Moving is a bear. Selling and buying a house simultaneously is incredibly stressful. Add into that a difficult buyer, and shady sellers, you get one heck of a stressful time. This will also be one of the happiest moments one can have.
June 22nd marked the settlement date of my second house purchase, and while the joy is there, there has been tons of stress. Being house poor is a real thing and not being ready for that load is not a good thing. I had an idea what we were in for with the financial side when it comes to the budgeting, but there are always skeletons lurking.
Within the first week following settlement our A/C went out and we were going into one awful heatwave in the area. Temperatures reaching into the 100’s with high humidity leading to temperatures within the house being in the mid-90’s during the day and continuing to be high well into the night. We had no shelter from the heat at our home.
Having gone through this before at my previous house, I signed up for a home warranty then based on history from family and friends we went with Choice Home Warranty, and signed up again for this house. We were hopeful to have no problems getting the issue resolved. Boy were we wrong.
I called in the problem and they immediately issued a claim and told me I would be scheduled as soon as someone took the case. This brought some relief. I just bought the house, had an inspection, and knew there were other issues around the house, but the major items and appliances passed inspection and were working.
My relief turned to nerves as the following day progressed and I still hadn’t been scheduled going into the afternoon, but mid-afternoon I received a call that someone would be out by 8pm.
Friday ~8pm the Technician showed up and began his analysis. He indicated initially that there was nothing that he could see that was physically wrong with the system and he subsequently checked the refrigerant levels. At that time he indicated that it appeared the system was running hot due to only having ~4lbs of R22, which is slightly low for the system.
He informed me that Choice Home Warranty (CHW) does not cover leak testing and that the leak test is the next step CHW would require, and that it would be an additional $265. This was one of my first “really?!” times with the service – It is not right to provide a warranty on the HVAC, system but not covering the basic, first principle diagnostics.
Being that the heat was very serious outside, and we knew based on National Weather Service alerts that a heat wave with >100 degree temperatures was coming that weekend, we proceeded with the leak test in order to keep things moving in the hopes of getting the issue resolved right away.
At this time, the technician began the leak testing, but he did not have R22 so he inserted Nitrogen into the system and told me that there was a leak at a fitting on the outside of the Compressor unit.
This is where their lack of follow-up began from Choice. Once there is a diagnosis the work must be approved by CHW. Based on his claims, and the information he provided to CHW, the claim was stalled due to a request for Home Inspection which I was not notified of, nor is a requirement of the service on their website, when you call them, or in their advertising.
The only way I found out what was happening with my claim was my Real Estate Agent who was checking on us called in on my behalf the next day where she was informed someone else would be calling me later that day with an update; no call came. She followed up the next day (2 days from technician’s diagnosis), where she was informed of the request for the document and that I needed to call in.
From the time I initially called in that day, I was very heated, no pun intended. I was more coarse in my behavior than usual due to the stress and the exhaustion from the heat, and as the time went on because of the interaction that I was having with the people on the calls. First I was informed that there was no supervisor on duty, then once demanding to be placed on hold while my paper work was processed, they found something irrelevant in the home inspection to deny my claim for (No cap on an ehaust vent for the Heating System). I then provide proof that their claim is no longer valid, and they accepted my proof, and sent the case back to Authorizations where “Final Judgment” will be conducted. That Sunday I spent hours on the phone with their team attempting to get this case moving.
Finally, nearly 6 hours after things began that Sunday, I receive the following email as to the denial:
“It has been determined that there is a refrigerant leak in the Line set. This copper line is immovable. The only way a leak could develop on the copper is if was not properly insulated, something pierced through it or excess vibration caused it to rub against another object. A leak of this nature is not a normal wear and tear failure. Subsequently The compressor has been running with low charge. When a compressor does not operate with the proper level of lubricant it causes the windings to grind together internally, subsequently the compressor has developed a catastrophic failure.”
Since Choice was now refusing service, and forcing me to live in an unsafe environment where outside temperatures were reaching in the 100s and internal temperatures in the house reaching mid-90s for the preceding 3 days, I sought out help independent of CHW. I reached out to a company that I know works at a very reasonable rate, based on recent quotes sourced by family for their home, and they immediately scheduled me for the following day .
During this service appointment I informed the Technician of what had transpired and he then conducted his own analysis.
What was determined is that there were no faulty components, the system was only low on refrigerant causing it to run hot. He also found that there were no signs of a leak in the system. I was also informed that the system would now need to be flushed due to the Nitrogen (Inserted by CHW technician) contaminating the R22 refrigerant that was already in the system, and the system only would have needed to be topped off. The Weather Master’s technician vacuum tested the lines and the system held the pressure that was put in place. The final cost of the work that was completed by Weather Masters was: $916, which included $747.00 of materials (Refrigerant), $100.00 Time, and $69.00 Service Fee. The materials cost would have been significantly lower had the CHW technician done the work correctly.
My issues here are the lack of feedback from Choice which lead to days of inability to escape the heat, the reliance on a technician that was either incompetent or lying to Choice and myself in order to make further money, and the suffering and endangerment that this proceeded to cause.
This service has proven to be a bigger issue for us than the help that they claim to provide. I trusted them due to positive experiences in the past, but now myself, and my family members who have the service will NOT be coming back to them. After telling the people who recommended the service in the past I was informed that they too had issues with them withing weeks of me having this problem.
I cannot express any deeper that people Avoid Choice Home Warranty!