June 21, 2011

Go to trade school: Don't get tricked

So it's summer, and that means our air conditioning stopped working. Of course!

Once you're up to date, let me tell you our current story. 

Two weeks ago, I called Landmark AC to have someone come out to do a diagnostic check of our system. Is it working? Does it need freon? Tell me if I really need a new cooling coil like the guy said last October, etc., etc. It had been working pretty well. It couldn't keep up with the most recent really hot days, and so we wanted to know where we stood with the unit. 

A new guy came out. Let's call him Tim. He said our system looked great. He said it was a little dirty, and he asked for bleach. He opened up part of the interior workings and poured in it. He also did a chemical rinse on the outside unit. I specifically asked him about the freon and any other issues he saw. 

He said our system was perfect. It was at least half a ton too small for our square footage, but we knew that. He said that the unit was practically as good as new (it's about 8 years old), and he said he had no recommendations other than the cleaning, which he performed. 

Should I mention that I loved him already? 

To recap, two different people from the same company had separately told us we needed a new cooling coil and a new transformer. One of the previous people told us we needed a cooling coil because our freon was leaking. According to Tim, we didn't even need to be topped off on our freon....so no leak from last October. 

I paid Tim for his time, and we felt great. 

This Monday, two weeks from Tim's visit, our upstairs stopped blowing air. Totally stopped. Our downstairs still blew air, but upstairs, not so much. 

I called Landmark AC, and requested someone to come back out. I reminded them that Tim had just been out and said our unit was in perfect condition. The lady on the phone said, "well, our computer shows that you need a new cooling coil from last October. Have you gotten that done yet?"

"No," I said. "Because, Tim said everything was fine two weeks ago." {Said not in a nice voice}

The lady said she would send Tim back out that same day. 

I called Chris and begged him to come deal with this. My entire summer last year was defined by dealing with the air conditioner. I just couldn't handle it any more. Thankfully, he was able to oblige me. 

I had a late evening client meeting that day, and so the rest of this story is told according to Chris. 

Tim inspected our system, and he observed that the upstairs was not blowing. 

He did some investigating, and he told Chris, "It may be your damper."

We replaced that last year. 

Hmmm, okay let me look more. It could be your circuit board.

We replaced that last year. 

Well, let me check your freon again. Nope, there's no leak.

So, that 'you need to buy a new cooling coil for $1600' from your colleague was a lie. 

Finally, Tim said, I THINK IT'S FAULTY WIRING. 

Tim says, "The faulty wiring would mean that the unit isn't getting the right information from the thermostat, and so it doesn't always know when to shut the dampers and blow more air."


Tim stripped the corresponding wire, plugged it back it, and cold air blew upstairs. 


Chris asked Tim why the previous people would have basically "made up" issues with our unit. 

"We get paid on a percentage of each house visit," he says. "The more you need us, the more we're paid. And, they probably didn't think about the wiring."


Tim charged us a tiny fee for his time (he actually spent 2 hours at the house, but charged us for much less), and we still have cold air upstairs. 

Could this be true? Could our air conditioning be just fine? Could this be over? 

Dear Tim, make it true!


  1. O-to the-M-to the-G.

    Sounds like you may need to get Andy Wise on your side and try to recoup some expenses for pieces that didn't need replacing!

  2. WHAT??????????????  Sounds like organized crime to me.

  3. Mary Elizabeth WashburnJune 23, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    That is awful! Landmark needs to be reported to BBB!


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