Airtron A/C / Beware
In winter of 2008 an Airtron service technician came to repair my heating
system. He stated it could not repaired and that I'd have to buy a whole
new one. He said he'd get me a "deal" on the best price. So I had it
installed. It was hooked up wrong and leaked water into my office. I now have
reason to suspect the system need not have been replaced, and that the "deal"
was just the standard price.
In the Spring of 2010, the same technician came as per the standard service
plan call to check out the A/C. He said the Freon was down and he thought
there could be a leak. He told me he charged the system with 3 lbs. of
Freon. It's my understanding that if an A/C system has leaked out more than 30%
of its Freon by State law the service company must trace the leak and
repair it. He did not. He never mentioned the law though 3lbs of Freon is more
than 30% of our system's capacity. He charged us for the Freon.
Last month during the heat wave, the A/C wasn't cooling very well. The same
technician returned and said this time it had leaked out 2lbs. of Freon,
and he suspected a leak. He said the leak test would cost $195 - discount
rate - and might take an hour to an hour and a half. He took the Freon
detector (sniffer) up in the attic for a couple of minutes, then went out in the
back yard. A few minutes later he said he found the leak - it was coming
from the condenser and the coil must be cracked. He took me out back to the
condenser, held the sniffer behind it, and showed me how it registered a
Freon leak. He also pointed to a dent in the screen and stated that must be
how the coil cracked, and the crack didn't register at first, but now is
He told me it would cost almost as much to try and fix the coil as getting
a new system. He said by law he couldn't install a new coil because of the
switch to the new R410 coolant. He said by law we couldn't install an older
condenser that worked because of the new coolant. He said the only viable
option was to replace the condenser and the coil upstairs in the attic
because the old coil could not use the new coolant. Apparently he'd forgotten
that HE sold me a whole new system upstairs in the attic - because the coil
up there clearly states under the serial number that the system can use
Freon AND the newer coolant!!
Again, he said he'd get me a "deal" and called his supervisor. I told him
to charge the system for the time being, then made an appointment for
installation. He charged us for 2lbs. Freon.
I became suspicious first because of the short period of time it took to
discover the "leak." He didn't do a dye test. He didn't take off the screen
to the condenser, or he would have seen how dirty it was. He didn't do a
soapy water test. All he did was carry the sniffer upstairs for a couple of
minutes, then walk out to the back yard and come back three minutes later
claiming that there must be a leak in the condenser coil without opening it
and looking or doing a soapy water test! Five minutes total and he had
discovered the "leak" and diagnosed the "cracked coil" BLIND!
I was also suspicious because again, his only solution was to replace the
entire system. According to him no repair would hold, no replacement to the
existing system was legal, etc. And again, he never mentioned the law about
the 30% leaked Freon.
My suspicions were confirmed when I brought another service repair company
in who conducted a leak test. They also found no leak in the attic - so the
Airtron technician was right about that. There was NO LEAK in the attic.
They also found NO LEAK in the condenser. The second guy took it apart,
cleaned it, ran a soapy water test and found NO leak. I asked him how the
Airtron tech got the reading from the sniffer. He showed me how easy it is to
spray a little Freon around the back of the condenser and get a reading of
Freon for several minutes. Since I was inside when he conducted the "leak
test", I didn't see him do this. I also never saw the Airtron tech charge the
system with the FIVE POUNDS total of Freon, which apparently we didn't
need in the first place, and which apparently was NEVER installed in the
second place - since the system was now down two more pounds again! That would
mean the Airtron guy put in two pounds on Aug 20, and by Aug 27 two pounds
had leaked out and there was NO LEAK!!! A true leak that mammoth would have
drained the system in two more weeks!
Evidence of this is, four weeks later the system is working perfectly.
Airtron charged us for FIVE POUNDS of Freon which obviously they NEVER charged
the system with at all! THEN told us we'd have to have a new system!! We
were charged $530 total for Freon we never received (discount price!), $195
for a bogus leak test, and they tried to get $4393 from us for a whole new
system we don't need, when all it needed was to ACTUALLY CHARGE IT WITH 2
LBS OF FREON AND CLEAN THE CONDENSER!!
The other guy fixed the system, it's working fine, charged it with Freon,
all for only $216 - REGULAR price.
We're seeking a refund of $530 from Airtron for the Freon we didn't get,
and $195 for the ridiculous "leak test." I've already filed complaints and am
considering action in small claims court.