Knapp Construction & Electric Flaky, Poor Communication, Recommended unneeded work, poor estimate Crest Hill, Illinois
This contractor contacted me after I searched for electricians through servicemagic.com. My dishwasher had stopped working, and the appliance repairman said the problem was no electrical service to the dishwasher. The technician came out on 9/9/11 and found that the wire to the dishwasher was burned through. He checked the service box and showed me some whitish corrosion on the wires coming into the box from outside the house. The technician stated on the work order, Found both main lines from meter socket to panel burned up. He recommended a Meghometer test to check the wiring throughout the house, as he believed the house had sustained a lightning strike over the summer. The Meghometer test would reveal whether wiring needed to be replaced, as damage from the lightning strike could mean the affected wiring would not be able to sustain a power surge, resulting in a house fire.
I scheduled the next appointment for 9/19, but the electrician never showed up. I called the owner, Jim Knapp, and he apologized and rescheduled for 9/21. Nobody showed up on 9/21 either, and nobody called to explain. At this point, I was frustrated and decided to look for another electrician. I called several electrical contractors, but nobody had the equipment to do a Meghometer test. Several months passed, and in December I contacted the owner again to ask why they did not honor scheduled appointments. The owner apologized, blamed the missed appointments on a scheduler who had been let go, and scheduled another appointment for 12/27.
At this appointment, the Meghometer testing was performed, and the electrician advised that four circuits would need to be rewired and that I should contact my insurance company. I did so, and they requested a detailed estimate. After several weeks of waiting for this, I called the owner. He immediately told me he'd send me something, but that if the insurance company wants something more, they'll have to pay me for it. I got a short paragraph on letterhead stating that they would rewire these circuits for a cost of $7,500. There was no breakdown of what exactly would be done, estimation of man hours, labor rate, etc. Both I and my insurance adjuster attempted calling and emailing the company several times for a more detailed estimate, but no response was received over the next three months.
Finally, I contacted another electrician, who came out and did a complete inspection of the electrical system. He examined the wiring retained from the dishwasher and said, while he could not definitively explain why the wiring burned, that it could have resulted from a nick in the wiring that just got overheated over time and eventually burned through. The wiring in the service box, described as burned up by Knapp's electrician, was found to have surface corrosion resulting from moisture, cold, heat and humidity coming in at the point the wires enter the house. This corrosion was found to be superficial and having no impact on the operation of the electrical system. The electrician found no evidence of a lightning strike or any other electrical anomalies, and he questioned me at length about the operation of our electrical system over the last six months, which has been comparable to what I've experienced over the eight years I've lived in this house.
Ultimately, I have to conclude that Knapp was hoping for an easy buck through insurance fraud, and when they were asked to justify the costs they quoted, they disappeared into the woodwork.