At my house we have an outdoor heat pump for our heating/cooling needs. It it builder's grade and probably a piece of crud. It is not quite 6 years old. About 2ish years ago I contacted a local company that came highly recommended to start a preventive maintenance plan, come out twice a year to do all the checks, etc. In the 2ish years we've had to fix so much stuff. I'm not blaming the company for that because I don't doubt that it's a crud system. What's been bothering me more and more is I don't see how they are preventing anything. I've got a lot of examples, but this is the most recent.
(Pls keep in mind I am explaining things as they were related to me. I don't have HVAC training, so the guys could totally be dumbing things down for me to the point where what they are saying contradicts themselves).
Middle of April they come out to replace a fan motor. Apparently (?) there was no way to know this fan motor was going to die even though they were out here doing work in the middle of March for something else in the heat pump. While they are replacing the fan motor I renew my yearly preventative (which ain't cheap but not too bad, around 200 a year). They do the check, ok. Last week (end of April) I go to turn on the system for the first time since it had the check in mid April. It's blowing air, but not cooling. I'm pissed, but I very politely schedule for them to come out.
Guy comes out.This was the same guy who did the check two weeks prior, says he was really surprised it wasn't cooling b/c when he came out it had freon. Apparently there was a little part in there was was causing the freon to "slowly leak out" and this part "usually goes bad" (his words). He said, as I understood it, that he had a tool he used to check if there is leaking freon, but I didn't ask if he had brought this tool previously, since the initial call was to fix the fan motor and we tacked the preventative visit on there since he was at the house. He changed out the part, put in more freon, and I got the bill for labor, parts, and freon. It was around 300.
I'm pissed, but I don't know if I have any right to be. I'm not mad about paying for the part (broken is broken) or labor (although it might have saved time if he had fixed it when he already had everything open to fix the fan motor.) I'm pissed about the 70 or so bucks for freon, because from the way he danced around the subject and a quick google of "signs of freon leaking", it really seems like this thing started leaking back in March.
Again, not an HVAC person, but it seems to me that if there is a tool you can run around the system to detect leaks, and there are specific parts known to leak, then checking for that should be preventative. Maybe I wouldn't have saved that much freon, heck, maybe you can't save freon and it would have leaked anyways. I know HVACs are complicated beasts, but how the heck can something new be breaking every other month without any warning?