A1 Worcester Air

A Bad Install we found on

Brook Shadows Ct.


We frequently find poor installation techniques and sloppy jobs.  There are times when we are lucky enough to be able to actually go back on a job where our bid was not accepted and take pictures of the workmanship.  This is one of those type jobs.  We do not always know why we did not get the job we bid on.  Sometimes our price is too high, which was the case on this particular job.  Sometimes another company will have a "high pressure" salesman that talks the customer into giving him the job - usually that's not a "price" issue.  Sometimes we get beat because someone else has better financing terms.  Seldom do we lose a job because of the perception of the lack of quality workmanship.


Here, we have a view of the suction line and return side of the air handler.  Notice the silver duct tape on the armiflex.  The last few inches is foil tape.  Sure would look better with black tape.

Notice the tape and mastic is covering the cabinet doors.  This might not be too bad a deal but the filter cover door is COMPLETELY covered up.  We also have a view of the emergency pan.  This pan is so old, it is rusted and looks bad.  Why not a new pan?  Not enough profit in the job to get one?  What about the cover door for the breakers?  


Do I see filters in the attic?  Those things in the upper left of the picture?  Are those the filters?  As I remember, the filter cover door has been covered up.  Oh well, cleaning coils pays the service company very well.


It's too easy to have the auxiliary drain line piped directly into the emergency pan.  It would be better if the auxiliary drain line bypassed the emergency pan making it less likely to get water in the pan should the main drain stop up. 

Wire connections outside the unit?  Code Violation!  Can you see the hole for the wire entry?  It looks like it was cut with sheet metal shears.  Not good.  The sharp edges can cut the wire.  I hope their FIRE INSURANCE is paid up!  The romex is too short - it does not reach into the unit.  I can hear them now, "Hurry up guys, we don't have much money in this job!"


Here's a close-up of the wires & hole cut into the air handler for the wire entry.  There are definitely sharp edges of metal touching the wires.  There should be a "romex" connector right here.  Professional installers have a tool called a "slug buster" that makes a perfect hole for attaching wire connectors.  Maybe these guys are too cheap to buy and use one.


Notice how bad this pan looks.  Observe the left corner.  There's not much room for error here.  If the unit should leak water into the pan, would the water from the left corner fall into the pan?  Looks like the unit hangs over the edge of the pan.  Sloppy...  Trane supplies a rubber door that covers the circuit breakers (which are located under the recessed door the two arrows are pointing toward).  Why was it not used?  Are we in a hurry?


Close-up of aux drain line that is piped directly into the emergency pan.


See the "Flip-Latch" for the filter cover door?  Sure is going to be hard to access with all that tape and mastic on there.  Silver tape for the armiflex?  Black duct tape costs at least a dollar per role more than silver duct tape.  Foil tape is supposed to be used on joining metal surfaces such as metal plenums/transitions and the units.  Wait a minute, foil tape is much more expensive than silver or black duct tape - Oh, I get it.  They just ran out of the materials required for the job and just began to use what was available.  


This unit was hung with "plumbers strap."  Code Violation in many cities.  Professional installers have been using 1" wide or 1 1/2" wide solid metal strap for years.  This stuff is cheaper of course...


Another picture of the plumber's strap.

The air conditioner for this system is located on the side of the house.  What's this?  The old air handler?  Well, there's another way to save money and make the job CHEAPER!  Don't haul the old junk equipment off.  This appears to be a real "Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma'am" job.

Yep, that's the old unit.  Sure enough.  I wonder where the heat strips went?  Oh, I get it.  If you are installing a new air handler exactly like the old one, why worry about buying new accessories?  Let's just salvage what we can from the old one.  After all, it was the coil in the unit that was defective, not the heater strips, right? 

Our quote on this job was for replacing the coil inside the air handler was $995.
The service company that replaced the air handler did so for $1600.  
Which would you choose?

They made a lot more profit on this job and what did the customer gain?  Well, I think I can answer that.  They now have a new cabinet, fan, fan relay, and control transformer.  Those parts would have been left over had we done the job.  We could have put them in the old air handler for maybe $100 ???  Whatever.  This customer got a big snow job. 
(and lousy workmanship)

I'm still wondering how the customer is going to change the filters.

You want to see an air handler done right?  Ok, click here.