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Dealing with a moronic HVAC Contractor


mgbinspect
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This morning I received a call from a frantic client of mine. He has a foreclosre property under contract. I performed his inspection, and called for the heat pump air handler to be replaced, cautioning that in most cases the HVAC contractor will insist that both units must be replaced.

The Bank agreed to replace the air handler.

The HVAC contractor arrived to do the work and called the listing agent to inform him that the unit was fine. He followed that up with a letter stating that the unit was not compromised in any way.

Here, for educational purposes and general discussion, is my response in writing to all parties involved:

To Whom It May Concern:

Please examine the attached photos of the heat pump air handling unit, located in the crawlspace.

Notice the following conditions visible and apparent in Photo 103:

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  • The entire bottom of the air handler cabinet is rusting and corroding. (Rest assured that the interior of this unit looks much worse that the outside of the unit.)

The rust is heaviest at the left end of the evaporator coil housing that is farthest from the drain lines for the internal drip tray. It appears that the drip tray has probably rusted through at some location.

The entire unit sags downward immediately after leaving the support blocks, apparently due to metal fatigue (rust).

The left stack of support blocks is wet from water leaking from the unit. Water drips from the bottom of the air handling unit - the end where the blower is. This means that the component that moves the air through the home is wet and has been wet for a long period of time. Moisture should never get into the air handling side of a unit or the adjoining ductwork, as it produces conditions favorable for fungal growth. When the unit is replaced, thoroughly inspect all the adjoining ductwork, and remove and replace any portion that displays evidence of ever having been wet.

Notice the following visible and apparent condition in photo 104:

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  • The earth directly below the blower end of the air handler is saturated and water is ponding. (Water was literally dripping from the bottom left end of the air handler on the day of the inspection. It was witnessed by both this inspector the purchaser.)

    Notice the following visible and apparent condions in photo 106:

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Heavy rust and unidentified debris covers the drip tray under the evaporator coil.

While some dampness is present, water is obviously not collecting in the drip tray, to drain out through the drain line. It seems apparent that the drip tray is rusted through at some location and the condensate is running along the inside of the air handler cabinet to drain out of the blower end of the unit.

It is rare for me to call for an HVAC unit to be replaced, but if I were purchasing this home, I would not accept this air handler unit. There are too many reasons, why it poses both a health and financial risk. This is why it was called to be replaced in the home inpsection report.

Do call if you have further questions or concerns.

Respectfully yours,

Michael G. Bryan

President

MGB Inspection Services

804-744-0380

"This above all; to thine own self be true!"

- Shakespeare

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It is quite obvious you made the right call Michael. Did the hvac tech even go into the crawl space to look at the equipment. Time for a second opinion.

Robert,

Not only did the HVAC tech go in the crawlspace, according to the purchaser's agent, the tech wanted to meet me on site to teach me a thing or two! [:-bigeyes [:-snorkel

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We all do things differently, but I wouldn't have wasted my time writing the letter. It isn't a debate, and it isn't a best two-out-of-three (vis a vis obtaining another opinion). You've already rendered your own professional opinion, Mike, for which you were paid, and I assume the descriptions and photos were in the original inspection report.

Your client knows what you think about the air handler, the bank agreed to replace it, so that should be the end of the story. The HVAC dude WAS NOT paid to offer an opinion. He WAS paid to replace the thing. Replacing that old Rheem benefits your client, and even a nutty HVAC guy can't say that newer isn't better.

As far as meeting on site, I wouldn't have done that either unless the HVAC guy paid my hourly fee. There are far too many women I could be chasing around, so why waste time when you know he's not going to cede any ground?

'Course I'm a prick and don't have a lot of friends . . .

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We all do things differently, but I wouldn't have wasted my time writing the letter. It isn't a debate, and it isn't a best two-out-of-three (vis a vis obtaining another opinion). You've already rendered your own professional opinion, Mike, for which you were paid, and I assume the descriptions and photos were in the original inspection report.

Your client knows what you think about the air handler, the bank agreed to replace it, so that should be the end of the story. The HVAC dude WAS NOT paid to offer an opinion. He WAS paid to replace the thing. Replacing that old Rheem benefits your client, and even a nutty HVAC guy can't say that newer isn't better.

As far as meeting on site, I wouldn't have done that either unless the HVAC guy paid my hourly fee. There are far too many women I could be chasing around, so why waste time when you know he's not going to cede any ground?

'Course I'm a prick and don't have a lot of friends . . .

I told the agent the same thing - the bank contractually greed to replace it (believe it or not, I was a Realtor from 1984 - 1989. DON'T SHOOT!). The reason for the letter is closing is tomorrow at 4:00 PM

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We all do things differently, but I wouldn't have wasted my time writing the letter. It isn't a debate, and it isn't a best two-out-of-three (vis a vis obtaining another opinion). You've already rendered your own professional opinion, Mike, for which you were paid, and I assume the descriptions and photos were in the original inspection report.

Your client knows what you think about the air handler, the bank agreed to replace it, so that should be the end of the story. The HVAC dude WAS NOT paid to offer an opinion. He WAS paid to replace the thing. Replacing that old Rheem benefits your client, and even a nutty HVAC guy can't say that newer isn't better.

As far as meeting on site, I wouldn't have done that either unless the HVAC guy paid my hourly fee. There are far too many women I could be chasing around, so why waste time when you know he's not going to cede any ground?

'Course I'm a prick and don't have a lot of friends . . .

I told the agent the same thing - the bank agreed to replace it. The reason for the letter is closing is tomorrow at 4:00 PM

I don't understand why that's germane. The repair request forms are part of the contract, and are legally binding, so if the bank AGREED to replace the thing, it should be replaced. The negotiations were completed, and a new air-handler was agreed upon by both parties.

That's what matters. To heck with the piss-ant HVAC guy.

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Did the listing agent get to choose the repair company?

I wouldn't loose sleep over it Mike - looks like most pos units that haven't had maintenance in decades. A car with four flat tires can still move forward although I wouldn't recommend (or is that consider) driving it.

Here's my report - have a nice day.

I never was worried. It's not that often I call for total replacement, unless it's toast. So, I already knew before I pulled up the pics that I wasn't about to back-peddle.

I wrote the letter because everyone was suddenly on tilt, twenty-eight hours before closing. The HVAC contractor was from a town over an hour and a half away (good call Terence). So I figured I'd pull his pants down with these no-brainer pics and explanations, so everyone is clear on why it ain't closin' tomorrow...

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I recognize that brand and model in the photo as nearly identical to my own AC which I replaced 3 years ago. Exact same issues with the condensation getting in the wrong place and rusting the housing to the point of collapse. It also shorted out the incoming 240V supply and spread the stench of burning wire insulation throughout the house.

I'm glad that you stood your ground Mike but I also agree with John Baine - I wouldn't have bothered with the letter. That contractor wasn't worth half the trouble.

Marc

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I think the letter probably did your reputation a whole lot of good.

The client, realtor, banker, and the contractor had documented proof that you were the only one who had done his job.

Without it, it's your word against his and that might have left some doubting you.

None of them will forget it.

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I think the letter probably did your reputation a whole lot of good.

The client, realtor, banker, and the contractor had documented proof that you were the only one who had done his job.

Without it, it's your word against his and that might have left some doubting you.

None of them will forget it.

I was angry that some sociopathic contractor was ready, willing and trying to let my client be stuck with a played out heat pump they'd be replacing the next time is was serviced by a competent tech. To steal a little of the thunder from another thread out there right now, my findings were being disputed, by an alleged "qualified", "licensed" and "reputable" contractor? So, I figured the thing to do was remove all doubt and demonstrate that he wasn't any one of the three.

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What would explain a contractor NOT wanting to replace a unit like that? Was he at the wrong address?

What was age of equipment? Should have replaced both in and out if airhandler was that bad.

Condensing unit was already replaced four years ago, my brother. I'm not sure how that's going to play out.[:-sonar]

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What would explain a contractor NOT wanting to replace a unit like that? Was he at the wrong address?

What was age of equipment? Should have replaced both in and out if airhandler was that bad.

Condensing unit was already replaced four years ago, my brother. I'm not sure how that's going to play out.[:-sonar]

The 13 SEER requirement went into effect January, 2006. The evaporator coil should have been replaced along with the condenser. If the stuff is mismatched, the system's an even bigger cluster than we previously thought.

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What would explain a contractor NOT wanting to replace a unit like that? Was he at the wrong address?

What was age of equipment? Should have replaced both in and out if airhandler was that bad.

Condensing unit was already replaced four years ago, my brother. I'm not sure how that's going to play out.[:-sonar]

The 13 SEER requirement went into effect January, 2006. The evaporator coil should have been replaced along with the condenser. If the stuff is mismatched, the system's an even bigger cluster than we previously thought.

Just re-checked the report. Both units 1989. I was thinking of a different property. So all's well on that front anyway.

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