Sertech Heating & Air Conditioningdid not install geothermal system properly

The contractor Sebestyen & Williams, Inc. was hired by us to build our new home in 2004. The heating/cooling work was subcontracted to Sertech Heating & Cooling of Portland, In. They were hired by Bruce Sebestyen to install a Bryant geothermal HVAC open loop system to heat and cool our home with 2 units, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. We moved in and sometime during the first year we received a phone call from Wayne Blevins of Sertech asking if everything was working fine, which at that time it was. He told us if we ever had any problems to contact him, and not the builder. When we moved in we realized we had a problem with our well water. Hydrogen sulfide was present in the water creating a rotten egg odor and we also learned that it was very corrosive. We were concerned about the geothermal system and what problems might happen because of that. We also read the installation manual and it clearly stated that ‘no hydrogen sulfide should be present.’ We called Wayne B. at Sertech and he told us that it wouldn’t be a problem so we trusted him to know what he was talking about. In truth he DIDN’T know what he was talking about and in 2008 the downstairs unit quit working. We had a different Bryant heating/cooling service company come out to fix it for us. They informed us that the system was damaged beyond repair because of the hydrogen sulfide AND the 5 year warranty was also void because of that. We contacted Sertech about it and they came out and told us there wasn’t a problem with the water, it was just a bad reversing valve. We decided to have it looked at by three other heating/cooling companies, two of which do many geothermal installations. None of them identified a problem with the reversing valve BUT THEY ALL AGREED that the water should have been tested prior to installation or it should have been recommended to us that we get the water tested first. All agreed that repairing it was NOT an option, it needed to be replaced. There are numerous leaks in the copper pipes causing refrigerant leaks. Shortly thereafter the second unit also developed leaks and quit working. With the winter season beginning and no heat, we hired Huntington H/C to try to fix the leaks in the downstairs unit at a cost of $500 and the repair only lasted about 3 hours confirming to us that it was indeed not repairable! Trying to get this problem resolved with Sertech has been impossible! They refuse in every way to be held accountable for this. They have pointed the finger at all others except themselves. THEY had the installation manual with ALL the information as to the correct installation, no one else had it, we didn’t, the builder didn’t, the well driller didn’t. They had it and they should have known that! They should have tested the water or told us that it would need tested. If that had happened we would have known from the beginning that we needed to have a closed loop system installed. They only attempted to convince us that we didn’t have a problem with the water and tried to get us to spend money on replacing a part that really didn’t need replaced and would not have kept our home heated or cooled. The manufacturer voided the warranty because of improper installation, Sertech WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT. So…we spent $12, 000 for a system that no longer works and it will have to be replaced because of Sertech Heating & Cooling. We have also had problems with the duct work falling apart under the house, some of which isn’t even connected to anything, and there are several gaps. Their response was blamed on the builder because “he wanted a low bid.” Sertech DOES NOT CARE about the quality of their workmanship. I would think that if a good contractor cared about his reputation, he would say that he wouldn’t do the job if he couldn’t do it right. Obviously Sertech doesn’t care and will say or do anything to avoid responsibility. Buyer Beware!


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    thinkaboutit29 Feb 25, 2010

    The question comes to mind as I read this very negative article. Did the contractor subbing out the job ever even think about getting a water testing done? Obviously it is an important step even for not having a geothermal. Did you know sulfer in water only becomes destructive when it comes in contact with air? In a geothermal system, there is no places where the water circulating through comes in contact with air. Even if you had installed a Heat pump system with a indoor coil, it would have ate through the copper tubes. Every time you turn on a faucet in the house, the sulfer is escaping and attacking anything copper. Before you go and point a finger at Sertech HVAC, maybe you should take a step back and see the whole picture. If your water was so bad, why would they have drilled a well there? Surely the water was tested by the well drillers. Since when does an HVAC carry around water testing kits? Did you ever think maybe the builder wanted a quote for geothermal only? You need to get your facts straight before running down a company noted in customer satisfaction.

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    Luckym20 Feb 29, 2012

    According to Carrier, the manufacturer, Sertech had the responsibility to validate water quality to determine whether the loop should be closed or open among other things. Additionally, according to the Building Code of the State of Indiana, Sertech also has the responsibility to follow the manufacturer’s installation manual. If the manual restricts installing certain systems in certain environments and Sertech ignores said instructions then they are not only in disrespect of the Brand they represent but are in violation the laws of the State of Indiana Building Code. This is a specialized system that only true professionals should be qualified to install because they understand respect for their brand and authority of the state. As for the General Contractor inspecting the water we are in agreement. However, there are other water conditions that the HVAC installer needs to be aware of and at the very least, a professional would have consulted the General Contractor to insist on a certified water test if one was not automatically provided, but Sertech is not professional. We talked to two different companies which we felt were very qualified and both said that they either tested the water or recommended to the home owner that the water be tested first. Sertech Heating-Air did not test nor recommend it to be tested and that was their responsibility.

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