My husband and I purchased a newly constructed home in November of 2005. There was a Trane heat pump/AC installed. At first, everything seemed to be fine. The heat and air did fine for our 1300 square foot home. That all changed in the winter of 2008.
One day, we woke up and our heat wasn't on. We discovered that the breaker had tripped, and when we attempted to flip the breaker, as soon as the heat kicked on, it would trip the breaker again. Luckily, at this time, we still had a full warranty on our home. We called the home builder, and they had an HVAC technician come out and inspect our unit. The compressor had went bad, so he replaced it, everything worked again, and we did not pay anything out of pocket, thanks to our home warranty.
Then, late summer of 2009, we began to notice that our unit wasn't cooling properly. It was fine on most days, but on really hot or humid days, it wouldn't cool at all. It was the end of summer, so we weren't using the unit much, and soon, it was time to switch to using heat. The heat worked just fine throughout the winter. Our power bills went up a little bit, but we figured that it was just because our power company had announced a rate increase, and because it was a cold winter and we were using it more. We didn't really think anything about it, as we didn't seem to have a problem.
In April 2010, things started heating up, so we cut the A/C on....and it didn't work. The inside came on, the outside unit came on, but the air blowing from the vents was just air (not cold, not hot, just tepid air.) We asked a family member who is HVAC certified what the problem could be. We told him we had received a new compressor less than 2 years ago, so he said that we may be low on refrigerant, or that one or both of the capacitors could have went bad.
My mom referred me to an honest HVAC who did some work for them, and he came out to inspect the unit. After checking coolant levels and every piece on there, he informed us that the windings in the compressor were burnt out....meaning that we were in need of a new compressor....AGAIN! He seemed pretty shocked when I told him we had just gotten it replaced in December 2008, and since my home warranty had run out on the unit, he told me to contact Trane and find out if the part itself was under warranty.
I looked on the Trane website and under the "Contact Us" tab, there were no customer service numbers...only a search box to enter your zip code and find a Trane technician in your area. My husband attempted to call one and ask was our part still under warranty (the HVAC tech had written out all serial and model numbers for us), and the woman just acted confused, telling my husband that it didn't look like we had a warranty and that she would send out a technician for a fee. My husband refused, and I turned to Google to find a number to call.
I finally found a "Consumer Relations" number for Trane (not listed on their website, go figure!), where I spoke with a lady who would only look up my model number. She said according to that model, it had a 5 year Limited Warranty, but I would have to call a Trane certified tech out to make sure mine was within the 5 years. I was somewhat confused as to why I couldn't get the info myself, but I went back on the website, located a Trane dealer, and set up an appointment that day for them to come check out my unit. I was told I would be charged 79 dollars just for the service call. I figured I had no other choice, and told them to come on.
When the Trane tech came out, he inspected my unit and came inside to tell me that my compressor was out. (I found this funny, since I had another certified tech come out just days before and tell me this, to which I told this guy prior to him checking out the unit.) He also told me that he called in my unit and I was still covered under warranty for the part. I felt relieved for about 2 seconds until he told me that labor wasn't covered (which I knew from reading the Limited Warranty info), and that I would have to pay...are you ready for this?.....1100 DOLLARS for labor. He then proceeded to tell me that there could be something else wrong with the unit, but he would be unable to tell until the new compressor was installed, and if that was the case, more costs would be involved.
After he left (I told him I would call him back if I needed him back out), I called the HVAC tech who had originally inspected my unit. He said that he is going to see if he can acquire the part from Trane through my warranty, and install it himself. He said that sometimes, companies will charge "outsiders" a fee to get the warrantied part, and that he would let me know if that was involved. He also told me that this guy was overcharging, and that to install the compressor, put in the 8 pounds of coolant, and get us up and running, we were looking at about 300 dollars (which I somewhat expected.)
Basically, this company is crap. I understand that the Limited Warranty only covers parts...I get this. However, when they are charging over 1100 dollars for a (in the Trane tech's own words) "2 or 3 hour job", I feel ripped off. 500 dollars an hour?! Are you joking?! For a unit that has been repaired not once, but TWICE, for the most expensive part which has went out two times in under five years!
For the record, our unit is well taken care of inside and out. That was confirmed by the original HVAC guy who came in. We have had maintenance, and we change all three of our filters every 30 days. We don't run our air too low, or heat too high. We have taken very good care of this unit.....And yet, here we are, expected to pay an arm and a leg to repair a unit which seems to be going out every year! (The Trane tech told me that the compressor had probably been out since the end of last summer, and that the heat was running on heating coils. He acted like I was supposed to know this, and I said "All I know is, it was working with no problem." He then said, "Well, you did notice a high power bill over the winter, right?" like I was a moron. Yes, our bill went up 30-40 dollars, but again, our power company's rates went up at the beginning of winter.)
I'm very disappointed in Trane. I come from a family of builders and when I told them what they wanted to charge me just for labor, they thought it was hilarious. They told me that I could have a whole brand new unit installed in our house for roughly that price. It just amazes me.
Overall, it's just been a bad experience. The unit sucks. I know there will be naysayers saying "Well, you must not have taken care of it." There was nothing more I could do, other than proper maintenance. Two compressors going out in 4 years? Does this sound right to you? Trane not clearly listing a Customer Service number on their website, or not looking up warranty info for you (instead, telling you you have to pay a Trane tech 80 dollars to come look at it), does that sound right to you? I know one thing...I will NEVER have a Trane unit ever again. I'm hoping and praying my HONEST HVAC guy can obtain the part from the company and install for me, or else I will probably just rip this unit out, throw it off a cliff, and spend my money on another unit. Expecting someone to pay 1100 dollars for 2 hours of work, plus most likely other costs on top of that (as I am sure they will find something else wrong), is just ridiculous. VERY disappointed in this company.