Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:28 pm

We live in a condominium in Florida where we have an "air handler" in our unit that hooks up to a central town water cooling system. The air handler inside our unit is technically referred to as a "water source heat pump" (it provides both the heating and cooling). The water is provided on a loop that runs through about 20 buildings.

Our existing 23-year old air handler needed replacement this past week (it was icing up) so we got estimates from a couple of local HVAC contractors that come recommended in the community and selected one who then came out to remove the old unit and install the new one.

The installation has been very poorly done and not in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions. For example, the unit was supposed to be placed on vibrator pads. My husband pointed this out to the installer several times during installation and he continued to dismiss him, then claimed he would take care of it "later." Then he claimed that the pads were not necessary because it sat on a wooden platform rather than metal. The unit is insanely noisy and vibrates the entire condo. It sounds almost like a vacuum cleaner running constantly. A dB meter is registering around 60 dB with the door to the unit closed and 72 dB with the door open.

After some argument, the installer said he would come by and "lift" the unit to slide in the vibration pads, however, it has been tightly installed with pipes and vent and we fear that any attempt to dislodge it will cause a break or leak and do more damage. We told him repeatedly to put in the pads before the pipes and vent were attached but he ignored us.

In addition, there was a heat strip attached to our old unit (for winter heating) which the installer threw away and now claims isn't necessary to have because "it doesn't get cold enough in Florida" to require it. However, in central Florida it can get close to freezing and we have, in fact, turned our heat on on many occasions over the 14 years we've owned our condo.

They also installed a unit that did not properly fit. After viewing the old unit to provide the estimate, they ordered a unit with the water intake on the wrong side. They removed our old unit before discovering this. At first, they said they would re-order the correct unit, then they claimed that there are no units with the water intake on the correct side, so they were going to re-pipe and lead pipes in front of the unit. This would have prevented being able to open the unit to do maintenance, so after more argument, he reluctantly agreed to lead the new pipes around so as not to block the ability to open the unit for maintenance. However, rather than copper pipes, they only installed PVC pipes and they look amateurishly done. After the entire unit was installed, we discovered that there was a blockage so you cannot even slide in the air filter without bending it and/or unscrewing a metal plate to be able to get the air filter out and a new one in - this should be changed every month or two.

We are getting the run around and the guy is basically BS'ing us. My husband has an engineering background and, while not an HVAC professional himself, is quite knowledgeable and well-read about technical systems like this. He is livid about this entire debacle. The way the electrical wiring is exposed also appears highly illegal.

After dodging our messages and being told by our installer that the owner was unavailable and/or on vacation, the owner has finally just called us back and is sending his "knowledgeable apprentice" out to take a look (in two days).

What kind of recourse do we have if they cannot remedy this? What do we do if we have to live with an insanely loud system? Can we tell them to take it out and hire someone else and if so, would we be obliged to pay for the entire system if it hasn't been done correctly?

We paid a 50% deposit up front on AmEx and still owe the remaining 50% that they are planning to charge to our AmEx.

When a ca. $5,000 home repair goes bad, what are one's options?
Last edited by csm on Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

bob60014
Posts: 1122
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:59 pm
Location: The Land Beyond ORD

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by bob60014 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:55 pm

Dispute the charge with AmEx to get their attention, immediately.

deecee
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:27 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by deecee » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:57 pm

I would first lock my credit card with Amex to prevent future charges, and also ask Amex if there are any options for refusing payment for substandard contractor work.

JoeRetire
Posts: 2992
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by JoeRetire » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:01 pm

csm wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:28 pm
What kind of recourse do we have if they cannot remedy this? What do we do if we have to live with an insanely loud system? Can we tell them to take it out and hire someone else and if so, would we be obliged to pay for the entire system if it hasn't been done correctly?

We paid a 50% deposit up front on AmEx and still owe the remaining 50% that they are planning to charge to our AmEx.

When a ca. $5,000 home repair goes bad, what are one's options?
Small claims court.

User avatar
LilyFleur
Posts: 513
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by LilyFleur » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:16 pm

Everything that was said before. You were smart to pay by credit card and to hold back half.
Better Business Bureau
State contractor's board
A bad review on Yelp (after they fix it completely and IF they fix it completely)
Let the condominium management know what happened...they may have some ideas.
Let other folks who live there know so they don't call this contractor.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:51 pm

Thank you for all the suggestions. We will listen to the individual who comes out in two days.

Apparently the owner is out of town and the guy he is sending over was previously an apprentice, trained by the owner, so is his "best" guy. The owner claims he will make it right, but we shall tread carefully. He is quite insistent that a heat strip is not needed and that, should we find this winter that it is needed, he will install one. We need to get everything in writing.

We have already warned the condo association president as well as a close neighbor who is in the process of getting bids to have his unit replaced.

Designairohio
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:57 pm

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by Designairohio » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:09 pm

I am a Heating and Cooling contractor in Ohio and don’t see that type of unit much here. But if I were in your shoes I would call the building department in your city and have the inspector look over the installation instructions to make sure it is properly sized, installed and up to code. I would be willing to bet that permits were not pulled which would subject the installer to fines in addition to the cost of pulling the proper permits and making sure he is licensed & bonded

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 8305
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:41 pm

Considerations:
1 Replacement of existing HVAC may or may not need a permit. Verify.
2 Do not pay remaining 50% until “everything “ you want is done including heat strip and proper isolation pads.
3 There are different types of isolation pad systems. Get the best you can.
4 As others have stated check on reversing your charge card.
5 Deal specifically with the owner. At this point that’s your best course going forward.
J🏝
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know

User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm
Location: Carolinas

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:55 pm

According to some other topics I’ve recently read, slightly reduce how much you tip them to demonstrate your displeasure.

User avatar
whodidntante
Posts: 6153
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm
Location: outside the echo chamber

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by whodidntante » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:11 pm

^LOL.

Good thing you paid with Amex. And only half. But make sure this gets resolved somehow. You don't want a lien on your place.

PhilosophyAndrew
Posts: 636
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:06 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:17 pm

The contractor knowing that you will hold back money until your final punch list is completed to your satisfaction is the best leverage I know about.

So, I’m the future I would not give contractors access to my Amex, and I would make sure my right to withhold money is documented in the contract. (And If a contractor won’t live with this, I’ll hire someone else.

In this case, I suppose you can instruct them not to make the final charge until you give them consent, and you can file a dispute with Amex if the vendor charges the balance on your card before you are satisfied with their work.

Andy.

User avatar
SevenBridgesRoad
Posts: 461
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:14 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:20 pm

Designairohio wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:09 pm
I am a Heating and Cooling contractor in Ohio and don’t see that type of unit much here. But if I were in your shoes I would call the building department in your city and have the inspector look over the installation instructions to make sure it is properly sized, installed and up to code. I would be willing to bet that permits were not pulled which would subject the installer to fines in addition to the cost of pulling the proper permits and making sure he is licensed & bonded
This.
Retired 2018 age 61 | 30:70 VTINX and two deferred single premium annuities and deferred SS | VPW Method | Sleeping very well at night

User avatar
SevenBridgesRoad
Posts: 461
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:14 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:21 pm

PhilosophyAndrew wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:17 pm
The contractor knowing that you will hold back money until your final punch list is completed to your satisfaction is the best leverage I know about.

So, I’m the future I would not give contractors access to my Amex, and I would make sure my right to withhold money is documented in the contract. (And If a contractor won’t live with this, I’ll hire someone else.

In this case, I suppose you can instruct them not to make the final charge until you give them consent, and you can file a dispute with Amex if the vendor charges the balance on your card before you are satisfied with their work.

Andy.
And this.
Retired 2018 age 61 | 30:70 VTINX and two deferred single premium annuities and deferred SS | VPW Method | Sleeping very well at night

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:55 pm

Designairohio wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:09 pm
I am a Heating and Cooling contractor in Ohio and don’t see that type of unit much here. But if I were in your shoes I would call the building department in your city and have the inspector look over the installation instructions to make sure it is properly sized, installed and up to code. I would be willing to bet that permits were not pulled which would subject the installer to fines in addition to the cost of pulling the proper permits and making sure he is licensed & bonded
Thank you - this is interesting.

Our original estimate does include the text "Pull Mechanical Permit" and "Call for Mechanical Final," the latter phrase I'm not sure I understand. Does that mean someone should be inspecting it from outside the company?

I'm trying to search the county now for a mechanical permit but haven't yet found how to do this. Excellent advice here, thanks.

User avatar
SevenBridgesRoad
Posts: 461
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:14 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:01 pm

csm wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:55 pm
Designairohio wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:09 pm
I am a Heating and Cooling contractor in Ohio and don’t see that type of unit much here. But if I were in your shoes I would call the building department in your city and have the inspector look over the installation instructions to make sure it is properly sized, installed and up to code. I would be willing to bet that permits were not pulled which would subject the installer to fines in addition to the cost of pulling the proper permits and making sure he is licensed & bonded
...Does that mean someone should be inspecting it from outside the company...
Yes. The city code (or county) inspector. This is a big deal.
Retired 2018 age 61 | 30:70 VTINX and two deferred single premium annuities and deferred SS | VPW Method | Sleeping very well at night

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:01 pm

Cheez-It Guy wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:55 pm
According to some other topics I’ve recently read, slightly reduce how much you tip them to demonstrate your displeasure.
Ha, ha! I read that thread with interest because we were in the midst of this job and I thought to myself, "I didn't realize I was supposed to tip them." Of course, there was no way that was going to happen based on how the work was progressing!

We did tip the refrigerator delivery guys who had to haul a side-by-side fridge/freezer up a flight of stairs and take the old one away.

User avatar
Brianmcg321
Posts: 100
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:23 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by Brianmcg321 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:05 pm

Cheez-It Guy wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:55 pm
According to some other topics I’ve recently read, slightly reduce how much you tip them to demonstrate your displeasure.
Lol. Now that’s funny.
Rules to investing: | 1. Don't lose money. | 2. Don't forget rule number 1.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:13 pm

I found the mechanical permit, so it was pulled and I believe the owner is licensed and bonded. We question whether the guy actually sent out to do the work was properly licensed.

criticalmass
Posts: 1162
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by criticalmass » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:33 am

csm wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:28 pm


The installation has been very poorly done and not in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions.
This is my takeaway. What is the manufacturer name of the equipment? Get in touch with their regional distributor company that supplied your contractor. They have the power to ensure your contractor *wants* to finish a quality installation. Finding them isn’t immediately obvious to the consumer since distributors don’t interact with consumers under normal circumstances, but you should be able to find them quickly with some searching.

Typically one distributor controls all wholesale sales for a wide territory of one or more brands. They also provide contractor training and technical assistance. When their product isn’t installed properly by a contractor in the field, they want to know about it.

You’ll probably get better assistance from the distributor than from the manufacturer, so I’d start there.

UpstateNY86
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:56 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by UpstateNY86 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:50 am

One thing I am curious about. While going over the proposal, your husband did not know that a heat kit wasnt included? Being an engineer, they are normally pretty detailed.

FI4LIFE
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:27 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by FI4LIFE » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:10 am

csm wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:55 pm
Designairohio wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:09 pm
I am a Heating and Cooling contractor in Ohio and don’t see that type of unit much here. But if I were in your shoes I would call the building department in your city and have the inspector look over the installation instructions to make sure it is properly sized, installed and up to code. I would be willing to bet that permits were not pulled which would subject the installer to fines in addition to the cost of pulling the proper permits and making sure he is licensed & bonded
Thank you - this is interesting.

Our original estimate does include the text "Pull Mechanical Permit" and "Call for Mechanical Final," the latter phrase I'm not sure I understand. Does that mean someone should be inspecting it from outside the company?

I'm trying to search the county now for a mechanical permit but haven't yet found how to do this. Excellent advice here, thanks.
Yes a local building inspector should do a "final" inspection when the work is completed and should have already signed off allowing the work to begin. You can just walk into the building department and ask. Sometimes contractors will begin work without a permit then pull one after the fact. This is not necessarily a red flag but it depends on your local laws.

The apprentice can work under the business owner's licence. He is not required to be licensed himself. I would require him to install the heating component before payment.

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 9247
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:30 am

UpstateNY86 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:50 am
One thing I am curious about. While going over the proposal, your husband did not know that a heat kit wasnt included? Being an engineer, they are normally pretty detailed.
I think that for a water sourced heat pump, the “heat kit” is an auxiliary heater. We have a water sourced heat pump (geothermal type) near Boston, and don’t expect to use the aux heat unless outdoor temps are well below 0 F. That should not happen often in FL.

ETA: our incoming water temp begins at 50F, but there’s still a lot of heat to extract from that.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Bern
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:58 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by Bern » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:48 am

Another option might be contacting the manufacturer of the unit, in which they may have a distributorship. This might get someone's attention for a remedy.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:54 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:30 am
UpstateNY86 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:50 am
One thing I am curious about. While going over the proposal, your husband did not know that a heat kit wasnt included? Being an engineer, they are normally pretty detailed.
I think that for a water sourced heat pump, the “heat kit” is an auxiliary heater. We have a water sourced heat pump (geothermal type) near Boston, and don’t expect to use the aux heat unless outdoor temps are well below 0 F. That should not happen often in FL.

ETA: our incoming water temp begins at 50F, but there’s still a lot of heat to extract from that.
Our old unit had a separate "heat strip" attached to it that was still functioning. The estimate was not terribly detailed and I don't know if my husband assumed that the old heat strip would be re-installed or that the new unit came with one by default. It was during the installation process that he asked the installer about it and it came as a surprise when the installer said "we don't use those anymore." My husband asked where our old heat strip was and the installer admitted to having thrown it away.

We do know that the heat from the heat strip kicked in often enough when temperatures dipped in the winter as to require it (we could smell the dusty smell when the heat kicked on from the heat strip).

While an efficient water sourced heat pump may not usually require it, we are tethered to a 25 year old central water cooling tower that has to send a water loop through 20+ buildings (3 stories high) with retail, restaurants and condos. So the load on the system may make a difference? Sorry if my explanation doesn't make sense - I'm not a technical person.

We do know that our neighbor just got an estimate from another company to change his unit and it includes a heat strip. Unfortunately, this was one of the other companies we called for a quote and they never came back to us with an estimate. They quoted our neighbor because he is good friends with one of the staff - when the owner came to our neighbor's condo a few days after having blown us off, he admitted to our neighbor that he had not returned to us with an estimate because he really didn't want to bother with the job due to the complications with the central cooling system and the company who controlled it. Frustrating to say the least as he didn't even give us the courtesy of letting us know he was not going to give us an estimate after his technician had been out to look. And our neighbor's estimate included the brand of unit we would have preferred, that our installer could not offer.

This entire debacle is exacerbated by the fact that we have flight plans for next week to be gone two months to empty and close on our house abroad that just sold. Airline tickets were booked two weeks prior to the A/C issue cropping up, and we thought we'd have the new installation done in good time before having to leave.

User avatar
StevieG72
Posts: 952
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:00 pm

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by StevieG72 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:59 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:30 am
UpstateNY86 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:50 am
One thing I am curious about. While going over the proposal, your husband did not know that a heat kit wasnt included? Being an engineer, they are normally pretty detailed.
I think that for a water sourced heat pump, the “heat kit” is an auxiliary heater. We have a water sourced heat pump (geothermal type) near Boston, and don’t expect to use the aux heat unless outdoor temps are well below 0 F. That should not happen often in FL.

ETA: our incoming water temp begins at 50F, but there’s still a lot of heat to extract from that.
This... Heat strips provide secondary auxiliary heat. ( they only turn on if stage 1 heat can’t keep up.) you would smell “burning” when stage stage two heat strips turn on, especially for the first time each season. If you rarely or never smelled burning in the winter then they likely were not coming on. Some thermostats also have an indicator light that shows when stage two is running.

Irregardless of the above I would not want them to toss my heat strips and claim that I will not need them. There may be little recourse unless this was discussed prior to the install. Not sure about the water systems, but with typical heat pumps the heat strips are part of the air handler and can be added as an option to a new install. When they removed the old unit the heat strips came out with it, not sure if they could have left them or if they would have been compatible with the new air handler.

This should have been discussed as part of the quote, scope of work.

As others have mentioned, I would withhold & prevent final payment until I was satisfied with the work. Hope they can resolve the issues to your satisfaction.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:23 am

I found where we could schedule a final inspection by the county for an A/C change-out based on the mechanical permit. It appears as though the inspection is optional for this type of work.

We are still waiting to hear back from the owner's 'best' installer whether he will come out late today or tomorrow morning to take a look and, supposedly, "make it right" for us.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:27 am

StevieG72 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:59 am

This... Heat strips provide secondary auxiliary heat. ( they only turn on if stage 1 heat can’t keep up.) you would smell “burning” when stage stage two heat strips turn on, especially for the first time each season. If you rarely or never smelled burning in the winter then they likely were not coming on.
See above. We did have the distinct "burning dust" smell of the heat strip at least a few times every winter.

Thank you for the additional input.

Yesterday the original installer tried to tell us that if we wanted a heat strip, they would charge us extra for it. But the owner subsequently said that if we find we need it come winter time, he would come back and install it free of charge since they tossed our old one without discussing it with us. We will get this in writing if we do not insist they install it now.

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 9247
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:02 am

csm wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:27 am
Yesterday the original installer tried to tell us that if we wanted a heat strip, they would charge us extra for it. But the owner subsequently said that if we find we need it come winter time, he would come back and install it free of charge since they tossed our old one without discussing it with us. We will get this in writing if we do not insist they install it now.
While I originally thought you probably wouldn’t use aux heat, your description of the load (much greater than our 4 bedroom house) being placed on the heat pump, and the fact that you’ve smelled it in the past makes me think I spoke too soon. Our heat pump is brand new and state of the art; yours is 25 years old.

Do you use set back temps aggressively? We do (like to sleep in cold cold bedroom under comforter), and the heat pump installers helped us make our system behave a bit more like a regular system where you can change temps dramatically, rather than heat pump systems (which prefer to maintain a static temp day and year round).
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:15 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:02 am

Do you use set back temps aggressively?
We haven't just because we've had such an archaic system. We tend to manually set a colder temp for nighttime because the upstairs master bedroom is the hottest room in the house, then turn the A/C up a few degrees in the daytime.

We had hoped we could get an efficient state-of-the-art system when we had to replace it, but quickly discovered that our options were limited due to the system we're on.

The best we did was get a Nest thermostat installed this time so we can control it remotely, e.g. have it start cooling a day before we arrive from a month away rather than coming home to 80+ degrees and suffering through the first 24 hours.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:07 am

I wanted to update this thread as to where we are in this process and ask for one last piece of advice.

The contractor's "best guy" came out (twice) and did the following:

1. Called the manufacturer of the unit they installed and found out that the specific unit does not support auxiliary heating but insisted we would not need it. We are still skeptical based on the central system we are on, and again stated that we require the owner's written confirmation of his previous commitment to install aux heating if it becomes necessary in the winter. We still believe this illustrates that they did not understand the system nor did they recommend the correct unit for the home, but it is what it is and is installed so we are keeping it.

2. Measured (first visit) and installed (second visit) a custom piece that would allow the air filter to be changed. It isn't ideal but we are accepting it.

3. Installed the vibration pads and re-piped some of the poor, amateurish piping that was done by the first team. It is still a noisy unit, but the vibration pads have made a slight improvement. We have little choice but to accept this.

4. Unfortunately, on his first visit when he re-piped, he removed the opening to the condensation pipe (might be a wrong description) where it was possible to add some vinegar in case it became clogged. When my husband called him on it, he said that the unit would automatically shut down if it clogged and then we would call them for service and they would come out to clear it. This was unacceptable to us (my husband adds vinegar frequently to keep the system running smoothly) so on his second visit he re-installed the ability to do this. Four other [lay] people that we briefly mentioned this to were incredulous that this had been done, as each one of them said they added vinegar to their own systems themselves.

5. Several Bogleheads mentioned having the county inspect the work and ensure it was permitted. We found the mechanical permit and also found that an inspection is optional. We considered scheduling an inspection but then discovered that only the original permit holder (e.g. the contractor) was authorized to schedule an inspection. With the fixes that were done, we assumed that an inspection would likely not bring any reaction from the county.

6. The first guys who did the original removal of the old unit and installation of the new unit, damaged our vinyl kitchen floor. There are several deep gouges in the floor where they scraped the 3.5T heavy metal heat pumps as they were man-handling them to get them in/out. Then they spilled chemicals in a few spots which they attempted to clean with a wet cloth that only smeared the chemicals around. So in those spots the vinyl floor is visibly dull and scratched, the top finish destroyed, and the splotches visible from certain angles. When the "best guy" came out on his first visit, we showed it to him and he said he would tell the owner. My husband subsequently messaged with the owner who initially asked what we suggested be done and after a couple of messages where my husband sent photos and explained the damage, the owner asked for the measurements of the area. We sent those - the entire area (it is vinyl sheet flooring that is no longer available) is about 250 square feet and about half of that area has the damage (multiple gouges and chemical damage). Since then, the owner has gone completely silent and has not answered any subsequent texts or emails.

7. After the "best guy" left our place for the last time, having completed the piece for the air filter and re-installing the condensation pipe, my husband messaged the owner to say that we only awaited (1) the written confirmation about the aux heating should it be needed, and (2) a resolution to our damaged floor.

8. Shortly thereafter we were sent an invoice for the full original estimate, not even reflecting that we had prepaid 50%. The invoice includes a flimsy statement stating that, although an auxiliary heat strip is not a requirement, they will install one without charge if it is needed. No mention was made of the damaged floor. We replied that the invoice was incorrect as it did not reflect the prepayment, and also we awaited a response from the owner regarding the damaged floor. The following day, a revised invoice was sent reflecting the prepayment and demanding the remaining balance be paid immediately. The date on the invoice was the date we received the original estimate before the work started, not the date the work was completed. Still no mention of the floor. The owner was cc'd on all the correspondence relating to the invoice and pending issue, but never responded personally to it. The email with the invoice was sent with threatening language that, if unpaid, it will be placed with an external collection agent, that all fees for collection will be passed to us, that we agree to be contacted by a collection agent, etc.

9. We replied to the revised invoice stating that we would like to clear it asap and that as soon as we have a mutually-agreed resolution to the damaged floor, the balance may be charged to the original AmEx card that they have on file from the deposit. We have received no reply whatsoever.

If you are still with me, here are my questions for which advice is gratefully requested:


1. Do we have a right to expect some resolution to the damaged floor and, if so, what should we expect? Would not a contractor have insurance to cover damage caused to a client's property? Should they cover complete replacement of the floor which is really the only way to fix the issue or would we be expected to share the cost? What is reasonable? It is not a new floor, but it was in pristine condition and we kept it clean and shiny with no punctures or gouges. This is no longer possible based on the damage inflicted.

2. Can the contractor threaten us with collection action on the remaining 50%, including fees and potential consequences to our credit and reputation? We have *not* refused to pay, we have stated in writing that we are ready to make final payment once they respond with an acceptable solution for the damage they did to our home. Is this sufficient to protect us from heavy-handed collection agencies, fees, etc.?

Any other advice at this stage? It is obvious that the owner has deliberately refused to engage in any further communication. Should we continue to contact him in writing to prove we are trying to resolve this and want to pay the bill but also expect him to fix the damage?

Thank you.

HomeStretch
Posts: 1497
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by HomeStretch » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:27 am

Have you talked to the owner or has this exchange only been over email with someone other than the owner?

Re Q1:
Prior to starting the job, did you ask your contractor to provide to you a certificate of insurance that verifies coverage, limits, name of insurance company(ies)?

Yes, the business can demand payment, turn your invoice over to collections and/or try to file a lien against your property. If you have reached an impasse with the business, it’s time to talk to an attorney. Perhaps a letter on attorney letterhead about the issue/remaining payment/heating strip guarantee will get you a better response from the owner.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:42 am

HomeStretch wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:27 am
Have you talked to the owner or has this exchange only been over email with someone other than the owner?
My husband communicated directly with the owner, although it took some effort to get him to react.

After the initial installation debacle, we tried to contact the owner multiple times and it was only when my husband told the original installer (who claimed to be the manager) that the only person he would speak to from now on was the owner, did the owner finally call. They spoke on the phone which is when the owner said he would send his "best guy" out to fix everything that was wrong.

After the "best guy's" first visit, my husband texted directly with the owner about the unfinished tasks. That was when the owner said the guy would come back and finish the air filter access issue and the condensation pipe. At the same time, he asked us about the area of the floor that was damaged. This was the last direct contact with the owner.

After the last visit when the final issues were resolved and we were sent the invoice, we emailed the owner directly about the incorrect invoice (forgetting to reflect the prepayment) and the damaged floor. He has ignored the emails, and only has had his assistant send the revised invoice reflecting the prepayment, but no mention of the floor. Our last correspondence where we tell them they can charged our AmEx for final payment once we agree on a solution for the floor has also been ignored. That has also been sent directly to the owner.
HomeStretch wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:27 am

Re Q1:
Prior to starting the job, did you ask your contractor to provide to you a certificate of insurance that verifies coverage, limits, name of insurance company(ies)?
We have just repatriated to the U.S. and have never hired contractors in the U.S. in the past. Honestly, we had no idea that it would be necessary to do something like this. During the initial installation when my husband was expressing increasing concern over the way it was being done, the installer commented that they were both "bonded and licensed" and would be doing a professional job. They also come highly recommended by many other residents in the local area.
HomeStretch wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:27 am
Yes, the business can demand payment, turn your invoice over to collections and/or try to file a lien against your property. If you have reached an impasse with the business, it’s time to talk to an attorney. Perhaps a letter on attorney letterhead about the issue/remaining payment/heating strip guarantee will get you a better response from the owner.
Can we send them an invoice for the damaged floor with the same threat (collection agency if they don't pay)? Or present an estimate for the damage and authorize them to charge us the difference between what we owe and the estimate?

Obviously, we would like to avoid getting an attorney involved which would no doubt cost more than the amount we are battling over here.

HomeStretch
Posts: 1497
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by HomeStretch » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:42 pm

IMO a good next step would be to take pictures of the damage and get a written estimate for the repair or replacement of the floor. Send both soon to the owner via registered mail requesting reimbursement for the damages and offer to pay him the net difference between the balance due and the damages. See what happens.

Don’t be surprised if he won’t live up to his promise to install a heat strip, if needed.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:07 pm

HomeStretch wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:42 pm
IMO a good next step would be to take pictures of the damage and get a written estimate for the repair or replacement of the floor. Send both soon to the owner via registered mail requesting reimbursement for the damages and offer to pay him the net difference between the balance due and the damages. See what happens.

Don’t be surprised if he won’t live up to his promise to install a heat strip, if needed.
We have photos but we are now out of the country until early December - unavoidable as we are selling out house abroad and the trip / closing date on the house was scheduled before the A/C failed three weeks ago and we had to have it replaced.

I was looking at some of the online repair estimate sites where I can get an idea of how much it would cost to replace. There is one site where I could submit my information to receive back three estimate but I'm always hesitant to give up my email address. Might that be an option?

He has seen the photos already. I'm willing to try to get a ballpark estimate online and try to submit that with the offer to pay the difference.

We already do not expect him to live up to the heat strip promise. We are certain that he would force us to sue him to try to enforce what he put in writing which was quite flimsy. And we aren't certain we would want him or his workers in our home again.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:01 pm

Using online tools, it appears as though replacing the vinyl floor for the area required, including installation, materials and removing the old floor, would be in the range of $1,000 to $2,300 in our zip code.

I have sent an email to the owner in response to the invoice stating that we believe an amount of $750 would be a fair and reasonable compromise and to charge our credit card for the difference between what we owe on the A/C installation and $750.

We think that is really fair in view of the entire debacle and unprofessionalism. Not sure what to do if he continues to ignore our messages and does not accept the proffered amount.

Any other advice from the group is welcome.

PhilosophyAndrew
Posts: 636
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:06 am

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:14 pm

OP, I would not try to placate the contractor, with who you already have poor working relationship, with an ad hoc “fair compromise” regarding the damage they did to your property.

Instead, I would be direct, simple, and objective: Obtain an estimate for fixing this specific damage, and explain to the vendor that be may either cut you a check for that amount or arrange for the damage to be fixed to your satisfaction. He carries insurance to take care of things like this, and a simple clear demand from you is all that is required.

Mixing this issue up with the work that is invoiced but not yet finished to your satisfaction simply muddles the water, as does trying to address the damage by googling to learn what you think the damage might cost.

So, on the damage obtain a written estimate and forward it to the contractor with a simple demand to pay it or arrange for the same work to be done by a contractor of their choice.

On the remaining hvac installation issues, write a second clear letter detailing your remaining concerns and expectations as state that you will pay the remainder of the invoice once those concerns and expectations are met and the job is completed to your satisfaction.

In each letter, I would include a statement that you will refer the matter to your attorney If it is not resolved within some specific number of days that you specify.

To my mind, at least, negotiating in drive and drabs through a series of texts and emails is too reactive and messy to expect a clean resolution. I would focus on writing these two letters and making your expectations crystal-clear. I also would follow up with an attorney as needed if your demands aren’t met by the dates you specify.

I hope this advice is useful to you. Good luck!

Andy.

criticalmass
Posts: 1162
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by criticalmass » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:53 pm

csm wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:07 am
I wanted to update this thread as to where we are in this process and ask for one last piece of advice.

The contractor's "best guy" came out (twice) and did the following:

1. Called the manufacturer of the unit they installed and found out that the specific unit does not support auxiliary heating but insisted we would not need it. We are still skeptical based on the central system we are on, and again stated that we require the owner's written confirmation of his previous commitment to install aux heating if it becomes necessary in the winter. We still believe this illustrates that they did not understand the system nor did they recommend the correct unit for the home, but it is what it is and is installed so we are keeping it.
Have you contacted the equipment manufacturer's regional distributor to explain your concerns about this contractor and installation? Have they concurred that auxiliary heating is "not needed?" The distributor has a lot more leverage over the contractor.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:53 am

deleted - duplicate post (sorry)
Last edited by csm on Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:54 am

PhilosophyAndrew wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:14 pm
OP, I would not try to placate the contractor, with who you already have poor working relationship, with an ad hoc “fair compromise” regarding the damage they did to your property.

Instead, I would be direct, simple, and objective: Obtain an estimate for fixing this specific damage, and explain to the vendor that be may either cut you a check for that amount or arrange for the damage to be fixed to your satisfaction. He carries insurance to take care of things like this, and a simple clear demand from you is all that is required.

Mixing this issue up with the work that is invoiced but not yet finished to your satisfaction simply muddles the water, as does trying to address the damage by googling to learn what you think the damage might cost.

So, on the damage obtain a written estimate and forward it to the contractor with a simple demand to pay it or arrange for the same work to be done by a contractor of their choice.

On the remaining hvac installation issues, write a second clear letter detailing your remaining concerns and expectations as state that you will pay the remainder of the invoice once those concerns and expectations are met and the job is completed to your satisfaction.

In each letter, I would include a statement that you will refer the matter to your attorney If it is not resolved within some specific number of days that you specify.

To my mind, at least, negotiating in drive and drabs through a series of texts and emails is too reactive and messy to expect a clean resolution. I would focus on writing these two letters and making your expectations crystal-clear. I also would follow up with an attorney as needed if your demands aren’t met by the dates you specify.

I hope this advice is useful to you. Good luck!

Andy.
This is very good advice, thank you.

Basically, we are accepting the installation as completed now (regardless of how poorly done) so are no longer attempting to get any more out of the contractor regarding the A/C install, even realizing that the heat strip issue will never be resolved by this contractor despite his assurance that he will take care of it if needed. So no need to write a letter of expectations about the actual installation.

I totally agree with you that we should get a real estimate for the floor and request payment for it. Our challenge now is that we are out of the country in the process of completing the sale of our house abroad and will not be back to our U.S. home until early December. That was why I presented the online estimates and asked for what we felt was a reasonable amount.

Having our A/C fail in high-90 degree weather during Labor Day weekend, the same week that Hurricane Dorian was anticipated to hit the area, and a few weeks before we had to travel abroad, was not the easiest thing to deal with. We tried to get three estimates, all from contractors recommended in our area. One failed to come back with a quote, one gave a quote that was 52% higher than the one we chose and did not know when the work could be scheduled. The one we hired said they could be out the next day and have it completed in half a day and they are well known and highly recommended in the neighborhood. Only after removing our old unit (that was limping along, icing up, but still somewhat functional), did they discover they could not fit the new unit in. So what should have been a half-day job took 12 days to complete (5 of those days we were without any central A/C and using temporary window A/C's).

There has been no response whatsoever to our email with the offer to pay the invoice with a small allowance for the floor. I will probably pay the invoice with a letter now that states we will get an estimate for the floor at our convenience and present it for full payment, which will cost more than the amount we were originally asking for. Of course, this will not be until December and I am certain he will ignore it and then perhaps we will end up in small claims court.

I hate confrontation and would never want to go this route, but the blatant disregard to do the right thing is really frustrating and I don't want to just let them get away with it. They are probably irritated that the job took more time than they thought they would need and that we expected it to be done correctly and professionally and that we did not just accept the first guy's shoddy workmanship. But they are supposed to know what they are doing, and it was a comedy of errors (though not at all funny) from early on. Believe it or not, I did not even share many points in this thread of things they did and said that I felt were irrelevant to the issue at hand, but the whole thing was a bit of a disaster from the beginning - but the disaster only started after they had removed our old unit and disposed of it, so there was no going back and unwinding time once we saw that they were really not up to the task.
criticalmass wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:53 pm

Have you contacted the equipment manufacturer's regional distributor to explain your concerns about this contractor and installation? Have they concurred that auxiliary heating is "not needed?" The distributor has a lot more leverage over the contractor.
No we have not contacted the distributor ourselves. I tried to find that information and perhaps we would reach out to the distributor if we find that the heating is insufficient. We now have in writing that the installer states it is not required.

criticalmass
Posts: 1162
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by criticalmass » Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:58 am

csm wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:54 am
criticalmass wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:53 pm

Have you contacted the equipment manufacturer's regional distributor to explain your concerns about this contractor and installation? Have they concurred that auxiliary heating is "not needed?" The distributor has a lot more leverage over the contractor.
No we have not contacted the distributor ourselves. I tried to find that information and perhaps we would reach out to the distributor if we find that the heating is insufficient. We now have in writing that the installer states it is not required.
I'm not surprised that the questionable installer says electric auxiliary heat "is not required," but my question is targeted toward getting an independent technical determination by a company with oversight of the brand and contractors using that brand, as well as providing training to installers.

A key reason for having auxiliary heat is that you have a backup "EMERGENCY HEAT mode" source of heat if the more complex heat pump system fails, and heat pumps have many failure causes (e.g. low refrigerant, reversing valve solenoid, compressor failure, contactor failure, capacitor failure, corrosion, outdoor fan failure, power failure in your neighborhood allows the compressor oil to get too cold for operation until its rectifier can warm it again, etc.). In your case with a central municipal water based system, you may want to be protected and independent against any wider outages that you have no control over.

There's a bunch of reasons why heat pumps can go offline (see threads here, including the recent 2 year old unit, 0 refrigerant). Your much simpler indoor unit, containing a blower fan and auxiliary heat is much more likely to work (albeit more expensively) when things go wrong outside of your home.

Another key reason for air based systems for having auxiliary heat is DEFROST mode. (This may likely not apply to you due to the water source system, but it will apply to others with conventional air heat pumps). In systems with outdoor units, they will build up ice if there is humidity in the air, just like your indoor coil cause water condensate in the summer. Peak icing can happen between outdoor air temps 20F-45F because the outdoor coil gets very cold. (In temperatures less than 20F, the outdoor humidity tends to decrease enough to reduce icing).

So the system has to defrost regularly to remove the ice. It is controlled by either timers in the outdoor temperature, outdoor coil temperature sensors, or both.

DEFROST mode means your reversing valve switches and your heat pump cycles into summer cooling mode for maybe 10 minutes. During that time your system is an extremely efficient Air Conditioner, rapidly cooling your home. So Auxiliary Heat switches on automatically during DEFROST so you don't freeze. If it doesn't, you're going to feel very cold air pouring out of your vents (I've experienced this when auxiliary heat was inadvertently switched off--it's a very rude awakening in the middle of the night).

The third reason is to provide extra heat when the heat pump can no longer keep up, due to both significant loss of efficiency below 25F degrees outside and all the defrosting cycles, when the heat pump isn't pumping heat inside. The auxiliary heat cycles on automatically, controlled by your thermostat when the room temperature falls 1-2F degrees below your set temperature. Does your municipal water system have a level of service that guarantees a certain output in all cases? If not, I'd still prefer to have a backup auxiliary yeat.

I'd be shocked if a competent distributor company is going to tell anyone that you don't need auxiliary heat to handle any of these reasons, unless you live in an area warm enough year round not to need heat in the first place.

Topic Author
csm
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by csm » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:32 am

criticalmass wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:58 am

I'm not surprised that the questionable installer says electric auxiliary heat "is not required," but my question is targeted toward getting an independent technical determination by a company with oversight of the brand and contractors using that brand, as well as providing training to installers.

A key reason for having auxiliary heat is that you have a backup "EMERGENCY HEAT mode" source of heat if the more complex heat pump system fails, and heat pumps have many failure causes (e.g. low refrigerant, reversing valve solenoid, compressor failure, contactor failure, capacitor failure, corrosion, outdoor fan failure, power failure in your neighborhood allows the compressor oil to get too cold for operation until its rectifier can warm it again, etc.)

There's a bunch of reasons why heat pumps can go offline (see threads here, including the recent 2 year old unit, 0 refrigerant). Your much simpler indoor unit, containing a blower fan and auxiliary heat is much more likely to work (albeit more expensively) when things go wrong outside until you can get repairs.

Another key reason for having auxiliary heat is DEFROST mode. Your outdoor coil will build up ice if there is humidity in the air, just like your indoor coil cause water condensate in the summer. Peak icing can happen between outdoor air temps 20F-45F because the outdoor coil gets very cold. (In temperatures less than 20F, the outdoor humidity tends to decrease enough to reduce icing).

So the system has to defrost regularly to remove the ice. It is controlled by either timers in the outdoor temperature, outdoor coil temperature sensors, or both.

DEFROST mode means your reversing valve switches and your heat pump cycles into summer cooling mode for maybe 10 minutes. During that time your system is an extremely efficient Air Conditioner, rapidly cooling your home. So Auxiliary Heat switches on automatically during DEFROST so you don't freeze. If it doesn't, you're going to feel very cold air pouring out of your vents (I've experienced this when auxiliary heat was inadvertently switched off--it's a very rude awakening in the middle of the night).

The third reason is to provide extra heat when the heat pump can no longer keep up, due to both significant loss of efficiency below 25F degrees outside and all the defrosting cycles, when the heat pump isn't pumping heat inside. The auxiliary heat cycles on automatically, controlled by your thermostat when the room temperature falls 1-2F degrees below your set temperature.

I'd be shocked if a competent distributor company is going to tell anyone that you don't need auxiliary heat to handle any of these reasons, unless you live in an area warm enough year round not to need heat in the first place.
Thank you for this. I will suggest to my husband that we have the distributor take a look when we return. We are stuck now because we are out of the country until early December.

Regarding the defrost mode for the outside coil, we don't have an exterior unit. We are on a central system (cooling towers) that provide energy to around 20 buildings (two to four stories each) in the town. There is a water loop that passes through all of these buildings and we do not control nor have access to how this system operates. We only have responsibility for an "air handler" inside our unit - which is our 3.5T water source heat pump (it's a Carrier). Sorry if my explanation isn't clear - I'm not a technical person. In any case, unlike a traditional home or apartment, we don't have a unit sitting outside our home that is dedicated to our individual condo.

We are in central Florida so it doesn't get cold often, but it does get cold enough to turn on the heating in winter, and we did use the heat strip on the old unit (evident by the smell of burning dust when it would kick on).

I think your idea of having the distributor come out is a good one. I just hope they will be willing to do it in 3 months time since we are not in a position to have them out now.

criticalmass
Posts: 1162
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by criticalmass » Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:10 pm

csm wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:32 am
We are in central Florida so it doesn't get cold often, but it does get cold enough to turn on the heating in winter, and we did use the heat strip on the old unit (evident by the smell of burning dust when it would kick on).

I think your idea of having the distributor come out is a good one. I just hope they will be willing to do it in 3 months time since we are not in a position to have them out now.
Understand about the water source system, but even a municipal supply may lose ability to provide sufficient water in unusual cases (after a storm, power outage, system failure, etc.

Just to set expectations about a distributor--they may not be able to come out to your location--in fact they may be too far away even if they wanted to. But you should be able to ask questions about a questionable installation. They generally aren't setup to deal with homeowners, so it may take a few questions to get to their expert. However, they can have significant leverage on contractors---who have to order systems from them, and they act as the technical liaison between contractors and manufacturers, in additional to their middleman role.

HomeStretch
Posts: 1497
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Update and Advice Needed Re: Any Recourse for Poor Contractor Work (A/C Installation)

Post by HomeStretch » Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:28 pm

If the owner accepts your offered payment amount of 50% balance minus $750 for flooring and you think the install is acceptable (except for the heating strip), consider paying it to be done with this subpar installer.

If the owner does not accept your offer and sends you to collections, get legal advice.

Post Reply