My AC stopped working and I called a local HVAC company to check it out. The prior home owner must have used them, as there were magnets attached to the indoor air handler. Let me describe what has happened since I called them; please comment on any part as I need advice on how to proceed (forgive me if it gets long winded):
The repairman took a look at the system (Lennox hp13-030-230-01 and Lennox cb19-31-2p) and said there was absolutely no freon in the system. Proceeded to add some freon and run a leak test. Said he found a small leak in the outdoor unit (only 4 yrs old so still under warranty) that could easily be fixed, but then found a large leak in the indoor coil. Said it would most likely cost more to fix, if he could even find a part, since the unit was 20+ years old. He gave me an estimate for a replacement air handler (2.5 ton Lennox model 030 was all he wrote on the estimate). He did say that I could probably run it for a while until the freon ran out (I turned the system off when he left). He told me in order to set up the repair, I had to pay half up front (right then). I stated I wanted to get a few more estimates. I paid him for the leak test and service call and he left).
I then got a few more estimates. Some said I had to replace both units because the old refrigerant was being phased out. Some said I could get the old refrigerant because they ship out dry and just need a TXV valve, or whatever it's called. One said I could even upgrade the new air handler to the NEW refrigerant down the road if the outside unit failed and I wanted to get a new outside unit running the new refrigerant.
I ended up going with the first company. Here is where everything seems to be going downhill. After talking to a sales/installation rep, I get a new estimate (two units that "still kept the outside unit warranty valid") for a CBX27UH030 or CBX32MV024-030. He said he'd call the next morning. The next day...nothing. I call late in the day and the operator says she would page him to call me. I later called his cell phone and left a message. No return call. Called the next evening after hours and the answering service apologizes and says he would page him as well as the on duty supervisor; he'd call back or there would be consequences. He calls and apologizes. We set up the install for the first day available and he said he'd be there before the install guy to pick up the paperwork and see where the small leak in the outside unit is to make sure it gets fixed properly.
Day of install comes and the install guy comes. No sales rep, though. I said he was supposed to be here first to see where the leak in the outside unit was. He knew nothing about it. It wouldn't have been fixed if I had not mentioned it. He apologized for the sales rep and got to work.
I left to run some errands (was going to take most of day). Got a call from install guy much later saying he was almost done. I get home and there are two extra trucks there. The sales guy was now there, as well as someone else. According to them, the outside unit had no low flow regulator, so over the winter when the freon ran out the compressor died and there was no way of knowing it until turning the system on after filling it with freon. Repair would cost more than a new outside unit. He said the good news is that if I got a new unit, they could use the original valve for modern refrigerant, PLUS he had just been to a meeting with a Lennox rep, who said he was willing to sell a 17 Seer for the cost of a 14 Seer, which is way better than any estimate I had received. He later called back and said he talked to the guy again and he would only do that if I bought a bunch of extras like solar panels. My new estimate for a 14 Seer is now more than estimates from other companies (not Lennox, but Payne, Bryant, and Carrier) for their 15 Seer packages.
I now feel trapped. They said they couldn't had known the compressor outside was bad until running it, which also "polluted" the lines and the TXV valve, which would need to be replaced. But I later remembered the original repair man had filled the system with some freon, and said I could continue to run it! I also have heard from a different company that they could have been able to tell if they had performed the leak test). He also tells me by the model number that the air handler he installed is only a 2 ton, instead of a 2.5 ton.
What are my options?? I feel they should remove the 2 ton and put in the 2.5 ton. I also feel they should replace the outside unit. I'd be willing to pay what he hinted at (a 17 Seer for the price of a 14 Seer). Otherwise, I think they should flip the cost of a 15 Seer, which I would have paid for, but now have no trust in them.
Please help. I'm more than willing to pay for good service, but I don't think I'm receiving it.