Most homeowners assume that air conditioning repair is an easy task. While it is a costly task, most people assume that it is something that any HVAC technician can handle. However, not all HVAC companies are the same, and not every air conditioning repair job is the same. What most people don’t realize is that every repair job differs from the last one because there are dozens of different HVAC machines, all in different states of wear and tear with all different problems. That means you need an HVAC company that is flexible and experienced.
When it comes to AC repair, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, which is why you don’t want to work with an HVAC company that relies on one type of repair or solution to fix all problems. Chances are this means they won’t be able to fix your problem, and your quick repair can turn into a nightmare. The following are a few stories of people who didn’t properly screen the HVAC companies they chose for AC repair and what happened as a result. If you don’t want to become a horror story on an HVAC blog, it may be a good idea to do a little research before calling someone out to tune up your AC system.
The one thing in your favor is that the internet has made it simple to read reviews and investigate an HVAC company before you schedule air conditioning repair. In fact, you can quickly find out the credentials of most companies, their experience, and whether they are licensed or insured by checking out their website. Reading a few reviews is a great way to quickly get a handle on the type of customer service you can expect so you don’t end up in the following situations.
A Haunting HVAC Installation
Rick woke up one day to a warm home and knew that he needed air conditioning repair. He knew that his AC unit had been having problems for a while, and this wasn’t his first repair, so he was prepared to get told that he would probably need a new unit. While he was hopeful that he might be able to avoid it a little longer, the news that he would need a new unit was not surprising to him. However, what was surprising was everything else that would happen as a result of the air conditioner installation process.
His usual company wasn’t available, so Rick called another company. This one was able to come out right away, which should have alarmed him, but he was just happy to find someone who could help him take care of the AC system. Summer was on its way, so he didn’t want to wait any longer to take care of problems. While he didn’t want to deal with the installation of a new unit, he also knew that waiting was probably going to make the situation worse because every HVAC company would get too busy to help him handle any AC issues.
Therefore, when the HVAC company that came out to his home told him that he needed a new AC unit he didn’t argue with them. He told them that he knew that the AC was starting to get older and that he was ready to replace it. Usually, he would have fought a bit more, but as noted, Rick knew it was time to take the plunge and just get ahead of the problem. However, this air conditioning repair company told him that he needed a new HVAC system. Rick did not agree.
His furnace was fine, and he didn’t think there was a problem with his air ducts. He talked to the technicians for a while and told them repeatedly that he thought the issue was isolated to his Ac units. They attempted to tell him that if they were replacing the AC unit he would get more out of the unit if they updated the furnace and air ducts too. They told him that it would help the energy efficiency of the unit and that it would improve air circulation throughout the home. Rick thought he was pretty clear about the fact that he only wanted a new AC unit, but that isn’t what happened.
On the day of the installation, Rick could not be home, so he told his wife Gina to let the repairmen in if they needed access to the indoor unit and that they would know what to do. He had already paid a deposit, and the rest of the job would be completed and then automatically charged to his card. Rick knew that Gina didn’t like handling stuff like this, so he took care of as many of the details as he could verbally over the phone with the company once the technicians left. He wished that he could be at home, but he had an important meeting with a potential partner that flew in from out of town, and he could not reschedule.
The day of the installation, the air conditioning repair crew showed up early, which is something that Gina didn’t expect, and she sent a happy text to her husband that she had it under control. At first, they installed the new AC unit, but they moved onto the basement soon enough, and it seemed like they were installing a new furnace as well. Gina didn’t remember Rick mentioning that the entire HVAC unit was getting replaced, but it wasn’t brand new, so she figured he must have agreed to replace everything. After all, the furnace and the AC are both part of an HVAC system, so maybe to update one, you had to update the other. Gina didn’t really know how all of this worked, but the AC technicians seemed to know what they were doing, and she knew that Rick had talked to them extensively the last time they were there, so she left them to do their work.
However, it got harder to ignore when they started to work on the ducts as well. It was well over six hours into the ordeal, and now they were taking out some of the old ductwork, and Gina knew that something was wrong. Rick would have told her if this was going to be happening because there was dust getting over everything. Nothing was prepared, and she knew this was getting on the outer edges of air conditioning repair. She asked the team to stop, but they said they had to keep going until the end of the day. Gina tried to call Rick, but he was still not available, so she had no choice but to let them keep working.
At this point, it seemed to make more sense to let them finish replacing the ducts than to deal with a home that suddenly had no ductwork. Once 5 pm rolled around, the team said that it was time to leave, but it was clear that the installation was not done. Gina attempted to tell them they had to stay and finish, but they said their supervisor would call Rick to talk about what else was necessary. Gina couldn’t believe what was happening. There was dust and dirt everywhere, and while the AC was turning on, it didn’t seem like anything was actually finished. They said because the home was cooling, it was enough for them for the moment.
Horrified, Gina tried calling Rick again until he eventually answered the phone. He was excited because he just landed a great deal with a new business partner, but his excitement turned to horror when he heard what his wife had to say. Rick got angrier and angrier the more she talked because he had told the technicians clearly that he only wanted an AC repair. They had said they couldn’t write a contract up at the time because they needed a supervisor, but he had verbally been very clear about his wishes.
The fact that they deliberately went against them and replaced his furnace and some of his ductwork as well was astounding to him. He never thought in a million years that a company would so flagrantly ignore his wishes. He immediately called the air conditioning repair company up, but since it was after hours no one answered his phone calls. Since the company did not offer emergency HVAC services, there was no after-hours line he could call either. His only choice was to head home and start helping his wife attempt to clean up the mess they had made.
The first step of the cleanup process was to remove as much dust and debris as they could from the home. It seemed like it was everywhere. Rick was very angry at this point. Not only had they disrespected his wishes, but they didn’t show any respect to his home. He couldn’t believe that they had done this just because they had his credit on file and knew they could go ahead and do what they wanted under the premise of helping him.
It got worse, though, when Rick realized that even though they had placed a new furnace unit in the home, it was not actually hooked up. They tested the AC on purpose, he suspected, to hide the fact that the furnace was actually not completely installed nor operational. The crew had not told Gina when to expect them to finish the job, and they had clearly not told her that the job was not finished. They had just said they were done for the day. He couldn’t believe that they would just leave an installation that was improperly completed.
In addition, Rick took a closer look at the new ductwork they put up and noticed that nothing had been sealed. While there was cool air circulating in his home, a great deal of it was probably escaping through the cracks in the ductwork system. It was just getting worse and worse by the minute, but the worst was yet to come. Rick and Gina just didn’t know it yet because it was a gradual problem that would cause even more issues for years to come. One of the number one things that affect the lifespan of a new HVAC unit is the way it is installed, and clearly, this unit was not installed professionally at all.
The next morning Rick got on the phone with the air conditioning repair company and was astounded to hear that they claimed the job was done. They said that the crew said everything was finished by the close of the day. Rick didn’t know where to begin yelling at the manager. He didn’t know if he should start with the fact that he never agreed to replace his furnace and ductwork or if he should start with the fact that the furnace did not even work.
He had never in his life been in this type of situation before, and while he was attempting to keep his cool it was very hard to do so in the face of such unprofessional ineptitude. All he wanted was to wake up and not have to deal with this nightmare. The more he argued, however, the more he knew he didn’t want this company to come out to fix their mistakes. What he wanted was a full refund that he could use to pay for another, more experienced, and trustworthy company to come out and figure out what still needed to be done and how to fix the first company’s mistakes.
That was not going to happen, however, as the manager Rick was arguing with made it very clear that while they could send someone out for a recall to check on the furnace situation, they would not reimburse for the installation. It was Rick’s word against the repair techs that he didn’t want his furnace and air ducts done, and they were not going to eat the costs for those replacements. Rick argued that those replacements weren’t even installed right, so what good were they doing him anyhow? He argued throughout the day off and on with several managers and finally the owner of the company, all of whom were very rude to him.
By the end of the day, he was no closer to a resolution and an AC system that ineffectively distributed cold air throughout the home. Of course, one of the bedrooms that were not cooling properly due to the leaks in the new air ducts was his bedroom. It just added insult to injury, and he spent half the night lying in bed trying to figure out what he should do about it.
Unbeknownst to him, while he lay awake in bed attempting to figure out what he should do about his HVAC system, other problems were brewing in the attic where the AC unit was improperly installed. While he had purposely chosen a unit that had a kill switch if the condensation pan overflowed, the air conditioning repair crew wasn’t paying attention to what they were doing when they installed the unit. The pan was actually kicked out of the way, so the condensation was just dripping onto the ground. It wasn’t even hitting the pan, which made the killswitch extremely ineffective. There was nothing to alert Rick and Gina that water was leaking straight onto the attic floor. Thus, while Rick was sleeping, the ceiling above him was starting to get hit with water puddles.
Rick ultimately decided that he wanted to hire a new AC repair company because, after several arguments with the first company, he knew he couldn’t trust them and they wouldn’t act in his best interests. He decided to hire a new company, and then after he straightened out the HVAC system he would go back and figure out what to do about the scam the other company had pulled. He figured there was probably a lawsuit or, at the very least, a serious complaint he could file, but he had to take one thing at a time.
This time Rick didn’t just hire the first air conditioning repair company that he could find who had an opening. He took some time and talked to his colleagues and his neighbors about how they used it for their HVAC needs. He wanted a company that was reliable and trustworthy, unlike this gang of thieves that he had stumbled into. After getting a few names from friends he went online and read some reviews as well to make sure that he would get much better customer service this time around.
It wasn’t lost on him that if he had just done this the first time around there would have been a better outcome, but it was too late for regrets now. He was going to focus on moving forward only until his HVAC system was fixed. He talked to the new air conditioning repair company who stated that he was not the first person to call and ask them to clean up a mess from this other company. They said that they would be happy to send out a few of their most experienced technicians to examine what was done and figure out what needed to be completed, but they didn’t have any room in their schedule yet.
While they could help him, he would have to wait two weeks for someone to be available. Rick did not like this at all, but he understood that summer in Texas was very busy for qualified HVAC companies, and the fact they were so busy probably spoke to their skill. He knew he did have some AC in his home, even if it wasn’t evenly distributed, and decided that it was worth it to wait a bit to make sure that this entire situation was taken care of correctly this time.
Little did he know that a bigger problem was brewing. About one week into his waiting time, Rick woke up to the feeling of something wet on his face. At first, he wasn’t sure what was going on; there was absolutely no reason that anything wet would be in the bed. Gina and Rick both agreed that their bed should be a clean space, and there was never any food or water in the bedroom. Then Rick felt a second drop, and he looked upwards. That is when he noticed spreading water damage and a slow leak coming out of a sagging ceiling.
His heart quickly sank as he woke up Gina and turned on the lights. He couldn’t believe that on top of everything, they now had a plumbing leak to deal with as well. The good news was that he already had an emergency plumber that he trusted, so with any luck, this would be easier to deal with. That may have worked out if he had actually had a plumbing leak.
When the plumber came out to the home, he informed Rick that it was not actually a problem with the plumbing. It was a problem with his AC unit. It turned out that the new AC unit was not draining into the condensate pan so everything was draining onto the attic floor. The plumber took Rick upstairs to show him, and he was instantly appalled when he saw the vinyl plank flooring was bowing and peeling upwards from water damage. It was clear the water was dripping long enough that it had damaged the flooring in a very pronounced way. The sagging ceiling also meant that it had damaged his bedroom ceiling. Rick felt a little sick to his stomach at this point.
His plumber attempted to soothe him, but unfortunately, when he found out the new unit had already been in for over a week he told Rick that he would probably need to talk to mold remediation services. Given the humidity of Texas, and the fact that the AC was not equally cooling the home, there was a good chance that mold and mildew had already started to grow in between the attic flooring and the bedroom ceiling. Now it just wasn’t a leak and an incomplete HVAC installation that Rick had to deal with – it was mold growth as well. It was like the world just kept on spinning, and there was nothing he could do to get off this carousel.
Rick called the new air conditioning repair company to see if there was anything they could do to help him. He knew they were booked up, but now he had an emergency to deal with from several different angles. The company stated they still could not inspect the entire HVAC system and create a game plan to fix things, but they could come out and at least install the condensate pan to stop the water damage from spreading.
While it wouldn’t solve his problems, Rick was grateful that he could at least get the overflowing water under control. The company only took about five minutes to properly install the condensate pan, which made Rick even angrier because that meant the first air conditioning repair company could have done it as well if they had cared enough about the job, they started to finish it correctly.
Five minutes of time meant that now Rick had to deal with thousands of dollars of water damage and mold growth. It was almost unbelievable what a nightmare this situation was turning into. Rick ended up hiring someone to handle the mold situation and then spent another $1,600 to get the new furnace and ductwork system up to code. When the state came out to inspect his HVAC system they found that it was installed improperly, which likely will help Rick’s future lawsuit against his first company.
By the time the second company was done, this problem was eliminated, but the paper trail that detailed the incorrect installation and mold growth allowed Rick to file a complaint with the State of Texas licensing committee. He is now waiting for that investigation to be completed so that he can file a lawsuit in civil court as well. While the new HVAC company was able to help fix the installation issues, they can’t reverse the damage that was caused by the inexperience and ignorance of the first company, who didn’t even have the decency to come out for the recall.
Rick learned two very important things from this entire ordeal. The first was to always get everything in writing. If a company says that they can’t do a written estimate, then you should walk away. Rick’s verbal contract apparently meant nothing to them, as they did what they wanted anyhow. He also learned to always research an air conditioning repair company before agreeing to do any business with them. Had he gone online and read reviews, he likely would have steered clear saving him all of the trouble that he was now knee-deep in.
Failed Repairs and Incompatible Components
Darrel had similar issues when he called for air conditioning repair when his AC system started to make odd noises. He figured that it was going to be a quick repair when they told him that it just needed lubrication, but one day after they left, the same noise started again. Darrel was frustrated because the entire reason he called was to avoid any damage, and even after paying for a full tuneup, his unit was making noise again. He knew sometimes things could be tricky so he called them, and they agreed to come out for a recall. It only took about five minutes for the technicians to state that they could now see that a piece had come uncoupled inside the outdoor unit and was bouncing. According to them, this was what was causing the noise that he was hearing.
Darrel was a bit suspicious at this point; it didn’t make sure that a piece would have come uncoupled because he heard the noise before they came out for the tuneup. It would be logical that if a part had become uncoupled it would have been uncoupled before they did the tuneup, so why wouldn’t they have fixed it then? He was quite suspicious, but he didn’t know what else to do, and they weren’t charging for this air conditioning repair service, so he told them to go ahead and make the repair.
According to the AC technician, the glue was going to dry inside the unit, so he wasn’t supposed to turn it on for four hours. That meant that the team would not be at his home when he turned it back on. This made him even more nervous; what would happen if he heard the noise again? The team of techs, however, ensured him that this would solve the problem and that he had nothing to worry about. With no other choice, he signed off on the repair and hoped for the best.
Unfortunately, when 5 pm rolled around, Darrel turned on his AC unit, and the same noise was present. Now he was not only frustrated, but he was angry because he would have to call a third time to get the same air conditioning repair done that he had been trying to get done since the start of this.
He called the company four times that night, but since it was after hours, no one would answer, and the company did not have an emergency service line, so he was stuck until the morning. It was a hot summer night, but Darrel was afraid to turn his AC on with the noise it was making because he didn’t want to cause any additional damage. He didn’t know where the noise was coming from but was not about to make it worse.
After a long night without any AC, the morning came, and Darrel started calling. Unfortunately, by the time he got someone to pick up the phone, they told him that they did not have any open appointments and did not work on the weekend. While Darrel was annoyed, there was nothing he could do to change their mind, even when he pointed out that it was their error that caused this problem in the first place.
He had no choice but to wait until Monday, and even though the receptionist told him that he could turn on his AC while waiting, he chose to play it safe and went to stay with a friend for the weekend. When the company arrived on Monday they told him that the condenser was going to need to be replaced. Finally, this was a move that seemed to line up with the problems he was having, but as he reviewed the invoice, he was shocked to find that they chose to use “refurbished used parts” while charging him full price on the estimate for the condenser. He immediately called them out on this, and they stated that it was simply an error on their part, but he was now highly suspicious of the entire situation.
Darrel watched them closely the rest of the day as they completed the condenser placement and then asked them to turn on the AC unit before they left. Once again, they said that things needed to be set up and that he would have to wait. At this point, Darrel knew he would never use this air conditioning repair service again because he didn’t trust them, but he also didn’t want to turn on the AC unless there was any truth to what they said. Therefore, he waited a few hours and was less than shocked when the AC didn’t turn on. Now he was angry.
Instead of calling them back, he got online to look for an air conditioning repair service with positive reviews to come for a second opinion. He now knew that he should have done this in the first place because it only took him about five minutes to screen companies online, but this was turning into a lesson he would have to learn the hard way.
He called the second company to come to take a look at the condenser repair and tell him why his AC was now not working. It started with a slight noise, but now he was getting no AC at all. They scheduled a visit for the next day and told him that the condenser that was installed was not comparable with the evaporator coils, and that was likely what was causing the issue. The fact that they were not compatible was causing the safety switch on the system to shut off. This led to the fuse box tripping, so the AC would not turn on. Until something was done about the situation the AC would not work and would likely not even work at all.
Darrel’s head was spinning at this point. He couldn’t believe that the first company would install something that was not even compatible with his unit, but given the fact they tried to hide using used parts, it now all made sense. The problem got bigger the more Darrel looked into it because, apparently, the first air conditioning repair service had cut corners multiple times.
They actually did not even meet the city permit standards because they didn’t perform the work on their own. While Darrel had called what he thought was a legitimate air conditioning repair service the first time around, due to being so busy, they had subbed the work out to “helper contractors” that did not meet the proper code requirements. Therefore, while he had assumed he was working with certified HVAC technicians he was working with a glorified handyman. Now he was just angry with the entire situation, and it was only going to get worse.
In order to fix the condenser issue by replacing the coils to be compatible and making the unit compliant with the city permit requirements, he would have to pay for an additional $2,000 worth of repairs. That was in addition to what he already paid the first company for their initial repairs which had left him with this giant mess. He also hadn’t had AC for over the last two weeks while waiting for the repairs to get made.
Darrel had no choice now but to pay the $2,000 to get his AC repaired because he needed AC, and if his unit wasn’t brought up to code, then he would be in trouble with the city compliance laws as well. The second company he worked with attempted to make the process as simple as possible for Darrell, but nothing about the entire repair process was without complications and Darrel was so angry he could hardly see straight.
After he got his AC working again, Darrel contacted lawyers who are helping him to sort out the mess that he was left with because of the first air conditioning repair service. He is hoping that he can at least get compensated for the amount that he paid to fix their mess, but he also is working with the attorney general to make sure the company is fined for what they did to him. When he looked up the company he found they had open permits all over the city, so he was not the only victim of their work.
Had Darrel spent a few minutes looking up the company before they came out to his home, he could have saved himself a lot of grief. Like Rick, he learned the hard way that you need to carefully screen any air conditioning repair service you consider hiring to repair your home.
If you are searching for a reliable HVAC company to help with AC repair, contact One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas for help. We are happy to send out a technician who is fully trained to troubleshoot all of your issues and restore cold air flow to your home.
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