Originally Posted By: just wanna know
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I live in Houston, TX in a house that is 6 years old. I have 3 heating/AC zones. One zone quit cooling recently and I called a local HAVC company. With only a quick visual inspection of the outside condenser and internal furnace, their serviceman said the problem zone was leaking FREON from the evaporator coil and the coil needed to be replaced for $900. I agreed to do it based on the assumptions that the coil was expensive and a licensed pofressional would perform the installation.
Not valid assumptions.
Two non-licensed young technicians showed up at my door step at the appointed time with a new generic coil. When I asked the brand of the coil one of them told me is was "ETJ". I said are you referring to the Environmental Testing Laboratories certification logo? He was and he had no idea what he was looking at (he msiread the "L" to be a "J"). I myself determined it was a Goodman U-49 (4 ton) coil. The capacity was correct based on the 48K BTU unit that was removed.
They took the old coil off and put the new coil on top of my Lennox furnace but left it off-center (approx 1" overhang on the left side and 3.5" on the right). The flange on the bottom of the cased cool was past the the side of the furnace and left a gap. They covered all joints with a "special" tape similar to duct tape. The workmanship was less than desirable based on the way the setup looked before the coil was replaced. I can feel some cold air seeping into my attic when the blower is on.
One of the young technicians also told me there was a leaky valve on the condensor that needed to be replaced. He hasn't returned to do this yet.
After some research on the Internet I determined I as an idividual could buy the same Goodman coil for $287 (it's apparently made here in Houston) - I also inferred from several Websites that a contractor could buy the coil wholesale for under $225.
I have several questions:
1. Was I overcharged? I know the wholesale cost of the coil was less than $225 and the labor was probably $150 for both installers (one had less than 1 year of experience and the other claimed to have 3 years of experience). I also know they had to add FREON/R-22 to the system. According to more Internet research, 30 lb canisters of R-22 can be bought for $55 in volume.
2. Since Texas requires HVAC specialty licensing, should a licensed installer from the company have done or at least supervised the work?
3. How do I know the coil needed replacing in the first place? Could the outside leaky valve have been the culprit? The first technician just immediately assumed the 6 year old coil needed replacing without any testing/pinpointing of an actual leak.
I seems as though HVAC repair companies have the freedom to randomly charge whatever they think the particular customer will pay since most people know little or nothing about HVAC systems and are vulnerable to being mislead. When the AC isn't working during a Houston summer one can get panicky.
I appreciate any insights you can provide. I have not paid for the work performed yet.