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Home > The Good and the Bad about my HVAC Experience

The Good and the Bad about my HVAC Experience

September 24th, 2013 at 05:33 am

So if you haven't been following the fiasco, it went like this: The HVAC company came to install a furnace humidifier. The winters here are so dry I wake up with a sore throat each morning.

The old humidifier connected to the furnace had, at some point leaked and rusted out the plenum and some of the furnace. No real damage to the furnace but it looked unsightly and I didn't want it to attract attention when I sell the place, so I also asked them to replace the plenum, which is basically a large duct on the furnace. (Nothing I can do about the furnace rust, but at least the rusty plenum doesn't draw attention to it.)

They quoted me a price of $520 if I supplied the humidifier myself, and another $210 if they supplied an Aprilaire humidifier. (It's all labor.) Getting the different brand, a Desert Spring, was something I'd been considering after researching it online. Ultimately, I decided not to because they weren't familiar with it and I decided it'd be better to go with an Aprilaire in case they or someone else needed to service it.

They came to install it about 2 weeks ago and left. A day or so later, they call and say they have to come back to "reinstall a certain part." Actually, they had to reinstall the way they wired it to my furnace. They rewired it so the wired isolation relay is between the oil burner primary control and the fan center. The fan center is now the power source for the humidistat and thermostat. Apparently a conversation took place and that's what they decided to do. Not sure what he'd done to start with...

OK, I can deal with that.

After they left the first time, I noticed a wet spot on the floor of my electric hot water heater. I did wonder, momentarily, if it could be related to the recent humidifier installation, but i also know that hot water heaters will start leaking when they beg in to "go." I looked up when I'd last replaced it, and it was 11 years ago. I went online to see what the average age of an electric hot water heater is, and it said 10 to 12 years. So I figured it was probably ready to go due to age.

I didn't want a flood in my basement so I went with Home Depot to install it to the tune of $770 with labor.

I took a day off from work so I could be here when they came (and also for my bank interview). Home Depot never showed, but they managed to arrive the next day.

He began to disconnect the hot water heater, saw the damp spot and showed me how the water was actually seeping down from the new shut-off valve, which sadly I didn't notice. In other words, the hot water heater was fine, but by this time he had already cut a pipe in the process of disconnecting it.

So I had to go through with it and I figure I might as well due to its advanced age.

But I was still fuming mad at the HVAC company becus for all I knew, I could have gotten another year or more out of it and not working f/t, I certainly don't need more big expenses.

When I called the HVAC people, I was real ticked off at his attitude. The first words out of his mouth after I told him what happened were, "We're not responsible for your new hot water heater." I wasn't asking him for reimbursement but I was simply telling him what happened, which wouldn't have happened if their valve hadn't been leaking. Then he suggested the water wasn't leaking from their valve. He didn't even see it and now he's trying to deny it???

He asked for photos, which I emailed and then he quickly said yes, that's our valve and he'd have someone over here to replace it. The guy who did the installation apparently told him the valve was "no where's near" the hot water heater, which wasn't true at all since it was directly above the hot water heater.

This is the shut off valve in question.

It's directly above the new hot water heater, as you can see.

So he apologized in the email for being testy.

Now in the past, I would just take my lumps like this as they come, figuring, what else can I do. There have been any number of times over the course of my homeownership where workmen or contractors here doing some kind of work cause damage to something else, and most times, I've just had to accept that.

This time, I was pissed, and while I knew I couldn't expect them to pay me the $770 for the hot water heater, I emailed and asked him for the first scheduled annual maintenance on the Aprilaire for free, to make up for some of the aggravation. Something I would never had thought to do before. He agreed.

I figure that's got to be worth about $100, so at least I got that for my trouble and aggravation.

It gets better though.

When the guy came this morning to replace the broken bolt on the shut off valve, he also gave me the bill for the humidifier installation. Usually they mail it after the faCt, but since he was here, he just gave it to me.

Again, the estimate i got said the price was $520 if I supplied the humidifier, plus another $210 if they supplied the Aprilaire model. The bill i got today was $520; I think the guy in the office looked at it quickly without reading it through and forgot that they supplied the humidifier, not me.

So IF they don't catch that mistake, I will have saved $200 on that. I wondered for a brief second if he threw in that break to me on account of the leaking shut off valve, but I really doubt that as he'd already given me the free service call and I think he would have told me if that's what he was going to do.

I just hope he doesn't catch the mistake.

3 Responses to “The Good and the Bad about my HVAC Experience”

  1. TashaC. Says:

    sounds like you are coming out ahead! New everything for $200 off the price! I understand you didn't need to spend that money- but you prevented a potential disaster if the old tank really sprung a leak and wasn't noticed right away. Peace of mind has value.

  2. Joe Says:

    Just curious what the cost breakdown on the hot water heater was? Installation versus heater cost.

    Probably need to replace mine too.

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    Hi, Joe. I need water for just 1 person so i got a smaller 60-gallon hot water heater, GE, at home depot website for $248; the rest of it was labor, plus a $70 charge they surprised me with when they arrived, saying it was for pulling a permit with town,that town has to spend an inspector out. (Didn't do this last time i replace heater, so i don't know.)

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