ED Magedson – Founder
WaterFurnace InternationalFort Wayne, Indiana USA
WaterFurnace International Our WaterFurnace Geothermal HVAC Nightmare Fort Wayne Indiana
Homeowners are given many reasons to consider buying a geothermal HVAC system. For one thing, Congress has provided a 30% federal tax credit -- a government subsidy -- especially for this industry. There are also state and county benefits in many cases. Most of all, there's the promise of a 50% to 70% savings in monthly electricity bills for heating and cooling compared to the operating costs for conventional HVAC systems.
Well, let me describe our experience with our WaterFurnace geothermal HVAC system. We purchased a high-end geothermal HVAC system that cost in excess of $100,000 for our customer built house as it was being built. With repairs and legal costs, our total cost is now $750,000. How's that sound to you? For most homeowners this would be a financial disaster with no recovery. We now have a mortgage on our new house because we had to spend money to re-do the HVAC system.
We did lots of research before we did this. We learned that WaterFurnace makes the best geothermal heat pumps on the market, although they are expensive. We learned that homeowners are advised to find the best qualified designer and installer in their area. We followed all of that advice.
We hired a top WaterFurnace dealer in our area. The dealer specialized in "high end" geothermal HVAC systems. The owner was a state-licensed professional engineer and also held a master HVACR license. He had IGSHPA training and certifications. He also had training provided to WaterFurnace dealers. Our architect used him to maintain the HVAC system in his own residence. We thought we were "golden".
When the house was completed, we discovered that the geothermal HVAC system failed to heat or cool the house properly. The dealer promised to correct the situation for us. We trusted him because he was a top WaterFurnace dealer. We were confident that WaterFurnace policed its dealers. We also trusted him because he was a licensed PE subject to strict standards of professional conduct. But months went by and nothing was fixed. We spent the summer without a a properly working AC system.
We asked WaterFurnace for help. We were told that their "policy" was not to get involved in disputes between their dealers and the end-user homeowner customer.
What we didn't know was that the owner of the dealership was busy trying to sell his company to investors and have them hire him to continue to operate the company for them, as their employee. Our problems were being concealed from the buyer until the sale was completed. He was only stonewalling us to buy time to sell his company.
Pretty soon it was the fall and it was heating season. We had to use space heaters. We finally had no choice but to fire the dealer and bring in other people to fix the problem, at a major cost to us. The first dealer refused to pay us a dime for our repair costs. We hired a lawyer. That's when we discovered the company had been sold. Of course, the new owners had not been told about our failed geothermal HVAC design.
We expected WaterFurnace to help us. How could they afford to have a failed system in a major market? They came to the house twice. But in their depositions, they had memory loss. They wouldn't help us. We figured WaterFurnace would not want this case going to court. We figured they would call the dealer and tell them to settle with us out-of-court. But WaterFurnace would not help us. So we went to a two week jury trial. We won large judgments against the company and the former owner for breach of contract, breach of warranty, concealment, misrepresentaton and professional negligence. Now the dealer and the former owner have both filed bankruptcy.
Our architect and general contractor design and build large luxury houses. They tell their customers our story and none of them consider geothermal HVAC systems. Our failed job has probably discourage many homeowners from going geothermal.
I have left out many details. Given our awful experience over 4 years, I would warn homeowners to avoid geothermal HVAC no matter what. Forget it. Instead opt for reliable conventional HVAC systems. The federal and state governments may promote geothermal HVAC and offer tax credits, but there is no regulation to protect the homeowner. These systems cannot operate properly if not designed and installed properly. A homeowner has no protection and nobody to turn to or any way to assure that a system is properly designed. There are other horror stories similar to ours that can be found on the Internet.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/27/2013 04:12 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/waterfurnace-international/fort-wayne-indiana/waterfurnace-international-our-waterfurnace-geothermal-hvac-nightmare-fort-wayne-indiana-1070626. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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