Sunday, July 22, 2012

AC solved

A big zap and a spark.  And BF diagnosed the AC problem, while leaning against the wall as I chanted "I TOLD YOU not to touch it!" and hoped I didn't need to call the paramedics.

Turned out, our AC problem WAS caused by a wiring issue, but not the aluminum v. copper that the AC dude has alluded to.  We discovered a junction box in the basement, and when BF got near it, he found that it was producing heat.  He touched it a couple times to determine that it WAS hot.  Then got zapped.  And the AC turned off.

We immediately called the electrical contractor, told them what was up (again) and they agreed to have the electrician come over before 6pm. When we discovered the issue, it was Friday afternoon and I was damned if I was going to let that spark producing junction box go all weekend.  He showed up around 4pm.  When he opened up the box, he found a hot mess (seriously).  He apologized profusely and accepted blame for the issue -- their company had wired the house improperly when it was built.  He said there is normally no junction box in this model house, but that they must have been short some wire and patched it.  So, he didn't bother to come in the house to look at the junction box the first time he came out.  Since he fixed it, the AC has worked with no issues.  And the house hasn't burned down.

This is certainly the biggest issue we have had with Ryan Homes since building the house.  What concerned me the most is that our new point person for repairs instructed us to just reset the breaker when it tripped to keep the AC running all weekend.  I'm fairly convinced that had we done that, we would have been dealing with a fire situation at some point over the weekend.  What concerned me second most is that it was up to me and BF to sniff out the issue and resolve it.  We had scheduled a joint meeting between the AC and electric contractor for Monday, but it felt like we were pulling teeth to get it scheduled.  Certainly, nobody understood the potential seriousness of the issue.  Except me and BF who were faced with the possibility of spending another 100 degree day with no AC in our 9 month old home.

Our 10-month inspection is coming up this week, and it will be the first time we meet our new Ryan Homes point guy in person -- and we are already off to kind of a rough start what with all the pissed off emails and phone calls and whatnot.  I hope he can make the repair process smoother and easier than he made the AC problem.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The great AC Caper

We've been in our new home for 10 months now and are scheduled for our 10 month punch list visit in two weeks.  I thought it was going to be a breeze, but we seem to be piling up the complaints.  More on that later.  First, this:

We had a tornado!  I was going to post pictures and tell you the whole story, but now that will have to wait because I've got a bug up my butt about the air conditioning and wanted to solicit some thoughts and opinions from you good folks to see if you've had any similar issues.

We've had a series of pretty terrible storms here in the Mid-Atlantic (and I'm hoping all my DC area Ryan friends have their electricity back and aren't too badly damaged!), coupled with horrible, horrible heat.  <puts environmental scientist cap on> For what its worth, this is the type of weather that can be expected to become more and more normal with the effects of climate change.  Keep this in mind as you are landscaping your homes and planning on where to plant trees and what types of trees to plant (like, ones less likely to blow over on your house. Please don't plant pears.  They are the worst).

So, after last week's 100 degree days, the AC unit started choking a bit.  BF likes to keep it around 70 <see above climate change piece to know why, besides having to wear a sweatshirt in the house, this makes me crazy>;  when the house was at 75 and wouldn't cool any more, I chalked it up to the fact that an AC unit can only do so much against that kind of heat.  Until I realized it wasn't on!  The fan was on, but the compressor wasn't.  And the circuit breaker was flipped.

Fast forward a week.  We have been flipping the circuit breaker back on periodically as the unit has tripped.  First I thought it was the heat, but now its happening routinely even on normal days like today (high 87 or so, and its right nice outside now, and it STILL won't stay on).

Today, the electrician came.  He checked everything and replaced the breaker at BF's request, even though he thought it was good.  He swore the problem was the AC unit.  We call the AC guys for an emergency visit (we are fed up with having to wait from 12-4 for someone to come over).  AC guy checks it out, and swears its the wiring, not the unit.  He's been here for an hour or so still trying to diagnose the problem, but it appears as no progress is being made.

We are caught in the middle.  Both the electrician and the HVAC guys are on contract with Ryan for these repairs and we are still under our warranty period.  HVAC has no incentive to find a problem, because it will cost them money.  Same too for electrician.  Our new project manager, while competent, has many more homes to take care of and is not nearly as responsive and awesome as our construction PM.   To make it more complicated, the AC guy says it is overheating and that it is probably because they wired the house with aluminum wires.  Aluminum?  I'm no wiring expert, but I'm pretty sure that copper wire is code, and if there is aluminum wiring in my house, we are going to have some problems.

Anyway, anyone out there experienced any similar AC issues?