Aging air conditioner sends parts, complaints flying
Tampa Penalty Box
His Tree & Landscape Inc.
COMPLAINT: Richard Carter, Clearwater, Fla.
"I had a service contract with Airflo- Erwood Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. to check A/C and heating twice a year. On a 2008 service call, the technician accidentally caused a wire to short out and trip the breaker.
"He checked a few more things after that, and everything seemed to be working. A few months later, I noticed after the air handler had shut down, the fan was still spinning. At the next service call in 2009, the technician couldn't figure out why it was running.
"Another technician pulled it out and put it back in with no change to the problem. A third technician took it out and put it back in, forcing it to fit into the unit. The heating coil broke, sending parts of the coil into the blades of the air handler, which chewed the coil into bits.
"The heater no longer worked after that. The next visit was from owner Rick Erwood, who said they'd fix it if they could find a heater coil. I followed up with a call to the office and was informed they didn't have the heating coil.
"I told them I had found the replacement part on a web site and would send a link with all the information they needed to buy the part.
"Almost seven months later, they called for another service contract, and I asked about the replacement coil. They told me if I buy the part, they'll install it. I told them that was unacceptable."
DESIRED RESOLUTION: "All I'm asking is that they own up to what they broke and repair it at their cost, not mine."
RESPONSE: Joyce Zierden, comptroller, Airflo-Erwood Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.
"During a 2008 inspection, our technician found the air handler insulation, fan and wires full of mold and dust. He recommended that the system be replaced and noted the air handler model and serial numbers couldn't be read.
"In a 2009 inspection, we found the fan capacitor in the air handler was very weak. The technician replaced the capacitor at no charge. He also noted the heater wasn't mounted to the air handler. When he attempted to tighten it with a screw, the heater shorted out.
"He removed the screw, the system started, and we sent another technician to check the heater. He rewired low and high voltage into the handler, and the system started working normally.
"After he turned on the heat, the heat strip broke. The technician recommended the heat strip be replaced due to age and condition. We did not charge the service value of $159 to the customer.
"We've made every attempt to find a replacement heater, but the age and unreadable model and serial number of the air handler made it impossible to locate the part. He says he found a part on the Internet; however, since the model and serial numbers can't be verified, it's impossible to know if the part is correct.
"The heater in the handler is too big, which suggests that it wasn't the original heater. We do not accept fault with a system that has not been properly maintained or has mismatched parts installed by others.
"The member has refused for two years to accept that his HVAC system needs to be replaced due to its age and condition.
"If he wants to order and pay for the heater that he found on the Internet, we'll install it at no charge. We won't guarantee that it will solve the problem, since we don't know if it's the correct heater."