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Old 06-11-2020, 08:37 AM   #31
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


I would have advised the owner/you to get a exterminator out ASAP and deal with the rodent problem first. IMO you cannot expect a tech to deal with rodents especially if they bite as that is a safety issue ( rabies etc ).

I have walked away from jobs where there were wasp nests and they were flying around me and told the owner to get rid of them and then call me. Kinda a grey area as to what he should have done and at the end of the day it is your rodent problem.

If the service manger is going to give you a free wiring harness then I suspect he is trying to get along with you and yeah if it was that badly chewed up I would have tried to get a new harness also.

Once again make sure the chipmunk is given the boot and try to get a guarantee from the exterminator that their system will prevent them from coming back if possible.

Once the wiring is fixed and it is running then put foil tape in the areas they could enter and ask the tech to put 3 layers of it on. They won't chew thru it and 3 layers will be strong enough to last a long time.
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Old 06-11-2020, 08:46 AM   #32
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


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I think $1000 to rewire the unit is nuts, get rid of this company.

It's not a very difficult job, they just have to follow the schematic.
Thanks user_12345a. How long do you think a job like this would take?
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Old 06-11-2020, 08:50 AM   #33
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


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I would have advised the owner/you to get a exterminator out ASAP and deal with the rodent problem first. IMO you cannot expect a tech to deal with rodents especially if they bite as that is a safety issue ( rabies etc ).

I have walked away from jobs where there were wasp nests and they were flying around me and told the owner to get rid of them and then call me. Kinda a grey area as to what he should have done and at the end of the day it is your rodent problem.

If the service manger is going to give you a free wiring harness then I suspect he is trying to get along with you and yeah if it was that badly chewed up I would have tried to get a new harness also.

Once again make sure the chipmunk is given the boot and try to get a guarantee from the exterminator that their system will prevent them from coming back if possible.

Once the wiring is fixed and it is running then put foil tape in the areas they could enter and ask the tech to put 3 layers of it on. They won't chew thru it and 3 layers will be strong enough to last a long time.
Thanks Yuri. We tried an extermination company (we have one on retainer as country living = mice problems). Unfortunately, that company can't remove a chipmunk. Instead, we must hire a company to trap and relocate the creature (no, that's not a joke. Gotta love it!).

How do those control boards look? To me they seem pretty clean. This makes me wonder if they are actually going to replace them as originally planned (this is what caused the two week delay as they had to order them).

Thanks again sir!

Regards,
-Newgtguy

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Old 06-11-2020, 08:50 AM   #34
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


for someone experienced i doubt more than 2-3 hours* - is that worth $1000?

*and potentially less

It's possible the harness is a ridiculous amount of money from trane and they've just increased the labour cost to claim the parts are "free".
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Old 06-11-2020, 09:06 AM   #35
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


You would have to ask them what the $1000 includes and if they are going to put new boards in.

Those wiring harnesses can be very expensive and Trane parts in my area are ridiculously expensive ( not that Lennox and Carrier are cheap either ). Parts that are special order are usually 2-3X as expensive as ones they sell a lot of like motors etc.

At the end of the day they need to make it work and probably they have the boards in stock in case one or two are shot. You do not always see black burnt components and they could be fried.

If they can guarantee it will be working and all parts are included for $1000 then you have a contract and that may be a reasonable price. My company sells circuit boards for $500 -1000+ using flat rate pricing plus the cost of the service call and maybe they do too.

It kinda sounds like he is giving you a quote and covering his expenses and adding 10% which is reasonable IMO.

Ask him if he will do the whole job for $1000, parts included and that may be the best bet for both parties ( win/win situation ).

Maybe some peanut butter and you get a live bait trap from the humane society and get rid of Chippy the rodent may take care of him for now. Sealing all cracks or points of entry later with foil tape is required.

I am not sure if they will want to nest under the condensor fan motor or in that area later and chew the motor wires so you need to spray some repellent in that area IMO.

We have large red and grey squirrels where I am but not chipmunks. Squirrels in attics are a problem in some areas. Ants hauling dirt into a unit I see and it is nasty but they don't damage anything.
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Old 06-11-2020, 09:27 AM   #36
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


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Ask him if he will do the whole job for $1000, parts included and that may be the best bet for both parties ( win/win situation ).
It does. $1000 was the estimate the Service Manager gave more over the phone yesterday afternoon (parts included). The original estimate the tech gave me, with parts and labor, was $1700.

Just to show how ignorant I am about this stuff, when I opened the panel yesterday and saw how bad it was, I was thinking I might need to buy a new unit for $6000-$8000. To me that wiring looks crazy...

Thanks again Yuri, this is helpful.

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Old 06-11-2020, 09:45 AM   #37
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Yeah I think with the amount of wages, gasoline for the truck he had/has to spend on the first tech and maybe a different one now I am sure he factored in his dealer cost for 2 boards etc and some labor and he probably figured he could do the job for $1000 and not lose a good customer or lose money.

I had a manager like that and sometimes we have to do these deals so everyone wins. I think you are fortunate this manager is working with you.

Once again spreading honey not vinegar works.

Now to find out what type of food Chipmunks like and how to trap them is the next issue.
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:38 AM   #38
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Hello everyone.

Quick update:

Yesterday afternoon, the company called and said the wiring harness is being delivered sometime today (Wednesday). The original HVAC technician will be back here tomorrow morning between 8 and 9am. We called and requested to have a senior tech accompany him. Unfortunately, that would push this repair out by about a week or so due to schedule availability.

The temperature up here is really starting to rise (low 80s daily) and we have a unrestricted Southern exposure. This is the entire reason for the 5 Ton Heat Pump as our house turns into a hot box with the sun beating down on it all day.

Anyway, we decided to just leave the appointment as is. The idea of sweating my butt off waiting another week as I work 8-10 hours per day in my office is a definite no go!

I figure, we will keep our fingers crossed that the tech will nail the install and all will be well. If something happens to the contrary, they will need to schedule a senior tech anyway. Thus, the relative risk of proceeding with this plan is low.

Thanks again for all the help.

I'll update again once the work is done.

Take care...
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:07 AM   #39
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Hello again folks.

Just wanted to provide a final update.

The company did a great job! They were actually able to move the schedule around at the last minute and send over the original tech's mentor, a very senior technician. He showed up, went to work, and a few hours later reported that everything was back up and running. I was at a meeting elsewhere when my wife texted me, "The house is now cooling!" I was so happy!

The fact that they got the schedule worked out so we could get an experienced tech was huge! He also replaced a capacitor, which apparently is a common failure point for AC/Heat Pump units. He showed the old one to my wife and it was started to bulge out on the top.

Final bill $1,300. I'm fine with this!

Thanks again for all the guidance and advice everyone. Very much appreciated...

-Newgtguy
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:40 PM   #40
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Glad it all turned out well.

The whole honey attracts flies better than vinegar philosophy seems to have worked.

What happened to the rodent? Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 07-01-2020, 04:21 PM   #41
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


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Glad it all turned out well.

The whole honey attracts flies better than vinegar philosophy seems to have worked.

What happened to the rodent? Inquiring minds want to know.
Hey Yuri.

We figured out what was attracting them to our yard. We had several bird feeders in close proximity to the heat pump. Squirrels and Chipmunks were showing up from all over to use them as a food source. Over time, this caused them to "set up shop." The bird feed has been removed and the holes used for entry were covered with four layers of aluminum tape. After almost three weeks of checking almost every other day, there was zero evidence of anything living anywhere near the heat pump.

Thanks again sir!

-Newgtguy
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Old 07-01-2020, 04:57 PM   #42
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Yur Welcome

It did seem odd that they would nest in there. Usually we find the odd mouse in a AC but they get zapped by the contactor or capacitor and don't chew wires.

I had mice nest in a car over top of the motor and chew up the insulation for nesting material under the hood but that is different. They chewed thru some wiring.

Moral of the story don't leave a vehicle unused in a garage for long or over winter.
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