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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Dallas, TX
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    Brother's Tornado Damaged Condenser

    So my brother's house in NW Dallas was hit by the Oct 20th Tornado. It was an F2 tornado and the epicenter was just across the street from his house. This caused moderate damage to the exterior and heavy roof damage of the home. A 25 foot by about 8inch diameter tree branch from next door was flung into the condensing unit and was found resting against it. This dented the outside of the unit and shifted it about 30 degrees off the pad. The unit is a 2011 Trane XL16i two stage (single compressor) condensing unit.

    My brother is renting the house out and the tenants are able to live in the home while it is being repaired. Recently the property manager sent out their "HVAC tech" to check the outdoor unit and said it "checks out". I disagree with his assessment. Sure it works, but it makes noise that it didnt before (I know because I live next door). The outdoor unit makes a harmonic vibrating noise and sounds like metal rubbing on metal as if a cabinet part is rubbing on the coil. The unit is physically dented but is certified as leak free (for now).

    I insist that my brother hire a factory authorized Trane dealer to get a better evaluation because this unit is banged up and I think it is not going to last a very long time before developing problems. Since insurance would cover the cost of repair if damaged, we are not worried about cost because it would be covered. I am concerned about the unit springing a leak 6-8 months from now and not being covered by insurance.

    At the very least, I would think that the exterior cabinet panels dented should be replaced (one panel in particular has the spine fin coil mashed through it). I am sure the mechanical's of the unit are fine, but I think it needs to be disassembled, adjusted, and partially rebuilt as needed to ensure it works just as it did before the storm.

    Do you have any thoughts or recommendations? Should we look at a factory authorized Trane dealer? Should we ask for a senior technician (we dont want a greenhorn) to evaluate the health of the unit?

    We want to ensure it is fixed right the first time because insurance will not cover it later.
    Thanks,
    Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold, NY
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    25,542
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    From here I cant see the equipment but from what you described yes get a second opinion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    26,887
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    Insurance coverage is not legally based on 'that's close enough' - it is based on 'make you whole' - which is basically the 'like it never happened' concept.

    You can't make them pay for damage-not-in-evidence - but they are liable for actual damage. This would include replaced distorted panels and replacing a distorted coil.

    An Authorized Trade Dealer to evaluate the required repairs and then an attorney or a Public Adjuster if required to make the insurance company live up to their policy's promises.

    PHM
    --------



    Quote Originally Posted by chrisivc View Post
    So my brother's house in NW Dallas was hit by the Oct 20th Tornado. It was an F2 tornado and the epicenter was just across the street from his house. This caused moderate damage to the exterior and heavy roof damage of the home. A 25 foot by about 8inch diameter tree branch from next door was flung into the condensing unit and was found resting against it. This dented the outside of the unit and shifted it about 30 degrees off the pad. The unit is a 2011 Trane XL16i two stage (single compressor) condensing unit.

    My brother is renting the house out and the tenants are able to live in the home while it is being repaired. Recently the property manager sent out their "HVAC tech" to check the outdoor unit and said it "checks out". I disagree with his assessment. Sure it works, but it makes noise that it didnt before (I know because I live next door). The outdoor unit makes a harmonic vibrating noise and sounds like metal rubbing on metal as if a cabinet part is rubbing on the coil. The unit is physically dented but is certified as leak free (for now).

    I insist that my brother hire a factory authorized Trane dealer to get a better evaluation because this unit is banged up and I think it is not going to last a very long time before developing problems. Since insurance would cover the cost of repair if damaged, we are not worried about cost because it would be covered. I am concerned about the unit springing a leak 6-8 months from now and not being covered by insurance.

    At the very least, I would think that the exterior cabinet panels dented should be replaced (one panel in particular has the spine fin coil mashed through it). I am sure the mechanical's of the unit are fine, but I think it needs to be disassembled, adjusted, and partially rebuilt as needed to ensure it works just as it did before the storm.

    Do you have any thoughts or recommendations? Should we look at a factory authorized Trane dealer? Should we ask for a senior technician (we dont want a greenhorn) to evaluate the health of the unit?

    We want to ensure it is fixed right the first time because insurance will not cover it later.
    Thanks,
    Chris
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Chico, Ca #StateofJefferson
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    If the coil was smashed this could definitely restrict the flow of refrigerant and kill the compressor. Sounds like its totaled from here. Repair would likely cost as much as a new condenser, maybe more. What you described for the tree "branch" sounds like a wrecking ball. If they tried to go the repair route I would decline it or ask them if they will pay for all future repairs on the OD unit

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Texas
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    I will give ya a second opinion. I will be in that neighborhood tommorow

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Dallas, TX
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    26
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by poppa View Post
    I will give ya a second opinion. I will be in that neighborhood tommorow
    Thanks but I dont manage his property and dont have access to it (other than to the exterior). I have been told by the property manager that we should keep the fact that their landlord is my brother from the tenants, so they are not aware (that I know of). The property manager ALWAYS hires the cheapest person available, so its an over 50% chance that this first guy was a hack. She doesnt give a care in the world about his house and doing repairs right.

    If you PM me your contact info, I will pass it along to my brother's general contractor dealing with the insurance cleanup. As of Yesterday, My brother has taken away the property manager's ability to make repair decisions and has handed it over to a general contractor to be done right.

    -C

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Dallas, TX
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitcold View Post
    If the coil was smashed this could definitely restrict the flow of refrigerant and kill the compressor. Sounds like its totaled from here. Repair would likely cost as much as a new condenser, maybe more. What you described for the tree "branch" sounds like a wrecking ball. If they tried to go the repair route I would decline it or ask them if they will pay for all future repairs on the OD unit
    "smashed" is a strong term. I would say the condenser received a blow from a large tree branch (smaller branches end hit first). The branches were resting on and against the unit after the storm. This dented the condenser louver panel and some spine fin is "mashed" and touching the louvers. From what we can tell, the only bent parts of the unit are the cabinet and louver panels.

    Regardless, it sounds out of balance and the only reason it isnt leaking now is because the unit hasnt run much since it was hit. If this was Summer, I guarantee metal on metal rubbing would have worn a hole somewhere at this point.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisivc View Post

    If you PM me your contact info, I will pass it along to my brother's general contractor dealing with the insurance cleanup.
    Only Pro members can send and receive PMs here. You will need to contact each other by email. Put your email address in your profile, they are not allowed in post.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Chico, Ca #StateofJefferson
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    Take a picture and post it and have your brother show his insurance claims person. It would be safer for the insurance to just replace, kind of like frame damage on a car, than to chance a breakdown. I was doing work for my insurance guy this morning and asked him his thoughts on it and he was over it when I mentioned tornado damage. Their job is to make it like it never happened, like PHM said. That being said not all insurance companies are the same, you definitely get what you pay for!

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