Monday, August 17, 2009

A/C Rant

As you all know, we moved this summer. And as you also probably know, it's been a very mild summer. When we moved, the high temperatures did not get above the low 70s, and we were glad for that. Then, in late June, the temperatures soared to the low 90s, and it was finally time to run the air conditioner. Erich had replaced the thermostat and programmed it. We flipped it to "Run" and the system whooshed on.

And it kept running and running, but it never got any cooler. That's when we knew there was a problem.

Since the seller (let's call him Mr. C for "curmudgeon") had certified in a signed document that the air conditioner was working during the last cooling season "to the best of his knowledge," we figured we could cash in on the home warranty from Home Warranty of America that came with the house. Incidentally, the garage door opener which had been working suddenly stopped working. Erich identified the problem as a stripped gear, undoubtedly owing to the advanced age of the mechanism. We had HWA contract people to fix the a/c and the garage door opener.

The HVAC guy they sent was a bit of a drama queen. He opened up the unit in our backyard and immediately asked me if we got a home inspector. Of course, yes. And did he tell us the a/c worked? Since I didn't remember him saying that it didn't work, I said yes. With a sigh, he declared, "It doesn't work. The freon is empty, which means there must be a leak." FRICK. He refilled the freon but wasn't authorized to do a leak check, so he couldn't guarantee how long the refill would last. I was at least temporarily satisfied because our house was finally being cooled. We also had the garage door fixed (for a $100 deductible) and it is still working fine.

About three weeks later, we came home from vacation and found that the air conditioner was not working. The HVAC Drama Queen had warned me that HWA probably wouldn't cover any repairs since the a/c never did work for us--it would be considered preexisting, and therefore not covered. So rather than contact HWA again, we went to our realtor. Understandably, she did not make this problem a high priority, so almost a week later, she talked to a rep at HWA. This rep told her that Mr. C's signed document claiming the a/c worked should be proof enough that this was not a preexisting problem.

HWA sent the same HVAC guy out again, who was authorized to do a leak check ONLY. He found the leak, but not before walking past me a few times saying, "Oh, this is going to be bad news for you guys!" Thanks, love the attitude. He informed me that it would cost us approximately $1800 to fix the leak and bring the whole system to updated efficiency standards. And he couldn't even refill the freon to give a poor pregnant lady a break without charging me a bunch of money. I sent him on his way.

We whined again to our realtor, who contacted HWA again and talked to the higher ups who claimed to have gone "to the top." They informed her that the broken air conditioner was a preexisting problem, and no signed documents would change their position on that, which contradicted what our realtor had previously been told. Any repairs would be completely out of our pockets. They also ever-so-kindly mentioned that they shouldn't have even covered the repair of the garage door opener since it was caused by rust damage, which is also preexisting. (Uh, no that was a stripped gear, you dingbat.)

Hearing this made me pretty much lose it. That's when it became utterly clear, and please pay close attention:

Home Warranty of America is a complete racket and a waste of money.

I strongly urge anyone who's reading this and selling their home to stay as far away from the home warranty racket as you can. It is worthless and the people are extremely rude. Why should they be polite or attempt to keep anyone satisfied when they already have their money? What good did it do them to inform us they shouldn't have covered a $200 repair that we still had to pay $100 for? If I had known they saw that as charity, we would have canceled the warranty right then and gotten a brand new garage door opener for about as much as it cost to repair it.

You may be asking the question, "What about the inspector? Why didn't he find this problem?" And you are right to ask that. We have come to find out that because it was 60 degrees out when we had the home inspected, the inspector couldn't test the a/c because it was below 65 and to test it could have damage the compressor. Thanks to the bleeping time of year we bought our house, we couldn't have known the a/c didn't work and couldn't have demanded Mr. C fix it before closing.

Our last hope was to send an inquiry to the attorneys, to see if we had any right to demand anything from Mr. C for his busted air conditioner. That query sat in their offices for three weeks until today when they finally informed Erich that we would have to start a lawsuit to get any money out of anyone. This does not surprise me, but it sucks nonetheless.

This topic is so infuriating and upsetting, I'd better wrap it up before I become little more than a damp, quivering mass on the floor. I decided today that I really, really cannot take this heat and humidity and wait for fall. It could very well stay this hot through October, and I'm not becoming any less of a human furnace. So, with a baby on the way and numerous other plans for our stretched budget, we have to bite the bullet and get a new air conditioner (and completely replace a shower, but that's another story).

Renters, count your blessings. And everyone: never forget,


1 comment:

Sarah said...

I don't think we are getting involved with this home warranty stuff. You are the second person who has said this in the past week! I hope it cools down for you soon!!!