To spend a dime to save a nickel. I heard this phrase the other day and it resonated with me. I wandered why. I have done this several times. Ever the person out to save a buck, being found in this situation was not foreign to me. It became more than evident to me the other day when I was working on a newer customer’s house he was getting ready to flip.
So, he, the customer, calls me the other day complaining that the pan the unit sets in was full of water and the safety switch that cuts the unit of in the event the pan fills up with water actually done just that and cut the unit off. Whew. Good, the safety switch had done its job and had at least not flooded the new sheetrock ceiling. I set up a time to meet him the next day.
The next day comes, we meet, and I start to investigate the situation. I climb into the small access hole in the ceiling, take my cellphone flashlight out and start to look around. Almost instantly I am taken aback. See, right in front of me at this point is the main supply line that supplies cold air to individual runs/vents. This is all well and good, but there was a problem. IT WAS NOT INSULATED. Not one bit. It literally, it was just bare metal. Think about it; you have cold air blowing through a metal pipe in a hot attic. Compare this to a cold glass of water that you’re drinking outside on a typical Chattanooga summer day. Its going to sweat. And sweat a lot. This was crazy. It was deplorable, and it was sad.
Ok, so that was problem number one. On to the next.
So next I notice the pan in fact is full of water and the float switch had shut the unit off appropriately (as to not produce anymore water and flood the ceiling). The problem is now, the water, yes, but we have to find out how the water got there. It didn’t take too long to figure it out. THE DRAIN WAS RUNNING UP HILL AND WAS NOT PROPERALY TRAPPED! Its amateur hour folks. My gosh.
So, the next..
The flexible ductwork that pulls air from the conditioned space was not connected to the return box. It was laying in the attic. It was literally pulling attic air into the unit. Unfiltered super-hot attic air. Not good. It was also, too small. Way too small. Units need to breathe. This unit was operating with about 1 lung.
Next, I noticed, on the supply line the installers had placed a reducer backwards on the main supply line. To illustrate this, think about trying to put oil in your car with a funnel, but think about trying to do this with the funnel flipped over. Yea, pour the oil through the small end. Not good. These installers did this. They, right off the bat, restricted the flow of the air to the home.
They also left one of the vents that was supposed to be installed into the living space laying and literally blowing into the attic. Its like blowing money into your attic.
Last, and most importantly, the unit was undersized. I mean, not just a little bit but a lot. And it was a new unit. And if you have had to replace one of these things, especially in an attic, you know how tedious it can be. It is a major surgery. This unit was a 2-ton system. I needed a 3.5 ton easily.
My point, and it come from a very genuine place, is you shouldn’t try to cut corners. It is perfectly reasonable to try to save some money, yes. But there are limits. Exercise good judgment and ask questions. Get 2nd opinions and ask for credentials. There is nothing wrong with it.
This homeowner had to pay me to retrofit and repair a great deal of things that, if a proper installer was used, could have been done initially. It would have spared him time, convenience and money. Bear in mind, I am not suggesting you should spend an arm and a leg on these things, but you should have realistic expectations about your costs.
So, in the future, call Near Me AC and do not spend a dime to save a nickel. Call me, Jeremy. 423-710-4792