Broken central air

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keith6014
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Broken central air

Post by keith6014 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:04 am

I bought my house last year. It was a new construction. In the past 2 days the air condition stopped blowing cold air. Just air temperature is coming out. The unit (Carrier) is making a rattling sound. We called a technician and he told us there maybe a leak. He quoted us $2000.

I contacted the builder he told me its the owners responsibility. I suppose it is , I am not sure. According to NJ HVAC systems have a 2 year warranty from the builder.

He told me to call the warranty company not sure what he means by that.

mancich
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Re: Broken central air

Post by mancich » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:09 am

Might just be the capacitor, a less than $30 part. Same thing just happened to me last weekend. Took the technician 10 minutes to change it out. Charged me $130 but it fixed the problem. Google it and check out YouTube as well. It looked like a very simple fix if you're relatively handy

carolinaman
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Re: Broken central air

Post by carolinaman » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:12 am

keith6014 wrote:I bought my house last year. It was a new construction. In the past 2 days the air condition stopped blowing cold air. Just air temperature is coming out. The unit (Carrier) is making a rattling sound. We called a technician and he told us there maybe a leak. He quoted us $2000.

I contacted the builder he told me its the owners responsibility. I suppose it is , I am not sure. According to NJ HVAC systems have a 2 year warranty from the builder.

He told me to call the warranty company not sure what he means by that.
Do you have the documentation from the installation? If not, have the builder provide the information for you. Worst case, the contractor who installed the unit should have records about it and can help. Most likely, this is still under warranty. Pretty poor response from builder.

keith6014
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Re: Broken central air

Post by keith6014 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:14 am

Thanks for the prompt responses!

The service man said there isn't any more refrigerant left and the compresser is running "dry". The cost is to inspect the leak, refill the refrigerant and repair.

keith6014
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Re: Broken central air

Post by keith6014 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:21 am

carolinaman wrote:
keith6014 wrote:I bought my house last year. It was a new construction. In the past 2 days the air condition stopped blowing cold air. Just air temperature is coming out. The unit (Carrier) is making a rattling sound. We called a technician and he told us there maybe a leak. He quoted us $2000.

I contacted the builder he told me its the owners responsibility. I suppose it is , I am not sure. According to NJ HVAC systems have a 2 year warranty from the builder.

He told me to call the warranty company not sure what he means by that.
Do you have the documentation from the installation? If not, have the builder provide the information for you. Worst case, the contractor who installed the unit should have records about it and can help. Most likely, this is still under warranty. Pretty poor response from builder.
No, I don't have documentation of the installation. The builder provided the who installed it but when we called them they told us that we need to pay for everything including the service call.

mouses
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Re: Broken central air

Post by mouses » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:25 am

keith6014 wrote:Thanks for the prompt responses!

The service man said there isn't any more refrigerant left and the compresser is running "dry". The cost is to inspect the leak, refill the refrigerant and repair.
The old AC repair person's employee apparently bungled checking my system as they were going out of business in this area and left something loose, with the result that the refrigerant really went down. As I recall it was impressively expensive for the new people to replace the refrigerant, but I don't recall the cost. It sure wasn't $2000, but it was hundreds of dollars. However there was still some refrigerant left.

I would definitely track down the warranty issue and keep all your repair paperwork. The builder, having sold the house, apparently doesn't stand behind his work. Try calling the AC manufacturer and see if they can help. Or/and the BBB about the installer. I have had good luck with the BBB, contrary to some reports here.

stoptothink
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Re: Broken central air

Post by stoptothink » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:36 am

keith6014 wrote:Thanks for the prompt responses!

The service man said there isn't any more refrigerant left and the compresser is running "dry". The cost is to inspect the leak, refill the refrigerant and repair.
We are currently going through the same thing, on a 4yr old home. We just spent $400 to start the diagnosis process (using some sort of dye), after having the refrigerant filled twice in the last year (to the tune of ~$200 each time). We were told that the leak is likely in the compressor coil, which should be under warranty (the service man said they could take care of getting this information). Either way, we are expecting the diagnosis process and labor to cost in excess of $1000 (best case scenario) and possibly much more. We feel like we are getting ripped off, but we called about a dozen other local companies and couldn't even get anybody else to come look at our unit for at least another 2 weeks.

msk
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Re: Broken central air

Post by msk » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:45 am

I would first try to get the nearest Carrier agency to send a repairman. He will probably be able to advise you on the warranty issues and will be familiar with the common failure mechanisms of the unit. A leak due to a nut working loose (most likely for a such a new unit, i.e. careless installation) is trivial to trace and fix. A leak due to a manufacturing defect is a major hassle that a generic repairman will probably have a hard time to trace, hence, possibly, the high quote.

Globalviewer58
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Re: Broken central air

Post by Globalviewer58 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:50 am

You might find it useful to search for "Carrier Model # _____ Warranty" online to see what the manufacturer covers. I reviewed one Carrier Warranty document that covers the repair or replacement of parts only. No mention of labor to repair.

The Warranty does advise that you are to contact a Carrier dealer or the installer.

Good luck!

JohnF
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Re: Broken central air

Post by JohnF » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:59 am

Try posting issue on the HVAC-Talk AOP Residential Forum.

http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/

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HueyLD
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Re: Broken central air

Post by HueyLD » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:10 pm

When I bought the new construction, I received a packet of warranty material and the A/C unit carried various periods of warranty depending on the specific items.

So, start reading the fine print in the warranty. If yours is similar to mine, you may have warranty on parts and labor for one year. And there may be a two year workmanship warranty if you can prove that the failure was due to poor workmanship. And the compressor may carry a 10-year warranty from the manufacturer but you are responsible for all labor related costs.

In other words, it is a no win situation for the homeowner in most instances.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Broken central air

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:15 pm

keith6014 wrote:Thanks for the prompt responses!

The service man said there isn't any more refrigerant left and the compresser is running "dry". The cost is to inspect the leak, refill the refrigerant and repair.
Inspect the leak? http://www.air-conditioner-selection.co ... imple.html

Save yourself $1K at least, if there is no repair, if there is no leak, the technician just made easy money. How big is the unit? how many tons? The cost of refrigerant is not $1K.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

denovo
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Re: Broken central air

Post by denovo » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:56 pm

keith6014 wrote:Thanks for the prompt responses!

The service man said there isn't any more refrigerant left and the compresser is running "dry". The cost is to inspect the leak, refill the refrigerant and repair.
On a one year old unit? Thats nuts.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Broken central air

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:18 pm

denovo wrote:
keith6014 wrote:Thanks for the prompt responses!

The service man said there isn't any more refrigerant left and the compresser is running "dry". The cost is to inspect the leak, refill the refrigerant and repair.
On a one year old unit? Thats nuts.
It's not nuts, I had it happen to me, twice. First, they thought the installer had under-pressurized the units. Then, my contractor showed me how to search for leaks with the soapy water and the halogen light. Then, we found that the "anti-sniff" locks (if OP looks he will see at the base on outside unit there is a cap with a key hole on it - you need a special key to open it and only HVAC licensed techs have that key) on the valves on the outside of the unit were contracting and expanding with the change in the cold temperatures leading to the refrigerant to develop a slow leak out of the unit. 2.5 lbs of refrigerant later and $100, and the unit has been blowing cold since. That is my bet on what is going on with OP's unit, especially since he mentioned he lives in NJ where this could occur - NJ building code requires these locks on the base of the unit - kids are very creative these days and will sniff anything :o :shock: :oops: . But to be charged $2K - that is highway robbery and they know it, they get away with it because the weather is in the techs favor and the homeowner will pay to avoid being miserable in July.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

iamlucky13
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Re: Broken central air

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:49 pm

You called a technician, or you had a technician come onsite to diagnoise the unit and discover there was no refrigerant?

If a 1 year old AC unit has no refrigerant, it sounds like the installer screwed up badly.

Regardless of any of that, the first thing I'd do is find out what warranty your new build house had on it. If it's under warranty, follow up with them right away. If you are in an HOA neighborhood, the HOA board may have information about warranties. Keep notes in case the builder or their warranty provider tries to dodge responsibility, including when the problem first occurred, what diagnosis you've had done so far, when you reported the problem under warranty, and other discussions with them.

If it's not under a new-home warranty, the next step is finding out the warranty on the AC unit itself. This is usually handled by the installer, especially if it is an installation mistake. I would expect the builder to provide manuals and warranty information in a move-in binder, but I don't know if that is actually the norm or not.

If somebody does have a warranty responsibility, stay on them. Some will try to dodge it. If the end of warranty date passes in the meantime, don't let up.

Otherwise, minimum cost to do get an HVAC tech out to do anything is usually in the $100-200 range. Getting a refrigerant refill shouldn't be much more, but it sounds like you also need a leak check, and possibly a joint resweated or something like that.

$2000 is a price for replacing a major repair for something seriously wrong, not a diagnostic and refill.

keith6014
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Re: Broken central air

Post by keith6014 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:57 pm

I called Carrier. They told me I have a 5 year warranty. Which includes parts but not labor so they referred me to a local contractor.

The local certified contractor costs $175 per 1/2 hour. You did not read it wrong.

The builder is staying away from this situation, he is only giving short answers by texting.

We filled up the the frion and the rattling sound went away. It costed $400 for 5 pounds. We can't seem to find the home builder warrannt in the closing docs. <sigh>

keith6014
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Re: Broken central air

Post by keith6014 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:59 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:You called a technician, or you had a technician come onsite to diagnoise the unit and discover there was no refrigerant?
Called 2 technicans. First one's diagnosis was there maybe a leak and the frion is very low thats why you may hear the rattling.

The second one just filled the frion and they said there maybe a leak.

My next step is if it happens again, I will goto the second one and try to find the leak.

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HueyLD
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Re: Broken central air

Post by HueyLD » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:09 pm

keith6014 wrote:I called Carrier. They told me I have a 5 year warranty. Which includes parts but not labor so they referred me to a local contractor.
The five year warranty may only apply to the compressor. As I indicated in a post above, everything except the compressor has only a one year warranty for my unit.

iamlucky13
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Re: Broken central air

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:33 pm

keith6014 wrote:Called 2 technicans. First one's diagnosis was there maybe a leak and the frion is very low thats why you may hear the rattling.

The second one just filled the frion and they said there maybe a leak.

My next step is if it happens again, I will goto the second one and try to find the leak.
keith6014 wrote:I called Carrier. They told me I have a 5 year warranty. Which includes parts but not labor so they referred me to a local contractor.

The local certified contractor costs $175 per 1/2 hour. You did not read it wrong.

The builder is staying away from this situation, he is only giving short answers by texting.

We filled up the the frion and the rattling sound went away. It costed $400 for 5 pounds. We can't seem to find the home builder warrannt in the closing docs. <sigh>
Trane may recommend a $175 per 1/2 hour contractor, but I'm fairly certain the Magnuson-Moss Act forbids Trane from requiring you to use them since the labor isn't covered under the warranty.

If this is a new neighborhood and rather than an infill, I would ask a couple neighbors if they know any details about whether there is a builder warranty.

There's some good general info here. It mainly applies to new homes bought under an FHA or VA mortgage, but even if your loan was not through one of those programs, their existence may have led the builder to provide them as regular policy. It includes 2 year coverage of HVAC systems, except for defective parts, which are under manufacturer warranty.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0 ... uilt-homes

If you determine there is warranty coverage, I would not wait for the issue to recur, in case the warranty expires in the meantime. I'd do the soap test mentioned above to try to find the leak myself.

keith6014
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Re: Broken central air

Post by keith6014 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:45 am

Thanks for the soap trick. I had the builder call his installer and they did a check. They did a What they did was - Drain the system of all gas. Fill up the system with nitrogen (a very light gas) and pump the system up to 500PSI. At normal operation with Freon the system should run at 150 to 200 PSI. Then they used the soap trick to determine if there is a problem.

They didn't find anything. They had a guage on for 30 mins while the nitrogen was in the system. The system did not loose air -- which is a good thing. I was worried about a line leak

I suspect now its the compressor. Not sure how to handle this. I called carrier and they said I have a 5 year warranty but not labor. I don't mind paying for the labor but how can I prove to carrier that its their compressor?

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