replaced evaporator coil - is anything wrong here?

Originally Posted By: just wanna know
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

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.

Originally Posted By: dbowers
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

You’re doing too much internetting. It is not important how much they can buy the parts and components for - you’re not them. Replacing a 4 ton coil, freon replacement, reclaimation, miscellaneous parts (solder, etc)labor, mark-up and service reserve. $900 is not high and if it was you can’t do it yourself - so???

Same principle - go to Sams Club and buy Levis for $19.99 - go to Niemans and pay $26.99 (did you overpay or did they just have different mark-ups)?

Originally Posted By: rbracklow
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

Dear Just Wanna Know,

I completely agree with Dan. Quite frankly, you were charged a very fair price, and the new tape is probably alumanized which is the proper tape.

If you have a gripe concerning the installation, call the contractor back and have him fix it to your satisfaction.

Good luck and enjoy your cool air!! ![icon_cool.gif](upload://oPnLkqdJc33Dyf2uA3TQwRkfhwd.gif) ![icon_cool.gif](upload://oPnLkqdJc33Dyf2uA3TQwRkfhwd.gif)


The highest compliment my clients can give me, is the referral of their Friends, Family and Business Associates!

NorCal NACHI Chapter Founder and Chairman.

Originally Posted By: jmyers
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

Dear just wanna know,

The refrigerant that you are referring to is now heavily regulated. While the refrigerant itself is still not that expensive the machine that is now required in our state to replace and capture the old refrigerant is pretty expensive, since they are no longer allowed to release this into the air.

I would suggest that you call the company that performed the work and voice your concerns to them. I would probably check some prices from other companies for the same work that was performed by this company, although it is a little late to do some price shopping, you could probably file a complaint with your attorney general if there is a substantial difference in price between this company and other compaines.

While I doubt that you will be refunded any monies, I would request the installation be fixed, if indeed it is as you describe.

Joe Myers

Originally Posted By: just wanna know
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

I have some good news. I called the company and told them to send an “employee” out to look at the job done by their subcontractor. The technician that came out was appalled at the poor workmanship. They had been too lazy to reconfigure the flue pipe - that was the reason they left the coil way off-center. They didn’t even use the correct tape.

He came back the next day and redid the entire job himself. The first 2 "technicians" had been newly brought on board to help with a seasonal crunch. I was the 2nd and apparently the last customer they serviced. The company said they would stop using them.

I didn't raise the issue of price since I had already agreed to it. I knew my neighbor had just paid $1,400 for his coil replacement which was a little more involved than my job. Still, there should be some sense of fairness and integrity in offering HVAC services - the pricing seems too subjective and based on the homeowner's neighborhood and the perceived value of his home. ~$950 to replace a ~$200 coil (including 1.5 labor hours - when done by someone who is competent - + FREON replacement) still seems excessive to me. It is a lot of after tax money to many people including me. And I still have 2 more coils and 3 condensors to worry about failing in the next several years.