AC Repair Horror Stories That Should Make You Think Twice About Who You Hire for Air Conditioning Repair

AC Repair Horror Stories That Should Make You Think Twice About Who You Hire for Air Conditioning Repair

When most think about home appliances they think about the dishwasher, fridge, stove, etc. They don’t think about their HVAC unit, which is actually the most expensive appliance in the home (in most cases). When you consider the investment that an AC system is, you don’t want to trust anyone with it, including yourself. It pays to be very discerning when it comes to AC repair or installation, but some people don’t fully understand this. They only see the upfront costs of air conditioning repair or installation, they don’t see the larger picture and how much they stand to lose.

Lack of Experience Leads to Huge Costs

Jason, a Texan homeowner, decided to ask his buddy who was a handyman to help him replace his attic air conditioner. He did call an HVAC company out for air conditioning repair when he first started to notice issues with the attic unit, but he didn’t like the cost that they quoted him for repair or replacement. He knew that repair was just a short-term solution and that the best bet was to replace his AC unit. However, Jason figured that with the help of his buddy who often did repairs for neighbors around town, they could figure it out on his own.

It seemed like a great solution for an easy task that would save Jason a bit of money. He had been working hard on renovating the home since he purchased it, and he was trying to save some money so that he could finish laying drywall in the attic. Plus, he knew his buddy would give him a discount and he liked the sound of saving even more cash. Therefore, against the air conditioning repair company’s advice, he set out to replace the unit on his own.

Jason got a couple more friends together and they had a few beers and replaced the unit. Everything seemed to be going well. He had a bit of trouble choosing the right unit, but in the end, his handyman friend told him just to go with a model that was similar to his. It seemed like a safe bet, but it did not account for the size of the attic that he was working on renovating. They had knocked out a storage area and created more space in the attic, so in reality, there was now more space in the room. That would mean that eventually, the unit would have to work harder to cool a larger space.

Neither Jason nor his friend accounted for this because they didn’t perform the measurements that an air conditioning repair company would have when assessing the space. When a professional installs a new AC unit they typically look at the square footage and then choose a unit that is perfectly sized for the space. This prevents both overpaying on the unit and later overpaying on utility bills since you will have to pay for the energy that is consumed by the AC unit. This was the first time that he would end up paying more in the long run because he didn’t allow an actual air conditioning company to help him, but it wasn’t the end of his story.

Jason would end up spending a lot more due to his series of mistakes, but he didn’t know at the time that he was happily sipping on a beer and listening to Morgan Wallen while installing the unit. The same unit would eventually have so much wear and tear from being overworked that it would need to be replaced much sooner than it should have.

The group of guys were joking and having a great time replacing the unit. Jason didn’t really think to research the installation because he figured his buddy the handyman would know what to do, and the handyman only focused on installation. That meant that they missed a few key tasks along the way that would come back to cause major water damage in Jason’s home. They were able to securely place the new unit in the home, but they weren’t paying attention to the other things that needed to be done. Just because they were able to plug the unit in and power it up did not mean that they had completed the task correctly.

Jason and the guys finished the install and then everyone went home. Jason went downstairs to make something for dinner. After which he kicked back in front of the TV to relax after the day. He was feeling pretty good about himself when he went up to bed, but that feeling wouldn’t last for long. A few days passed and things seemed to be working out fine. The attic was cool and the house was running the way it should. Jason thought that his couch seemed a little wet one day, but reasoned one of the kids must have just spilled their drink on it and let it go.

Everything was going well until he got a phone call from his wife while he was at work. The couch and the recliner were wet, and his stereo was covered in water. Now Jason took a great deal of pride in his surround-sound stereo, so that perked his ears up. He asked his wife if the bathroom was leaking, but that didn’t make sense since the bathroom wasn’t over the living area. He was puzzled, and his wife didn’t seem to have any idea either. He told his wife to call the plumber because if water was coming from the ceiling surely this had to be some type of plumbing emergency. He never thought that it would turn out to be something that required air conditioning repair.

The plumber came out and quickly ascertained that the issue wasn’t coming from the plumbing system, because Jason was right, there were no plumbing lines running under that particular area of the ceiling. At this point, the ceiling was weeping and the drywall was clearly damaged which was an extra stressor unto itself. Jason’s wife had moved the furniture, but the surround-sound stereo was clearly ruined. Even a rice bath would probably not save this expensive piece of audio equipment. Jason was pretty enraged at this point. If it wasn’t the plumbing, what on earth could be leaking through the ceiling because it was evident that water was leaking into the room and had been for a few days by the extent of dampness in his ceiling.

What he heard next surprised him. The plumber told him that he needed to call an air conditioning repair service. Jason was floored, why on earth would he need to call an AC company to help with a leak? The answer: because the water was coming out of his overhead vents, not from any plumbing lines. Now Jason was thoroughly confused. How did any of this actually happen? Why would there be water coming from his AC unit? It was properly installed and had been working without a problem all of this time.

Once the air conditioning repair company came out to his home Jason got his answer, because his handyman friend did not realize that when he installed the AC system it would need to be attached to the condensate drain. Ac units in Texas get a lot of use in some very humid weather. The condensate had to go somewhere, and when it didn’t have a drain to empty into, the liquid started to drain back into the air vents. Air vents are not designed to carry water, so when the water had nowhere else to go it started leaking into the ceiling and naturally traveled downwards. It turned out that Jason’s attempt to cut a corner had turned into a very expensive roadblock.

Now Jason had to deal with cleaning up the water damage, replacing the drywall in his ceiling, dealing with mold remediation, and eventually replacing the stereo system. However, the stereo system would probably have to wait a while now because he had so many other expenses to deal with. In short, what looked like a quick way to save some money had turned into a very expensive bad decision. Plus, he was paying more in energy each month because of installing the wrong size AC unit for his attic. The whole adventure had turned into the biggest headache Jason had dealt with and taught him the real value of hiring a professional to help with any future air conditioning repair or installation tasks. He would never again deal with this situation if he could help it.

From Improving Home Value to Ruining It

Maggie was thinking about selling her home because she was getting older and it was time to downsize. Her kids were older and had moved away and it was a lot of house for one person. Now that her husband had passed too, she thought it was time to let go of the past and move into a home that was more manageable. Plus, she wasn’t that great at handling home repair tasks and they were starting to get the best of her.

In the last month alone she had to call the AC company out to her home for air conditioning repair twice. First, the unit was making some odd noises that alarmed her, and they told her that there was a problem with one of the components. It was loose and moving because it had started to wear down. They replaced the component but warned her that her entire system was starting to age so she might need to think about replacing the unit soon. Since she was selling her home she was hoping that it would be enough for now, but that wasn’t the case.

About a month later the AC quit working altogether and she had to call out the air conditioning repair company again. This time the AC was not working correctly and was actually leaking back into her utility closet. Maggie didn’t even know that an AC unit could leak, but it turned out that the drain line was not working correctly and had clogged, so she had water sitting on the floor of the utility room. Luckily she caught it quickly because she had been keeping an eye on the old unit since it started having problems. So she was able to clean up the mess before it caused any permanent damage and once again talked to the AC company about what she should do. They warned her that given the age of the AC unit, it was likely that she was going to have to keep dealing with air conditioning repair visits unless she just went ahead and replaced it.

Maggie didn’t want to replace it, but she was also aware that she was not going to be able to sell the house with a broken AC system. Plus, the leaking was a big concern since the drain was clearly also going to be an issue now after talking to the HVAC team. With that in mind, she decided that the best way to add value to her home was to replace the entire central air unit. If this is what the team told her was the best approach, then they were probably right. She didn’t have anyone to ask, but it stood to reason that her home value would go up if a brand-new central air unit was installed and that was the final goal.

Ideally, she would be able to sell her home and they move into a much smaller condo that would be completely paid off. Making a small investment now into her home seemed like a reasonable approach. While it wouldn’t be a small investment, it would be in comparison to how much she stood to gain when she sold her home. She had to take out an equity loan to afford the new AC unit, but once again, Maggie told herself that it was an investment that she would pay off as soon as her home was sold.

Maggie spent a lot of time going back and forth before making the decision when what she really should have been thinking about was who she was going to hire for the AC installation. She didn’t really have any preference when it came to repair companies and blindly thought anyone should work. So she just went with the same company who had come out to her home for repair previously. This seemed like it would work well enough, and she had worked on them with a couple of repairs so she thought they had her best interests at heart.

However, Maggie would pay for not paying more attention to the team and to what was happening, because it turned out that the team was more focused on quick pay-offs versus long-term goals. This is exactly why they had told Maggie to just replace the unit after two repairs anyhow. A different air conditioning repair team might have given her different advice or recommended that she just replace the unit that was causing her problems, but she didn’t know that. She thought that she was making the best decision. Her concern was the money, but it should have been the money and who would be taking care of the installation.

The one thing that Maggie did know to ask about was the overflow kill switch. She had learned about this when her previous unit started to leak onto the utility floor because of the problems with the drain line. The overflow kill switch, which is sometimes referred to as a condensate overflow, monitors the amount of water that builds up in the condensate pan. If it notices that the water in the pan is overflowing because the drain is not working properly, it will turn off the AC. This is to prevent flooding from occurring which can save homeowners from a lot of problems.

Maggie knew her old AC didn’t have a kill switch, otherwise, the AC would have quit working when the drain was clogged. So this time she wanted to make sure that she chose a central air conditioning unit that had this extra layer of protection. It didn’t seem like a large feature and seemed like a smart decision to have one. The air conditioner repair technician that came out to her home talked about a lot of new features on the unit they said she should buy, and a lot of it went over her head.

She was aware that she didn’t understand a lot of what they said but didn’t know who to ask to help her make sure she made the right decision. So Maggie just decided to go with their recommendations because clearly, they would know better what unit was the right fit for her home. They gave her two options, and she went with the upgraded option that cost a bit more because she thought that would add the most value to her home when it went on the market. After all, she was already taking out a loan to pay for it, so what was a little more of an upfront cost? However, she did ask the distracted technician if there was an overflow kill switch. He immediately told her that yes, both of the models had this feature and she was satisfied with the answer. She then signed the paperwork and waited a few weeks for the AC unit to be delivered to her home for installation.

Installation day came and despite the fact that Maggie thought that the technicians were a bit rude, everything seemed to go well. She knew she had a lot of questions and was watching the team a bit more than they probably liked, but it was a lot of money and she wanted to make sure that things were going according to plan. She didn’t really know what to pay attention to in particular, so she just kind of asked a question anytime that she felt something needed to be said. This seemed to work out and the team packed up and left about six hours later. All in all, it seemed like things had gone all right and there was cold air circulating in her home.

When Maggie went to bed that night the AC was running and everything appeared to be running just fine. She went back to working on preparing her home for the market and a few days passed quickly. Since the installation Maggie hadn’t peaked into her utility closet once because she knew she had a brand new unit now so there was no reason to worry about anything happening. She actually found it quite refreshing not to have to worry about calling for air conditioning repair. This was something that she could definitely get used to. It was very freeing to take care of that one thing that had been all-consuming for a while.

That was until about three weeks later when she heard water flowing while passing by her utility closet. The sound caught her off-guard and she wondered momentarily if she had forgotten to turn off the wash sink there. When she opened the door her heart dropped into her shoes. There was a major leak in the room and everything was covered with water. The AC unit sat on a large wooden platform that was raised off the ground, and it was completely bowed. The wood was peeling and sagging all at the same time and the entire AC unit seemed like it was going to just gradually slide right off.

Maggie wasn’t sure what to do. Her first instinct was to push the AC unit back onto the platform, but how much good was that going to do if the platform was completely destroyed? It seemed to have some sense of its own balance right now and she didn’t want to mess with that. Just a few weeks ago there was no damage, of this Maggie was sure since she had inspected the entire area after she found the tiny leak. She quickly realized while looking around that the water was coming from an overflowing drain pan. In shock, she picked up the phone to call the AC company.

How on earth had this happened again when she had specifically asked the HVAC technicians whether or not there would be an overflow kill switch. It was literally the only real big question she had asked the technician before signing the paperwork to install the new central air conditioning unit. As she waited on hold to talk to someone from the air conditioning repair company she took a minute to survey the room. The wooden flooring that was relatively new around the unit was buckling and it was very likely that it was ruined. She had the wooden flooring put in a few years ago, and it matched the rest of the wood on the first floor of the home. She wrung her head in frustration, she wasn’t even sure that she would be able to match that wood anymore for replacement.

Now she had a new concern, with all this water, was it possible that mold was hiding under her flooring as well? It had been a few weeks since the new unit had been installed. She hadn’t been back in the room since. Maggie was so sure that the AC was now a solved problem that she never peaked at it. It almost felt surreal, as if this wasn’t happening. She had a few people already reached out to her about buying her home, but she was pretty sure that this was going to ruin everything. All she could think about was talking to the air conditioning repair company to see how they could help her clean up this mess and what had happened.

Surely something had to have gone wrong during installation. It was the only thing that she could think of because there was no reason why the water should have been leaking in the closet for so long. Judging by the warped wood, the water had been leaking onto it for at least the last two weeks if not the entire time. Finally, the air conditioning repair company picked up the phone and told her that they would send someone out to take a look.

Maggie felt a slight bit of relief, but that relief was short-lived because soon she had other issues. When the technician got out to her house they told her that the central unit that was installed into the home did not have a kill switch. They told her that she did not order that feature, or it would have been on their invoice and it wasn’t. Despite the fact that she said she mentioned it several times, they told her that it would have been a line item if she had asked for it so therefore it was not their responsibility that it had gotten missed. While Maggie’s mind was still spinning, they also told her that the flood wasn’t their fault because it was her drain line that was defective.

This part really got Maggie upset, because she hired the same company to clean up the drain line when she had the small flood just a couple of weeks before she decided to replace her unit. In fact, that clog was the last straw and the reason she agreed to buy a new unit. This company had serviced the drain clean and told her that it was now fully cleaned out and unlikely to clog again as well. It had been about five weeks since that clog, had they cleaned it properly there was no way that it should have gotten backed up again so much.

Maggie attempted to talk sense to the technician, but in the end, the only thing he offered was to clean the drain again for a fee. At this point, she was so frustrated she told the technician absolutely no way. She was not going to pay one more dime to this company that had already treated her so badly and gotten her right back into the mess she was trying to avoid by just replacing her unit. It seemed unreal that this was happening to her.

In the end, Maggie had no luck with the plumbing company although she did hire a lawyer to help her take them to civil court to make a claim for damages. That all took time though, and in the meantime, Maggie had to do something about the mess that she was in. Not only did she have to hire a new air conditioning repair company to come out to her home and clean out the drain line one more time so that she could turn her AC back on, but she had to deal with all of the water damage.

She ended up ripping out almost all of the flooring in the utility closet but had to wait a bit to replace it because she needed to work with a mold remediation service to get rid of all the mold that started growing underneath the flooring on the subfloor. Instead of making her money, installing a new AC unit actually ended up costing her thousands of dollars and pushing out a sale date by almost a year. In today’s economy, you cannot get contractors to come out to any home right away, so she had to wait for all the different service people to complete their parts of the job.

Maggie also learned that skipping the overflow switch is actually considered sloppy by most air conditioning repair companies. In fact, as a general rule of thumb when a new AC unit is installed that produces condensate, it is common practice for the installers to either install an overflow switch or create a secondary drain line. The reason why is clear: because if the drain becomes clogged then excessive damage may result. This one simple thing protects your home, and it would have taken no more than ten to 15 minutes for a qualified HVAC technician to have installed it along with her unit.

One ten-minute job caused thousands of dollars of damage and Maggie is still ripping up flooring hoping that they won’t find any more mold. Selling her home has now turned into a nightmare, and she is hoping that she can just break even and get out there into a smaller home that doesn’t have any issues. The entire experience has also made Maggie think twice about purchasing a condo. She is still so shaken up that she is considering renting an apartment in a senior living community so she never has to deal with repair services again. Allowing someone else to deal with them instead sounds like a much more preferable solution.

Even though Maggie was upfront and honest with the company that she chose to install her AC unit with, she ended up with a company that wasn’t honest back. She didn’t do her due diligence before choosing a company to install her AC unit, because the reviews online reveal that this company often cuts corners with people around town. Her good-natured approach to service companies ended up costing her a lot in the long run, and she is still paying for it. In fact, until she sells her home she will probably be paying for this one small mistake that destroyed an area of her first floor.

Jason experienced a similar problem because he thought that he could bypass hiring a professional and just let his friend help out with the installation. Both cases however were botched because the people who were hired to help didn’t have the right type of knowledge. The bottom line is that when it comes to air conditioning repair or installation, you can’t just choose someone to help because there is a high margin for error.

Condensate is a major issue that anyone working with an HVAC system should know about, but Jason’s buddy didn’t even think to look for or connect the unit to the drain pipe. In Maggie’s case, the crew should have known about the drain line issues since they had been out to the house before, but they still ignored her wishes and quickly installed her system. Their goal was to get the job done as quickly as possible so they could get onto the next job, not to make sure that the job was done right. Had they spent a few more minutes checking their checklist they may have noticed that she didn’t have a kill switch or a second drain line.

As a result of that inexperience, both Jason and Maggie spent a lot of money on cleaning up water damage. Unfortunately, the worst effect of the water damage is probably still to come, because now both will have to list water damage on their home property listing. A home that lists water damage will be valued less than one that does not, so both of these unsuspecting homeowners stand to lose even more money down the line.

While Maggie may immediately see the difference in the price of her home when she finally puts her listing back up, Jason will eventually feel the same pain even if he doesn’t list his home for another 20 years. Water damage is water damage, so once it has been remediated it has to be placed on the home listing. Unfortunately, there is no way to undo this, which is why it is so important to always choose a qualified air conditioning repair company when you start to consider a new AC installation or air conditioning repair.

Protect Your Property

The best way to protect your property from situations like Maggie and Jason’s is by hiring a professional HVAC company for anything you do. The internet has now made it easy to look at the credentials of any air conditioning repair company you are thinking about using to ensure they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Maggie was able to file a lawsuit because the company was bonded and insured, but she couldn’t get any restitution because first, she had to prove that the HVAC company was at fault. At this point, the situation is a he-said, she-said since she says that told them she needed a kill-switch and they said she never did.

This is a good lesson on why everything needs to be put in writing once you choose an AC company and agree to a job. You want to work with a company that offers detailed estimates before the job begins, so you can read over all of the details and make sure that you feel comfortable with the plan to succeed. Anyone who is serious about their business will be happy to write you a detailed estimate to help increase your comfort with the situation. Plus, a professional will also recognize that a detailed estimate helps protect them as well.

You also want to read reviews before hiring any company for air conditioning repair, so that you get a good idea of both their work ethic and their customer service. AC repair and installation is an investment, so make sure you choose a company that you are comfortable with. If you ever question the motives of the company, this is a sign that it is time to move on. Follow your instincts so you don’t end up in a similar situation as Maggie.

If you are searching for a high-quality air conditioning repair company to help with an installation or repair, contact One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas. We listen to our customers and take great pride in offering comprehensive solutions. While we love our clients, we aim to make sure we only see them once a year (at annual service calls). Give us a call today to get on our schedule!

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