Should I renew my home warranty, big A/C issue

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This is long, but I'm wondering if everyone else gets this treatment.
My home warranty with American Home Shield (AHS) is up for renewal. Today they really ticked me off.
Came home to find the house is 86F and the A/C is blowing warm air. The cooling fan on the compressour outside is off. The compressor is still running. I turn it off for 45 mins and kick it back on, working OK now. 20-25min later, warm air again. I call AHS and the first place they send me to can't do it until next Tues or Wed at the earliest. That's not within their 48hr "emergency" time frame.
I call back, the 2nd company they send me to calls back. The guy who runs the shop said he isn't there to schedule me and doesn't know when he'll be back. Says that someone will call tomorrow (Fri) to schedule me, but as of this morning, Monday are the schedule times, probably later. That's not within 48 hrs, so I call AHS.
AHS tells me that "it's summer, it's hot, there are a lot of problems, and unless there is someone ill or with a medical condition, they won't classify it as an emergency" Needles to say, I want to know why I'm waisting money if you don't come help me when I need it, especially when I live in FL, it'll be 95F all weekend, and my house will get up to 90F. It was only 86F at 6pm because some rain came in and dropped the outside temp.
The 1 other time I called for my A/C, they told me it was "pre-existing" and not covered. So $190 out of my pocket. This time, I opted to pay out of my pocket anyway, because I WILL NOT go until Monday or later w/o A/C. I have a small indoor pet to think about . AHS didn't seem to care. So tomorrow someone will be here at 8am and the fan will cost $225-265 with labor. Hopefully the compressor wasn't damaged. If it is, I'll have to be at the mercy of AHS, because I'm sure that's not cheap, and I won't spend up to or over $1000 when I've already paid $345 for this warranty.
Has anyone gotten something useful done through their home warranty? I don't even know if they would have covered this fan replacement. They weasled out of the last repair. Is it just my company that sucks? I know of 2 other major ones, but this was the one the sellers of the house said they'd pay for (had it as part of closing, but did not specify company, didn't know better).
Is it worth $345/yr if I don't even know if they'd really cover me when I need it? I already had to pay $2200 out of my pocket to repipe my house. My appliances are all new, so I'm not worried about those. I have a brand new roof. What else is there to worry about except my A/C and heater? Shoul;d I just stop wasting my money and hope I make it a few more years w/o needing a new A/C or heater. Thatwould cover up to 1/2 of the replacement in savings from not paying the warranty.
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I don't have your policy but the ones I've read are a complete rip off. The worse ones are the ones which come with new homes. Basically if you sign it you cannot sue anyone even if your house has code violations. Save your money.
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artfully composed this message within < on 03 Jun 2004:

I got American Home Shield as a new homeowner a few years ago. When my first appliance failed (heat pump) I called them in, and the technician reported that the unit had never been cleaned based on his inspection. My brother was the previous owner of my house and is in the AC heating business and did in fact, clean it regularly. They wouldn't cover any part of the replacement or repair based on the tech's report. I couldn't prove the unit was cleaned because it wasn't done by a contractor who'd left a bill. I cancelled them in a huff. They don't even let you talk to a supervisor on the phone when you have a complaint.
--
Cheryl

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I feel that if you put that money in the bank every year, you could fix most problems that come up.

me
of
classify
86F
and
my
have
or
w/o
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Took long enough...AHS is a rip....period. I have waited over 1 year to get PAID for a job I did for them...

me
Hint....there ISNT a 48 hour time frame...:) Get there when you can...

of
classify
86F
95F? LOL...BAH... It hit 98F here, and we are 700 miles north of you...and to ME, thats still cool.

and
my
have
or
w/o
Let me explain something to you as someone that will NEVER EVER do another 2-10, AHS, or Amercian Republic or the like warranty call again, for anyone, even existing customers. First, its an INSURANCE company. They will not do what needs to be done, but piece it together so it works. Example, had a customer that called and got me approved with AHS since I am NOT one of their contractors. He refused to let the last asshole that worked on it, (they use newbies that need the money) work on it again. It was an old Carrier..about 7 years...and the evap coil was leaking...like that was a surprise. At first, they refused to cover it. Then, they did, after he raised hell. I told them on the phone that the outdoor coil would start next, as is the case 99% of the time, and to be ready for it. We fought for 3 days over the price of the coil, installed. 4 weeks later, he calls me and says its not cooling....get there, check it, its frozen over, thaw it, charge it, check it, and the evap is fine, but the outdoor coil has started to split seams. Its leaking slowly, and about to go postal with the leaks... Call AHS, and they want to put a coil in, a coil thats not made any longer, and if wwe cant do that, they want to pay me $150 for a braze job on the old coil....in other words, they want me to destroy the coil, as the leaks are in places that a torch will destroy the fins.. The homeowner raised hell again, and then, when they finally admitted that a coil was a bad idea, and a new unti was to go in, they granted me...get this shit....$300 for a new Goodman unit....he was gonna go from a Carrier to a POS Goodman. I sell York, and I told them I was not going to install a POS like that. They denied it, and said their guy would do it for them in 4 to 6 weeks.....think about that when 48 hours isnt getting it.... Now...I put in a York, they offered to pay $500 finally on it, and that didnt cover the wholesale on the machine....the homeowner paid the difference, and has not had a problem since. I STILL dont have my money from AHS...
The home warranty crap is that...crap. They use the biggest hack contractors I have seen. American Republic sent a guy out to a customers of mine that I had put a brand new contactor and capacitor in, because the customer was worried about the rust I saw on the Goodman unit they had. This guy in front of me, not knowing who I was, said that the last asshole had put in used parts, and when I asked to see them...BTW, the manufacture date was on the cap, and it was 6 weeks old... he said I would not know what I was looking at, and put the cover back on and said that the rust was a figment of the jacklegs imagination, and that the unit would run another 50 years... When I told him that *I* was the jackleg that put the parts in, he went on a tirade about being licenced, and how its illegal for a non licenced person yadda yadda...and when I gave him my card, with the licence number on it, and asked to see his, he packed and left...turns out, he was non licenced, and is now paying off his $30,000 fine from the State....AHS had no clue he had no right to work on a unit. Oh...and they also have a new York unit, one that I GAVE to them since they are in their 80s, and deserved not to worry about the unit when it got above 90.
Also, if you PAY a licenced, insured contractor for a repair, they have to reimburse you, and it will be a fight, and dont expect all your money back...but they DO and CAN pay you back.

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Well I think I'm not going to renew this. I'd probably never get a new home warranty, but for the price, and a 24 yr old home, it sounded like it was worth it. But now I see it was not. Since your in the business, I hve a few A/C related questions.
I have no idea how many HOURS the compressor ran w/o the cooling fan. At least 3, I'm guessing more. I'm worried the compressor is bad or going to go bad soon. If the compressor does go bad, can just the outdoor unit be replaced, or does the coil inside the vent stack have to be replaced? Does the copper pipe frm the compressor to the coil have to be replaced? I want to try and plan ahead for the compressor failing. I also have a furnace that the blower fan is part of, at least 14 yrs's old but no problems with it this past winter, or with the fan itself.
If the compressor does fail, is that part replaced, or is it the entire box/fan/everything outside? What kind of price could I be looking to be for a mid-range unit to cool 1800sq ft? I know it's a somewhat loaded question, but at least its pointed to a specific component, and not "how much for new A/C for my entire house". Unless your going to tell me when you replace a compressor, you need a new coil/piping/fan/other things.

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The
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news:F9Rvc.49

I have to look at the current one to see the tonage. I forget, but it's a Carrier unit built in 1990. What was the highest seer rating back then? Since I don't plan to stay in this house more then a few more years, I'd probably go cheap and get lower seer, just trying to get at least equal to what I have now

and
Is that price based on just the compressor, or are you talking the lines and the evap coil?
Again, I really appreciate the info. I'm going to ask the guy coming out tomorrow what it would cost to replace everything, and just the outdoor compressor. Want to ask him about all the things you are mentioning. I know when he was out last time, he did mention Superheat and put a temp probe on the box. He didn't mention subcool however. My invoice indicated superheat of 42 and I was low on refridgerant. This was also before I had the compressor's cooling fins cleaned, something I don't think was done since it was installed. Does that effect the superheat/subcool and need for refridgerant?
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wrote in message

you
Back then, about 9 to 10..10 MAYBE. Most are in the 8-9 range, and as they age, they get lower.

again.
and
Outdoor unit, and lines, and evap coil.

Subcool is only used if you have a TEV on the evap coil Good...most techs..if you want to call them that, just look at pressure readings, and slap juice to the unit. I can charge one with just two temp probes, and be damn close...like..within 1 point of dead on.

for
Ummm..if he didnt clean the coils, hes got no clue. The units got to be working right, and the coils clean to check anything. Also, if he didnt use a scale, (and this goes for ANYONE reading this) to measure in the R22, then I hope you didnt pay him a thing.

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news:PIRvc.58> > My invoice indicated

had
This guy actually didn't do anything but inspect. I wanted him to look at it first before I went to AHS to try and get them to pay for repairs. He didn't mention that it needed a cleaning, but I never noticed him really look at it. He pointed out a few other things as well. I wasn't going to pay him for repairs I had HOPED AHS would cover. Big mistake there.
The guy from AHS said it could use one a cleaning, and it did. Overall, theguy who inspected it originally, and is coming out tomorrow, seemed much more intelligant and knowing them the guys AHS sent out, so I feel comfortable with him working on it again. And I'm more armed with knowledge now.
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artfully composed this message within < on 03 Jun 2004:

OOOO OOO I can answer this. Not how much it would take to replace a compressor on a furnace that is at least 14 years old, but HOW MUCH CAN YOU SAVE ON ENERGY COSTS on a brand new, much more energy efficient unit. The answer for me when I had to choose between repairing an old heat pump and replacing it, no brainer. I think in 3 years since replacing the whole thing, I've already paid it off in savings in the monthly bills to the electric company. My unit is a heat pump, $4000 for a brand new Bryant (inside and outside units because the old inside part wouldn't match up with the new outside part), but the thing cools off my house in no time flat. In the winter, the air coming from the ducts is actually warm without AUX heat. For an 1800 sq ft house, the bills halved in the winter, and in the summer, even lower.
--
Cheryl

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Excellent point, Cheryl. I use this as a selling point.
FWIW, I replaced my cooling system 3 years ago in July. My summer power bill dropped from almost $300.00 a month to a little more than $150.00. I did have a early 80's POS and installed a matching 12 SEER system.
on 03 Jun

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Hey CB, quit being so nice, it is not in your nature! (If you listen to the "others" anyway!) LOL!! Greg
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the
You mean like SG, Kevin, Stormy, and DAVEY??
Forkem..
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Perhaps! Greg
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Evan Mann wrote:

If you do a google search on group, you will find AHS has a poor record. I'd never use them or any other ome warranty. You will come out cheaper (and have better quality) by paying for service as needed. -- Warranty companies are in business to do one thing - - - make money. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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Evan-
Let me add in my own experieces as an AHS warranty owner (I've got about another month to go, and will NOT be renewing).
I got a 1 year contract in 1999 when I bought my home. I've been renewing it yearly since then, at a cost of ~$400-450 per year (cost goes up, coverage goes down).
In 2000, I had a problem with the dishwasher. They promptly sent out a guy who knew what he was doing, and AHS covered ~$180 worth of repairs. I was happy enough.
In 2001, the ~30-year old furnace gave up the ghost (cracked heat exchanger). AHS sent out a good company, and they did a quality job of replacing it, but the job was slowed by the fact that AHS made them use a unit that AHS had shipped in special. Low-end Goodman unit. This delayed things by about 5 days. In all, it cost me about $250 to have the whole furnace replaced (was told by the techs that it was about a $2000 job). So I saved a lot. At the time I was quite happy, but in retrospect if I had been buying myself, I would have upped to a more efficient unit and already recouped the "savings" by now.
In 2003, August, the ~32-year old AC compressor died. Long story short, I went round and round with AHS. First they sent in a complete idiot who was unprofessional, probably did further damage to the unit (it wasn't quited dead at the time), and scared the crap out of me and the wife. Unit was in worse shape when he left than before he came. I called AHS to complain and request they get the good company who did the furnace in. Turns out the good company doesn't do AHS repairs any more, because AHS doesn't pay enough, and forces inappropriate solutions.
There's a lesson right there.
In the end, I got AHS to send another company out, who performed last rites on the by-now-dead AC. I asked AHS to cash me out. Read that again. Cash me out. They gave me about $550 for the repairs which is what they said they would pay their contractor to do a zombie resurrection on the system. I took the cash and brought in my good company to do a top-notch job (~$2800).
The lessons I learned are: -When AHS does cover a repair, it's on their terms and using their specified equipment, which isn't in my best interests, and causes delays. -The better contractors now refuse to work with AHS. -The apparent savings along the way have come with a downside.
Years ago, it was a better deal. But the way it is now, I'm saving my $400 per year, and when there's a problem, I'll call a top notch pro who will deal straight with me, and give me the right options. Major home systems aren't a place to skimp on quality.
Specifically about HVAC: what I learned is brand means very little, but installation means everything! Find the best pro you can, and let him (or her!) direct you to the appropriate hardware.
Also, just a note of thanks here to CBhVAC who last year gave me good guidance in dealing with my AC mess. He confirmed my "hack detection" and this did much for my stress level.
Evan, good luck to you. Find a pro and let them direct you. Let us know how it goes.
Marc
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I have another company for "home warranty", but have batted 0 for 3 with them sofar.
The (ancient) washer died: "We cover all appliances ... but not the washer, dryer or refigerator."
The shutoff valves were bad: "We cover plumbing, but only inside the walls." (This in a condo, where interior plumbing is not "mine")
Last, I called them for my dishwasher, a DOA unit I'd tried to revive, and failed. It was -maybe- a few years old, and hardly used - I'd fiddled with it a bunch, seen it up close, inside and out, and it's clean as a whistle, if nothing else. They sent a guy who declared that the pump needed replaced, but he reported a different story back to warranty company, apparently. I heard: "Calcium buildup from hard water, so it's a pre-existing condition, claim denied."
If I had nothing better to do, I'd send them digital pictures of the -lack- of any buildup whatsoever anywhere in the unit, and go after the fraudulent report of the repair guy. But, the sellers were required to buy the warranty for me; so I'm even, I'd guess, just a little more bitter.
JSH
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I can't stand it....
I know how it must feel - overwhelmed by the technology that goes into the modern house. But service contracts (in my humble opinion) are just get-rich-quick schemes perpetrated by the unsruculus on the ignorant. You can't do anything about the unscrupulus, but you CAN do something about the "ignorant".
There are many sources of information today about the systems in a typical house. You should have no problem finding the information you need to evaluate the problems you may encounter with any particular home system. Whether you choose to do the repair work yourself or contract it out is of little consequence and is a matter of personal taste. But you should be prepared to deal with any system failure in your house. To do that, it only takes a little knowledege. To wit:
Air conditioning units (and heat exchangers) are simply oversized refridgerators and work on the following principles: Heat is pumped from one location to another by applying work. We know that it takes a lot of heat to convert a liquid to a gas. If we allow a liquid substance to rapidly expand (increase in volume) then the substance will absorb a lot of heat from the surroundings. If we then get rid of the heat the substance will change from a gas back into a liquid and it can be pumped.
The evaporator coils are the mechanism for rejecting the heat. The overall efficiency of the machine is related to how well we can reject heat. Therfore we need to keep the evaporator coils as clean as possible. Anyone can clean the coils. Just don't damage them.
Further, the compressor (which pumps the liquid) must be kept operational. Keep dust and dirt away from it. Keep the refrigerant charged so it doesn't run all the time, and keep watch for any evidence of leakage at the shaft or the fluid connections.
If you are not comfortable doing the work yourself, that's OK, just make sure you get a reputable service technition. But my main advice is to try to understand how the unit works so you know what can go wromng and what you are paying the service technition for. If you can do that you won't need to pay for a "warranty".
Good Luck
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Not too bad. You have the basics right.
But....

the
only
that
liquid
heat
Pretty good expalination.

overall
Anyone
Wrong. Right idea, but wrong part. The condenser coils are what rejects the heat. If you read the paragraph above this last response, you see what I mean. As a liquid boils off, it evaporates. Real close, good thoughts.

doesn't
or
Still close. The compressor is actually a vapor pump and it's the big black (usually) thing inside the outside unit. It takes the low pressure, low temp refrigerant and turns it into a high pressure, high temp refrigerant. The condensr coil 'condenses' it from the vapor to the liquid. Pretty good!

you
to
Amen!
You looking for work? You've got a better grasp of the refrigeration circuit than some techs I know....
There are a few tasks a HO can do. Change the filters with a good quality filter, keep the area around the condenser clear of bushes (Manufacturers say 36", I think 18" is enough). Keep the grass clippings off the outside unit. Once a year, use a shop vac to clear the condensate lines. (Ask your tech how to do this) These things will save you money in the long run.
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