Unreasonable Condenser Request? HVAC

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Jun 24, 2019
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#1
Hello - The HVAC company that installed this condenser and furnace at a cost of nearly $10,000 and with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee will move the unit off of my patio for $1,400. I asked for a detailed invoice and they responded that they don't break down their invoices. I am asking them to move the unit off of the patio (about 4' from where it is and that would require more refrigerant line - above the neighbor's unit that is shown in photo, which my condo allows).

There is, of course, more to the story: I was at work when they installed this and the unit the condo came with was 2.5' closer to my window. They moved it 3' away from the gas meter but my condos are grandfathered in and do not require 3'. Neither I nor the HVAC company knew that at the time of installation - unless the town permit said that, and I don't believe that it did.

Thank you for any response. I don't want to be an unreasonable consumer, and I also don't want to be taken advantage of.
 

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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#2
This post does not make sense. You need to explain what you mean by "above the neighbor's unit that is shown in photo, which my condo allows)" and "they installed this and the unit the condo came with was 2.5' closer to my window ". What are you asking for and why was there no one home for the installation of a $10,000 job?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#3
This post does not make sense. You need to explain what you mean by "above the neighbor's unit that is shown in photo, which my condo allows)" and "they installed this and the unit the condo came with was 2.5' closer to my window ". What are you asking for and why was there no one home for the installation of a $10,000 job?
So the original was on the grass and they replaced it on the patio? And why wasn't someone there for the installation? Could this have been avoided if you were home to tell them you were grandfathered in to have this installed where it was?
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#4
Thank you. I want it moved onto the grass next to my neighbor’s unit. The original was not on the grass; it was closer to my window. It was smaller.

I wasn’t there for the installation because they said it was okay for me not to be and that they would call if anything unusual came up. I needed to be at work.

I think I just learned a $1,400 lesson. . .
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,127
16,265
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
Not sure they would have done it without you paying more anyway since it would required more piping. Did you discuss this with them before hand?

They simply replaced it where it was. I would think they have to place it where the condo association requires it to be.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#6
Since your unit was being replaced with a unit, the new unit is no longer grandfathered with the old code. It should be 3 feet from the gas VENT, not the gas meter. Never say never, but I would be shocked if your new unit would have been grandfathered in.

Since the installation is complete, I'm not sure there is much recourse since you weren't present. I would attempt to negotiate the amount down.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jun 24, 2019
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#7
I understand. Condo association is fine with it in the grass and near other condenser. Does $1,400 to move it seem high (if you feel like you can answer that).

Thank you so much.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#8
I understand. Condo association is fine with it in the grass and near other condenser. Does $1,400 to move it seem high (if you feel like you can answer that).

Thank you so much.
Have no idea if the cost is reasonable or not. At this time, I would get multiple estimates IN WRITING. Also, to prevent future problems, I would make sure that the location is approved by your condo HOA and the city IN WRITING. As mentioned above, I would also see if you can negotiate down the fee that the installation company is charging.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#9
Thank you so much. Just one more question, please (I hope): Is it standard industry practice to give a rate for services without showing a break-down of costs? Does this make sense? (i.e, the moving of my compressor will cost $1,400 but the company does not give a detailed invoice, i.e. $250 for labor; $500 for piping, etc.)
 
Aug 29, 2015
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#10
It is normal for the quote to say
Price
Specific unit to be installed
Installation

I’ve never had an installer break down the costs unless it included something unusual that was an option we were considering.
 
Jan 10, 2019
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#12
Have no idea if the cost is reasonable or not. At this time, I would get multiple estimates IN WRITING. Also, to prevent future problems, I would make sure that the location is approved by your condo HOA and the city IN WRITING. As mentioned above, I would also see if you can negotiate down the fee that the installation company is charging.
That's a tough lesson on dealing with contractors.
When shopping a home improvement-related job, any company that refuses to break down price to establish project-expectations upon request -- but gets the job despite that big opaque red flag -- effectively transfers control of the situation from the consumer to the service provider. In my opinion, if its too much trouble for the provider to run the numbers in some detail, then that provider and I are not a fit, and I'll keep looking until a competitor takes the time to work with me, establish a level of trust and rapport, and earn my $1,400. They need me more than I need them.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,203
8,113
113
San Francisco
#13
Alas, major work like this should never be done on your home unless you are there to supervise. This kind of thing is exactly what happens. You could have had the unit placed where you wanted it for probably just a little (or no) surcharge. I agree with my colleagues, negotiate the price to move the unit. I don't see how breaking down the amount would make any difference. As Chris in NC says, get everything in writing before moving forward ... this will avoid any new problems.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Aug 9, 2017
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#14
Moving an HVAC unit is not necessary a simple task and the $1400 may be justified. When it is all said and done this operation will likely take a technician 4 to 6 hours and may even require two individuals for part of that time. The final billing may represent a full day work for one or possibly two technicians. A licensed electrician may also be required. A quick summery of what may be necessary follows:

Then technician has to first make sure they have the right equipment and supplies and then travel to the site. Once on site the technician has to totally evacuate all refrigerant. This is dependent on the size of the system but can take an hour. The electrical supply must be disconnected. Then the existing piping, or at least some of it can be broken, allowing movement of the unit. A 2nd technician may be required. Once moved the new (or modified) piping is installed. Electrical modifications such as increased length of wiring and conduit are likely necessary. Depending on the piping modification, the unit may then be charged with compressed nitrogen and leak tested. The alternative is to charge with Freon and then leak test. If the nitrogen test is done and the unit passes, then the nitrogen needs to be evacuated and the system charged with Freon and then checked again for leaks. If OK, the site is cleaned and the technician travels back to the office. All told, 4 to 6 hours likely. If the upper end of that number, i. e., 6 hours, the technician or technicians have to get paid for a full day as their is little else they can do that produces income.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,203
8,113
113
San Francisco
#15
Moving an HVAC unit is not necessary a simple task and the $1400 may be justified. When it is all said and done this operation will likely take a technician 4 to 6 hours and may even require two individuals for part of that time. The final billing may represent a full day work for one or possibly two technicians. A licensed electrician may also be required. A quick summery of what may be necessary follows:

Then technician has to first make sure they have the right equipment and supplies and then travel to the site. Once on site the technician has to totally evacuate all refrigerant. This is dependent on the size of the system but can take an hour. The electrical supply must be disconnected. Then the existing piping, or at least some of it can be broken, allowing movement of the unit. A 2nd technician may be required. Once moved the new (or modified) piping is installed. Electrical modifications such as increased length of wiring and conduit are likely necessary. Depending on the piping modification, the unit may then be charged with compressed nitrogen and leak tested. The alternative is to charge with Freon and then leak test. If the nitrogen test is done and the unit passes, then the nitrogen needs to be evacuated and the system charged with Freon and then checked again for leaks. If OK, the site is cleaned and the technician travels back to the office. All told, 4 to 6 hours likely. If the upper end of that number, i. e., 6 hours, the technician or technicians have to get paid for a full day as their is little else they can do that produces income.
Thank you for this excellent explanation, John.
 
Likes: Neil Maley