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Old 07-23-2008, 07:51 PM
 
97 posts, read 321,345 times
Reputation: 27

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2 weeks ago, the air conditioner on the 1st floor of our house stopped working. Our new house were still within the 1-year warranty from the builder, so we called their warranty manager. They contacted an AC company which sent a technician to our house. The technician told us it was due to lightning. He replaced the Heat and Cool circuit board in our attic. When he turned on the heat to test, another fuse was blown so he had to replace the valve for heat (why?). Then he also replace the thermostat (the device we use to control the room temperature) on the wall on the first floor.

The warranty manager told us that they would cover it. The technician left us an itemized bill:
1. Diagnosis $90
2. Heat & Cool Circuit Board $400
3. Programmable thermostat $360
4. 24V Gas Valve Natural $400

Several days later, the warranty manager told us that they could not cover it, because it was caused by lightning. He told us that he had talked to the AC company and they would work out something for the bill with us. The manager of the AC company called and lower the bill to $1000. We check with Lowe's, the same model thermostat costs about only $36!

Our questions:
1. How to know if the damage is from lightning? I think builder has to make the case, not us.

2. Does builder's warranty normally not over damage from lightning? How should we fight with the builder? On the original bill, the technician put "Need to bill BUILDER X", and we also put something similar beside our signature.

3. I guess builder's warranty will pay with a deep discount, so the AC company prefers/insists us pay it ourselves?

4. Does their pricing make sense. I think they charge us with a huge margin. The price is of thermostat is outrageous, which makes me suspect other items as well.

5. We just moved here several months ago. Can anyone recommend a nice electrician in Charlotte who can give us some expert advice if the repair and pricing are appropriate?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:58 PM
 
1,877 posts, read 4,306,982 times
Reputation: 1243
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbbi98 View Post
2 weeks ago, the air conditioner on the 1st floor of our house stopped working. Our new house were still within the 1-year warranty from the builder, so we called their warranty manager. They contacted an AC company which sent a technician to our house. The technician told us it was due to lightning. He replaced the Heat and Cool circuit board in our attic. When he turned on the heat to test, another fuse was blown so he had to replace the valve for heat (why?). Then he also replace the thermostat (the device we use to control the room temperature) on the wall on the first floor.

The warranty manager told us that they would cover it. The technician left us an itemized bill:
1. Diagnosis $90
2. Heat & Cool Circuit Board $400
3. Programmable thermostat $360
4. 24V Gas Valve Natural $400

Several days later, the warranty manager told us that they could not cover it, because it was caused by lightning. He told us that he had talked to the AC company and they would work out something for the bill with us. The manager of the AC company called and lower the bill to $1000. We check with Lowe's, the same model thermostat costs about only $36!

Our questions:
1. How to know if the damage is from lightning? I think builder has to make the case, not us.

2. Does builder's warranty normally not over damage from lightning? How should we fight with the builder? On the original bill, the technician put "Need to bill BUILDER X", and we also put something similar beside our signature.

3. I guess builder's warranty will pay with a deep discount, so the AC company prefers/insists us pay it ourselves?

4. Does their pricing make sense. I think they charge us with a huge margin. The price is of thermostat is outrageous, which makes me suspect other items as well.

5. We just moved here several months ago. Can anyone recommend a nice electrician in Charlotte who can give us some expert advice if the repair and pricing are appropriate?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
We had a very similar experience with a lightning strike. We were fortunate in that our builder's warranty covered it-however they did make it clear that the warranty doesnt usually coer acts of God. My advice to you, if the builder wont pay, is to submit a homeowners insurance claim.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:46 PM
 
876 posts, read 3,483,149 times
Reputation: 234
this is a good topic. if they agreed to fix it off the bat, then the A/C company should have checked with the warranty company PRIOR to fixing it knowing darn well that lightning caused the problem. This way you could have gotten other estimates rather than be forced to pay the A/C company's obviously absurd pricing!

I wouldn't pay it, but that's just me.

Sounds to me that the economy is so tight that everyone is looking to make a dollar. Shame.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:58 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
21,903 posts, read 27,179,065 times
Reputation: 8966
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbbi98 View Post
2 weeks ago, the air conditioner on the 1st floor of our house stopped working. Our new house were still within the 1-year warranty from the builder, so we called their warranty manager. They contacted an AC company which sent a technician to our house. The technician told us it was due to lightning. He replaced the Heat and Cool circuit board in our attic. When he turned on the heat to test, another fuse was blown so he had to replace the valve for heat (why?). Then he also replace the thermostat (the device we use to control the room temperature) on the wall on the first floor.

The warranty manager told us that they would cover it. The technician left us an itemized bill:
1. Diagnosis $90
2. Heat & Cool Circuit Board $400
3. Programmable thermostat $360
4. 24V Gas Valve Natural $400

Several days later, the warranty manager told us that they could not cover it, because it was caused by lightning. He told us that he had talked to the AC company and they would work out something for the bill with us. The manager of the AC company called and lower the bill to $1000. We check with Lowe's, the same model thermostat costs about only $36!

Our questions:
1. How to know if the damage is from lightning? I think builder has to make the case, not us.

2. Does builder's warranty normally not over damage from lightning? How should we fight with the builder? On the original bill, the technician put "Need to bill BUILDER X", and we also put something similar beside our signature.

3. I guess builder's warranty will pay with a deep discount, so the AC company prefers/insists us pay it ourselves?

4. Does their pricing make sense. I think they charge us with a huge margin. The price is of thermostat is outrageous, which makes me suspect other items as well.

5. We just moved here several months ago. Can anyone recommend a nice electrician in Charlotte who can give us some expert advice if the repair and pricing are appropriate?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
I am not an HVAC technician. I have been to electronics school & worked in various types of electronics for 25+ years..

A trained, licensed, technician should be able to identify the results of a lightning hit. The parts prices may be includiing the manpower time for installation. Call the company & ask.

Lightning strikes fall under the categorgy of "Acts of God" & are rarely covered by standard insurance.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Rock Hill, SC
392 posts, read 1,076,889 times
Reputation: 192
There is a moderator on the House forum who is an HVAC guy and always shares great info re same. Maybe he can help you re the typical costs of those items. Also, you could call a couple of Air Conditioner people from the Yellow Pages and ask them what the typical costs of the items in your list are. You may learn alot that way, too.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:28 PM
 
97 posts, read 321,345 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanRoadGirl View Post
There is a moderator on the House forum who is an HVAC guy and always shares great info re same. Maybe he can help you re the typical costs of those items. Also, you could call a couple of Air Conditioner people from the Yellow Pages and ask them what the typical costs of the items in your list are. You may learn alot that way, too.
Sorry, what is the the House forum? Could you post the URL link? thanks!
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Rock Hill, SC
392 posts, read 1,076,889 times
Reputation: 192
Here is the link for the House forum on City-Data. His name is BigJon 3475 (not a mod as I first thought).

He has a thread going about AC's as we speak.

Hope you solve your problem to your liking.
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:46 PM
 
97 posts, read 321,345 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanRoadGirl View Post
Here is the link for the House forum on City-Data. His name is BigJon 3475 (not a mod as I first thought).

He has a thread going about AC's as we speak.

Hope you solve your problem to your liking.

Thank you for your help! I've asked him...
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Rock Hill, SC
392 posts, read 1,076,889 times
Reputation: 192
You are welcome.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:13 PM
 
1,343 posts, read 2,916,457 times
Reputation: 976
They came and did the work while you were expecting it to be covered by warranty and then presented you with the bill.... without you having the opportunity to get other estimates and other opinions on what needed replacing? hmmmm..... I would tell them to sue me.

We just had some electrical work done at our house and I was SHOCKED !!! (lol) at the high prices. I thought the first estimate we got was ridiculous so I got a second estimate - it was about the same, (oh, and we had to PAY for the estimates!!) and we ended up paying more due to some extra work. I guess we were spoiled by our local electrician in NJ - and we thought everything cost more in NJ!!

I think most electricians will bill you way more for an item they provide and install in your home... but 10X? sheesh...


And everything was a la carte. For example, we have 18 ft ceilings and a burned out bulb. My wife asks the electrician, hey, while you are here, could you change that light bulb? The elec replies that it will cost us $175 for him to take his tall ladder off the truck (We didn't even ask if changing the bulb would be extra.) So I picked up a bulb changing kit at Lowes for $20. But that's another story.
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