American Home Shield and my HVAC

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Added Blower Relay
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Control Board close up
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So I'll just throw out the obligatory:

1) I told you so
2) Those home warranties are a scam
3) The contractors suck

Okay I'm sure there's more but here the story. Blower stopped on the furnace; ergo no cool area flowing out the vents; the AC was functioning and if left on would quickly ice the coil over. I did my own diagnostics check (multimeter) of the furnace and narrowed it to the blower or blower speed relay. I also ran the diagnostics check and there were no codes being "thrown".

Invoked warranty company at this point because the board -- that contains the relays -- is quite expensive and I assumed (yes, yes, yes....) they would come to the same conclusion as me and replace the board. I treat the warranty company like my pre-paid legal plan, one must have some expectation management and understand the fine print.

Yes I'm aware of my plans limitations:

1) They only pay $10 a pound for refrigerant (R-22 or R-410a) --> Ridiculous, cost today is between $50 - $100
2) They will only pay up to $1500 for any HVAC related repairs --> Barely covers labor for a coil replacement
3) They don't cover the cost of recapture/recycled refrigerant --> Way to extract more money as this is a required service
4) Et cetera

Because I know AHS tries to reason their way out of any repair, I complete most diagnostics myself to weight the options of paying the deductible and the cost of repairing stuff myself. I really have it for the bigger stuff, water-heater, HVAC, annoying plumbing.

So they come out, diagnose the same thing as me. And instead of replacing the board they jerry-rig (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jerry-rigged) some relay that bypasses the board and brings my multi-speed fan furnace down to a single-speed. And to top it off the board is left to "dangle" by the wires alone right next to the blower itself. By the way, if you energize the system the 115AC is not guarded at all and I'm surprised the hi-voltage side of the relay doesn't contact the blower cover.

So.......what should I do.

1) Contact AHS
2) Contact HVAC Company
3) Start blog and complain
4) Sit on thumb and spin
5) Drink beer until all seems well

Opinions

P.S. Every year we've had the warranty, we "recouped" our premium in repairs (possibly broke even at wholesale part cost).


The close-up of the control board shows four wires (w/ spade terminals) removed from the control board. The Black wire is the only one now connected; yellow, red, blue are left "floating".

UPDATE: It's all fixed correctly now. AHS stepped up, sent a second company out, and replaced the control board with an new OEM board (from arrival to all fixed was about 2 hours and that included a 50 mile roundtrip to the Bryant "parts store".

NEDeals deserves some big credit on this one, the Fatwallet Forums paid off.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
bull crap. not all the time.. so you are lying to the person that's being lied to.. what brand coils have you replaced..... (more)

collingitrite (Oct. 10, 2013 @ 12:36p) |

whats wrong with bypassing the safeties.... they need heat don't they.... nothing gonna happen.... bypass safeties is no... (more)

collingitrite (Oct. 10, 2013 @ 12:51p) |

I don't think that anyone here has advocated bypassing any safety devices or limit switches. 
Quite the opposite: the iss... (more)

NEDeals (Oct. 10, 2013 @ 2:53p) |

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I would contact AHS initially and see what happens. You could ways try to hit the repair company on BBB.

It is funny, there are so many negative reviews on home warranty companies, but *knock on wood* we have our first one on a house we just bought and they have already taken care of three issues without any push back whatsoever. Our company is OneGuard and they fixed the dryer, furnace and irrigation system.

tennis8363 said:   

It is funny, there are so many negative reviews on home warranty companies, but *knock on wood* we have our first one on a house we just bought and they have already taken care of three issues without any push back whatsoever. Our company is OneGuard and they fixed the dryer, furnace and irrigation system.


I'm shopping around after being with AHS for 2 yrs

OneGuard Enhanced Homeowner plan seems great here:

https://www.oneguardhomewarranty.com/homeowners/plans-and-prices

A/C & Heating System Pre-Season Tune-Ups
and
Pest/Weed Control Service

are free or reduced fee? maybe worth the extra $10/mo...

If those dipshits bypassed the furnace control board and all its safety features...

Let us hope they only bypassed the blower control functions of the board, and tested to make sure the safety switches can still shut it down.

vickh said:   tennis8363 said:   

It is funny, there are so many negative reviews on home warranty companies, but *knock on wood* we have our first one on a house we just bought and they have already taken care of three issues without any push back whatsoever. Our company is OneGuard and they fixed the dryer, furnace and irrigation system.


I'm shopping around after being with AHS for 2 yrs

OneGuard Enhanced Homeowner plan seems great here:

https://www.oneguardhomewarranty.com/homeowners/plans-and-prices

A/C & Heating System Pre-Season Tune-Ups
and
Pest/Weed Control Service

are free or reduced fee? maybe worth the extra $10/mo...

What they do is charge their service fee of $55 for the pest/weed control, etc.

You could also ask on the HVAC-talk forum and see if other technicians agree with what was done.

I just had a fun experience with AHS and HVAC. Their contractors are horrible and try to scam you as much as possible. Got a hold of an AHS executive and it made a huge difference that was very favorable. Don't have details with me but can look up later if you still need it.

Duplicate Post. Please Delete.

NEDeals said:   I just had a fun experience with AHS and HVAC. Their contractors are horrible and try to scam you as much as possible. Got a hold of an AHS executive and it made a huge difference that was very favorable. Don't have details with me but can look up later if you still need it..

Amen.. They have two tier system, crappy techs and only if you complain enough you get escalated

tennis8363 said:   

https://www.oneguardhomewarranty.com/homeowners/plans-and-prices

A/C & Heating System Pre-Season Tune-Ups
and
Pest/Weed Control Service

are free or reduced fee? maybe worth the extra $10/mo... What they do is charge their service fee of $55 for the pest/weed control, etc.


Do they have a waiting period b/f claims??

When I called AHS, they verbally said they would repair the system or replace it, apparently not.

NEDeals said:   I just had a fun experience with AHS and HVAC. Their contractors are horrible and try to scam you as much as possible. Got a hold of an AHS executive and it made a huge difference that was very favorable. Don't have details with me but can look up later if you still need it.

It would be much appreciated! Thank you.

jhuflyer said:   1) They only pay $10 a pound for refrigerant (R-22 or R-410a) --> Ridiculous, cost today is between $50 - $100
No, this is not ridiculous. You can get a 20lb tank of R410a online (out of state) for under $150 shipped.

The ridiculous bit is how much local HVAC companies charge for it. I had quotes from $15 up to $33 a pound when I needed it recently. (Both of our systems developed leaks over the winter and I needed ~24lb to fill both, plus the cost of repairs.)

wfay said:   jhuflyer said:   1) They only pay $10 a pound for refrigerant (R-22 or R-410a) --> Ridiculous, cost today is between $50 - $100
No, this is not ridiculous. You can get a 20lb tank of R410a online (out of state) for under $150 shipped.

The ridiculous bit is how much local HVAC companies charge for it. I had quotes from $15 up to $33 a pound when I needed it recently. (Both of our systems developed leaks over the winter and I needed ~24lb to fill both, plus the cost of repairs.)


I won't argue with you; however, I'm a consumer not a contractor. You'd think the reimbursement schedule would be more for patient than pharmacy.....


And for the disclaimer: the system is cooling; however, I don't want a temporary type repair. Plus as one poster mentioned, I hope they didn't bypass any of the heating safety features.

cyberl0k said:   You could also ask on the HVAC-talk forum and see if other technicians agree with what was done.

http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?1354891-HVAC-Repair-Seco...

taxmantoo said:   cyberl0k said:   You could also ask on the HVAC-talk forum and see if other technicians agree with what was done.

http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?1354891-HVAC-Repair-Seco...


My bad, I should have linked it and kudos to cyber10k for the link -- great resource. Green all around! Just for the record, I didn't run two threads initially, I posted over their after cyber10k gave me the link.

VR

JHUFlyer

Looks as though the people over at that forum are sayings it's a substandard way of doing things. Grrrr....

You have two options : escalate with ahs or with the contractor who came out . You could pretty easily sue either in small claims if you get a report from another pro stating the work was done improperly as evidence .

If you recently purchased your home and got the warranty through a realtor or title company , they also have tremendous pull with ahs sales reps to get problems like this resolved

Good luck and keep us updated on what you do.

1) Contact AHS. The problem with AHS and sketchy repairs is that they contract with the cheapest service technicians they can sub out to; often they are independents. They pay these techs/companies pennies on the dollar and most reputable service companies will not take on AHS contracts. I would call AHS and get the list of names that they contract with and then do your homework (online reviews, BBB, your option #2)Contact HVAC company who will do repairs, etc). Never had AHS but I have watched my neighbor battle with them yearly in trying to fix HVAC problems; sometimes takes a parade of techs and a time-span of a month to resolve a problem.jhuflyer said:   
...

So.......what should I do.

1) Contact AHS
2) Contact HVAC Company
3) Start blog and complain
4) Sit on thumb and spin
5) Drink beer until all seems well

Opinions

P.S. Every year we've had the warranty, we "recouped" our premium in repairs (possibly broke even at wholesale part cost).


The close-up of the control board shows four wires (w/ spade terminals) removed from the control board. The Black wire is the only one now connected; yellow, red, blue are left "floating".

jhuflyer said:   wfay said:   jhuflyer said:   1) They only pay $10 a pound for refrigerant (R-22 or R-410a) --> Ridiculous, cost today is between $50 - $100
No, this is not ridiculous. You can get a 20lb tank of R410a online (out of state) for under $150 shipped.

The ridiculous bit is how much local HVAC companies charge for it. I had quotes from $15 up to $33 a pound when I needed it recently. (Both of our systems developed leaks over the winter and I needed ~24lb to fill both, plus the cost of repairs.)


I won't argue with you; however, I'm a consumer not a contractor. You'd think the reimbursement schedule would be more for patient than pharmacy.....

I agree with you -- but I think AHS should be allowed to say "you'll get $15 a pound for R410a, and you'll like it" to the contractors -- and they should take it. That's a fine markup on R410a. There's no reason for them to charge you $50-100 PER POUND as you stated.

Now R-22 is a different product. It does cost more. But I doubt $50 a pound is reasonable there either. Haven't priced it lately.

This is in response for VickH

No clue for existing homeowners, ours was effective the day of closing. However, anything in the inspection report that came up as broken, etc was not covered. We called them for irrigation 2 days after closing.

NEDeals said:   I just had a fun experience with AHS and HVAC. Their contractors are horrible and try to scam you as much as possible. Got a hold of an AHS executive and it made a huge difference that was very favorable. Don't have details with me but can look up later if you still need it.


JHUFlyer,
In my case, the AHS contractor came out and said that I had an evaporator coil leak. He then tried to sell me a new air handler unit and said that "no matter what, AHS would pay him $400 as the value of the coil so he would give me $400 off his prices." (Funny thing is that the coil is built into the air handler and good luck finding a coil that would fit the old air handler, even if it were feasible. He wanted just over $4000 for a new VS air handler, off brand. What a great deal to get $400 off! He recommended that I not call AHS as it I would get more by just working with him....

...So my next move was to call AHS. It took them a while to get back in touch with their contractor, but they said that the entire unit would need to be replaced since the contractor told them there is no way to replace just the coil. (Of course! But how the story changed). If I were to have their contractor replace the unit, I would:
- Have to get a really bottom of the line system (e.g. Payne sub builder grade).
- Pay lots of trumped up "non covered" charges such as $150 for a $12 EZ Trap, $130 for a $9 water switch, duct work (even though my contract workincluded duct, disposal fees, and lots more.

I discovered (via a brand new contract CSR) that AHS paid the contractor $156 for their service visit (which consisted of nothing except a perfunctory quick visual inspection, and a long sales pitch), in addition to my co-pay. This amount was of course subtracted from my cash-in-lieu which I eventually received. The mid-level AHS rep was really upset that I knew that amount since it is supposed to be "proprietary."

You will go crazy if you just call AHS's main numbers to follow up for anything complex. Lots of time on hold, and the low level CSRs can't really do anything except take your information and explain what they will not do to help you. If you are lucky you will get escalated to a mid level support. In the end my case was substantially helped by calling an executive. I've PM'd you the information I used. Read your contract carefully before calling, know exactly what is covered/not covered and be able to articulate what your issues are in simple terms. The difference in service was significant.

I eventually hired my own contractor and got partially reimbursed by a lowball amount, but it was substantially raised by persistence ($1,500). I purchased a top of the line unit with the contractor of my choice, and it was about $3,000 ($1000 less than the AHS contractor's nonsense!)

I had other (non-HVAC) AHS claims as well. Coincidentally, AHS subsequently informed me that they will not allow me to renew their "service."

NEDeals, thank you very much for responding to me. I do recall the technician even responded with "it's gonna need a new board" on the first call out. I asked how much it would be and he said around $700 dollars (slightly inflated with what I've found via online research) and I specifically asked if it was covered to which he responded yes.

I will keep everyone updated as I will begin contacting AHS.

jhuflyer said:   NEDeals, thank you very much for responding to me. I do recall the technician even responded with "it's gonna need a new board" on the first call out. I asked how much it would be and he said around $700 dollars (slightly inflated with what I've found via online research) and I specifically asked if it was covered to which he responded yes.

I will keep everyone updated as I will begin contacting AHS.


The warranty company instructs its contractors to do the following (in order):
- Find a reason to deny claim ("improper maintenance" e.g. lint inside dryer cabinet, dust on refrigerator coils, etc).
- Simple repairs
- Replace parts
- New unit (as a last resort, and the new unit will be the lowest grade possible.).
For unit replacements, they allow their contractors to stuff the bill with lots of "uncovered items." The best option here is usually a cash-in-lieu.

This is not acceptable. Besides the fact that it is a safety issue, unprofessional, unserviceable, unreliable, etc., the variable speeds are important for several reasons:

1 - Board sequence may have a dehumidification routine that moves to slow speed in some cases during ac mode
2 - Heat and AC generally require different speeds for proper operation.
3 - Some of the newer furnaces use fan speed changes as a safety to prevent re-entrance of CO in the heating mode.
4 - Etc.

It is possible he was just doing this to get you cooling while they order the new board...

Good Luck!
SteveG

AHS is a scam. When I had problem with my wall A.C, I called the AHS and they asked me is it a central AC? I specifically told them "NO". It is on the wall. And they sent the technician out and found out my AC is attached to wall. No ducting, no warranty covered. And I am out the $60.00 inspection fee. What a rip off! Stay away from this company.I complained to the company. They said "Screw you".

Mailcarrier,

Did your contract say it covered wall units and they refused to service anyway?

They are sticklers for their contract terms, but that goes both ways when you challenge them.

The relays just hanging there may be a building code violation, especially if you have gas heat, and it certainly voids the UL safety approval of the HVAC. Motor vibration can easily make hanging components let go of those spade connections.

Many brands of HVAC units use controller boards made by outside companies like Robertshaw, and Internet dealers sometimes sell them cheap. Motor vibration can also crack solder joints, especially at connectors and components that are heavy (relays, transformers) or that run hot (voltage regulators, big resistors), and the cracks may not be visible except under bright light and a magnifier.

I would call the owner of the repair company, thank him for the tempoary repair, and ask about when the proper parts will be installed.

I had AHS for a while. The first time I needed service they reneged. That was the end of my dealings with them.

I had AHS till my A/C broke. Contractor came, took $55 and left. Said, compressor died because no maintenance was done and therefore not covered.

Cancelled AHS and tried to spread the word that AHS is a SCAM. Google AHS and scam and you will get a million hits. There business model is fix the stuff that costs less than $55 and deny any claim higher for bogus reason. So what if the consumer cancels plan. This country is full of idiots, they will find more.

jhuflyer said:   NEDeals, thank you very much for responding to me. I do recall the technician even responded with "it's gonna need a new board" on the first call out. I asked how much it would be and he said around $700 dollars (slightly inflated with what I've found via online research) and I specifically asked if it was covered to which he responded yes.

I will keep everyone updated as I will begin contacting AHS.


Nothing is going to happen. You are ****ed.

My AHS story....
New home, compressor died in the first month.
AHS paid $300 for replacement compressor in 20 year old outside condenser.
I cut a deal with the tech to replace the entire outside unit instead and paid the difference.

End of story.

I expect the main reason most new homeowners have AHS is that the seller is usually obligated to include a "home warranty" as part of the sale, AHS is usually the cheapest, and a lot of people don't realize that all home warranties are not created equal. I think it's rare when someone actually gets AHS coverage that exceeds the premium. I've talked to reputable contractors and they all say the same thing about AHS and their nit-picking warranty terms and the incompetent contractors they utilize. On any home purchase, I would insist on a reputable home warranty company based on local recommendations - AHS is worthless IMHO ...

I have gotten far more out of an AHS warranty than the premium (see earlier post where I mentioned they made me "non-renewable.") I wouldn't pay them a dime due to their policies and business practices. I actually found them better to deal with than HMS (Cross Country), but that is a very low bar.

Had an AHS warranty about 20 years ago on a house in Atlanta. The first call they replaced my hot water heater with no problem. The second service call the technican tried to rip me off on a furnace fix that he said wasn't covered for over a $1000 bucks. I had someone else come out and they fixed it and stated it was a minor issue. The home warranty may or may not be a good deal but just be prepared to question and ask for a second opinion.

It's worth to note that basic issues like plumbing are easier to get handled by the warranty companies than more complex systems (e.g. modern furnaces). It's hard to argue that a pipe fitting or leaking water heater isn't covered when that is what they advertise as covered, and you can't replace a "part" for leaking tank. However they will still get disposal fees, piping, expansion tank, flue connections, anti-siphon devices, and other creative charges etc. that are inflated. That's how the contractors make their money, because the warranty companies don't pay that much. You won't find great contractors in their system, because the good contractors don't need to rely on the likes of warranty companies to get business. I understand that the warranty companies also closely track denial and claim rates for each contractor.

I am surprised that they are still in business. The was a class action law suit and I received a post card that since I was denied HVAC repair, I can file for a 2nd review of the claim denial. However I will have to forgo any claims against AHS. I don't want to see these three f'n words 'AHS' again. I tossed it in the garbage.

A word of advice for those of you who already have AHS and want to file the claim for HVAC:
If your HVAC stops working, call a local company. Find what the issue is. Ask them to clean the coils and make it spic and span. (Cost you around $150-$200) Take pictures. Call AHS, when technician arrives, keep on saying that how good you were with maintenance of the unit. They cannot deny you on the bogus reason of non-maintenance.

Just a quick word of opinion from me -
I have had UHP for a few years and they've been really good to work with: http://www.uhpwarranty.com/

In fact, just today a repair person came to my house to look at a bypass valve on a water softener, and decided that the whole thing needed to be replaced. So for by $495 yearly fee + $80 for the service call, I just got a $1000 water softener (+ another few hundred in installation).

I've had a number of things that they've really helped out with, and they contract with really good local techs.

Skipping 25 Messages...
collingitrite said:   
gooddealie said:   Keep complaining loudly about the UNSAFE CONDITION they left your furnace in (hooking up the board and by-passing all the safety mechanisms). Safety issues tend to get attention a little more quickly than just a run-of-the-mill consumer complaint.
  whats wrong with bypassing the safeties.... they need heat don't they.... nothing gonna happen.... bypass safeties is not  only dangerous but the sign of a true hack..license needs to be taken away... if they have one.. if I roll up on someones house and they have a safety issue or cracked exchanger, I don't care if its -20 outside I am disabling the unit. tell em go to hotel or get more blankets. I have had people ask me to rig it.... I don't care.. I am not being responsible for hurting someone especially where kids or seniors are involved

  
I don't think that anyone here has advocated bypassing any safety devices or limit switches. 
Quite the opposite: the issue was the original home warranty service person had done just that and the OP was looking for advice to properly resolve the situation, which was subsequently accomplished. 



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