WF Premier E since 2004

Discussion in 'Geothermal Heat Pump Testimonials' started by CentralVA PremierE, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. CentralVA PremierE

    CentralVA PremierE New Member

    Hey all,

    Have had a Premier E series 3 1/2 ton 3 zone system Waterfurnace in my custom home since '04. I was an electrical contractor for 15 years and hooked up a number of WF units in new and retro construction over the years. I was impressed with the performance and the fact that there was no outside unit and they were so quiet. So... when I built my own place I put one in. I had a great mechanical guy put in all the duct work - 90% metal duct with all radius'd joints etc. Done IMO much better than the company I bought the unit from on all the jobs I saw. Supervised the loop installation and it was done properly.

    In '04 my fan went bad during the first winter of usage. Bearings failed.

    In '05-'06 my compressor began making a lot of noise. Took a while for anybody to figure it out. Then one day there was a Waterfurnace company meeting in VA Bch about 4 Hrs from here. They sent the regional Tech guy and the company VP here to check it out along with the HVAC installer tech guy. Fortunately, while they were here checking it out the compressor disintegrated completely in a rather dramatic rod throwing display. It was replaced under warranty. Shortly thereafter the coil began to leak. Another warranty replacement.

    Since then I have had another coil or two replaced, and I am now assuming that I have another one that has gone bad as I can tell by the performance and the sound of the compressor when it is in 2nd stage that it is very low on freon again. My "labor allowance" ran out long ago, so it is now on my dime to have the replacement parts installed each time in addition to the service calls to check and replace lost freon.

    It is my understanding that the coils were defective inasmuch as the manufacturer failed to rinse the coils to neutralize acidic content and they subsequently damage the units. Waterfurnace is not forthcoming with this information and the HVAC Co. is not really interested in going to bat for me on more than a superficial basis. Last time I talked to WF, their big concession was that they would sell me a new unit for somewhere around 3 grand plus the cost to install. All I wanted was for them to replace the guts and put in a Schroll type compressor & board. No dice.

    I am very happy with the unit when it is fully charged/functional, and it does a great job keeping the 3200+ SF home comfortable year round. BUT Waterfurnace is unwilling to step up and replace this thing that has been defective since day one. It has never performed for longer than about 18 months without major repairs of one type or another. This is clearly totally ridiculous. I have many other properties with HVAC units in them that do not require this level of repair. When I recounted the service history with WF they denied that the fan motor and compressor repairs had been done despite the Arkansas cowboy VP having carried on a conversation with me for well over an hour in my basement while the compressor was blowing up. Not a problem for me as I keep meticulous records.

    I am looking for an alternative if my attorney is unable to resolve the issue when this next round of repairs is broached.

    So, Caveat Emptor with Waterfurnace. I will and advise others to check other manufacturers and their reputation. The lack of readily available contact information for Waterfurnace should be your first clue.

    Geothermal great - Waterfurnace not so much.
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    This is not just a WF issue

    Most of the major manufacture's chassies are supplied by one vendor. WF did not make the motor, compressor or coil.

    I had two units, (not WF), go over to the dark side last week. I think I am losing refrigerant, but have not had time to test my theory, it was cold in Ohio and my main issue was to heat the house. The control system on this two heat pump system is still a whip, but the water to water units to the pond loops got warm enough in heating mode to spit 1 1/4" PVC male adaptors out of the metal female adaptors on the pond side of the system.

    I feel your pain and will help if I can, I have a daughter in D.C. .

    I have expressed my discomfort with how WF does business here before, but this time they did not make the parts that failed.

    I am sorry that you feel you need to bring in the lawyers. I have for the most part done business with a look you in the eye or the email handshake and take my lumps as a contractor. TGW happen and it sounds as if you are diligent in watching over the work that you have paid to have completed.

    I am never the lowest bidder because I use the Supply House chain to get the materials I need. A good supply house rep or engineer of a good manufacturer's rep are worth their weight, (their very narrow margin of profit), in gold when it comes to problems. Their numbers are bigger than mine and can create solutions that I alone would be unable to address.

    I have never thought the idea I needed to take and pay for a class or course work, that I could teach to be "allowed to sell", a manufacturer's product, plus travel, lodging and meals. I just do not like the feel of that, so I will not do it.

    I like the fact you are not angry with the industry, just a way of doing business. I saw today what Allstate and other insurance companies are making in profit by delaying claims.

    Good luck. Let me know if I can help.

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  3. CentralVA PremierE

    CentralVA PremierE New Member

    Had the unit looked at today. Had to put 1 1/2 lbs freon in. Without looking it up, I believe my last coil was put in in Feb/March of 2010. The last failure was on 12/8/09 when the unit had the exact same low pressure and required the exact same amount of freon to bring it back to life (yeah, I keep good records). Today pressure was low and output temp was 73* in stage 2. After adding freon - had it back to 150/350 I believe and 103*+ on temp out. My compressor is also starting to make an oscillating noise in stage 2.

    I gather that all the coils made in '09 & before are having issues with the coatings. The tech had three in the warehouse that were scheduled for replacement on similar units.

    Actually, there is nothing wrong with bringing in the lawyers. If you read in the other thread I have going about this and see the info that Carrier has published regarding the items that can contaminate and cause corrosive issues with coils you can draw parallels to many other industries and studies they have attempted to have done to mask massive product defects that bilk many customers. I am not saying that this is necessarily the case, but as you cited with insurance companies, it does occur. That is why lawyers exist. I am a full blown capitalist and make money in capital markets, but everyone is accountable. If you have a product with a known defect and a warranty and you want to keep your customers, you should do the right thing.

    I approached WF directly and the person would only talk to me through their secretary - I could hear the guy answering her questions. They were not forthcoming with any information about any of the officers of the corporation or their legal department so that I could negotiate with them myself. If that is how you want to play, then it is going to cost you ultimately by having to come to my state to defend yourself or by losing my business for units that you mark up well in excess of 100% in the face of increased competition. The market will take care of you, so there is no reason for me to get anything other than mildly irritated at the inconvenience while I watch your stock price and your business go down. Heck I might even short you and make enough to pay for a new unit if you are publicly traded (on the Toronto Exchange I think it was).

    Also WF should note that Hydron Module is now offering LIFETIME warranty on many of the components in their units, so they no longer have a lock on the warranty issue. Clearly the competition is building, and things like customer service are going to begin to make a big difference as the market tightens up.

    Stay tuned...;)
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  4. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Keep us posted

    I am not the few odd years of geothermal here. I have been doing this since we ran out of natural gas when Jimmy Carter was president. Ronald took down Jimmy's solar panels. Politics just beget anger. I find anger to be overrated and unproductive. I like you. You have a calm mind, but determined.

    My point, as it seems I did not make it clear, was that all hands on deck we need to make and "sell" all geo heat pumps possible. They did that. They rushed to production with corners cut. Make more with less as we send the sucky jobs to the poor nations. They can not make what we need there so we will cut wages and teach our factory labor force to make things OK. Not the best, just OK. We will deal with the decreased reliability when the manure hits the fan, but sell, sell, sell. Which means, more, more, more even if the parts do not hold refrigerant.

    As a mild mannered Clark Kent type, I just go about fixing the errors in design and controls. I have been married to Lois Lane for thirty years and we are the company. I try to stay out of company spats, but find myself in the rush to sales thing brought on by the tax credit thing. I hate having two units down that are about the same date of manufacture as your unit. They worked great until last week.

    I will go find out what is wrong and fix it. I hope your WF dealer, that dealt some of his profit and autonomy, to WF for the BIG WARRANTY stays in business, so that he can fix what the manufacturer did to him and you.

    I am a free mason of capitalism and will fight for it to my death, but it does not mean that I can put business first, when trust and fellowship should precede it.

    Let me know how this comes out as I have sold my stock to invest in myself and your well being.

    Warm regards,

  5. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Member

    I have a different experience, thank God, with Waterfurnace, I think a Premier (before the "E" series), that is coming up on 20 years old. I had no problems until about year 15 when the three speed circulation fan went out, bearings I suppose. The only problem with the repair was delay, during cold weather, and cost. The work was done by a GeoPro (I think Waterfurnace). At that time the unit was so old Waterfurnace didn't have a replacement part and it took several days (over one weekend best I can recall) to get a retrofit installed. It cost in the neighborhood of $1,200, yes for just a fan with some retro additions, I forget what. I still have the original CPU board. I corresponded with the Factory over my dissatisfaction on the fact they didn't support their product with some warehouse stock. Of course, they WF, didn't stop making the motor, their supplier did, but I think they should have purchased repair stock when they got notice of the discontinuance of the supply - assuming they got one.

    A couple of years later I had to replace the two stage ground loop pumps for anther $1,500 or so, and this was done with a number of errors by the "GeoPros" I was working with. The installer who did a great job was not involved as he had moved from WF to ClimateMaster.

    The ground loop was recharged when the pumps were replaced, otherwise no other maintenance/repair costs.

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