Changing breaker for the outside condenser unit - necessary or ripoff?

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My sister is a thousand miles away and I can't go look at her problem.
She had her evaporator (apparently an A coil in the furnace?) replaced with the home warranty, of course there were all sorts of extra non covered charges, but it stopped cooling.
So then they told her the condenser needed to be changed out too, another visit charge plus another set of non covered charges.
Now, in the list of extra charges here, they have to send an electrician to change out the 30 Amp breaker for a 25, because if the condenser pulls more than 25 amps it will burn out and be destroyed.
Say what? Really? Plus they're claiming they need to pull a separate permit for the electrical work which will cost her an extra couple hundred bucks.
My BS detector is going off here. I work in an engineering department. But my section doesn't do residential anymore and I don't know enough.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

They tried to sell me a home warranty when I bought a house about 12 years ago. I looked at what it covered and the 'co-paynent'. Decided that it was not worth anything. Just as my dental insurance after I turned 65. They charge over $ 500 per year and the max payout is only $ 1000.
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On 8/16/2016 10:06 PM, TimR wrote:

Your BS detector seems to be working well. Local code probably does call for getting a permit but for a small job is should be about $20, not hundreds. Changing a breaker is a 5 minute job so the electrician is going to charge his minimum that could be $75 to $100. If I was close I'd do it for a slice of pie if she just made one.
Home warranty is a rip-off, IMO. Put that premium in the bank and you will be way ahead in a couple of years even after a job like she has now. Sounds like they botched it to begin with.
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On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 12:12:34 AM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

In general I agree with you. But she's single, retired, and has no maintenance skills at all. I think she needs a service, I just suspect she didn't get the right one.
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On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 8:18:54 AM UTC-4, TimR wrote:

IDK why she needs a home warranty service. Seems to me she just needs a local, reputable service company for the things that she has covered. In this case, it would be a local HVAC company. You call them out, they tell you what they think needs to be done, if you don't like it you're free to call someone else. With the warranty company, you're stuck with the company they choose to use. They probably find the cheapest guy they can find, then he makes up for what they pay him by adding on extras wherever he can. This is like any insurance situation, you're paying for the work, plus the insurance company's overhead, their profit, etc. That makes sense when it's a large ticket item and you can't afford to self-insure or take the risk. I've heard very few people here that are happy with any of these warranty companies.
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On 8/17/2016 8:18 AM, TimR wrote:

I'm sure she needs help, but a pay as you go is far cheaper. That insurance company is not in business to help people, their goal is to make money from them.
She needs to find a local handyman type that can either do the job or knows a reputable person to call for the big jobs he can't handle. Home warranty companies do that for you, but they use the lowest priced materials with the lowest wage workers and all the non-covered fees.
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And half the time the guys they use are either bent or incompetent or both.
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On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 12:12:34 AM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

IDK about $20, here the min for anything in NJ is probably $50, I'd expect to pay at least that much. But the problem may not be what the municipality charges, but that many contractors add their own fee for handling it on top of that. Which I guess they have a right to do, because they do have to make a trip over to the office to get one quickly or fill it out, mail it, etc. I agree a couple hundred sounds high.
If the OP knows the model of the new eqpt, they may be able to pull up the install instructions on the internet and find out what size breaker it calls for. Typically they have a range specified, ie a min and a max. It the 30A is within the range, no need to change it. The new eqpt is probably more efficient, so it will work with a smaller amp circuit, but if they give a breaker range and you're within it, you're OK.
I agree with the advice to avoid the home warranty companies for a lot of reasons. One reason is that they've now changed out the whole AC system. At that point, if it were your own system, depending on the age, it might make more sense to get a whole new system, ie including the heating/air handler part. Would be interesting if the OP would let us know what this winds up costing. And how much she's been paying and for how long.
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On 8/17/2016 8:29 AM, trader_4 wrote:

Just checked. Plumbing minimum is $25, electrical $40. Homeowner cn pull the permit and save the add on costs.

My guess is the insurance company tried to get away cheap replacing the evap coil and later realized more was needed. Just a guess, but a good HVAC tech would recognize the problem and recommended a more efficient unit, not the cheapest to buy.
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The diagnosis should be done by the tech, not the "insurance" or warranty company.. Sometimes the companies "own" the techs but usually they are subcontractors. You still don't have the opportunity to select the contractor (in many cases, at least)
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On 08/17/2016 12:12 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Agreed! When the salesman is selling the extended warranty, they claim it covers everything. Later, when you have a claim, you'll find the warranty is filled with a bunch of weasel words and your particular failure is not covered.
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I'm not an electrician, but that sounds fishy. The circuit breaker isn't there to protect the load so much as it's to protect the wiring to the load. E.g. if I have a branch circuit that has only a 100W light bulb plugged in, I don't put a 1 Amp breaker on the circuit. Sure the bulb will fry if it pulls 20A, but it won't do that. It's a 20A breaker because I have 12ga wire.
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On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 9:42:13 AM UTC-4, Mark Storkamp wrote:

The install instructions and/or the rating plate for the eqpt typically spec the min circuit ampacity and the min and max for the breaker. If 30A is in the range, then it's OK. I agree with you that the reasoning the tech apparently gave is BS. The unit isn't going to pull any more or any less because of the breaker size, nor will it burn out. And the overcurrent protection is actually handled inside the equipment.
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On Wed, 17 Aug 2016 08:42:09 -0500, Mark Storkamp

The motor generally has it's own "thermal overload protector". She's been given a wheel-barrow load of bovine excrement - either because the guy is a crook or because he is incompetent.
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TimR posted for all of us...

I agree with the other posters. The still have the train on the tracks so you are getting good advice. Also your BS detector seems to pegged out and rightly so.
The company didn't diagnose nor repair it properly. Have your sister protest all the charges and demand a refund of costs including the policy. I know good luck but I would tell them she intends to go to the "news" organizations with a timely consumer expose. Have her talk to the neighbors and find a reputable co and pay as she goes.
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th the home warranty, of course there were all sorts of extra non covered c harges, but it stopped cooling.

visit charge plus another set of non covered charges.

to change out the 30 Amp breaker for a 25, because if the condenser pulls m ore than 25 amps it will burn out and be destroyed.

rmit for the electrical work which will cost her an extra couple hundred bu cks.

But my section doesn't do residential anymore and I don't know enough.
On the nameplate of the condenser it will say something like "Maximum Fuse Size" or Maximum HACR Breaker". To use a higher rated circuit breaker woul d be a code violation, invalidate the warranty, and it would fail inspectio n. Many of the newer energy efficient models only require a 25 amp circuit breaker. I recently discovered a homeowner had his 20 amp condenser on a 50 amp circuit breaker. I showed him the nameplate on the condenser and he agreed to let me replace the breaker.
Getting a permit and having the work inspected is a good idea. How else wo uld you or your sister know that the work was done to code?
John Grabowski http://www.MrElectrician.TV
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On Friday, August 19, 2016 at 3:54:21 PM UTC-4, John G wrote:

Interesting. I've looked at a lot of nameplates but didn't remember that part.
I just looked at mine, and sure enough it has a minimum size and a maximum size. Both are the same, 20 A (and my breaker is a 20 A).
Is it really a code violation though?
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wrote:

Yes - but you can fuse the cable at 30 or 50, and use a 20 amp breaker as your outdoor disconnect (which, at least here in Ontario, is a code requirement)
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On Friday, August 19, 2016 at 11:05:37 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Ah. Yes, we have outdoor disconnects in the US too, but they can be fused or unfused. At my house the disconnect is unfused.
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On Saturday, August 20, 2016 at 9:40:14 AM UTC-4, TimR wrote:

Please let us know how this works out with your sister and the warranty company, how much she would up paying in total, etc. Where is it at now? It's been hot and sounds like she had no AC.
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