Any ClimateMaster Tranquility owners to swap maintenance issues?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by cscigu, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. cscigu

    cscigu New Member

    We have a 4-ton Tranquility 27 two stage package unit. Overall, I would call myself fairly satisfied, but surprised at the frequency of repairs. The unit was installed in April 2010. Six weeks later the ECM motor module went out, shutting down the whole unit. I had chosen Climatemaster partly because I live just an hour from their factory in Oklahoma City. I was disappointed when Climatemaster told me it would be 7-10 days to get the new part. Luckily, my installer was able to hurry the matter, getting it in about 5 days.

    In June 2011, I had a run capacitor go out. Not hard to fix, but still without air for 2 days, and had to pay for the repairs myself.

    Now, in August 2012, the unit was not cooling well, I'm told the evaporator coil is leaking, and will have to be replaced. Its is a pretty major repair, and should be covered by warranty, but I'm still out for the service call.

    Were it not for these issues, I'd be very satisfied. The unit is quiet and comfortable in summer and winter, and the electric bills pretty low. I think Climatemaster could benefit from some customer surveys during the first couple of years, to focus on recurring problems. Their customer service is average, I'd say.
  2. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Climatemasters customer is the installer not you. Your installers customer service is below average as any motor can be temped in to avoid service interuption while you wait for the new OEM part and any run capacitor would do- a good service man would not wait for the factory to ship one (or are you saying you waited 2 days for your repairman to show up). The capacitor is an inconsequential part and a quick install, my customers would not have paid.
    Capacitor failure by the way is often attributable to power surge- any storms or power problems lately?
    The coil is a bigger deal and because your installer has already shown he offers no value added to his customers he will likely hand you a bill for the refrigerant as well which could be $100s of dollars.
    FWIW virtually every manufacturer has had coil trouble though it seems more prevelant in southern regions.
  3. cscigu

    cscigu New Member

    To clear things up, I've been happy with the installer, they've usually shown up within one day. The run capacitor thing happened on a Sat afternoon, and we did have to wait till Monday. That's tough in Oklahoma.

    When the ECM went out, they did install a temp motor, which worked fairly well. I listened while he called ClimateMaster asking if they could locate a module somewhere, or take on off a unit in inventory. He offered to drive to OKC and get it. This seemed like a good idea to me, but ClimateMaster would not do it, told him they would call when it was ready. He stayed on them and got it in about 5-6 days vs the 7-10 days they originally said. What aggravated me was the fact that the unit was basically brand new, but ClimateMaster wouldn't try to work a rush on it.

    The installer told me the same thing about the run capacitor and surges. I believe he might have said the capacitor was a cheap part, that should have been better sized from the start. Since this breakdown was outside the one year frame on the part, I had to pay.

    On the coil, it is covered under warranty for part and labor for 5 years, after that, part only for 10 years. The installer has told me there will be no charge.

    I may be venting, but I actually like the system. Just seems that it's had more issues that I expected. I'm writing ClimateMaster to suggest they try to start an owner's survey, to better respond to problems. I just want to see them improve, its whats best for everyone.

    To boil it down: ECM on a new unit goes out: very unusual, ClimateMaster should go find a new one immediately.
    Run capacitor: possibly a failure due to a cost saving measure.
    Evaporator coil: Not sure if anyone is to blame or not, just tiring at this point.

    I can tell from your posts that if you ran this company you would want to be aware of this, and take action to limit these occurrences. I want to help CM achieve this sort of responsibility.
  4. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Interesting that your contractor didn't have a capacitor.
    Cool if he doesn't charge you on a coil.
    I've had to wait for parts for new cars which didn't run at least your heat pump kept you comfortable in the meantime.

    I always tell folks these things are made by people and installed by people so success is not measured by whether things go wrong, but measured by how quickly an interuption in service is remedied. Sounds like your worst interuption was because of the day of the week.

    I'm not trying to make light of your concern, just curious if your support has been superior on other major appliances or purchases. It has not been the case in our house.
  5. cscigu

    cscigu New Member

    The contractor had the capacitor, that was no trouble. It just had the bad luck of happening on a Saturday, so I had to wait till Monday for them to get out and fix it.

    I've had some bad luck with other major appliances, too. Most notably a Whirlpool washing machine, with a goofy computer board. It was the only thing I ever bought an extended warranty for. Have had the thing fixed 3 times in 2 years. I've concluded newer washing machines are unreliable. Of note, our Rheem a/c unit at our previous house was there when we bought the house in 1991. Think it was 2-3 years old then. It was still running when we sold the house in 2010. We did have to replace the coil in that one also, around 2006 or so.

    The new coil from CM arrived at my house today. I'm going to store it carefully until cooler weather, and call the contractor to come and replace it. To me, its kind of like replacing an engine or transmission on you car. Worrisome, and not something you don't expect to be doing after 28 months.

    I guess my gripe with the CM unit is that it is the most expensive, most advanced system that was available to me. In exchange for that kind of an exceptional commitment on my end, I expected exceptional performance on their end.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  6. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Agin not busting your chops and I think your concerns are well stated.
    Your expectations however were not the least bit tempered by the installer.
    My customers and I have an agreement going in:
    "we are all grown-ups." "these things are made and installed by people." "can't promise nothing will go wrong, but if it does I promise you won't pay a dime for X years and I will minimize your inconveinience as much as possible".

    I think that perspective is a little different than yours, but would have pre-empted some of your current concerns.....and I think your installer should have been a banker if he didn't wanna run a Saturday emergency fact most banks are open on Saturday now.
  7. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Our stats on the Climatemasters have been one ECM motor in about 100 units in the last 5 years.
    We had 2 units in a row with faulty expansion valves, and (5) 3-ton units in a row with a high pitch vibration issue coming from the compressor which was a faulty part inside the copeland scroll compressor. Both the expansion valve affected and the scroll compressor fault affected not only Climatemaster but also other brands who used as a part supplier. While not their particular fault, it was still their issue, and they took care of it.
    Other than that CM has a good track record in our experience, we would not use them if the would have bad customer service and continuous quality issues. But they do not. Sounds like everyone was going the extra mile for you!
  8. cscigu

    cscigu New Member

    I'm probably overreacting a little bit,but you can imagine how it is to be the recipient of what are some fairly uncommon issues 3 times in two summers. Well, maybe not the capacitor thing....
    Glad to hear from the above poster that CM does in fact have a good record. I
    When your a/c goes out in Oklahoma, you get hot under the collar, and everywhere else, fast. We are having some cool weather right now. Under 90 for 2-3 days, and it rained! Unheard of in August.
    I'm still happy with the installer. They actually do work on Saturdays, and he did answer when I called. By that time it was probably 4:00 pm or something, and I live 30 miles from their office, so I really didn't expect anyone to come out.
    Anything to watch for on a new coil install? Anyway to tell if the solders/welds are leaking? Oil, I guess. I think they may have to take the motor out to get it in.
  9. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Doc installs more units than we do

    but my numbers are in the same percentage ranges. I did run into several units being low on charge back to back. All three were leaks at service port pins of r-410A systems.

    What to watch for? Good refrigeration service procedures. New filter dryer, proper evacuation, dry nitrogen bleed while brazing, weigh in the refrigerant.

    OK is a bit far for this geo-gypsy to change a coil out.

  10. Calladrilling

    Calladrilling Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    How far do you travel mark?
  11. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I agree with Mark's high points on good service procedures.

    I will do anything feasible to mitigate a client's loss of system...nights, weekends, loaner window units, whatever
  12. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    I am slowing down in my old age so I take 2 days to make a 10 or 12 hour drive. The wife and I are the company and since we are M/T nesters where and when we go does not matter much. I would visit you in a heartbeat as NJ is sort of near DC where our daughter has fledged to.

    I would go to OK to design/build a geo-radiant system.

  13. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    "In June 2011, I had a run capacitor go out. Not hard to fix, but still without air for 2 days, and had to pay for the repairs myself".

    I'm sorry, but you did include this in your complaint about Climatemaster yet you are making every excuse for your contractor.

    "I will do anything feasible to mitigate a client's loss of system...nights, weekends, loaner window units, whatever "

    We are simply trying to suggest you could lean on your contractor a little more. My customer likely wouldn't have paid a penny for that capacitor.

    Recently I isolated and switched 2 heat pumps to open loop and worked til about midnight to bring the temp down in a home hosting a baby shower the next day.
    The problem with the geo was the perfect storm of 100 year high temps. 100 year low water in the lake (lake loop system). 85* lake water. Sudden huge demand cooling thousands of SF of the house that normally was unoccupied.
    Not my fault. Not convienient. Not a problem. Customer was taken care of. No charge.

    If you feel we are picking on your contractor you are correct, but our money is where are mouth is.
  14. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Been there done that, or at least something similar. The long day(s) suck, but motivation derives from:

    1) Desire to timely solve a good customer's problem

    2) Pride in professional ability to timely solve the problem

    3) Future business deriving from going the extra mile.

    If we don't have the exact replacement part, such as a capacitor, for $75 a local supply house will open a store anytime after hours. I've never used that service, but it is there if we need it.
  15. cscigu

    cscigu New Member

    I'm sure we could go back and forth about who is or isn't a good contractor. I know how to recognize poor service .I've been happy with the service I've received, and feel they have done everything reasonable to get the repairs done quickly and properly. Geothermal use is not widespread in Oklahoma at all. In rural areas like mine their just aren't many installers to begin with.
    All of the breakdowns have been the result of either faulty parts used by Climatemaster, or problems in fabrication. That's why I have come down on them more.

    As I said, I wrote to them 3 weeks ago, about my concerns and have not received a response. Are contractors the only ones expected to go the extra mile?
  16. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    In my (not so) humble opinion: Yes.
    Expectation is part of the problem here. You expect more from your geo than your refrigerator because it cost more.
    Fact is, it has more components to break. Brand is inconsequential.
    If a contractor has a candid discussion with you including the one about "I can't get parts from CM any quicker than Joe in MI because it has to go through a distributor and they may or may not be backordered and it really doesn't take longer to mail across the state or the country" or the one where we tell you "keeping an inventory on ECM motors is expensive so myself and my supplier don't do it but I do have a temp motor I can put in for the 5 days or so it takes to get here" or the one about "virtually every major manufacturer has learned an unfortunate lesson about coils in the South. It stinks but warranty will cover it and I'll gas you up til we get it in."

    I had a '06 Chevy that had at least a 1/2 dozen nuisance problems in the year I owned it. Dealer was great. Turned me around in a hurry and I tried to get another Chevy pick-up in '07 (because they jumped to a 100,000 mile warranty and I had a history of trouble with a truck that only had 3,000 miles left of the 36,000 mile warranty).
    I wasn't mad at GM for nuisance problems on a sophistacated vehicle, that were handled deftly and I wanted to stick with the dealer who took such great care of me.....I switched to Ford because the dummies stopped producing 6 cylinder 1/2 ton fleet trucks (the staple of many contractors and renta car shops). I commented to my wife that GM must be doing good if they can ignore the truck market for months while they re-tooled (boy was that off the mark).
    The Ford on the other hand had 2 problems during warranty that took my truck for nearly 2 weeks (both reasonably simple). The service was poor. The result unsatisfactory. I lived with the squeaky idler 'til it was out of warranty so a pro could fix it.

    Point is things break. If you are taken care of no big deal. I'd buy a Ford again but not from those folks. I'd buy a Chevy again just to get that service dept back (providing they are selling what I want that day).

    So in my world, yes it is the dealer that makes or breaks your experience including setting your expectations right and taking care of you when things go wrong.
  17. cscigu

    cscigu New Member

    To put a positive spin on things, part of the beauty of our country is everyone can operate the way their opinions lead them. Some people are primarily concerned with buying a product for their home that is less likely to break down in the first place. I've got a washing machine that I bought from Lowes two years ago. I got the Lowes extended warranty on it, the first warranty I ever bought. The machine has broken 4 times in the last 18 months. Service has been great, they fix the darned thing every 3-4 months. Still, that brand will never enter my house again. My point being that excellent service will not always win out in the end. Otherwise, you'd still be driving a Chevy.

    It is very difficult to know in advance how you installer's service will be, because so few companies in Oklahoma install geothermal. The installer I used was the only one within 50 miles, and the only one I could find that even had a BBB rating, which is A+. If you were close, I'd call you. You obviously like what you do. Do you get any type reimbursement for warranty work?

    I've not said anything terribly negative about Climatemaster, but do think its odd they have not replied at all. Last month I stayed in a $69 Quality Inn in Mattoon Illinois that was very well run, so I put up a good review on TripAdviser. Two days later, I got an email from the Choice Hotels guest relations in Arizona to follow up on the TripAdviser post. That's impressive. A company that is trying to guard its reputation. ClimateMaster made a lot more $69 off me, but seems less interested.

    Like I said earlier, I want them to succeed. Turning out a product that breaks 3 times in 14 months is something they should show interest in. If it were my company, I'd surely want to hear about it. I thought they might even monitor this site, I think some do. I'm happy to give them every opportunity to make me a happy supporter of their company. All they have to do is respond.

    The good new is that when I posted this, I was wondering if other owners would be chiming in with similar issues, and that hasn't happened. I've seen other threads with problems with the Tranquility 27, but they seem to get them worked out.

    One more thing. (AMI Contracting). Since I've got your engaged here, the last time they were here, they had to add water, because the output water pressure was low. Not sure how much water they added, it seemed routine. I think I might have them show me how to do it myself, I'd have to buy a certain valve... What do you think?
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  18. Jamesck

    Jamesck Member

    I have a Climatemaster unit that has been in for around 18-months. It is a split type unit and has not given me any trouble at all. I think Climatemaster, builds as good of a unit as Waterfurnace, even though they are not as well known in the geothermal market.

    I purchased a refrigerator from Lowes and had nothing but trouble. Lowes did the right thing and let us send it back and purchase a different model. I will return for my next appliance purchase to Lowes because of their customer service.

    I think that your luck has been bad, but do not think any less of Climatemaster.
  19. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You know who has 1/2 the resi geo market? (hint: not waterfurnace)
    cscigu- I didn't buy another chevy 'cause they had none to sell me.
    personally I don't want my manufacturer in contact with my customers (like some that monitor these sites repeating the same mantra over and over again) and if you were my customer you wouldn't have the same concerns because of expectations and you would understand the pros and cons of all brands offered.
    Shall we agree to disagree?

    It's not difficult to bump up loop pressure but- how often? You need to monitor antifreeze level as well in heating dominated climates.
    Flow centers with threaded service ports are easy to get parts for (any hardware). My "bump" kit has a 2 headed hose (like that of a washing machine-female to female) and 2 boiler drains with 2, 1X3/4 bushings for those systems. The other types (including CM's composite flow center) require fittings a little harder to come by (composite and banjo fittings).
    You also need to understand the 3 way valves and never introduce air into the system or an entire flush will be indicated.

    good luck
  20. cscigu

    cscigu New Member

    Eh, I better leave the thing alone. I'm OK with some plumbing issues, but not completely confident. I didn't see the process, and don't really want to monkey around with the flow center. I can try to watch them, I guess. Its just one of those things that I'll now be curious about, and wish I could simply monitor it.

    You fix enough toilets and faucets and you fell invincible.

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