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-   -   HVAC/Comfortmaker leak problem (http://www.diychatroom.com/f17/hvac-comfortmaker-leak-problem-10394/)

notsogoodwrench 08-03-2007 08:48 AM

HVAC/Comfortmaker leak problem
 
http://www.diychatroom.com/images/icons/icon1.gif new comfortmaker leak problem
We recently had a comfortmaker (fsm2x2400a) installed by a mom and pop shop that has serviced us regularly for the past many years. After returning from a 3 week vacation, we found the upstairs mechanical room (where the unit is) and everything around it all the way through to the downstairs, water damaged (wood floors, expensive rugs and hardcote on walls and ceilings)...very costly. When the a/c guy came to fix it, he said the drain pipe was semi-clogged (although we had checked and found it to be dripping outside). he installed a $140 gadget that will shut off the system if it backs up again.

My question is could this have been a fault of the system (pipes loose inside when they serviced or installed it)? If so, would there be anything I could do about it at this point.

He also said that our other unit, located next to it which is the original 12 year old Trane could have a gadget installed on it too, if we wanted (he didn't have another one at the time and said that no one uses these because they're a nuissance for the a/c people who have to keep coming back to reset them and usually when the a/c cooling part doesn't work and causes this malfunction, people are around to stop the leak before this kind of damage).

I hate to mistrust people we count on but would not like to be taken advantage of either. I'd like an opinion of someone who is very familiar with these units and circumstances.

Malcolm 08-03-2007 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by notsogoodwrench (Post 56021)
http://www.diychatroom.com/images/icons/icon1.gif new comfortmaker leak problem
We recently had a comfortmaker (fsm2x2400a) installed by a mom and pop shop that has serviced us regularly for the past many years. After returning from a 3 week vacation, we found the upstairs mechanical room (where the unit is) and everything around it all the way through to the downstairs, water damaged (wood floors, expensive rugs and hardcote on walls and ceilings)...very costly. When the a/c guy came to fix it, he said the drain pipe was semi-clogged (although we had checked and found it to be dripping outside). he installed a $140 gadget that will shut off the system if it backs up again.

My question is could this have been a fault of the system (pipes loose inside when they serviced or installed it)? If so, would there be anything I could do about it at this point.

He also said that our other unit, located next to it which is the original 12 year old Trane could have a gadget installed on it too, if we wanted (he didn't have another one at the time and said that no one uses these because they're a nuissance for the a/c people who have to keep coming back to reset them and usually when the a/c cooling part doesn't work and causes this malfunction, people are around to stop the leak before this kind of damage).

I hate to mistrust people we count on but would not like to be taken advantage of either. I'd like an opinion of someone who is very familiar with these units and circumstances.

There is no telling at this point. The service tech probably fixed the problem. If I had to guess, I would say they forgot to blow out the drain when they did the change out. The condensate lines in the wall should have been existing unless they ran all new lines. Usually, they will just make a final connection at the unit. I have seen installers forget to hook up a coupling on a line. The good installers will always blow out the line. You usually get a call back if you don't. We always install an inline float safety switch with change outs. We also try to put in an overflow drain pan with a pan float switch under the unit if it is an upstairs unit. The safety switches are extremely simple. It is just a float mechanism. I have never received a nuisance trip from one. You really can't get one. It trips whenever water pushes the float up. I'm sorry to hear about your problem. I would reimburse you for all damages in this situation. This has happened a few times with my company. Usually it involves a unit in the attic and the installer not blowing out the lines. I have had to replace ceiling drywall and insulation because of this. That is why I build in the cost of float switches for every change out now.

MechanicalDVR 08-04-2007 11:35 PM

Sounds like the installer missed a step during his install. This is why he has liability insurance and he should be a man and take care of your loss. Even if ther ewas a problem with the lines a secondary pan should have taken care of it. We always use a pan with a wet switch when a unit is over a living area.

notsogoodwrench 08-06-2007 08:53 AM

Thank you both for your valued input and integrity to take responsibility.

Pans under the A/C were mentioned. In our case the original units were installed by a Trane dealer, vented from underneath which I am told can't have a pan underneath it (now I see how poorly designed these upstairs units were....the downstairs one has a pan).

My A/C owner/installer is coming today to put in a second float switch into the older Trane unit located next to the one he's installed.

I am definitely going to ask him why he didn't install these switches before, knowing that we were his regular customrers. But before addressing the damages again and seeing if he will at least offer to cover them this time, what kind of time frame would realistically be acceptable for a line to get clogged up after a service or installation of a new furnace (in SW Florida)? Because at this point I won't know what really happened and if that was just an excuse.

We are willing to look for a new company if this oversight was neglegent.... (in that case should we just let this go, not confront him but not call him back again?)

MechanicalDVR 08-06-2007 09:00 PM

To me any company worth it's salt will stand behind this problem for at least a month after install but, it sounds like you have some special circumstances with having gone on vacation, no one was there to see how soon the leak happened. If they don't do something for like dropping the labor for the float switches or covering your loss then I would ditch them and let them know why. Negligence on their part shouldn't be a problem on your part. Even if it is a downflow coil the pan should have a primary and secondary drain connection.

notsogoodwrench 08-07-2007 08:18 AM

Thanks MechanicalDVR,

The guy came, installed his switch and turned the whole attention of damages to what could be incurred in 'real' damages if we had our water heaters, washer and toilets' water lines burst. Because i was focused on the lack of prevention, he gave advice on how to prevent a worst level of water damage from what he saw in those systems (guess this was his way to give us a freeby without burdening his pocketbook or insurance co).

Before he left, i commented that the next time i'll blow out the pipes with a shop vac before leaving on another trip (learned this on this website). he said it's not necessary because of the new switches and backflushing from the outside would be easier anyway. he decided to show me how on 2 outside lines that were supposedly cleared from his last week's visit and earlier this day. he put a hose to one of the pipes and counted to 3. muddy water flushed out .... Now i'm thinking his technique could be the problem....is this an acceptable practice for servicing the lines or could this have been the root of what happened????

bigMikeB 08-07-2007 07:24 PM

Never seen anyone flush lines from outside in (pushing debris back into the pan), you could vacuum them from outside but not pressurize them. If you opened the coil cabinets inside you could flush them out with a hose if you liked. No wonder you had problems with this guy.

Malcolm 08-07-2007 09:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by notsogoodwrench (Post 56562)
Thanks MechanicalDVR,

The guy came, installed his switch and turned the whole attention of damages to what could be incurred in 'real' damages if we had our water heaters, washer and toilets' water lines burst. Because i was focused on the lack of prevention, he gave advice on how to prevent a worst level of water damage from what he saw in those systems (guess this was his way to give us a freeby without burdening his pocketbook or insurance co).

Before he left, i commented that the next time i'll blow out the pipes with a shop vac before leaving on another trip (learned this on this website). he said it's not necessary because of the new switches and backflushing from the outside would be easier anyway. he decided to show me how on 2 outside lines that were supposedly cleared from his last week's visit and earlier this day. he put a hose to one of the pipes and counted to 3. muddy water flushed out .... Now i'm thinking his technique could be the problem....is this an acceptable practice for servicing the lines or could this have been the root of what happened????

I have seen guys do this back flush method. It is supposed to push the blockage back up the line and loosen it. Then the water rushes back out the pipe. I would never clean a line out this way. The guys I see doing this usually do it because they see a hose nearby and are too lazy to grab a nitrogen tank or wet vac. I always blow the lines with nitrogen since it will be disconnected during the change out. If the line is backed up and causing problems, I always cut the line and blow it with nitrogen also. I do use a wet vac if it is just routine maintenance with no blockage.

notsogoodwrench 08-09-2007 10:59 AM

Thank you both for confirming what my intuition was telling me. I think this form of substandard practice put us over the edge about moving on to another company. Now to find someone else that would be as dependable but uses a more acceptable/professional standard of practice without opening another new chapter of problems.
You've been a great help....thanks again.
(Hope I don't need to come back to this specific forum again!)


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