Blog

Do You Know Who Is Handling Your Air Conditioning Repair? Firsthand Horror Stories You Need To See

Do You Know Who Is Handling Your Air Conditioning Repair? Firsthand Horror Stories You Need To See

In Texas an air conditioning system is not an extravagance or perk, it is a necessity. Without air conditioning, your home becomes a danger to everyone in it during the summer months. This is why it is extremely important to make sure that you keep up with repair tasks. You simply cannot afford to let your air conditioner start to show signs of wear and tear, but you shouldn’t trust just anyone with the repair tasks either. You need to take a good look at your AC system and make sure that it is ready for the summer.

Before you schedule any type of service or call an air conditioning repair service to come out to your home, you need to take a second to research the company you choose to work with. HVAC companies are not all the same, and some don’t even hire certified technicians which means that anyone could be working on your AC system. It is worth it to take ten to 15 minutes to sort through reviews and make sure you choose the right company for your service and repairs.

Not really worried about what air conditioning repair company you choose for your home? Take a second to read a few stories of homeowners who had the same impulse. By the time you finish these stories, you might be shocked and horrified just enough to spend a few more minutes screening your next air conditioning repair company. It is worth more than just a few minutes of your time, and something that will pay off in the long run.

A Disastrous Evening

Luke noticed one day that his Ac was running for what seemed like hours on end, but the air in his home seemed uncomfortably warm. In fact, he was pretty sure that he was sweating. He had noticed feeling warm in bed last night but dismissed it because the kids had crawled into bed during the thunderstorm so he thought it was just a body heat issue. However, now it was in his head so he took the day off work and decided to call someone to come out to his Texas home for air conditioning repair. If something was up with his AC he would prefer to get it taken care of right away because summer was on its way and he didn’t want to deal with any major AC issues then.

The first guy he called stated that he could come out, so Luke went ahead and booked the visit for noon. He didn’t really do much research on the company, but they were listed on Google so he figured they must be professional enough. Luke settled in to wait and periodically checked his thermostat to see if his home was cooling and he just didn’t realize it. Each time he did it looked like the temperature stayed the same, which told him that something was definitely wrong.

The air conditioning repair guy arrived at the home and chatted with Luke for a few minutes before telling him that it was likely a problem with the evaporator coils or the coolant. Luke was hopeful it wasn’t the coolant because he knew if there was a leak oftentimes you have to replace the unit. The HVAC technician went up to the attic closet and looked closely at the unit and then came back down to report what he found. He told Luke that he discovered issues with the evaporator coils which were allowing the coolant to leak out. That is why the air wasn’t cooling as much as it should be. The good news is that this could be fixed.

Luke agreed on the price and estimate and the HVAC technician went back to work on the problem. He was upstairs for a couple of hours and in and out of his truck as he got the parts and the tools he needed to complete the repairs. He was young but seemed like he knew enough about what he was doing so Luke didn’t worry too much. At the end of the call, Luke paid the bill and then the young man left. Within an hour after the job was done, Luke could feel the difference in the temperature in the home. Obviously, the repair was necessary and he was glad that he had gotten it resolved so quickly. Now it was time to get the kids to soccer practice and finish up a bit of work this evening that he had missed while home.

Everyone went to bed, much cooler than last night. There were no storms so the night was relatively quiet until about 2 am when Luke and his wife awoke to a large crash and what sounded like water in their bedroom. He jumped up startled, unsure what was going on, wildly looking around the room. At first, he didn’t know what was going on as he snapped on a light but he saw his closet door was open and in the shadows didn’t look right. What he found when he opened the walk-on closet door left his mouth hanging open.

There were ceiling pieces and drywall all over his suits and ties. Water was dripping from the gaping hole in the ceiling onto his leather shoes. The ceiling was falling out into his closet and he could see the corner of his AC unit at the edge of the hole and that made him even more nervous. He suddenly couldn’t breathe as he had images of the entire unit just falling into the hole. Luke screamed for his wife, attempted to kick the rest of his shoes out of the way (the suits were going to need to be dry cleaned for sure), and grabbed his cell phone off the nightstand.

In a panic, he found the number for the air conditioning repair company he had called earlier in the day and left four messages in a row. He couldn’t believe it. They had been to his home about 12 hours earlier and now the ceiling was falling in. While Luke may have been exaggerating a little bit, in reality, it was just one section of the ceiling that had fallen in, it might as well have been the entire ceiling given how much damage there was and the price it would probably cost to fix it. This is not even mentioning the amount of water damage that probably extended to other areas of the ceiling.

It took about ten minutes for someone to call him back from the air conditioning repair company, it was 2 am after all and the phone call had to be routed to the emergency line. Apparently, the guy who had completed the repair was supposed to be on-call but had turned off his phone so he ended up getting someone else who worked for the company. Luke didn’t care who he talked to at this point, he had a major issue and it needed to be fixed now before more of the ceiling fell off and eventually took the AC unit with it.

About an hour later the guy from the AC company arrived at Luke’s home and went upstairs to the attic to see if he could figure out what happened. Apparently, it was a series of small mistakes that led to this one big disaster. Proof that you need to make sure all of the HVAC technicians who work on your home are properly trained and qualified to do so. The kid who had been out should not have been working on his own, but Luke had not trusted his gut enough to know better. Now he had to deal with the results of his bad decision.

The young technician from earlier in the day wasn’t paying attention to how he put the drain back into place, which created a sag that allowed the water to back up into the pan much like a double trap. Therefore, instead of going down the drain line and out of the house, the condensate was backed up in the drain pipe until it started to splash back into the drain pan. This would have been fine if the pan had filled and the AC had recognized that the drain was not draining. There is a killswitch on the pan that is crafted for this reason. It flips when the pan is filled with water and shuts the AC down until the drain line can be cleared. In this case, moving the drain line just a little would have taken care of the sag and allowed the water to flow correctly. However, the technician also forgot to check the switch again and it was not activated.

Luke learned that the technician had moved the pan out of the way while he was working on the evaporator coil and evidently got distracted. When he moved the pan he had to move the pan switch, and when he slid the pan back into place he didn’t take a minute to reinstall the killswitch. So once the pan filled up the water continued to come until it started to leak down onto the ceiling eventually breaking down the drywall leading to the collapse. Most likely it had been leaking throughout the night, but since Luke and his wife didn’t look in their closet they had no idea that a steady downpour had been occurring inside the house. They didn’t know until the crash that came with the ceiling giving out.

The fact that there was a giant hole in the ceiling was bad enough, but the HVAC company informed Luke that he was going to have to deal with mold remediation as well because the water had probably seeped into a great deal of the ceiling and spread. It wasn’t just the pieces that were on the floor that were affected. In addition, water had likely been seeping into the closet for hours, so now he had to worry about the closet walls and the flooring as well. Mold could spring up anywhere that there was water, and that seemed to be everyone.

So now Luke had an AC unit that was working, but a gaping hole and flood damage. This is not what he had been expecting when he paid the HVAC company earlier in the day. All of this was the result of one technician not paying attention to how he strapped the drain back in and taking an extra minute to check the pan position and the drain switch. Luke wasn’t sure how this happened, but he did notice the young tech had been checking his phone a lot and strongly suspected he had gotten distracted.

Luke asked the HVAC repairman if the company was going to cover the damage, and they said they would clean the drain line and make sure that the drain pan was properly adjusted once the ceiling was fixed again. This enraged Luke because the HVAC company seemed to only care about the air conditioning repair component of the issue, but now he had a huge hole that was caused by their negligence. It seemed to him that they should be worried about the hole, mold damage, and all of the damage it caused to his clothing and shoes.

The HVAC technician told Luke that he could call and talk to their boss in the morning to see if he could get some type of restitution for the cleanup, but warned Luke that they were not an insured company. This is one of the reasons why they were able to offer a quick turnaround time and a lower price. Luke wasn’t even sure that he knew that when he booked them. In fact, he had never thought to look or ask about it. He just called an AC repair company and waited for them to come out to his home. If the company wasn’t insured there probably wasn’t a lot they would do about all the property damage.

Now the bill for flood damage, ceiling repair, property damage, and mold remediation was probably going to belong to Luke unless he decided to contact his homeowner’s insurance. At this point, Luke didn’t even know if his homeowner’s plan would cover it. This was not a situation that he had ever envisioned getting stuck in and he didn’t know how all of this worked. He was angry about the entire situation, but even angrier when the air conditioning repair technician started to pack up and leave (it was 3 am and he wanted to go back to bed), but told Luke he probably wanted to get a water damage company in right away.

That’s right, the HVAC technician got to leave and go back to bed while Luke was stuck dealing with this giant mess and calling out a few more service people to help clean up the mess. It was worth noting that since it was now 3 am, everyone that Luke called out would also be working overtime which means the costs were probably going to double or triple, but he couldn’t leave the water damage the way that it was. All he wanted to do was shut the closet door and go back to bed, but he knew that was probably not the right approach. Everything about this situation was horrid.

Luke learned a valuable lesson that day. Next time he hires an air conditioning repair person to come out to his home he would thoroughly screen the company. He knew he would check the reviews and read to see what people had to say about the customer service and the results. Any red flags and he would certainly cross them off his list so he wouldn’t end up dealing with a mess like this one again. Luke also learned to ask any potential air conditioning company whether they were licensed, insured, and properly bonded. That question alone was worth thousands of dollars, especially in Luke’s case because he was about to shell out quite a bit of money to restore the safety of his home. Due diligence it seemed was always the right move.

If there was one thing that Luke learned, it was that he would never just blindly call an AC repair company out to his home again. He had the ruined suits and shoes to prove why this was such a bad idea. He also would learn to check his own drain pain, because it seemed absurd that such a small little detail had been able to do so much damage to his home.

Unknowingly Signing Up for Random Help

Wilson was in the middle of basement renovation when his AC started to have problems. He also knew that his ductwork would need to be adjusted to fit with the new renovations so instead of waiting until the problem got worse he decided to call an air conditioning repair group for help. He didn’t really know who to call, but his wife suggested just using Home Depot. After all, they bought quite a few things from there for the renovation and if a top industry name like Home Depot wasn’t safe then who would be?

He also decided that since they were renovating the basement and the unit was old, now would be the best time to just replace it. All of it seemed to make sense when he wrote down his game plan. He would just let the Home Depot guys pick out a new AC and then coordinate replacing it while his general contractor was working on furnishing the basement. That way when the ductwork was installed into his ceiling it would all be done correctly the first time around. Wilson was the type who liked to get things done right the first time around, and this all seemed to make sense to him.

Unfortunately, Wilson would learn a few things about using Home Depot that now made him sure he would never go this route again. The biggest thing he learned was that Home Depot itself does not screen nor actually send out its own technicians for these types of jobs. They sent out whoever bid on the job first for the price they expected, and that did not always mean that they sent out high-quality teams.

In fact, since Home Depot would take a fraction of the price, the jobs were actually considered low-priority for many HVAC companies that had their own faithful client base. In other words, new and less experienced air conditioning repair companies tended to pick up the Home Depot jobs. That meant the team that Wilson ended up with at his home were not the professionals he thought they would be. They had little association with the big box store and quickly showed that they didn’t have the customer service or skills that Wilson assumed would go hand-in-hand with using the Home Depot installation service.

At first, Wilson had no idea that there would be any problems. The air conditioning repair team seemed great and they had no problems talking Wilson and his wife through the installation process. The consultant visit went great and they talked about how they would incorporate the new system into the home and make it work with the basement renovation. They said they would reach out to the general contractor and ensure that they worked in tandem with him. It sounded like the process was going to be extremely smooth and Wilson had no worries. Everything was going exactly according to his plan.

The first thing to go south was a broken UV light on the AC unit. The head HVAC technician told Wilson that it was broken when it was first installed four years ago and said that they would not be able to wire it into the new unit. Wilson would have to pay for a new UV light before they could get it connected. Wilson was mildly annoyed, he knew that the light had worked just fine before. It was obvious to him that one of the HVAC technicians had broken the light and was trying to hide it from everyone. The company refused to fix it unless Wilson agreed to the extra charge. He was indignant about it, but it wasn’t worth it to him to draw the line now. He thought he would just pay for the bulb and let it go. He should have known it was suspicious when the company told Wilson he had to pay money straight to the company and not through their contract. Wilson however just wanted to move on from the problem and it was small enough that he could just ignore the bad feeling he was getting.

Unfortunately, the bulb was just the start of a host of problems that he was going to have to deal with. The next problem started with the installers. They were not paying attention and cut through two electrical wires. It was a good thing that the electricity was turned off, but Wilson and his general contractor were annoyed that this had even happened. If they had been paying attention then the wires shouldn’t have been touched at all. The installers did fix the problem by fusing the wires back together safely, but once again, they shouldn’t have been touched at all. Wilson wasn’t a tradesman, but he couldn’t see how anyone would accidentally cut electrical wires.

It also quickly became apparent to Wilson and his general contractor that the air conditioning repair and installation team was doing as little as possible to get done with the job. They often left portions of the job unfinished and stated that the general contractor would have to finish because that wasn’t part of their job. Given that the portions they left undone had to do with the proper positioning of the AC unit and the ductwork, Wilson failed to see how it wasn’t their job. He also knew he would end up paying more for the contractor to now have to deal with these things, so he was past annoyance and now started to call the installation team out on these issues.

However, it seemed the more he pushed the air conditioning repair team the worse their work ethic would get. Now the vents were left exposed in the basement that he was paying someone to actually finish. He didn’t just pay all of this money to renovate his basement so that the air ducts would stick out through the ceiling. The general contractor was able to work with it, but it was a tedious task and required some ingenuity. Unfortunately, ingenuity in the contracting business is often equated with finances, and that meant every time the contractor had to clean up the mess Wilson was paying more.

Wilson talked to the team about why they dropped the vents so far below the existing drop ceiling, but the project manager didn’t have much to say except to explain that wasn’t his problem. His task was to fix the vents and install new ones, not to worry about the aesthetic of the basement. Wilson was tempted to say something about this since the project manager seemed to have no problem broaching acceptable social conventions anywhere else.

One thing that the project manager had taken to doing was really ignoring Wilson- using the kitchen appliances. He would be in his kitchen when the project manager for the AC installation would pop up and just heat his coffee or lunch in the microwave right in front of him. Wilson had a pretty good idea that he was also taking coffee from his espresso machine, but he didn’t want to blatantly monitor the kitchen appliances. It did cross his mind to put his Ring camera in the kitchen temporarily, or maybe in the basement to make sure no one else cut wires but that felt like it was also crossing a line. More than once Wilson asked himself how he ended up in this mess when he had chosen to work with Home Depot. He thought the point of that choice was to avoid this type of mess.

To make matters worse, it was like the installers used his first-floor bathroom at least 20 times a day. They were only there for a few days, but his bathroom was quickly trashed. His wife complained about this more than him, but he understood why. They never changed their shoes or put their booties on so the rugs in the bathroom were essentially trashed and they seemed to splash water all over the place as well. There weren’t that many people on the install team, he didn’t understand why the bathroom was getting used so much and for so long every day. Didn’t these people have work to do in between the time in the bathroom? He couldn’t prove it but was heavily convinced they were playing on their phones there.

The crew did clean up their mess in the basement around the drywall and the duct installation, but that was another issue that was probably going to cost Wilson another grand to correct. For some reason unknown to him, they did not bring their own cleaning tools to clean up after the installation. Instead, they grabbed the basement broom (this he could live with) and his Dyson vacuum that was sitting upstairs near the bathroom. Wilson could not believe that they would use a homeowner’s personal vacuum to clean up drywall debris after the installation, but he also couldn’t believe they could be so dense not to realize it was a Dyson.

This type of cleanup was obviously much more suited for a shop vac than a home vacuum, and he was pretty angry that now the vacuum had a slight white powder all over the inside of the chambers from the drywall. He wasn’t sure how you were supposed to clean that out, but he was now hesitant for his wife to use it upstairs in their home which probably meant he was going to have to buy a brand-new Dyson. If they had told him that they don’t bring their own cleaning supplies he would have happily handed over his Shop Vac in the garage versus what happened. Plus, the crew was obviously making itself at home, they could have just looked a bit harder.

The only thing that came out of the entire process was the design of the ductwork. For all of the situations that occurred during and after the installation, the ductwork was heating the basement and the new addition correctly. So there was that. However, he now had to deal with hiring an electrician to double-check those wires they cut and make sure that it wasn’t going to lead to an electrical fire. He also had to start looking at a new vacuum.

The only thing he could say that was positive about the entire experience was that the equipment that was installed was good. As he knew, he could trust the parts because they came from Home Depot, but it turned out that there was nothing about the air conditioning repair and installation crew that they sent out. This was also disappointing because when he purchased the new unit he purchased the service package with it.

Wilson was not open to the idea of allowing the same crew back into his home for his annual service or for any air conditioning repair projects that would come up in the future. In fact, he was uncomfortable with letting anyone back into his home that was contracted with Home Depot. The fact that he was not getting technicians that were screened by Home Depot made him uncomfortable. He was subject to getting whoever was free when he called, and that took all of the decision-making out of his hands.

After that horrible experience with the intrusive crew, he preferred to find his own air conditioning repair company in the future so that he could properly interview them and talk about how they handled situations. He also would make sure he chose a company with great reviews so that he didn’t have to worry about any other stupid mistakes like the wire incident that would leave him questioning the integrity of something else in his home. Plus, as a general rule, he would prefer to work with a company and crew that did not make themselves welcome in his home. The entire experience was a real turn-off for him and he never wanted to go through it again.

Wilson and Luke had two very different experiences with air conditioning repair crews, but the cause of both of their situations was the same: they didn’t properly check reviews or read about other people’s experiences before they invited the AC company out into their home. If Wilson had read the contract for Home Depot or looked at other reviews online, he would have known that Home Depot themselves was not in charge of the installation but would outsource it to a random crew.

If Luke had taken a minute to look at the website for the air conditioning repair company he hired he would have noticed that it was poorly built and missing a license number. This could have prompted him to ask the company if they were properly licensed, bonded, and insured. That one question could have saved him thousands of dollars in cleanup because the company would have been able to pay for the damages. Ideally, however, after he asked that question he would have turned down their services in the first place and moved on to an AC repair company that was bonded and insured.

Most of the time major AC issues can be avoided by calling for prompt air conditioning repair, but if you choose the wrong repair team then the problems can escalate. Both Wilson and Luke learned this principle the hard way, but you can bet that they will know better in the future. In fact, they would probably ask every tradesperson who comes into their home a few questions before agreeing to their services.

While they had to learn their lessons the hard way, as a homeowner you don’t have to. It is easy to protect yourself by doing your due diligence before letting anyone come into your home to complete work. A simple checklist is all you need to make sure that the air conditioning repair company you welcome into your home is qualified to do the work you need. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions or even ask for references and reviews. Any company that is annoyed by your questions is not taking your concerns properly, and this in itself is a sign that it is time to seek out help from another source.

With that in mind, there are just a few simple questions you need to know to ask. First of all, ask how much experience the company has in air conditioning repair. Then ask how much experience the technician coming out to your home has. Remember that just because a company has decades of experience doesn’t mean the technician working on your AC has the same amount. Then ask if they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Finally, ask them if they are comfortable working on the AC model that you have. There are differences and you want to make sure that they can handle yours.

If you are looking for a new air conditioning repair company and want to avoid some of the hassles that you just read about, contact One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas. Our team can come out right away and with years of experience, we promise you results that are exactly what you expected.

See our most recent blog on this topic here.

Find out our service area here.

Photo By fstop123 at istock