found what I thought was a reputable company to replace my A/C. I asked all the right questions, they gave me all the right answers, plus they had a good rating on Angie's list. When the installer got here, though, and I asked how he was going to charge the unit, he said he'd just weigh what he takes out, and recharge to about the same amount. Of course I told him that wasn't what your boss said, the president and salesman of the company, he said they'd use superheat/subcool. Then the s/tech said he could do that if I wanted.
After he pulled the refrigerant out of the system he took his brazing equipment down the basement and was about to start replacing the filter/dryer and I asked him if he was purging with nitrogen. He said yes, but then he went out to the truck to get the nitrogen tank and he proceeded to hook it up to his gauge set. He then went down the basement, but when I checked the nitrogen, it was not flowing at all. I listened, and checked the valve and it was clearly seated closed, when I turned the valve just to unseat it, it moved the needle on the gauge quite a bit, so apparently he had the system closed. When I questioned this he said it was on very low. Then he told me how bad burning refrigerant was for you when you brazed a joint, he said it produced phosgene (or something like that). If the system had been properly evacuated, how much refrigerant should be left in the line? After this he pulled a vac to 500 microns, but had a leak. He rebrazed the area, and 10 minutes later (first evac took 30 minutes) said everything was fine.
So I ask the supervisors and managers out there how you make sure your techs are following procedure. One of the problems I see in this business is that a bad install might not become readily apparent for years, when it manifests itself premature compressor failure due to acid in the system (now I wish I'd gone for the Lennox with a 10 year warrant, instead of Rheems 5 yr). The average consumer has no idea what the proper procedures are, and though the sales people know what to say when you ask their procedures, how do you ensure they follow that procedure in practice?
Due to so many bad techs in the business, is it any wonder I'm hesitant to sign up for a periodic maintenance program. I don't want some guy I've never met opening up my system. My position is, and I apologize if this offends anyone, as I know PM business is good business for many of you, that I will clean my own coils, change my own filters, and oil my own motors. If I do that myself, I expect my new install to run trouble free for at least 15 years, just like my last one did, and I'll save the $2250 I would have spent for the PM over that period of time, and be assured some hack didn't muck up my system.
I know many on this board are keen to point out that this isn't a do it yourself instruction website. I don't mind one bit paying good money for professional service work, but professionals are few and far between in the HVAC business. I know hacks are everywhere and I don't mean to pick on HVAC, but the fact is that there are few services that have such a long lag time between the service call and a failure due to sloppy incompetent workmanship. A system can cool fine, but come year 6 the compressor fails and it's "just one of those things" and a "sorry your no longer under warranty."
08-03-2005, 03:56 PM #2
Not getting what you paid for is wrong.
Touching the valve on a bottle that is under pressure without telling the tech before you did so is equally as wrong.
Seems like a wash to me .
08-03-2005, 04:02 PM #3Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
Ed, I know it was wrong touching the valve bottle. Sorry that I don't like getting lied to by people I'm paying good money to perform a service. I seriously doubt it's a wash, maybe a whitewash, but not a wash.
08-03-2005, 04:08 PM #4Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Mar 2005
- Serving Northern Va and surounding area
Just what I thought another homeowner that thinks he knows everything. If I was at your home and you were wacthing every move I make and I can smell your breath I would pack my tools up. Stand back let us do our job yes there are some untrained people out there and there are some hack homeowners spending a dollar to save a nickle too.
Leave it to a pro.
08-03-2005, 04:08 PM #5
First you should forward what you wrote here to the owner/ manager of the company because as much as we would like to know everything that happens it just isnt possible
The tech may not be following company procedures in which case it would be quality control and the company should thank you
Also I agree with Ed if you would have touched anything to take my safety into your own hands while I was on a job we would not have been friendly very long
08-03-2005, 04:32 PM #6Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
hvac35tec, it's just that type of attitude that ticks us homeowners off. I didn't hover over this guy, but I sure as hell did pay attention to what he was and wasn't doing. As a homeowner, I can tell you that I have a right to know if I'm getting ripped off or not. When the first thing out of this guys mouth was that he is just going to recharge to the amount that was in there, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and I knew then I had to be attentive to what this guy was doing. Buy the way hvac35tec, if you can't stand up to the scrutiny of a homeowner, get out of the business. You're supposed to be a pro, right? No REAL pro minds someone asking questions and getting involved, in fact they encourage it. I'll take the critic on touching the nitrogen bottle, but I knew it was nitrogen. You techs need to get the chip off your shoulder and step up to the plate as professionals instead of covering for each other. I've had four companies to my house, after the first company installed an evaporator without even pulling a vac on the system. And, by the way, I didn't go with the lowest bidder either, I went with the company that I thought I wouldn't have to watch over and check every move. I know there are some real pros on this board and I can assure you my respect for you is sincere and you are worth every cent of what you charge, as for the other s/techs that aren't professional, you know who you are and you know what I think.
Lastly, dhvac, I am going to talk to the owner of the company. I thought I'd give it a day or two to at least see how the system performs. This fellows brazing looks a little sloppy to me.
08-03-2005, 04:59 PM #7
When you are running only 1 or 2 psi of nitro though the lines, it is hardly detectable to the untrained homeowner.
If he was on the other end brazing and you opened up that pressure on him, it could've been ugly.
Very bad decision on your part.How tall are you Private???!!!!
08-03-2005, 05:17 PM #8Professional Member
- Join Date
- May 2004
maybee you should have installed it yourself- this is a hvac talk site not a complain and feel sorry site, that nitrogen thing is idiotic on your part-
08-03-2005, 05:25 PM #9Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
Yellow Dot, I have agreed that I shouldn't have done that. I can assure you that the nitrogen was not on, and it took considerable pressure just to open the valve (the valve was not even open slightly). I know I'm just a stupid homeowner, but I can tell if a valve is open or not. Having said that, your point is well taken that I shouldn't have touched it. I guess I was more than a little frustrated when I had to ask him if he even was going to use a purge at all. He only hooked the nitrogen up after I asked him if he was going to use it--as an afterthought. I'm just tired of the short cuts service techs take (in all professions) when I'm paying good money for a job done right. Being busy does not give a tech the license to cut corners on a job, and that is what too many techs do (usually at the homeowners expense).
While I am frustrated at incompetent techs, I sympathize with those techs that suffer many homeowners that don't have a clue but think they do. I'm sure hvac35tec thinks I are one, but I'm not. I did not stand over this guy, but I did ask a few questions, the answers to which were all unsatisfactory.
08-03-2005, 05:49 PM #10Originally posted by icemancommeth
I know I'm just a stupid homeowner,...
08-03-2005, 05:50 PM #11Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
Chicago Installer, I probably should have installed it myself. As I mentioned, I thought I was paying money for real expertise. I too am trying to educate here, but some of you aren't to quick to understand what you need to learn. All homeowners aren't idiots to be led down a path of smooth salesmanship without backing your talk up with action. I think it's called "talking the talk, and walking the walk." Few s/techs do it. It seems to me the only quality control in the business is,"let's throw the system together, and if it breaks we'll fix it, as long as it's under warranty, of course." This reminds me of how the U.S. auto manufacturers used to operate, until they finally realized the buying public was catching on to their ruse (and the Japanese manufacturers were kicking their ass).
I think the move to R410, because of it's more unforgiving nature, is going to weed out many of the shoddy installers/techs when the compressor manufacturers start getting more compressor failures due to contamination.
What's interesting is that no one here really answered my question about how to ensure techs follow procedure. Most just want to bad mouth me for catching a tech in a lie.
08-03-2005, 05:59 PM #12Banned
- Join Date
- Jun 2003
why watch over his shoulder?
Ok, I want my money's worth just like everybody else.
But calling a man's boss and asking what "procedure" is is going a bit far.
For one one thing ther are many different schools of technical practice.
Some mfr. tech depts will tell you using nitrogen is optional.
I have had techs expierence severe flame blow back from nitrogen pushing oil thru the line and ruining the braze.
Most would agree that a proper sized or even a larger filter drier would offset any scaling in the coppe lines from brazing.
Weighing in a charge with a scale is as accurate as you can get if you know what the addtion factor for refrigeratn per foot of the line set. You can adjust the charge according by weight.
Super heat and subcollong will just bare out your amount of charge.
08-03-2005, 06:16 PM #13
This whole story just makes no sense. Lets start from the top.
Homeowner "after much investigation, I finally found what I thought was a reputable company to replace my A/C"
I can only assume you replaced the condenser and not the entire A/C system.
Homeowner "I asked all the right questions, they gave me all the right answers,"
Translation....They saw you coming a mile away and told you what you wanted to hear. Just like an auto salesperson.
Homeowner "and I asked how he was going to charge the unit, he said he'd just weigh what he takes out, and recharge to about the same amount"
If the Tech recovered all the gas say 5lb's, is doing a "Like for like" changeout (same unit out, new/same style unit in) and the new unit comes charged with 3lb's then he only needs to charge with 2lbs of recovered refrigerant. Because he recovered your freon it is acceptable under EPA laws to use recovered gas for your new unit. I see nothing wrong with what he did on the contrary its a smart thing to do. Why waste virgin freon when you can legally use recovered freon!
Ok lets move on
Homeowner "Of course I told him that wasn't what your boss said, the president and salesman of the company, he said they'd use superheat/subcool"
The Tech. did the right thing by keeping his mouth shut here. The best way to charge a residential or any unit is to use the manufacture charging chart..PERIOD!!!!!!!!!
Homeowner "Then the s/tech said he could do that if I wanted"
Translation from tech..............what ever
Homeowner "After he pulled the refrigerant out of the system he took his brazing equipment down the basement and was about to start replacing the filter/dryer and I asked him if he was purging with nitrogen"
The fact that he went down to the basement to remove a dryer from the line set said alot to me.
Homeowner "when I checked the nitrogen, it was not flowing at all. I listened, and checked the valve and it was clearly seated closed, when I turned the valve just to unseat it, it moved the needle on the gauge quite a bit, so apparently he had the system closed"
This one HURTS!!! As a point of interest my nitro. gauge starts at 25lb's!!!!! How the HELL can you tell if 1,2,3,4,5,or .5 psi are being supplied..........YOU CANT!!
I love this one "I turned the valve just to unseat it, it moved the needle on the gauge quite a bit" QUITE A BIT!!!! thats an understatement!! Do you know SIR just how much PSI are in that Nitrogen tank?????
Again lets move on
Homeowner "If the system had been properly evacuated, how much refrigerant should be left in the line?"
Ok sir you did say he went to the basement to braze. So if we say that a basement is a below ground dwelling then the evap. coil is below the condenser. IT IS VERY POSSIBLE FOR REFRIGERANT VAPORS TO BE TRAPPED BY OIL IN THE SYSTEM EVEN IF YOU PULLED 1000 MICRONS. But of coarse you know this.
Homeowner "as I know PM business is good business for many of you, that I will clean my own coils, change my own filters, and oil my own motors."
It's been awhile since I've done Residential work..I thought all the motors had sealed bearings????
P.S. I hope you don't think just water works for cleaning a coil. If that where the case then the rain, and I'm sure you have that in La-La land to, would clean the coil for you.
Homeowner "but the fact is that there are few services that have such a long lag time between the service call and a failure due to sloppy incompetent workmanship"
I did not hear about one incompetent thing yet that this technician did?????
As a matter of fact sounds like he did a fine job of keeping a level head with you.
LISTEN SIR, IM SURE THIS TECHNICIAN WOULD NOT KNOCK THE BROOM OUT OF YOUR HANDS WHEN YOU WORK.
This man did a fine job